Great news, sex toys can absolutely be haunted by the indelible spirit of your former lovers.

Oh, absolutely. Sometimes dildos and other miscellaneous sex toys can definitely be haunted by the indelible spirit of your former lovers.

Apart from carrying microscopic physical evidence of your time with them, they can also harbor emotional residue that even a Costco-sized thing of sanitizing wipes can't remove.

So to answer your question, yes. Sex toys can carry a shit ton of emotional baggage … if you let them.

Emotional baggage is personally ascribed, meaning that sex toys don't have to carry emotional baggage unless you make it so. You can choose whether or not to associate a particular meaning with an inanimate object. More often than not, though, it's easier to ascribe meaning than to refrain from doing it. For example, if your ex gave you a particularly great dildo for Earth Day last year, it's pretty difficult to dissociate the memory of them from that dildo.

Thing is, only you know about the baggage. Unless you've word-vomited your entire autobiography onto your new partner pre-sex, it's likely they're blissfully and mercifully unaware of the things you've done with those toys. So, your decision to reuse or them should be as considerate of your own emotional needs as those of your new partner's.

Are you maintaining some sort of attachment to your old partner by continuing to reuse certain sex toys with new ones? Or is the sex toy simply a prop that bears no significance other than entertainment? These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself when considering whether or not to dump your vibrator arsenal in the trash or keeping it forever and ever and ever and ever.

However, while you consider those meaningful life questions, I'd still wholeheartedly suggest getting new toys for new lovers depending how invasive the item in question is. A good rule of thumb? The deeper it goes in you, the more often you should replace it, regardless of emo baggage.

External toys, you can reuse. Handcuffs, whips, harnesses, blindfolds … anything that doesn't penetrate a hole can be safely and considerately reused. I'd only suggest you spring for new ones in the off chance that you harbor an inexorable emotional attachment to something and it affects your experience with a new partner. For example, if you get all teary-eyed every time you tie up your new partner with the same rope you hog-tied your old partner with, it's time time to hit your local sex shop with Daddy's Amex. Great. Okay.

Internal toys, on the other hand, shouldn't be reused all that often. Two main reasons for that: sanitation and respect for your new partner.

There are a lot of really effective, inexpensive ways to keep your sex toys clean so that you don't spread your old partner's myriad body flora to your new partner. However, if you misuse those methods or slip up a few times, you can risk infecting your new partner with something your old partner had. For STIs, the transmission risk is rather low as most human-borne sex diseases can't live outside the body for very long, but it is possible to spread things like hepatitis, Chlamydia and HPV between partners if the time frame between them is short enough. Certain STIs like bacterial vaginosis or even sexually-transmitted yeast infections are very common on unclean sex toys, too.

This is especially true when it comes to anything you stick up an ass. Micro-poop is harder to remove than is ideal, and you don't want to expose a new partner to an old partner's butt juice … especially if it's on a toy that can be used vaginally and orally as well as anally.

Old sex toys should be replaced anyway however, regardless of whether or not you're using them on new partners. The surface of your sex toy should be smooth and nonporous, easy to clean and free of any cracks or signs of wear; as even tiny friction marks, spongy or textured bits and hard-to-clean areas can harbor bacteria and STIs.

But more than that, I think it's respectful to whip out a fresh toy on a fresh partner. That way, that item is uniquely yours, which makes it both more personal and intimate, as well as safer to use.

A funny caveat to this is that we don't hold other items that have been in and on past partners to the same standards.

Nobody looks at a penis and goes, "That's been in someone else, keep it away from me AAAAAAHHHHH!" Nobody makes you replace your mattress because your ex used to sleep there, or your couch because they sat there, or your mouth because you've kissed like 614 other people in your life.

Sex toys are a little different than a non-detachable penis or a mattress though. They're easier and less expensive to replace than a piece furniture or, say, a vagina that someone else has been in. So because it's within the realm of logic and possibility to replenish your supply of them when you gain a new partner, you should if you can.

More broadly though, you should always talk to your partner about reusing your old sex toys on them. You might find that when you ask them, they're fine with getting fucked by the same Rabbit vibrator your ex did, and you'll save a shit ton of money because they're graciously indifferent to the emotional and physical reminders of old fuckboys and girls. Or, you might find they're horrified by the idea, and would rather buy new toys or bring their own than have to picture your Rolodex of fuck buddies orgasming with the same instrument.

So, until you hone your skills as a sex toy exorcist and are able to banish the spirits of your past partners from your butt plugs, just get new shit. Your credit card company will think you're insane, but your partner will thank you.