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Are 3D-printed sex toys hazardous to your health?

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3D printer

3D-printed sex toys might sound cool, but let’s not get too excited about them just yet. 

Now that 3D printers are becoming increasingly more affordable and easy to use, everyone’s going nuts over 3D-printed everything, from food to makeup to teddy bears to sex toys. But if there’s one thing that should make us somewhat wary of the 3D-printing phenomenon, it’s this admonition from Tom Nardone, the founder of 3D-printed sex toy website MakerLove.com, who says that while 3D-printed dildos and vibrators might be the wave of the future, they could potentially be hazardous to your sexual health. Uh, say what, now?

As Nardone recently explained to Mashable, 3D-printed sex toys aren’t necessarily ideal for internal use for a few reasons. The first is the material: While Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is most commonly used for 3D-printing, the substance tends to be fairly coarse, which obviously would make it uncomfortable to use for its, erm, intended purposes.

The other reason why you shouldn’t go rushing to design and print out your own dragon-shaped phallus just yet is that 3D-printed sex toys are apparently kinda unhygienic, thanks to microscopic gaps in the printing material that serve as ideal breeding grounds for bacteria. Because these gaps are super small, they’re impossible to clean. This means that unsafe bacteria can accumulate in the material’s pores, potentially putting female users at risk for bladder infections and bacterial vaginosis.

That’s not to say, however, that you should cancel your order for your Drogon-shaped butt plug just yet. Nardone suggests sanding down the toy or sealing it with silicone conformal coating to make it more comfortable to use, and you can also strap on a good ol’ condom to protect yourself from getting any infections. But he cautions that we’re still in the very early stages of 3D-printing technology, so if you want to be 100 percent sure that your toys are vagina-friendly—or butthole-friendly, we don’t judge!—it’s probably best to just go to your local adult store and plunk down $40 for a Magic Wand for now.

H/T Inside 3DP via Mashable | Photo by Dennis van Zuijekolm/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson is a writer and editor who primarily covers sex, dating, and relationships, with a special focus on the intersection of intimacy and technology. She served as the Daily Dot’s IRL editor from January 2014 to July 2015. Her work has since appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mic, Bustle, Romper, and Men’s Health.