How long can an STD stay on a toy? – Better2Know Blog


When you’re sexually active, you need to be concerned about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). But as you may know by visiting our website and reading our other blog postsyou can get an STD in all sorts of ways – not just through sex.

Sex toys are great tools that help couples experience pleasure and increase intimacy. However, just like sex, sharing sex toys carries a certain amount of risk.

STDs can stay on sex toys – that’s how they transmit when you’re using them. But how long can an STD stay on a sex toy?

Keep reading to find out!

Are you worried about STDs? Book an appointment at a clinic near you.

What are STDs?

stds (also known as sexually transmitted infections or STIs) are infections that are primarily transmitted through sexual activity, like through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

But that’s not the whole story. You don’t need to have full sexual intercourse to get one. You can get an STD through skin-to-skin contact during the sexual act, by sharing needles for injecting drugs, and by sharing personal hygiene products like razors and toothbrushes. Some STDs can even be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth.

Sharing sex toys is also a common way STDs are transmitted.

What are sex toys?

Sex toys are objects or devices that help facilitate sexual pleasure. They can include dildos, artificial vaginas, anal beads, nipple clamps, and vibrators. You can usually buy them at sex shops or on the internet. Sex toys have been used for thousands of years all over the world in lots of different cultures.

The term “sex toy” doesn’t apply to things like birth control, pornography, or methods of contraception like condoms.

The different kinds of sex toys

As with most products, there are several different kinds of sex toy. Whether you transmit an STD with a sex toy can depend on the materials the toy is made of.

Porous vs non-porous sex toys

Some sex toys are made of materials that can have small, microscopic pores – or holes – in them, giving bacteria and viruses places to hide. These materials can remain infectious even if they are washed and cleaned.

Porous materials can include:

  • thermoplastic rubber
  • thermoplastic thermoplastic
  • Latex
  • polyvinyl chloride
  • jelly rubber

Non-porous materials don’t have these pores. This means that bacteria, viruses, and parasites don’t have anywhere to hide on the surfaces of these materials and can thus be washed off.

Non-porous materials can include:

  • stainless steel
  • glass
  • abs plastic
  • silicone
  • pyrex

So, if you’re using a sex toy, make sure the materials are non-porous,

If you’re having any doubts about the kind of materials your sex toys are made of, it never hurts to contact the manufacturer to get more details about a certain product.

For instance, certain types of glass can be non-porous or fragile, making them a bit dangerous for use during sex. Also, certain metals can corrode over time, which is why it’s best to buy sex toys made with surgical-grade stainless steel.

If you’re unsure about a product and you can’t get any information from the company that makes it, consider buying something else.

How do STDs get on sex toys?

Any STD you can get from sex can be transmitted by sharing a sex toy.

When bodily fluids like blood, semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluids, and other bodily fluids get on the sex toy, and those fluids come into direct contact with another person’s mucous membranes (like the penis, vagina, rectum, eyes, or mouth ), the non-infected person can contract the infection.

For example, if one person has a genital Chlamydia infection and uses a sex toy to stimulate themselves, and then their partner uses that sex toy a few minutes later, they may get a Chlamydia infection.

Protect your sexual health with Better2Know’s Platinum Screen. Get tested for 11 different STDs from the comfort of your own home.

Other infections that can be passed on with sex toys

You can also get other infections from a shared sex toy, including:

  • bacterial vaginosis
  • Yeast infections
  • UTIs

There is also a particular risk when using a sex toy for anal stimulation.

Fecal matter can get on the sex toy, and if this toy is used without being cleaned, the next user of the toy could be at risk of getting infections like:

You can give an STD to yourself

Yes, it is possible to give yourself an STD.

Some STDs can be localized in certain parts of the body. That means the infection stays in one part and doesn’t affect others. This is particularly true of many bacterial infections like Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea,and Trichomonas, (It doesn’t apply to blood borne infections like HIV.)

So, how does this work?

Let’s say you currently have a genital Gonorrhoea infection, and you decide to use a sex toy on your genitals. If you then use that same sex toy to, say, stimulate your anus, it’s possible to give yourself a Gonorrhoea infection in your rectum.

How long can an STD stay on a toy?

How long a particular STD can last on a sex toy depends on the infection in question.

Chlamydia can survive outside the body, in humid conditions, for several hours, while the bacteria that cause Gonorrhoea and Syphilis Won’t survive for more than a few minutes. Some pathogens, like the virus that causes Hepatitis B, can last outside of the body for several days.

Are sex toys safe, then?

Like with most things, how safe or unsafe something is, depends on how it is used.

If sex toys are used in an unsafe manner, they can help spread infections. That’s why it’s important to always use sex toys responsibly.

How can I use sex toys without getting an STD?

If you’re sharing your sex toys with your partner, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that no infections are passed on during their use.

If one partner uses the toy, cover it with a condom before it’s used again. This barrier method will help reduce the risk of infections being passed on. If you use the toy with the condom once and you want to use it again, take off the used condom, wash your hands, and put on a new condom.

Also, be sure to thoroughly wash and get your sex toys clean when you’re done using it. Your product should come with instructions on how to clean it, but soap and warm water can usually be very effective in cleaning most non-porous sex toys. Store it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

What do I do if I get an STD from a sex toy?

If you think you’ve gotten an STD from a sex toy, both you and your partner should get tested.

If you don’t know what infection to test for, you should consider Better2Know’s Full Screenwhich tests for the seven most common STIs in the UK:

If you wish, you can also add on tests for other infections at a special discounted rate. This is useful if you want to get tested for other infections like Genital Herpes or Hepatitis C,

Are STDs from sex toys less dangerous?

No. Once you have an infection, you have it, and it doesn’t matter how you got it. You should follow the same steps as if you got an STD from full intercourse.

final thoughts

Sex toys can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to be mindful of the potential risks using them may involve.

If you’re concerned that you have an STI, you can get tested with Better2Know. Click the button below to schedule an appointment at a sexual health clinic near you or call the number at the top of this page to speak to our friendly Patient Services team.


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