Glass sex toys: From temperature play to safety, here's everything you need to know

From the widely lauded Satisyer Pro 2 to the humble butt plug, sex toys can be a fantastic way to spice up your sex life. You don't have to be freaky-deaky to have fun with them: anyone can incorporate a toy or two into their routine to add a lot of excitement with minimal effort. There truly is a toy for every taste. 

One subset steadily gaining traction among New Zealand's legion of sex toy lovers are those of the glass variety. For the uninitiated, glass toys may sound a little scary at first - if you've ever dropped a glass, you may fear that such a toy may not be compatible with rough and tumble in the boudoir. However, these toys are not only safe for under-the-sheet shenanigans, but they can be both heated and cooled, making them the perfect conduits for temperature play. 

A brief disclaimer: if you are easily offended by sex or you think talking about sex is taboo, perhaps click out of this article. We will be discussing sex, sex toys and temperature play - if you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen, so to speak. You have been warned.

Sales of glass sex toys in New Zealand have skyrocketed since 2020, increasing by 47.6 percent, Taslim Parsons, the business and product development manager at Wellington-based Wholesale Solutions, told Newshub. Currently, New Zealand's sex toy market is worth approximately $30 million per year.

This increase in demand encouraged Wholesale Solutions, Australasia's largest distributor of adult products, to launch a subsidiary of its sexual wellness brand, Share Satisfaction, which specialises in glass and crystal toys. Lucent was born.

While international companies have been selling glass sex toys at local retailers for some time, Lucent marks the first range of glass and crystal toys created by a 100 percent New Zealand-owned-and-operated brand. The collection, which was officially launched earlier this month, spans 30 gender-neutral toys made from super strong borosilicate glass - and unlike some sex toys, these are truly beautiful to behold. Once the toy has scratched your itch, it could basically be repurposed as abstract art for your mantlepiece.

Speaking to Newshub on the back of Lucent's launch, Parsons noted that COVID-19 lockdowns have been largely responsible for the increased interest in sex toys. With physical distancing and stay-at-home orders in place, lockdowns left lonely hearts bereft of late-night rendezvous, with app enthusiasts waving goodbye to Tinder trysts, Hinge hook-ups and Bumble bonks. Hence, singletons and couples sundered by separate households looked for new ways to self-pleasure. 

"More people are trying sex toys than ever before and lockdowns had a lot to do with that. People were at home with more time on their hands and were open to trying something new," Parsons said.

"While sex toy beginners don't tend to start with glass toys, people who are a little bit further along in their sex toy journey actively seek out and experiment with different toys."

There are also several other factors at play that make glass an appealing option for toy enthusiasts. As well as their ability to be both heated and cooled for sexy experimentation, the firmness and rigidity of glass toys make them ideal for internal massage.

"Glass toys can also last a lifetime if you look after them, making them an attractive choice for people who are looking for a more sustainable option," Parsons added.

For those who have reservations around the safety of glass sex toys, Parsons reassured Newshub that the toys are built to withstand the test of time.

"Rest assured that these toys are not made of any old glass. They're made of strengthened borosilicate glass that is incredibly strong and made specifically not to shatter. This is the same type of glass that cookware is made from, such as the measuring jug you've had for 20 years and has never broken," Parsons explained.

"If you're using a toy made from borosilicate glass, you needn't worry about them breaking in your body. Borosilicate glass sex toys are designed to last. In fact, with a little care they can last forever. They're also non-porous and hypoallergenic, which means they're body-safe, easy to clean, can be completely sterilised and are safe to use with any type of lubricant."

However, the toys are not tardigrades (the most 'indestructible' animal on Earth that can survive up to 30 years without food, live in volcanoes, and endure the vacuum of space. The more you know). Although it's unlikely, the toys can get chipped and in that instance, they're no longer safe to use. The chips could harbour bacteria, or scratch - in a very non-pleasurable way. 

To ensure people are playing safely, Parsons urges everyone to make sure their toys are clean and sterile before use. You can clean the toy with hot, soapy water or pop it in the dishwasher - although perhaps avoid this option if you're still living with your parents.

Of course, lots of lubricant is always essential - as the glass is non-porous, the toys can be paired with any type of lube that takes your fancy. 

And although it may sound obvious to seasoned sex toy pros, you shouldn't really be sticking anything without a flared base into a bodily orifice. Let's just say NSFW could end in A&E very quickly. 

Safety is also paramount when it comes to temperature play, one of the key selling points of glass toys. Sex toys made with glass are ideal for this as they retain both heat and the cold.

In a nutshell, temperature play is the experimentation with hot and cold temperatures to stimulate the body. It's an intimate and sensory experience that can increase sensitivity and offer a plethora of sensations that differ from vibrating or pulsating toys.

"Introducing something hot or cold can 'shock' the senses and increase sensitivity. The temperature variation stimulates your neuroreceptors, which creates a ripple of sensation through your body," Parsons explained. 

"Just make sure to test out the temperature first to ensure it's not going to burn the skin. The inside of the elbow is a sensitive spot that will give you a good indication of whether it's too hot to be used. We want to stimulate our senses, not burn ourselves."

To experiment with warm temperatures, Parsons recommends placing the toy in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes prior to play.

"Warm temperatures are more relaxing. They can be great for stimulating blood flow and warming up the body," she said. 

Alternatively, pop the toy in the fridge beforehand to cool it down. Cold temperatures awaken the body and provide an immediate rush or 'shock factor'.

"It's all about experimenting and finding out for yourself what feels good for you. I'd recommend having a mug of warm water and a glass of iced water next to your bed and alternating between the two."

Lucent is the first range of glass sex toys to be introduced by a New Zealand-owned-and-operated brand.
Lucent is the first range of glass sex toys to be introduced by a New Zealand-owned-and-operated brand. Photo credit: Supplied

Of course, communication and consent are crucial with any kind of experimentation or sexual act. Make sure you're setting boundaries beforehand and checking in with your partner to ensure they're not experiencing any discomfort.

And importantly, just because you're in a relationship or have sex with someone does not mean they are automatically interested in adding sex toys to the equation. Anything to do with sex should always be discussed beforehand and mutually agreed upon. 

However, if all parties involved are curious and have considered dipping their toes in the water, let's put it this way: vanilla is all well and good, but if you can add some sauce, why not?