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April 22, 2011

A Green Guide to Sex

DominaDoll of PopMyCherryReview.com has declared April to be 'Green Sex Toy Month'. The goal of the campaign is to build awareness about body-safe and environmentally friendly adult products. She's giving away 1 "green" sex toy or adult sexuality product, EVERY DAY this month so check out her site for more info.

(Also, this month Babeland is raising money for Grist, the non-profit environmental news site. They will be donating 10% of all eco-toy sales in April.)

So today, in honor of Earth Day, we're going to go over some ways you can have more eco-friendly sex!

The big issue with sex toys is what they're made of and the damage certain materials can do to the environment and your health. Pliable "jelly" toys are made from PVC plastics and contain phthalates, which are a family of chemicals used to soften plastics and have been potentially linked to hormonal disruption, damage to the reproductive system and even cancer.
So soft jelly rubber dildos might not be your safest choice. (Those of you who already own sex toys that have phthalates in them... if you still don't want to part with them, it's recommended that you use a condom with them at all times).

Here are a few options of sex toys made from phthalate-free materials you might want to choose instead:
  • Silicone
It feels a lot like other less-safe rubbers, but with less of the icky side effects. Silicone toys are non-porous, hypoallergenic and don't off-gas, yet can still usually be safely disinfected by boiling or using the dishwasher. (Please check the labels on specific toys first!) Silicone also warms to the body and retains heat, but you cannot use silicone lubes with silicone toys, as it can melt the silicone toy.

One of the bad things about silicone is that it isn't biodegradable, but it is recyclable... Check out SexToyRecycling.com for more information. You can also trade in your old "rabbit" - and get a new one at half-price - through Love Honey's Rabbit Amnesty program.

  • Elastomer
Phhthalate-free and latex-free, Elastomer is hypoallergenic, tasteless, odorless... and extremely durable. However some forms of elastomer are slightly porous and therefore cannot be disinfected.


  • Glass
Medical-grade and laboratory-quality Pyrex glass is safe to use without fear of breaking or shattering. (If you do notice a crack in your glass toy, stop using it!) Glass toys can be boiled safely for disinfection and are both eco-friendly and body-safe.

  • Metal
Stainless steel toys are body-safe and extremely durable. They are easily more durable and eco-friendly than any kind of plastic toy.

  • Wood
Safe, non-toxic wooden toys - made from sustainably harvested or salvaged/recycled wood that only comes from renewable sources (i.e., no rainforest wood) - are very durable and greener than using plastic. Coated with food-grade or surgical-grade varnishes.


  • Other "Natural" Materials
You can also make your own "green" sex toys using typical household products. Check out homemade-sex-toys.com for some interesting suggestions.


Batteries

Let's not forget what keeps those vibrators running! However normal batteries can come with potential hazards and problems. They contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel which can contaminate the environment when batteries are improperly disposed of.
  • Electric Vibrators
Electrically-powered vibrators are energy efficient and keep disposable batteries out of landfills! (Be sure to unplug toys when you're not using them to conserve energy.)

  • Rechargeable Vibrators
Save money and keep batteries out of landfills with a rechargeable vibrator... without the hassle of a cord. They have the powerful vibrations of traditional electric vibrators but are completely cord-free.

  • Solar-powered Vibrators
For the ultimate in energy conservation, solar-powered vibrators are charged by exposure to sunshine.


Lubricants and Lotions


Materials that you should avoid when shopping for lubes, massage oils and apparel are petroleum and petroleum-derivatives. Chemical preservatives, like parabens, have been linked to some cancers and other health issues.

Lubricants like Babelube Natural and Sliquid Organics are free from chemical preservatives and are less likely to irritate sensitive skin. There are also natural Lickable Body Oils and Massage Candles. Many of these products are also Vegan and/or Cruelty-Free.

Certain natural ingredients have been known to have positive benefits, such as green tea which can be an anti-inflammatory, aloe which is moisturizing and soothing, and carrageenan, which has been linked to preventing HPV transmission.


Condoms

We bet you didn't realize that there was such a thing as vegan condoms (or maybe you thought all latex condoms were vegan?) Lambskin condoms obviously contain animal-derived ingredients, but did you know that even latex condoms sometimes use animal-derived ingredients in the manufacturing process (e.g., milk or milk derivatives)? Other condom companies test their products on animals. Some "vegan-friendly" and "cruelty-free" condoms include Glyde condoms and Europe's Condomi.

It's not completely clear yet whether latex condoms are fully biodegradable. Polyurethane condoms are not. Lambskin condoms are, but are only effective against pregnancy, not STDs (and obviously are not animal-free.)


Bedding and Apparel

Bamboo bed sheets are a great eco-friendly bedding option. They're super soft and silky and come from a rapidly renewable resource. (They're also great for people with allergies or other sensitivities.)
  • Eco-lingerie
You don't have to sacrifice any sexiness if you want to add a little green to your lingerie drawer. There are plenty of options if you're looking for eco-friendly fabrics and clothing manufacturers. They can be pricey but there are options in almost every price range. Go Green Street has a list of suggestions, from Stella McCartney to the Etsy-based Clare Bare. And Ecouterre did a gift guide for Valentine's Day featuring 14 Sexy Sustainable Undies To Set Hearts (And Sheets) Afire. (Don't worry, there's one for men too.) Even searching Amazon turns up some options, so shop around until you find something that works for you.




For more information on safe sex toy-shopping, check out the Coalition Against Toxic Toys' shopping guide at badvibes.org and Grist.org's "Breaking Up With My Blow-Up Doll". Also check out treehugger.com's green sex guide and The Green Girl's Guide To Sex from gogreenstreet.com for other ways you can help green your sex life.

2 comments:

Tiffany said...

Grapeseed oil is also great to use as lube.

Anonymous said...

Lubricant is generally unnecessary if the male partner is intact (uncircumcised), as the experience is gentler and more subtle. For more information on why this is so, see Kristen O'Hara's Sex as Nature Intended It. For information on foreskin restoration, see the TLC Tugger.