Sunday, October 9, 2011

the smell is like napalm but it doesn't smell like victory - Phthalates pt. 1

A PSA (Public Sexual Announcement) by Michael Samadhi . . .
Master: Smell that? You smell that?
slave: What?
Master: Phthalates, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.
Master: I love the smell of phthalates in the morning. You know, one time we had a a scene for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked around. We didn't lose one of 'em, not one stinkin' toy or length of rope. And the smell, you know that plastic smell, the whole scene . . . Smelled like
[sniffing, pondering]
Master: victory. Someday this scene's gonna end...
[suddenly walks off]
If you don't count a bundle of clothesline I purchased to tie up my girlfriend when I was a senior in high school, I believe the year 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of my first sex toy purchase. Back in that day, just finding the toy was an adventure that usually led to a seedy dive invariably filled with an overwhelming chemical smell.  

Immediately upon walking into the place, my senses would be assaulted by a rubbery plastic smell that seemed reminiscent of old plastic cling wrap.  The store's atmosphere always seemed to leave me a little bit nauseous, and significantly short of breath, on the verge of an asthma attack, despite the fact that I'd mostly outgrown my asthma symptoms.   

I'm quite sure the shortness of breath was not caused by excitement, most of the offerings seemed a little repulsive at that time.

Despite all that, I do remember my first time well, quickly purchasing a modest vibrator made of a fairly pliable plastic.  And, I'll never forget the relief my lungs felt upon gasping a few chest-fulls of fresh air upon my exit.  I can also remember that same plastic smell permeating the bedroom when I went to show my ex-wife the purchase.

At the time, I assumed that the toy's cheap cardboard packaging had somehow absorbed the terrible plastic odor from the store.  With the power of hindsight, I'm quite positive the god-awful stench inside the store was actually stink from the dozens of fake cocks and plastic vibrators that lined the shelves.

I'm now convinced that the stink I associated with those cheap plastic toys was the odor of some variety of a family of chemicals known as phthalates.

You need to know that phthalates (pronounced Th-allates) are in the news these days, and it's not good news.  Phthalates are being phased out of many products in the United States, Canada, and European Union because of some pretty serious health concerns.  It's my understanding that Phthalates can potentially cause damage to the liver, lungs, kidneys, testes and can likely cause hormonal disruptions too. 

Phthalates are a whole family of chemicals used primarily as plasticizers.  They are added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, and even durability. For instance, phthalates are often used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

In retrospect, it's pretty obvious to me why a soft flexible sex toy and ancient cling wrap might smell alike.  The same chemicals were probably used to make them both flexible and silky smooth to touch.  It turns out that my lungs knew the dirty little secret of phthalates long before I was ever consciously aware of any problem with the chemical.

When we found several rolls of smelly old cling wrap at Grandma's house after she passed away, we didn't want the smell near our food, or even in our kitchen, so we threw it all away.  Knowing what I now know about the dangers of phthalates, it was a great decision.

If you have sex toys made of soft plastic or any jelly like substance, if you have toys that are more than just a few years old, you may consider throwing them all away too.  At the very least, if you can't bring yourself to give old toys to the garbage bin, use a condom (latex condoms do NOT contain phthalates) when playing.
Master: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
slave: Yes, Sir.
Master: Are you listening?
slave: Yes, I am.
Master: Phthalates.
(apologies to Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman and the writers of "Apocalypse Now" and "The Graduate" - the original sources of the reworked "quotes" that began and concluded this post)

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