Sex Toy: Dildo

A dildo is a sex toy, often explicitly phallic in appearance, intended for sexual penetration of the vagina, mouth, or anus or other sexual activity during masturbation or with sex partners. Dildos can be made from a number of materials and shaped like an erect human penis. They are typically 4–6-inch (10–15 cm) in length, about the average length of an erect penis, but some may be longer, and circumference is typically 4-5 inch (10-13 cm). Some include penis-shaped items clearly designed for vaginal penetration, even if they are not true approximations of a penis.

Materials

Rubber dildos, usually incorporating a steel spring for stiffness, became available in the 1940s. This arrangement was unsatisfactory because of the potential for injury from cuts by the spring if the rubber cracked and came apart. Later, PVC dildos with a softer PVC filler became popular. Most of the inexpensive dildos sold in the 2000s are made this way.

PVC and jelly-rubber toys are problematic because they contain unsafe phthalates, softeners added to many plastics that are also found in some jewelry, food containers, and other soft rubber toys. Phthalates are linked to health problems such as cancer and prenatal defects. Products made of PVC or jelly rubber cannot be sterilized. Manufacturers recommend using condoms with these toys if users share them.

Silicone rubber dildos became popular in the 1990s. Initially expensive, the cost of silicone dildos has dropped over time. Silicone is resistant to accidental damage, non-porous, and can be sterilized easily, making silicone dildos more durable and sanitary than dildos made of other soft materials. Silicone dildos conduct vibration well, and can be used in combination with a vibrator.

High-end, chrome plated steel dildos are also popular in the BDSM scene. Some users prefer them because of their hardness, firmness, durability, electrical conductance, and low friction, especially when used with lubricant. Because they are heavy, they can be used to exercise vaginal PC muscles. A steel dildo may be warmed or cooled in water to elicit a range of temperature sensations. It may also retain the user's body heat. Its polished nonporous surface allows sterilization in boiling water or an autoclave.

Glass dildos have similar features as steel dildos. In most cases, glass toys are solid, and made of Pyrex or other types borosilicate glass (Schott-Duranglas and Simax), although their construction can vary depending on the manufacturer. Like steel, glass toys may be used to apply firmer pressure than silicone can to a female's G-spot (urethral sponge) or a male's prostate gland. Unlike other types of toys, glass sex toys can also be personalized with inscriptions.

Cyberskin is a synthetic material that feels more like human skin. It is porous and cannot be sterilized. It often becomes sticky after washing (which can be remedied by a dusting of cornstarch) and is more delicate and more prone to rips and tears than silicone dildos. "Packing dildos", which are not designed for penetration, are often made of this material.

Phallus-shaped vegetables and fruits, such as bananas or zucchini or other food items, such as hot dogs or other types of sausages, have been used as dildos. Any object of sufficient firmness and shape could be used as a dildo.

Shape

Conventionally, many dildos are shaped like a human penis with varying degrees of detail, while others are made to resemble the phallus of animals. Not all, however, are fashioned to reproduce the male anatomy meticulously, and dildos come in a wide variety of shapes. They may resemble figures, or simply be practical creations which stimulate more easily than conventional designs. In Japan, many dildos are created to resemble animals or cartoon characters, such as Hello Kitty, so that they may be sold as conventional toys, thus avoiding obscenity laws. Some dildos have textured surfaces to enhance sexual pleasure, and others have macrophallic dimensions including over a dozen inches long.

Uses

Most dildos are intended for vaginal or anal penetration and stimulation, for masturbation on oneself or by a sexual partner. Dildos have fetishistic value as well, and may be used in other ways, such as touching one's own or another's skin in various places, often during foreplay or as an act of dominance and submission. If of appropriate sizes, they can be used as gags, for oral penetration for a sort of artificial fellatio. Dildos, particularly specially designed ones, may be used to stimulate the G-spot area.

A dildo designed for anal insertion and to remain in place is usually referred to as a butt plug. A dildo intended for repeated anal penetration (thrusting) is typically referred to as an anal dildo or simply "dildo". Anal dildos and butt plugs generally have a large base to avoid accidental complete insertion into the rectum, which may require medical removal. Some women use double-ended dildos, with different-sized shafts pointing in the same direction, for simultaneous vaginal and anal penetration, or for two partners to share a single dildo. In the latter case, the dildo acts as a sort of "see-saw," where each partner takes an end and receives stimulation.

Some dildos are designed to be worn in a harness, sometimes called a strap-on harness or strap-on dildo, or to be worn inside the vagina (then called strapless dildo or "strapless strap-on dildo"), sometimes with externally-attached vibrating devices. Strap-on dildos may be double-ended, meant to be worn by users who want to experience vaginal or anal penetration while also penetrating a partner. They may also be used for anally penetrating men. If a female penetrates a male, the act is known as pegging.

Other types of dildos include those designed to be fitted to the face of one party, inflatable dildos, and dildos with suction cups attached to the base (sometimes referred to as a wall mount). Other types of harness mounts for dildos (besides strapping to the groin) include thigh mount, face mount, or furniture mounting straps.

Recent social acceptance and popularity has resulted in the emergence of highly adorned dildos, which are often made of expensive materials and may be jewelled.

From Wikipedia

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