By Gareth Johnson @GTVlondon
hoto © Chris Jepson

QUICK LINK: How risky is playing with sex toys

I was probably about twelve when I started shoving things up my arse.

It was a carrot. I smuggled it into the shower, smeared some soap over it, and rammed it inside me. It was fairly painful. I didn’t really enjoy it, but I felt a sense of accomplishment.

This was the dark ages before the internet. I hadn’t seen a lot of porn, I’d picked up scraps of information from books and magazines – I’d become adept at sniffing out any gay-related content, like a seagull scavenging for chips on a beach.

Throughout my teenage years I regularly raided the vegetable drawer of the fridge, gradually getting the hang of how to accommodate a variety of produce of differing dimensions.

By the time I hit college, I didn’t know much about sex but I knew that I loved jacking off while reaming myself with whatever was available at hand.

Buying myself a proper dildo was a bit of a game-changer.

A lubed-up, silicone dildo shaped like a big fat cock is a sure-fire way to take me to heaven and back.

I used to be a bit embarrassed about going into a sex shop and buying dildos. I’m not embarrassed by much any more, but there’s heaps of online ways to order if you think people are going to be judging you on your choice of dildo.

It’s not like I’ve got a huge collection of dildos – I’ve got a few. I don’t own anything ridiculously big either – there are no videos of me online sliding effortlessly down onto a dildo the size of Nelson’s Column. At least I think they’re not online.

All I need from a dildo is that it is big enough and thick enough so that it’s easy to get a grip and get to work. A solid twelve inches is plenty.

Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to know when to introduce a dildo into a relationship. Some guys can feel a bit threatened when you suggest breaking out a twelve-inch dildo to spice things up a bit.

But dildos can make things more fun – whatever stage your relationship is at. Some of the best sexual encounters I’ve ever had are thanks to a trusty dildo that suction-cup sticks to the wall. Me, fucking a guy while fucking myself on that dildo – it’s like the perfect threesome without the awkwardness once it’s all over.

I’m open to trying pretty much anything, but I don’t like double-ended dildos. Two lazy bottoms is a double-negative.

If I could go back in time and give my twelve-year-old self one piece of advice, it would be this: Don’t forget to take the courgette out of the shower with you – your mother is never going to let you forget that you tried to pass it off as a science experiment.

How risky is 
playing with sex toys?

How risky is sharing sex toys?

Dildos and buttplugs can be involved in the transmission of HIV, hepatitis A, B and C as well as other STIs, and a variety of gut infections if you share them. Anal mucus or blood from a person on sex toys could lead to infections if the same toys are then used on someone else. Using toys may cause damage to the lining of the arse. This damage can be microscopic, removing just the surface layer of the arse’s lining so it won’t necessarily be severe or cause bleeding. If your arse play is followed by unprotected fucking, this damage means there is a greater chance of HIV transmission.

How can I reduce the risk?

The easiest way to avoid the risk is not to share sex toys. You can also use a condom to cover the dildo, and change it between partners if using it on more than one person. Washing sex toys thoroughly after use, using warm soapy water or a sterilising fluid designed for baby bottles, should prevent any infection remaining on the toy. Cock toys like Fleshlites and sheaths should be cleaned between users to avoid passing on HIV or other STIs. If a guy with HIV cums inside a Fleshlite and a negative guy uses it afterwards, he could catch HIV through his foreskin, the head of his cock or his urethra (the tube you piss through). The same is true of wanking sheaths. You could also catch other STIs in this way. As with dildos, you should wash cock toys thoroughly after use, using warm soapy water or a sterilising fluid designed for baby bottles. This should prevent any infection remaining on the toy.

What else should I know?

If you’re going to improvise and create your own sex toys (and we seriously recommend that you don’t), avoid anything with sharp edges or anything that may break inside you. If your sex toy doesn’t have a base, be careful not to let it go too deep inside you, or there is a risk that it may get lost up there and you’ll have to make an embarrassing visit to the local A&E department (and no, they won’t believe you when you tell them you were doing the cleaning naked and fell over).

To get more information on how risky sex acts are, visit

To get more information on STIs such as hep A, B and C, visit