The Kinsey Institute notes that the average American has sex about 85 times per year, which REALLY doesn't sound like enough. Even if you're only having sex on an average basis, you still have plenty of chances annually to go green in a way that's a lot more fun than recycling cans or buying an energy-efficient fridge. Eco-friendly sex choices and products abound nowadays, so there's no excuse not to green up your sex life. In fact, being invested in greener choices and awesome eco-sex products may encourage you to have sex more than 85 times per year (more sex is healthier than less sex folks), which means we'd catch up with places like Brazil, where they have sex 145 times a year, or Greece, where they're clocking in 164 annual romps in the hay. Keep reading to see how saving the Earth can be a lot more fun than you ever thought possible.
Set an Eco-friendly Mood
Eco-minded actual sex is fun, but setting the mood beforehand is also important and can be just as green and fun. Liven up your space and self with some of the green tips below.
- Brighten the scene: Candles are romantic and sexy, but wax-based candles aren’t so hot for the planet or your health. Use soy-based candles for a cleaner burn. Install low-key eco-minded lighting (dimmers are good), but if that’s not an option, a nice string of subtly colored LED holiday lights can also be great because they add light, but not too much light.
- Scent your space: Organic flowers or organic essential oils are great ways to scent your space without the toxic chemicals normally found in typical scents and air fresheners.
- Relax: Massage bars are an awesome way to set the mood and relax. Check out the unbelievably amazing Silky Soy Moisture Bars from Evergreen Candleworks, or make your own massage bars with organic ingredients.
- Dress up: Or dress down, as the case may be, in eco-friendly-but-still-sexy attire, like these 21 hot and ethical lingerie items for women. Men don’t have quite as many eco-sexy clothing options, but if you’re not into going commando, PACT does make a line of organic boxer briefs that are quite nice.
- Go organic and minimal: If you have a lot of bedroom-based sex, make sure you own an eco-friendly mattress and outfit said mattress with organic bedding. Also, keep your bedroom space simple. No TV, no overly bright lights and keep clutter to a minimum. A cluttered space piled with work or projects won’t allow you to relax, which isn’t conducive to fun sex.
- Got questions?: Need a book to help you set the mood and give you ideas? Sadly, there aren’t any super keen green sex book out there, but do check out Guide to Getting It On. Now in its 7th edition, the book is lauded as “…the only sex manual you’ll ever need” by Rolling Stone Magazine, among many others. They’re not kidding: the pictures are kind of ridiculous, but if you can move past that, this is the BEST sex book you can buy, and you can get a sneak peek at Goofy Foot Press. You can also visit Kinsey Confidential for online answers to everything sex-related.
Splurge on Green Sex Toys
Various sources estimate that Americans alone spend around $1.2 billion dollars on sex toys annually, so this is an area where consumer choice can really make a positive eco-impact. Below are some tips for buying safer, greener sex toys.
- Buy a rechargeable vibrator.
- If you do need a battery-operated vibe or other sex toy, be sure to pick up a rechargeable battery kit too.
- Look for electric vs. battery-run toys; just be sure to unplug them when you’re done to conserve energy.
- Try a solar powered vibe—eco-friendly and perfect for on-the-go use (hello camping)!
- Many traditional sex toys contain phthalates and other chemicals that don’t belong on (or in) you. Look for toys that are free from chemicals whenever possible.
- In general, avoid toys made with “Jelly Rubber” or PVC composites. Jelly Rubber is a very common material used to make sex toys, but they’re full of PVC and phthalates.
- Elastomer is one latex-free sex toy material that’s free of phthalates.
- Glass sex toys are a safe bet if you’re trying to avoid chemicals.
- Look for metal and even wooden sex toys, which are chemical-free.
- Silicone sex toys are touch and go in the chemical department due to shoddy labeling. REAL 100% silicone contains no polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is phthalate free, plus silicone is nonporous and thus safe because germs won’t stay on silicone, as long as you wash your toys thoroughly. To ensure that you’re getting a safe product, always make sure the label says 100% silicone, not just “silicone.”
- If you’re in need of vegan dental dams, check out Glyde.
- If you’re into whips or other like-minded toys, look for those made from recycled materials, like this Recycled Rubber Whip.
Best places to shop for eco-minded sex toys
- Earth Erotics – a super eco-sex shop carrying only environmentally friendly, organic and non toxic adult products. This shop also has a eco-initiative in place and hosts their retail website with 100% wind power.
- Babeland – simply type, “eco” into the search bar at Babeland for a slew of awesome eco-friendly goodies, including a ready-to-go eco-sexy kit.
- Good Vibrations – this king of sex shops has a lot of useful info about greener toys, lube and more within their great Ecorotic collection.
- Jimmyjane – offers a lot of body-safe sex toys and has a solid eco-commitment in place.
- Kinky Green – has one goal: to “Provide modern women with intimate products for a sustainable sex life.” They hand-pick only eco-friendly products, and none of the items sold on their site contain phthalates, glycerin, or parabens.
- Simply Blown – sells one product and one product only: handcrafted glass dildos. BUT they’re worth a look, because these are like shiny works of art with a purpose. Seriously!
