Men using vibrators

Dear Alice,

I would wish to know about the health implications of men using vibrators. I seem to have developed a fungus/mold. I would like to know more before a health check, approaching in complete ignorance. Thank you.

— Moldy

Dear Moldy,

If you keep your vibrator clean, you won't catch any diseases from it. However, if you don't clean your vibrator between uses, it can be a growth medium for fungus or bacteria. Consumer products are available to clean vibrators and dildos, but all you really need is simple soap and hot water. With porous materials, such as silicone or latex rubber, you can add a little bleach to the soap and water mixture. For optimal hygiene, silicone rubber dildos can be placed in boiling water for up to eight minutes. Latex rubber dildos cannot be submerged in boiling water because they will melt, but you can use hot water. Since a vibrator is battery or electronically operated, do not submerge it totally in water.

The best guarantee of cleanliness is to use a condom on the vibrator or dildo. It's your safest bet and it's easy. Also, using a condom on the vibrator is helpful if you're with a partner and you're going to move from one partner to another. You won't have to get up in between to clean the vibrator -- you would only have to change the condom. If a vibrator is used anally without a condom, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned before being used vaginally.

If you believe you have contracted an infection (bacteria, mold, etc.) a visit to your health care provider is a good idea.  S/he can evaluate the situation and help you find the best solution. Overall there are no different risks for men than for women; just keep it clean between uses and you should be fine.

Last updated Apr 10, 2015
Originally published Oct 27, 1995

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