Safety Standard Recommendations for Sex Toys

By on October 12, 2021

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)—an independent, non-governmental group that sets safety standards for many industries has introduced voluntary standards for sex toys.

ISO 3533: Sex toys — Design and safety requirements for products in direct contact with genitalia, the anus, or both outlines design requirements for things like butt plugs, vibrators, dildos, and anything that’s ‘intended for sexual stimulation or to enhance sexual pleasure,’ according to the standard. Excluded are lubricants, oils, gels and sprays.

In 2019, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the U.S. member body of the International Standards Organization called for comments on a proposal for new standards for design and safety requirements for sex toys.

Johanna Rief, Director of Global PR and Head of Sexual Empowerment at WOW Tech informs that We-Vibe helped fund and inform the development of ISO 3533. “Have you ever bought and opened a sex toy that was smelling bad and artificial? In general, that isn’t a sign of high-quality material,” Rief said. “These products are cheaply produced and shouldn’t come near any genitals or mucous membranes.”

Some of the requirements to meet this standard include:

  • Making sure plugs, beads, and things that go up the butthole can’t stay up there, or could be retrieved by a medical professional if needed
  • That things like chastity cages and cock rings can be removed with pliers or other common household tools in an emergency—no power tools needed
  • Toys with heating elements must never exceed 118 degrees Fahrenheit (the temperature that would cause a first-degree burn)
  • Anything going around or in any holes or genitals should be “smooth and be free from burrs and sharp edges.”

ISO standards are voluntary but it is recognized that ISO standards lend legitimacy to the industry, and meeting them could be an important selling point for manufacturers.

“We are working and fighting to be taken seriously as any other consumer electronics industry, and part of that is having standards and legal regulations,” Rief said. “Symbolically, the certification means recognition. But more importantly, it means that the quality of sex toys across the market will now improve to the standards that we and several other players have already been setting for years.”

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