How to Go Green: Sex

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[by Jacob Gordon]

Whether you’re single and playing the field, settled down with that special someone, or someplace in between, most of us consider good, satisfying, sexy sex an important part of this complete breakfast. It might not be the first thing we think of while working towards a sustainable and graceful life on this fragile planet, but there’s a lot we can do to make our sex lives greener. In the process of greening the ecological footprint of our love making, we might also open up some new doors to deeper pleasure, satisfaction, and romantic connection.

1. Employ green sex toys
According to the Durex Global Sex Survey, 43% of Americans have used a vibrator. Dildos, vibrators, anal beads, cock rings, and the rest of the happy sex toy family can be thrilling and fulfilling, either alone or with a partner, but many store-bought sex toys contain, among other things, chemicals called phthalates, a substance used to soften hard plastics like PVC and provide that jelly feeling. There is quite a bit of concern about the toxicity and health risks of phthalates (in 2004, the EU banned a range of phthalates from children’s toys), especially in sex toys that are used in warm, moist places. One suspicious warning sign is the disclaimer you’ll find on most sex toy packages stating that the device within is for “novelty purposes only.” TreeHugger suggests playing it safe. Look for toys made from glass, metal, silicone, hard plastics, or elastomers. Putting a condom over a suspicious dildo is also a good move. If your sex toy of choice is a power tool, buy a rechargeable one or use your own rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable vibrating toys include the Aphrodite Wand, the Acuvibe, the Lily and Iris from Lelo, and toys from Fun Factory. Check out TreeHugger TV’s How to Buy a Green Sex Toy for more.

2. Lube up
Whether you feel you need lube or not, a little extra slipperyness can add something extra to any roll in the hay. As you would with any other personal care product, go as natural as possible and try to avoid petroleum products, artificial scents, flavors, and colors. There are even organic lubes to be found. For more info on what to look out for, see How to Green Women’s Personal Care—advice also suitable for men).

3. Use condoms
For safer, baby-free sex, nothing beats a latex condom. Vegans looking for a latex option (though derived from trees, most latex has a milk enzyme added) can check out Glyde condoms. The jury is still out as to whether latex condoms are biodegradable and what effects additives and lubricants have on biodegradability. According to most sources, lambskin condoms are biodegradable but are only effective against pregnancy, not STDs. Polyurethane condoms are essentially plastic and not biodegradable. Used condoms are best sent to the landfill. Flushing condoms down the toilet is definitely no good as this clogs pipes, treatment plants, and rivers. So let’s face it, reduce, reuse, recycle just doesn’t apply when it comes to the rubbers.

4. Give (and receive) sexy gifts
Getting a stylish and useful gift is always a turn on. Organic massage oils, fair trade chocolate, or a bottle of biodynamic red wine are hot options. For Valentine’s, you can even get an all fair trade goodie bag for your lovie. Of course, romance and good sex know no price, and a poem from the heart, a massage, some hot role playing, or a home-cooked dinner for two can be the hottest gifts of all.

5. Have green, sexy fun
Sexy play can be green and efficient as well. As seen on TreeHugger TV, showering together can save water (if things get steamier, we suggest taking it to the bedroom and not leaving the shower running). In the winter time, some nice warm loving before bed can get the bedroom toasty, meaning the thermostat can be lower (see How to Green Your Heating, for more). A nice bike ride for two is a fossil-fuel-free way to get the blood flowing and can also be quite stimulating, especially for the ladies. And of course the classic candle-lit dinner is a delicious way to set the mood and save on energy bills.

6. Put some bamboo in bed
If you’ve never experience bamboo bed sheets, you’re missing out. Bamboo fabric is silky and slippery (but not so slippery you’ll slide out of bed), wicks moisture, has natural antimicrobial properties, comes from a rapidly renewable resource, and is super sexy.

7. Mention the unmentionables: eco-undies
Slinky, slippery, sexy. These are all good things when it comes to some sassy skivvies for the bedroom. Organic cotton, hemp silk, bamboo, and other renewable fibers make ultra-sexy lingerie and underwear. When browsing around, go for quality, not novelty. Buying a bedroom outfit that will be used only a couple times isn’t a great buy. Face it, unless you’re famous, nobody on Ebay is gonna buy those crotchless panties, even if you just wore them once. We suggest shelling out the extra bucks for something classy, sexy, and sustainable that can be donned when the mood is right for years to come. For something on the exotic end, check out Enamore and g=9.8. For sensible and simple, look at Buenostyle and American Apparel. For something in between, try GreenKnickers.

8. Taste sweeter juice?
There are some very strong rumors going around that vegetarians have the best tasting love juices (though some items from the vegetable kingdom you may want to avoid, like asparagus and garlic). If you aren’t already a veggie-lover and there’s a romantic occasion/hot date in your future, give the veggie or vegan diet a try. Even if it does nothing for your flavor, you may score points for being a good steward of the planet. The meat industry is immensely resource intensive and accounts for 70% of the water pollution in the US. Reducing your meat consumption is one of the greenest things you can do. Plus, many triathletes and other super-people swear by a vegan diet for prolonged endurance (always a good thing). For a very funny but totally explicit investigation of the food/body fluid connection, read Hank Hyena’s essay at Salon.com.

9. Turn on natural aphrodisiacs
Since days of yore, lovers have turned to natural herbs and special foods to find stimulation, endurance, and sexual health. While we can’t vouch for any of these, and all supplements should be taken with caution and/or professional advise, it is rumored that herbs like ginseng, kava kava root, damiana leaves, kelp, tribulus, ginko biloba, rhodiola rosea, and of course horny goat weed can help stoke the flames of passion—even more so if certified organic. A host of foods are also used to stimulate the sexual senses, and of course organic wine and Champaign are trusted aphrodisiacs as well.

10. Meet that special green lover
Nothing’s quite worse than meeting some really promising guy or girl and then realizing that he or she is an Escalade-driving, non-recycling, Earth messer-upper. What are you going to do? Try to reform them? Sleep with them anyway and try to ignore their unconscious ways? Forget it. Go for the green lover. Farmers markets, Critical Mass, your local Green Drinks, the Whole Foods checkout isle can be great places to meet people. A host of match-making sites (see the Further Reading section for direct links) can also be great venues for finding that special tree hugger to hug.

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2 Responses to “How to Go Green: Sex”

  1. Johnny Peepers Says:

    Awesome between the sheets green advice. Regarding the love juice flavor enhancing, I also recommend staying away from deviled eggs and hobo wine.

  2. shanalynn Says:

    Thanks for the great article! I actually came across a site that was promoting green sex toys and thought I would see if you think it is a good place to start. The information provided on the site seems to be pretty accurate, and its pretty classy for an adult site. Should I just be aware of the materials in each product to understand if it is truly considered green or not?

    http://www.holisticwisdom.com/

    Any response would be much appreciated, thanks!

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