Eco-Sex: Green Alternatives for your Sex Life

by - Friday, February 23, 2018

stone heart at the beach

So, this month has been all about love and romance, but that isn't just Valentine's chocolate and anniversary gifts. A pivotal issue of environmentalism and romance is sex. Nice!

Yes, we are talking about sexy times here. I'm not embarrassed (I actually LOVE talking about sex, weirdly enough), but if you are let me give you the boiler and you are free to go:

1. We LOVE birth control. One of the greenest choices you can make is to only have children when you really want them. Obviously this isn't key for everyone or every kind of sex, but a high percentage of pregnancies in this world are still unwanted or unplanned. If we could effectively help people only have children when they want them, it could make a huge difference for the environment. Whether you are having heterosexual sex or not, safe sex methods (especially condoms) are so important that they are basically worth the waste.

Safer sex is greener sex, and everyone should have that option.

2. Sex toys, Condoms, and Lubes carry all sorts of nonsense. You may not realize it, but you are putting estrogen, cancer-causing nonsense, and PETROCHEMICALS into your business when you use mainstream sex toys. It's not studied enough, but it is so clear this isn't good for you. This is one to change for yourself regardless of how you feel about the planet. Keep crazy chemicals out of your body.

3. Stuff is out there. This is the kind of topic I LOVE, because there are SO MANY good options out there. There is no reason not to buy green sex stuff, because it is out there and comparably priced.

These kinds of purchases are just the kind of thing where we tend not to think about the environment- they are private, small, and we don't tend to discuss with others to even hear better options exist. But, we know that your approach to your sexuality DOES have definite environmental consequences. So let's talk about it.

Mainstream can be kind of slim pickings. Adam and Eve is probably one of the largest online distributors, and they have an "eco-friendly" section, but reading the descriptions on each didn't really tell me why each thing made the cut (I learned lots of other things though). BUT we can find you way more. Let's do this.

For Condoms 

If you are running out for condoms, you probably aren't thinking about the environment (well maybe, if that's what gets you), but only having children when you want to is an incredibly green decision to be making. Not to mention, protecting from diseases does all sorts of good for yourself and others as well. Safe sex is essential no matter your orientation and partners.

 We know that a high percentage of pregnancies are unplanned or unwanted (about 38%), so just having children when you are ready/ is right for you/ at the number that actually makes sense to you is essential. Making (fewer) babies and saving the environment is probably one of the deepest and most difficult conversations you can have, but if we could just help people not get pregnant when they don't want to be, that could help significantly.

Ok, so yes, birth control = GOOD. Condoms are especially great because they address diseases and the like. This is the first priority here.

In other words, use the condom. Using a condom that makes waste is still epically greener than having a baby. This is true all over the world. Think of it as a really sexy medical necessity.

That being said, condoms make a lot of waste. The wrapper and the condom itself, in most cases, are not biodegradable in the short term (latex in theory and under the right conditions will biodegrade. Any condoms that materials start with "poly" are made of plastic and will never biodegrade). Have you ever seen a used condom out in the world? It's an icky thing, and can make you feel slimy. Kind of like Adam Levine's face (controversial opinion- Adam Levine is a used condom in human form). Now imagine a giant pile of these used condoms as one of the gifts our generation will hand off to the next one. 10 billion condoms are sold annually.

Well, ick. That's even worse than handing down a giant pile of Adam Levines.

 The question becomes can we get all the greatness of a condom without the high environmental cost? Easy answer. YES! Haha! Let's ejoy the win, shall we? If you want tons of great information on condom material options, check out this article. I will give you a lit of brands to look for, and maybe just buy a bulk box of? This blog believes in optimism, friend. Buy yourself a big old box of condoms. Try one of these-

Glyde- Ethical, vegan, and fair-trade. They also use 100% recycled packaging, green manufacturing, and stay away from petrochemicals and the other nasty stuff found on regular condoms. They are made in Australia, so a big trek for condoms, but otherwise a near perfect choice (and you can get bulk ones here).

L Condoms- This vegan brand also avoids those terrible chemicals like parabens which are tied to higher estrogen levels and incidents of cancer. They also are extremely invested in getting women pads, tampons, and condoms all over the world to help with reproductive health. An easy way to help other women!

Sir Richard's- PETA-approved and vegan, without any glycerin, parabens, or petrochemicals. They also donate a condom for every one purchased.

Sustain Natural- This company has a ton of great eco-friendly stuff, but their condoms are fair-trade AND don't have some of the nasty carcinogenic chemicals you find on regular condoms. Because no one needs nasty chemicals in their business.

