the smell is like napalm but it doesn't smell like victory

Phthalates (part 1)

by | Jul 14, 2017 | Joy of Kink | 0 comments

A version of this post was originally published on October 9, 2011.

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 massive 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]


30th anniversary

The year 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of my first sex toy purchase.  Well, that is if you don’t count a bundle of clothesline I purchased to tie up my girlfriend when I was a senior in high school – that’s a story for another time …

Back in that day, just finding the toy was an adventure that led to a poorly painted little store in a questionable part of town.  It was a seedy dive with a cheap tiled floor (complete with chipped corners.)

Dim, flickering, fluorescent lights lit the place, poorly.  I’m guessing that was better for business, not many would wish to be recognized in the store.  It was an era of ugly sex toys.

Without fail, the store was filled with an overwhelming chemical smell.Immediately upon walking into the adult store, my senses would be assaulted by a rubbery plastic smell.

The odor seemed reminiscent of old decaying plastic cling wrap from grandma’s closet.  The 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.  The nausea wasn’t caused by the dim flickering lights.

my first 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 for 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.


can’t you smell that smell

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 the 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 potential dangers of phthalates, it was a great decision.

protect yourself

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 the writers of “Apocalypse Now” and “The Graduate” as well as Robert Duvall and Dustin Hoffman- the original sources of the reworked “quotes” that began and concluded this post)

This was originally published on October 9th, 2011 – at It was published under a different title – the smell is like napalm but it doesn’t smell like victory – Phthalates pt. 1. This post has been extensively edited for content and style here, at 

Joy of Kink Phthalates (part 1)
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