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Privacy Considerations

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Updated November 15, 2005

One of the biggest barriers to a healthy sex life can be the lack of privacy you have. Particularly true for people living in institutional settings, this can also be an issue for anyone who uses attendant care (which can often be provided by a family member or romantic partner). The kind of privacy you have may have an impact on the kind of sex toy you want.

One privacy consideration when choosing a toy that will be accessible to you is the noise level.

If you don’t have a lot of physical privacy, you have people in the next room, or even the same room and you have the mostly useless “privacy curtain”, a quiet toy will be more important than if you have your own place, and can turn on music to mask the sound (this is assuming you want discretion…there are other people who are quite happy letting it be known that they are happily buzzing away).

Most “wand style” electric vibrators and hard plastic battery powered vibrators can be very loud. This could be an issue if you are living with people and you don't want them knowing exactly what you are doing. Soft rubber toys, and the “coil” electric vibrators are all a bit quieter. Many online stores actually have sound and intensity ratings for their vibes. If they don’t be sure to ask how loud a toy is, and what the return policy is if you get something that’s too noisy.

Another privacy consideration has to do with cleaning the toy. If it's possible, cleaning your own sex toys will obviously give you more privacy. Some toys are easier to clean than others.

For example, battery powered vibrators that are waterproof can be fully immersed in water and cleaned while you are bathing or taking a shower. A non-waterproof vibrator is more difficult to clean because if you get any water near the cap it will probably damage it.

If you can get a condom onto a toy it will extend its life and make clean up easier. Some cylindrical toys for men are hollow all the way through and very easy to clean just by running a wet cloth through the toy a few times. Others have one end open but the other closed. These are harder to get completely clean as you need to get a cloth in the end of the tube somehow.

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