I talk shop with an innovator in the silicone sex toy biz, Scott Douglas of SquarePegToys! I love quality toys, and I deeply respect SquarePeg’s history (more on it in part 1 of the interview!), so I’m stoked to bring you this more technical—and reflective—portion of my Q&A with Scott.
The real deal: SquarePegToys was an indie sex toy manufacturer before that was a thing, before everybody and their friend was starting an Etsy shop. Handmade, produced 100% in the United States, only high-quality platinum silicone—that’s SquarePeg’s trademark. Making SquarePegToys one of the very first ethical retailers for safe silicone sex toys: Since 1997, almost 25 years now! And did I mention SquarePegToys was the first company to make truly soft silicone sex toys, with SuperSoft Bronze (and then SuperSoft Graphite & Chestnut)?
Truly landmark. Squishily spectacular. Can you tell I’m a fan girl? (Egg Plugs for the win!) So let me hand the mike over to Scott…and his thoughts, from soft silicone advances to “the evolution of acceptance of anal play.”
Phallophile Reviews (PR): You’re committed to using only 100% platinum-grade silicone1, sourced in the United States, for SquarePegToys®.
How did you discover silicone as the best toy material for your purposes?
Scott of SquarePegToys® (Scott): Back in ’95 when I began playing around with the idea of making my own toys, I knew I wanted something safe.
All the big toys I could get were made from vinyl and they burned, broke down and smelled awful.
But there was a US manufacturer of toys primarily for women that used silicone, so I knew there was a way to do it. That company is Vixen, and they remain today one of the few of us who do all our sourcing and manufacture in the US.
PR: Was it hard sourcing good-quality silicone at the beginning? And is soft platinum silicone more readily available now than, say, 10 years ago?
Scott: Not that I ever experienced, silicones have been in wide use across various industries since the ’60s.
I believe it’s the growth of the special effects industry that we can thank the advances in “SuperSoft” silicones for, so that’s been a more recent innovation.
PR: Right, for soft silicone masks that are still safe to wear on the skin for hours during filming! That’s a great point. I was recently reading about Gosnell Duncan—called the first silicone dildo maker—and how, in the early 1970s, a chemist from General Electric had clued him into silicone as the best material for sexual contact, safer than other rubbers.
So please tell me more about the safety of super-soft (like your SuperSoft Bronze, Graphite, and Chestnut) silicones. How durable are they in the long-term, vs. a firm silicone product?
Scott: From a materials standpoint? Well, right off the top, it can be said that in general, the softer a material is, the more susceptible to damage it’s going to be. Think of metal, leather, plastic: the softer ones are more susceptible.
But often the desired property of the softness outweighs the added vulnerabilities. In the case of silicones, these sources of damage would be mostly tearing, abrasion, and deformation.
So with this, I could say that a firmer silicone is likely going to endure use and store better over the long haul, that being in terms of years.
But I have SuperSoft toys of my own that I’ve had and used for over 10 years now with no issue. I do have a few that I stored with a bend for over a year, and the bend became permanent.
Tearing is easy to prevent, as it doesn’t happen on its own. As long as the surface remains solid, there is no place for a tear to begin propagating, so anything that cuts needs to be avoided.
Abrasion in use is virtually non-existent with lube present. The only way to get abrasive damage would be in a dishwasher, which is notoriously good at roughing up fine china and crystal, so it’s something I caution against.
PR: I’m such a fan of how complete your Q&A and information section is on SquarePegToys.com—like I recently discovered the page on removing butt odors from silicone and I was like “What? Acetone? And enzymatic pet cleaner? Why has no one ever told me this before?!”
I get this mad-scientist image of you while leaving out the butt plug samples all over and analyzing the different cleaners.
Are a lot of your new toy creations like that, with so much experimentation?
Scott: A lot of times I’ll have to go through 5, 6… 8 iterations of something to get it to work right, so I’ll have all of those lying around while I’m working through the creative process.
But yeah, the odor removal test, that was a real conundrum trying to figure that out, but what a funny image now thinking of all those different odor removal tests in their little baggies going on at once in my bathroom!
I recall thinking I hoped I didn’t get hit by a bus and that was what my sister had to see, not knowing I was actually testing and not just displaying them in some odd way. (laughing)
I mean, it looked like I was off my rocker.
PR: That’s amazing. I probably need a toy disposal plan like in my will, I’ve got too many lying around in odd places!
With so many SquarePegToys, do you have a favorite one you’ve made (or a short list of favorites), or is that something like choosing which child you have to sacrifice??
Scott: Oh yeah, I have too many favorites to count, but I think in the long run that’s what motivates me to keep producing so many different shapes.
PR: I appreciate a good non-committal answer! Why should you have to choose?!
Moving on, occasionally get this question from readers who’ve invested in a platinum silicone toy with Vac-U-Lock style hole: Is it safe to use a PVC Vac plug (so it’ll fit in a Vac harness/have a suction base) against the toy’s silicone?
What would be your recommendation for people who do want to use your toys with SquarePegHoles in a harness?
Scott: So it’s the plasticizers in vinyl that pose a danger to silicone, and generally, the harder the PVC, the less plasticizer present. I have used those PVC plug adapters myself, and not had any issues. Just remove the adapter after play and store it in a separate place.
PR: Very good, thank you.
Last, I want to make a generalization here that anal toys are becoming more mainstream “acceptable” in the US over time—because I truly hope this is the case, even if the progress is slow in more conservative areas.
Agree, disagree, or just don’t care because you’re too busy making amazing butt toys?
Scott: I totally agree. In retrospect, it’s been fascinating having a front-row seat, as it were, to the evolution of acceptance of anal play. Even in the gay community in the ’90s and early 2000s, those into ass play more than just for intercourse were considered to be “unhealthy” and were looked down upon by their peers.
In the heterosexual community, mainly for men, the shame around anal play has begun to fade only in the past 5 years or so. I’ve always had as a core part of my fan base those men who identify as straight but intensely enjoyed ass play. They were doing this most always in secret, and I’d like to think I helped a lot of them by providing a safe place to get information that was presented in a matter of fact way without hyper-sexualization.
There are different reasons why someone might come to ass play, and once there, our individual psyche/physiology/history make it uniquely our own experience. It might not even be sexual. And men, women and trans are all culturally evolving on their own timetable.
Like for straight men, once heterosexual culture started having the discussion that a sexual act and physical attraction were 2 individual things, that one did not prescribe or preclude the other, that’s when I saw the women in their lives begin to embrace it more as simply something fun to please their partners. You can just look at the sudden uptick in pegging over the past few years to see the manifestation of this.
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Felicity/Phallophile concludes: I’m so grateful to Scott for taking the time to talk to me, then email back & forth with all my questions! I deeply respect his toy-making innovations, desire to spread knowledge about quality sex toys (and how to use them), and general kindness toward toy enthusiasts.
SquarePegToys are never discounted because Scott is committed to selling at the lowest fair price everyday, while offering his employees fair compensation in the United States. SquarePeg silicone is all handmade, and US-sourced platinum-grade. It’s legit! 💗
Please visit squarepegtoys.com to explore it all, or see Peepshow Toys’ best-selling SquarePeg collection.