Recycle Your “Personal Massager”
According to Babeland, approximately 167,250 devices were purchased in 2006, but that figure only included vibrators, so imagine how many sex toys are really being bought. If we recycle at least some of them, it’ll help. Unfortunately, very few adult toy recycling programs exist, and by very few, I mean exactly TWO. The Sex Toy Recycling Program was launched in 2008, and that seemed like an awesome deal, but that program is now defunct—I mention it only because they still have their website up EVERYONE recommends them, thus confusing lots of people. Currently, Scarlet Girl has an environmentally friendly option for adult toy disposal and recycling. Bonus – if you trade your unwanted or broken sex toys in Scarlet Girl will give you a $10 credit towards your next online purchase. Love Honey also has a sex toy recycling program. Although they’re located in the UK, the carbon you use sending your toys across the pond still might be a better option than letting your old vibe languish in a landfill. Overall, since you can’t easily recycle your sex toys, be sure to make careful purchases. Read reviews, make sure you buy quality products, try to buy goods packaged in recycled content packaging and use those toys until they just won’t go anymore.
Bone Up on Green Condom Know-how
Condoms are a necessary evil unless you have just one partner you trust 100%, or you’d like a killer STD. Sadly, there’s not much companies can do to eco-up condoms. Most latex sheaths are supposed to be biodegradable, but biodegradable is more a slack buzz term than it is an actual process, so most condoms likely end up sitting around in landfills. Most condoms aren’t vegan either. Still, again, you really should use them; eco-friendly or not, they’re a lot better than STDs. Now, about greener condom use: never ever flush condoms or condom wrappers down the toilet. Flushing condoms can wreak havoc on your plumbing, and your used condoms flush away to water recycling process, which in turn may eventually send the used condoms to float around in the ocean. And no, fish don’t need your old condoms.
Your best bets for somewhat eco-friendly condoms
- Fair Squared Condoms – Fair Trade.
- French Letter Condoms – Fair Trade.
- GLYDE condoms – Free of additives including petro-chemicals, parabens, casein and spermicides and vegan.
- Sustain Condoms – Vegan and Fair Trade (though their marketing leaves much to be desired)
- Sir Richard’s – Free of harmful chemicals like glycerin, parabens, and spermicide, plus an added bonus: for every condom you buy, Sir Richard’s will donate a rubber to an underprivileged person in a developing country.
Image via Sliquid Organics
Slick Up with Organic Lube
Many personal lubricants contain synthetic chemicals, polymers, and other nasty junk best left far away from your nether regions. Luckily, it’s getting super-easy to find eco-friendly lubricants that are made with safe and organic ingredients and packaged in recyclable containers. Some are even vegan. Check out the picks below.
- Sliquid Organics offers a HUGE line of all-natural lubricant formulas, blended with certified organic botanticals. Glycerin-free and paraben-free, they’re made in the USA and packaged in a 100% recyclable bottle with labels printed on partially recycled stock.
- Firefly lubes are all natural plus taste neutral—in case you don’t like it when your partner tastes like a big ol’ bowl of berries. Plus, Firefly contains no harmful ingredients such as glycerin, silicone or propylene glycol, and this lube is waterproof too.
- Good Clean Love is a member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics—an approved Coop America Green Company—and makes lube with certified organic, clean ingredients that contain no petrochemicals or parabens. Their products are also cruelty-free (perfect for vegans), and they use recycled/recyclable materials in their packaging whenever possible.
- Yes lube products contain no petrochemicals, parabens, known skin irritants, glycerine, hormones, silicone or propylene glycol. Plus all Yes products are certified organic.
- BabeLube Natural is a gel formula containing mostly organic ingredients, plus it’s vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, glycerin-free, and contains no added or artificial scent, sugar, or artificial sweeteners.
- Earthly Body uses natural ingredients in all their products, including zero mineral oil, dyes, sulfates, propylene glycol, phthalates or parabens. Products are also 100% vegan, drug-free and cruelty-free. Check out their Waterslide Personal Moisturizer.
- Need a super safe lube that’s safe enough to have as a snack? Aloe Cadabra is a good bet. This lube is made from 95% certified organic aloe and all ingredients are food grade. Although we won’t discuss why, if you did happen to somehow ingest this lube, it’s perfectly safe.
- O’My lubes are edible, eco-minded, contain no sugar, and come in many different flavors.
Use Birth Control Responsibly
Birth control is green in that it prevents babies. I’m not a zero population advocate, but I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t at least recognize that children, simply by being born, do use up resources and leave a huge environmental impact on the planet. When used responsibly, birth control can help solve the above dilemma, but there are other birth control issues to consider—waste and pollution. Water pollution caused by birth control pills has become a problem issue, not to mention all that pill packaging, and who wants to even think about how all those condom packages and wrappers stack up? Other than abstaining from sex altogether, you can use the tips below to green up your birth control experience as much as possible.
- Cut down on birth control packaging waste by getting the one-time shot or implant.
- Many clinics will give you a year’s supply of birth control pills at once, but if you end up hating them, you’ll have to dispose of them. Try not to get more birth control than you’re sure you’ll use, and if you have to dispose of pills, do so responsibly.
- The IUD is one of the best birth control methods for eco-conscious partners as it’s hormone-free and can last up to 10 years.
- The diaphragm and cervical cap are semi-decent eco-methods of birth control as they’re are reusable and create less waste, but their effectiveness rate is low, meaning a high-carbon baby could result.
- If you really know that you don’t want kids, male or female sterilization options are fixes that totally eliminate most birth control waste issues. That said, you’ll still need condoms to combat STDs.
- If you’re in a really committed relationship, you might consider a “natural” method of birth control, but you’d better be open to the possibility of having a baby as most natural methods of birth control aren’t very reliable.