“Safe for the environment” has taken on a decidedly sexy twist these days. Makers of intimacy products are bringing earth consciousness to the pleasure principle, giving consumers a way to go “green” in their bedrooms. If you’d like to be part of this movement, the following tips – organized by product category – will get you started.
Latex condoms are by nature environmentally problematic, as they take a long time to biodegrade. While they’re hanging around, they can harm aquatic plants and animals. Nevertheless, for the sake of safe sex they’re necessary – so keep from exacerbating the problem by never, ever flushing them down the toilet.
Polyurethane condoms don’t biodegrade at all, so if you can use latex instead, do so. And “never flush” goes double for polyU condoms. Better yet, if your condom use is for contraception alone, and safer sex is not an issue in your relationship, try lambskin condoms, which are biodegradable.
It has been reported that 90% of over-the-counter lubricants contain the same chemicals used in industrial and auto products, and cause irritations and allergic reactions in users. Always check labels and look for products with natural ingredients. All-natural lubes, massage oils and moisturizing creams are usually easier on the senses as well as the planet. Try Sliquid Organics Natural Lube, Zestra for women, O’My, or products made by Good Clean Love.
Toys that smell nasty – like melting plastic – are likely made with chemicals called phthalates that harm both the environment and you. Support retailers who offer only phthalate-free products, and always avoid products containing phthalates. You can take a look at my article about the effects of phthalates.
Wood, stainless steel, and glass sex toys are more earth-friendly than plastic. Toys that have internal rechargeable power sources are greener than those that use non-rechargeable batteries. Makers of stainless steel, wood, and glass toys concentrate as much on beauty as utility. Check out products from njoy, Lelo, and Fun Factory. Also take a look at the Fling (made by NobEssence), and the Flip Hole (made by Tenga). And if you were worried, splinters are not a problem when using wooden toys because they are heavily coated with environmentally friendly varnishes.
New solar powered vibrators are hitting the market, too. Ask your toy shop about carrying these. Even BDSM accessories can be easy on the environment: try whips made out of recycled rubber and rope made of hemp.
Soy wax candles burn at very low temperatures, so you can light them or use the melted wax as massage oil. The flame of a beeswax candle burns cleanly, without expelling smoke or other irritants into the air. Beeswax comes from glands of a honeybee, and the manufacture of beeswax products makes beekeeping both financially and environmentally sustainable.
New non-synthetic fibers are even more earth friendly than cotton! Modal, from the cellulose fibers of the beech tree, is softer and smoother than the highest thread count cotton. Beech wood is a renewable resource, and it can be harvested in a sustainable manner. It is not treated with the pesticides used on cotton plants, and its processing does not require oil like that of synthetic fabrics. If you prefer more familiar products, consider organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, silk, or even soy fiber bedding.
There are various factors that you should take into account when deciding which products to buy. Locally-made is generally better than imported; the cost in pollution and fossil fuel usage from shipping long distances is exponentially higher than transportation from a few states away.
Items made with renewable resources are better for the earth than those made from chemicals, especially petroleum products. Items that are fully recyclable or biodegradable are better than those that cannot easily be recycled or are not biodegradable; so from that standpoint a wood dildo is better than a polyvinylchloride (PVC) sex toy. Items in recycled and/or recyclable packaging are better than those packed in materials that can’t be reused or recycled. A toy that arrives in a paperboard box is better than one that arrives in a plastic bubble pack container.
Items that are non-porous and easily cleaned are better than items that are porous, as they will last longer and need fewer replacements over the years. Companies that have a commitment to treading softly on the earth are better than companies lacking a corporate culture of conservation. Try to purchase from companies whose mission statement includes stewardship of the environment.