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We all know that throwing gasoline on a fire comes with a consequence – a burst of flames. This is true of any oily liquid such as lighter fluid, or even mineral oil. This may seem intuitive, but there is a reason behind it – these types of liquids can act as fuel for a fire. In addition, they also tend to get explode-y and fire-ish if they start to boil. In contrast, thick waxes and other carbon polymers, like rubbers (thermoplastic rubber, natural rubber, or latex) can act as fuel for a fire, but aren’t going to boil so will smolder and burn like a chunk of coal or a piece of wood.

Why am I telling you this?

Many companies are offering silicone-thermoplastic rubber (TPR) hybrids in their toys, to varying claims of added safety above and beyond simple plastic based rubbers. It’s a little questionable what “safety” the inclusion of silicone in a composite mixture provides; some silicone-free rubbers and elastomers (such as those used in the Rabbit Habit, Iconic Ring, or Better Than Chocolate) are top quality and arguably all but non-porous. Some TPR-Silicone hydrids make for a lovely texture (smooth like silicone, yet stretchy bendy like elastomer), but most I have encountered are lacking, and sometimes, sadly, toys that aren’t actually silicone get labeled as silicone due to the tricky inclusion of the work in the name. How, pray tell, is a consumer to know?

Well aside from buying from a store that carefully notes which toys are made of pure silicone, there’s a simple test to find out – silicone-rubber composites burn, some remarkably well. Pure silicone polymers require a very hot fire to burn – 360C and above – and just aren’t going to budge in normal fires, but composites will melt easily and readily. This is because silicone is expensive, so most TPR-Silicone blends are more rubber than silicone and will burn readily as a result.

It’s important – of course – to know if a toy is pure silicone because pure silicone is non-porous (like metal) so it can be effectively sanitized (by boiling, for example) after anal play or before being shared with a partner. This is why silicone excels as a sex toy material – silicone toys can multitask. More importantly, however, silicone toys can last a lifetime – think them as investments. So if you have a toy whose material you are doubting, for whatever reason, do a little flame test in a hidden spot. A silicone toy won’t even bat an eye.

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