Here’s the thing about getting creative in the bedroom: It doesn’t always stay there. Sometimes, getting too kinky between the sheets can result in harm, injury or, worst of all, a trip to the emergency room (not to mention the embarrassment factor). From the number one reason you should never use a lightbulb as a sex toy (yes, a lightbulb) to the most unusual thing an ER doctor has ever had to extract from a patient, here are eight household items that should stay just that. Remember: Just because it can be turned into something sexual doesn’t mean that it should be.
1. Squash (and Other Produce)
Bananas, cucumbers and eggplants may be the produce most infamously linked to awkward sex accidents, but New Jersey-based Riverview Medical Center emergency room doctor Andrew Youssouf, M.D., once had to remove a squash from a patient. “While using something that’s biodegradable may seem to make sense, it’s just a bad idea,” Dr. Youssouf notes. “Over time it will degrade and literally rot inside of your body, which makes for a breeding ground for bacteria. Also, using a soft object for penetration — particularly food — doesn’t make for easy removal, as it can break apart and complicate things.” In other words, it is no coincidence that most sex toys are made from silicone.
Up next: This creative use for plastic wrap is not encouraged.
2. Plastic Bags and Saran Wrap
Word to the wise: When you don’t have a condom handy, don’t improvise by, say, creating a makeshift condom out of a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap. “Not only can plastic wrap or bags rip or become displaced during sex, the pores are too big to prevent pregnancy or STDs,” says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., a gynecologist and author of “The Complete A to Z for Your V.” In the heat of the moment, it may be tempting to reach for whatever is floating around in your pantry, but it’s just not worth it.
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Hold the mustard. Donnica Moore, M.D., a gynecologist and president of Sapphire Women’s Health Group, once had to extract a frankfurter from a patient’s vagina. “I don’t know if she developed an infection subsequently,” Dr. Moore reveals, stating that it was not the only time she's had to extract an interesting object from a woman. “Other times when women have infections or injuries as a result of inserting unusual objects, they usually say they’re unsure of how it happened.” Dr. Moore advises women to tell their gynecologist the whole truth, but if they’re too embarrassed to disclose all the dirty details, they should still see their doctor. Also, if you’re going to insert an object — any object — into an orifice, Dr. Moore recommends giving it a good scrubbing first. “My best advice is to remember to wash anything thoroughly that you use before and after sex play, and only use items which were designed for that purpose.”
Up next: One word: ouch!
Even though inserting something that’s glass and easily breakable into the vagina seems like a recipe for disaster, it isn’t unheard of. “I’ve taken a few brave women to the operating room to repair lacerations,” Dr. Dweck says. “Using glass isn’t a good idea — the vagina is a vascular place.” Given how delicate lightbulbs (and vaginas) are, removing one is no small feat. Mere pulling won’t necessarily suffice because there’s a good chance the lightbulb will shatter, so a bladder catheter may be required to blow air into the vagina, or an episiotomy may need to be performed.
Up next: This makeshift lube might not be such a good idea.
5. Petroleum Jelly
For women experiencing vaginal dryness, personal lubricants can be a great option. But when you’re looking to make things run more smoothly, it’s best to stick to the real thing, as random under-the-bathroom-sink products — such as lotions, body oils, and petroleum jelly — aren’t worth it in the long run. Using a makeshift lube will often result in irritation, discomfort or infection. And most important: It can compromise the integrity of condoms. “The number one reason not to use Vaseline as a personal lubricant is that it can break down latex for polyurethane condoms,” says Dr. Moore. “Additionally, you can increase the risk of vaginal infections, including yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, not to mention, it will stain your sheets!” Some women think using a DIY lube that’s more organic — such as coconut oil — is a better option, but keep in mind that, in addition to it increasing the chance of getting bacterial vaginosis, there’s limited data on the safety of using such household products as lubricants.
Up next: Just no.
6. Wooden Spoons
They’re long, they’re smooth, they can never be sterilized. So, yes, wooden spoons should stay safely tucked in the kitchen drawer next to the salad tongs. “Wood is a porous material, which means it can’t be disinfected, so it allows for infection,” notes Dr. Dweck. “Also, think about a vagina splinter — ouch!” If you’re looking to add something large and in charge to your bedroom repertoire, your best bet is to leave it to the experts. “In general, I’m not opposed to people using items that give them actual pleasure. But keep in mind that the sex-toy industry has addressed basically everyone’s needs using medical-grade silicone and smooth surfaces,” says Dr. Moore. “So why risk unnecessary injury from items that were not designed to be put inside you?”
Up next: This childhood toy should stay just that.
What people do with their Barbies is their own business, but if you’re going to stick one up your lady (or gent) parts, know this: There’s a good chance it’s not going to stay your business. Dr. Youssouf, who’s extracted everything from a glass eye to a cellphone to a (losing) lottery ticket, also had to remove a Barbie doll from a patient’s vagina — and, unfortunately, it didn’t end well. “The Barbie had been inserted head-first, and when I was retracting it, the arms pushed out to the sides, making it impossible to remove,” he says. “Unfortunately, the patient had to go to the operating room.” If you’re going to insert something into an orifice that’s not a designated sex toy, Dr. Youssouf recommends avoiding anything with appendages that can move and easily get stuck.
Up next: Avoid this sports staple at all costs.
8. Tennis Balls
Believe it or not, a Barbie doll isn’t the most unusual object Dr. Youssouf had to extract from a patient in the ER — he once removed a tennis ball from someone’s anal passage. “The patient was complaining of severe lower abdominal pain, so I performed a rectal exam. Unfortunately, the ball had migrated too far up and out of my reach — and he wasn’t giving me any information,” Dr. Youssouf says. “Since he was a teen, I performed an X-ray instead of doing a CT scan, but the problem was: Tennis balls are radiolucent and don’t show up on X-rays.” Eventually, Dr. Youssouf was able to get to the, er, bottom of things — but he advises against bringing balls into the bedroom. “It’s best to avoid putting anything round up there,” he says. “Once you lose a grip, it can get sucked up and be very hard to get a handle on, which may necessitate a trip to the operating room.”
What Do YOU Think?
Have you ever turned a household item into a sex toy? What’s the craziest DIY sex toy story you’ve ever heard? Have you ever gotten a “sex injury”? Which one of these objects is most surprising to you? Let us know in the comments section!
Nicole Fabian-Weber is a writer living outside of New York City with her husband and children. She loves home design, yoga, and apparently clichés.