Why Does My Silicone Sex Toy Feel Rough?

Why Does My Silicone Sex Toy Feel Rough?

Rose MacDowell

So, you've ordered a new silicone sex toy and are super excited to try it. You've read that the material is smooth and velvety, but when it comes to time to use it, different words come to mind. Gritty. Rough. A bit harsh on your nether regions.

What's happening? How can a sex toy that should glide like a dream feel like it pulls on your sensitive bits? Join me as I investigate. 

What is Silicone?

Silicone is a non-porous, man-made material made from the natural element silicon. Silicone sex toys, cooking implements, and other products are considered "body safe." What does this mean? While there's no FDA-approved definition for this term, it generally means that it doesn't absorb pathogens like bacteria and is free from:

  • Toxic plasticizers like phthalates
  • Heavy metals and other impurities
  • Toxic coloring agents
  • Chemicals that may leach into the bloodstream through the skin or mucous membranes

Learn more: What is Body-Safe Silicone?

Silicone is the most popular and widely used sex toy material in the world. It's used to make everything from vibrators to dildos to penis strokers to mouth gags, and is durable and easy to care for.

Silicone also has a smooth surface that makes it perfect for penetrative toys. At least it's supposed to, right? So why do some silicone toys have a faintly gritty surface? Is there anything you can do to make a gritty toy feel smoother and more comfortable?

Why Some Silicone Sex Toys Feel Rough

Different silicone toys have different finishes. The finish describes how the surface of the toy looks and feels to the touch. Some toys are polished with chemicals or other processes that make them slick and ultra-smooth. This can also give the surface a shiny and reflective look. 

Other silicone toys don't undergo this polishing process or are only briefly polished, resulting in a matte surface. A matte surface can have less glide and more "drag," meaning that it catches a bit more on the skin during penetration.

A matte surface can also feel more textured, or grainy. This can be from silicone residue or "dust" left over after the manufacturing process, and is not harmful. But for this reason and to make sure your toy is ready to use, it's always best to wash a toy after unboxing it. 

Learn more: How to Clean Sex Toys

Some silicone toys have a slight grainy texture even after washing. These toys are typically hand-finished, without the use of chemical polishers. Though many of these toys are well-made and of high quality, they may feel a bit rougher during penetration than silicone toys that have been polished.  

How to Use a Matte Silicone Sex Toy

If your sex toy feels a bit rougher or grittier than you expected, is there anything you can do? Yes, there is! But first, let's talk about what you can't do.

Silicone should never be:

  • Filed down
  • Scrubbed with an abrasive sponge
  • Cleaned with cleanser 
  • Held over an open flame or other heat source that could cause melting

So what can you do? If you want to help your silicone toy glide more easily, the best solution is plenty of lube! Avoid silicone lube, which can damage silicone material.

The best lubes to use with silicone toys are:

  • Water-based
  • Hybrid, which is a water-based lube with a bit of silicone to help keep it from drying out (this small amount of silicone is safe for silicone toys)
  • Oil-based. You can use either an oil-based lube or an oil you have on hand, such as coconut, almond, or olive

Need help picking a lube? Check out How to Choose a Lube

    Apply lube to both the toy and to your body and reapply often. Don't forget to wash the toy after use and remove all traces of lube to keep the toy clean and hygienic. 

    Finally, using your toy can help it feel smoother over time. Always add lube, allow your body to get used to the material, and you may find that the texture improves over time.