As for other forms of birth control, I can't find any information on pills that don't come wrapped in oodles of plastic (seriously, why do we need the stupid plastic holder thing? Or just give us one and we could reuse?). Most environmental research recommends IUD's which have proven to be very effective and use a lot less packaging and such. You can read lots about birth control options here.

For Lubricants

Ok, honestly I had never thought much about lubricants, but did you ever think that oil-based lube is like spreading nasty petrochemicals all over your most delicate business? That these things are entering your body and bloodstream? ICK! Freaking fossil fuels hide everywhere! And before you roll your eyes at me, think about how much cancers and other health problems have grown in the last couple of generations. I think the more we know, the more we will see this is just the kind of thing to blame.

So, if you want to read up on the contents of lube and what you should be looking out for, I think this post is super helpful (also, slightly horrifying).

To find something you like, I recommend checking the same places that sell green toys and green condoms. Also, lube stores seem to pretty commonly have toy cleaners as well. But here are a few to check:

Babeland has their own brand of Babelube, but check out their "natural" formula which skips out on those nasty chemicals.

Earthlybody sells lube and toy cleaners that are based in hemp and natural materials instead of anything synthetic.

Good Clean Love sells a whole line of vegan lubricants. Plus they are owned by women and give 10% of their proceeds to organizations for women. So I love them, obviously.

Sustain Natural has their own line of lubes. Looks great, free of most chemicals and uses aloe vera for moisture instead of nasty chemicals.

SLiquid has a whole line of natural and even more natural lubes, all of which are glycerin and paraben-free.

For Sex Toys

Environmentally-speaking, sex toys tend to face the same challenges as toys (kind of funny, right?). They are made of plastics that go mostly unregulated, but tend to end up inside the body, so they should actually be as chemical-free as possible. Much like toys, you have to be really mindful of what you bring into your home and really look at the materials used in what you use.

Good Vibrations has an amazing selection of "Ecorotic" toys (marked with a leaf symbol), and with them a pitch perfect list of what you should think about when buying sex toys if you care about the environment:

-Body safe- buy things that are straightforward about their materials and which tend to be higher quality. If they won't tell you, you don't want to know. That should be a hard pass.
- Animal products- should an animal die for your funsies? Probably not, but you'd be surprised.
-Rechargable- if the toys' batteries are rechargable, you are cutting down on a lot of waste.
-Natural Ingredients. Seriously, you are better off without fossil fuels in your sex life.
-Recyclable Packaging- YES. Packaging is a key factor in everything we buy. You shoot yourself in the foot if you buy a "green" product in plastic packaging.
-Made in the USA. The closer it is made to you, the less fossil fuels it wastes. And the US has relatively high standards for these things. And you have given your friendly neighborhood sex toy artisan more work! Huzzah!

I won't go through item by item, but Good Vibrations is a good place to start looking, and here are a few other stops to make on your green sex toy journey.

As you Like It is an eco-concious sex toy shop that actually features some of the other brands I list, but they might be a good place if you want to browse without getting bad news every time you click on a product.

Babeland has an eco-friendly section as well, which looks a little professional than some, but when you read their lists, their ideas are solid.

Fun Factory brags about their combination of german engineering and sense of play, but they should brag way more about their factory and manufacturing which has a tiny carbon footprint and ethical labor practices.

For Menstruating

If you have periods but are still using plastic-filled, potentially dangerous disposable tampons and pads, you should know there are TONS of other options out there. Check out this blog post for a short overview of your many options. This is another one of those simple steps that will save you money, save the Earth, and will actually make your life better, so stop putting it off and green your period!

Ok, what am I missing? What other parts of your sex life can be greener?

eco-friendly sex green alternatives for your sex life

That's a lot of resources to consider, but they are damn worth considering! Happy times, friends!

Want to make your home greener? No matter the size or location, you can limit your waste and make your house have a more positive impact on the environment. Check out the Green Home Page for thousands of ideas on how to do it.

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  1. I didn't realize there were so many eco-friendly choices. Thanks for sharing. -AP

  2. Wow honestly I've never really thought about the environment when thinking about sex but you brought up great points

  3. The birth control pills have to be taken in order bc there are different doses in each pill depending on the day of your cycle.

  4. I never thought about this side of life. We are going green, it is a process though isn't it!

  5. This blog post is really an eye-opener. It's good to know that there are many eco-friendly options out there for sexual health. Btw, I'm an Adam Levine fan. Hehe.

  6. Wow, you are providing a completely different point of view. It's also very interesting to know all the different options available.

  7. I'm all for eco-friendly sexual health options, and these are great tips! With birth control I think it gets a little trickier because you start dealing with pill dosages or reusables, so I'm more toward finding better ways to get those safely into a landfill than alternatives that might not be a good option for some.



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