Product Review: Rabbit Vibrators In a new column, sexologist Dr. Brian Parker discusses and rates sex products to help keep your married sex life fresh and exciting. BY DR. BRIAN PARKER
Elastomer Rabbit Habit
In the first sex product review, I will look at the popular 'rabbit' vibes or what is often referred to as, "rotating dual" or "combination" vibrators.
These wonderful toys stimulate both the clitoris and vaginal canal. They usually have dual action rotating shafts and pearls that cause exciting sensations. They come in a number of shapes and sizes, but most look like a traditional vibrator with a “branch” coming off of it to stimulate the clitoris. The branch is often in the shape of an animal— rabbits being the most common. You insert the vibe until the clitoral stimulator reaches the clitoris. The penetrative portion of the vibe generally contain rotating pearls that stimulate the first third of the vaginal canal (where the majority of nerve endings are).
Let's Talk Pthalates
One thing you should know is that many sex toys on the market today are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and contain harmful chemicals called pthalates. Of all the toys on the market, the “rabbit” category of vibrators are the ones most likely to contain pthalates.
Pthalates are a family of very common chemicals used in a variety of products, from children’s toys to sex toys. They are also used in the production of paint, adhesives, insect repellents, and rocket fuel. Pthalates are added to plastic (usually PVC) to increase their flexibility. Unfortunately, over time, the pthalates added slowly 'leak' out in a process called off-gasing. They generally release lead and cadmium, which can be absorbed into the body. Because of this, the U.S. Center of Disease Control (CDC) and other health agencies around the world have started to research the harmful effects pthalates cause to the body. Health Canada and the European Union have removed all the plastic toys designed for children under three that contain pthalates.
In 2001, the popular German magazine, Stern, hired toxicologists to determine the safety of certain sex toy materials. They were alarmed at the high concentrations of pthalates, which were 100 times the acceptable European standard. The toxicologists warned that sex toys containing pthalates (i.e., anything initially made from PVC) would be absorbed into the mucous membrane of the vaginal canal and rectum. They expressed concern that the pthalates would eventually be absorbed by the liver or kidneys.
In 2006, Greenpeace Netherlands commissioned a study, which found seven out of eight vibrators and dildos tested contained pthalates in concentrations varying from 24 to 51 percent. Besides the effects mentioned above, the experts from this study indicate that vaginal or rectal exposure to these chemicals can harm hormone production and damage reproduction. They also indicated that sex toys made from these materials might lead to cancer.
The CDC has been studying the affects of pthalates on a number of animals and humans. They conclude that although pthalates cause a number of health-related issues for rodents, including hormonal or endocrine problems, liver or kidney damage and tumors, and infertility, no human studies report these health issues. The CDC states that pthalates can be absorbed into the system through skin contact and that people should be conscious about the adverse affects of these chemicals.
Even though human studies on the adverse affects of pthalates are inconclusive, I do not sell any sex toy products at my store, Forever Pleasure, that may contain pthalates. I believe our bodies are our temple. You shouldn’t ingest harmful chemical ingredients, therefore, you shouldn’t be inserting sex toys that may be harmful to your health. A good motto to follow when it comes to sex toys is, "if it smells bad, don’t buy it!"
Jack Rabbit Positives:
* Inexpensive (generally about $30)
* Powerful (uses three C batteries where most use 4 AA batteries)
* Separate corded battery pack is inconvenient and difficult to use
* Made of PVC (plastic) that contains pthalates
Overall Rating: 1/5
Elastomer Rabbit Habit Positives:
* Superior Japanese electrical components that are long-lasting and powerful
* Made of elastomer (does not contain pthalates)
* More expensive (generally around $100) than many of the cheaply made rabbit vibrators
* Beads in the shaft of the vibe can dislodge over time
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Dr. Brian Parker is a sexologist and sex educator and the creator of two sexual intimacy board games "Embrace" and "Pillow Talk". The games are available on his website, www.foreverpleasure.com which features original erotic art, high-end sensual products and adult sex education.