This past Friday we kicked off the second season of Sex Out Loud with an amazing guest, Metis Black from Tantus Inc. We had so many questions from listeners that she didn’t have time to answer them all on the air, so she graciously wrote them up for us afterwards.
Q: Who makes the silicone toys that are the very healthiest for people to use?
I like to think Tantus does. There are only a few raw silicone manufacturers and for some reason they have all come to get Tantus’ business from time to time telling us who else they sell to- so I’m pretty much in the know about who uses what. But Tantus actually doesn’t buy off the shelf silicone- we actually do have a unique formula . If a company wants our business, they have to meet our standards. Not all of them are able to. When I saw we are the largest silicone toy maker that information comes directly from the raw material companies. We buy more RTV silicone than anyone else in North America including Fleetwood RV or Fisher Price. I was actually stunned by this news.
Q: Silicone toys are expensive compared to other types of toys. Is it very costly to make them? What is the manufacturing process? How much does the material cost, and what factors go into the pricing?
First off silicone raw materials are at least triple the cost of RTV or Latex. Then as any manufacturing business, you need to account for overhead (the building, electricity, and most of all labor). If you choose to manufacture in the USA rather than say China or other third world manufacturing facilities, the labor expense is included in the pricing. Tantus also gives our employees health benefits…. that goes in there too.
Q: When did silicone sex toys first enter the market?
Thank you for asking this because I love to share this information. Gosnell Duncan created the first silicone dildos in 1971 for the disabled community. He went on to create the company Scorpio who took it to Eve’s Garden, the first feminist sex toy store in the world. I first heard about Mr. Duncan from Susie Bright who was the manager for Good Vibrations at the time. GV was a tiny hole in the wall store with books and 3 vibrators (ok I don’t think that number is really accurate), but Susie saw dildos and she instantly recognized that this was something she wanted for the store.
Q: What prompted you to explore aluminum as a material (the Alumina line)?
You know I am a sex toy slut. I love toys and I have an amazing collection of some of the most original amazing designs. One of my favorite designers is Ray Cirino who made Inner Space Toys. He was the designer of all the toys in the Penthouse centerfolds. He specialized in hard acrylic toys but he also made several into metal toys, and I own a few of them. I love playing with hard toys like these and so we created Alumina.
Q: My packer, which I wear outside my body all day every day, is made of silicone. I notice that sometimes it leaves a little bit of a greasy stain sometimes. Why is that? Is it normal? Can it hurt me?
That oil is Dimethicone. It is silicone and won’t hurt you at all. Dimethicone is used to soften the silicone. You’ll find it in every silicone lubricant. Beautifully body safe.
Q: I use a cyberskin packer and clean it with soap most every day but also boil it once a month. My friend said this isn’t a good idea. Is it ok? Will it destroy it?
Cyberskin is a SEBS material and won’t stand the temperature of boiling. If you’ve been able to boil it once… than it shouldn’t have any difficulty being boiled again but I’ve yet to see a super soft material that was boilable and wasn’t silicone and I’ve been looking hard. Santiprene is boilable (it’s the soft material on toothbrushes) but it’s still too hard for most sex toys.
Q: Are there any sex toys you have a dream of creating but cannot physically manufacture? Are there limitations?
Well, there used to be. And I still can’t manufacture all the toys of my dreams in my facility, but there is technology now that allows companies to make just about anything out of silicone- being able to afford the R&D, now that can be a problem. Most toys made that are intricate have a molding expense that is pretty prohibitive of making small changes to. It’s hard to proof your toys and make certain they play to your specifications, before bringing them to market- but we’re still evolving.
You can find Tantus toys at Good Vibrations, and if you use code “TRISTANGOODVIBES”, you’ll get $20 off any purchase of $100 or more!