Health

Eco-friendly Sex

Three easy ways to make your sex life healthier while helping the environment

You ask the Starbucks barista to fill up your reusable mug,prefer organic cotton tees, and eat local produce whenever possible; but have you ever thought of greening up your sex life?

“The key reason for going green is that it makes you healthier by reducing your exposure to chemicals and being healthier improves your sex life,” says Stefanie Iris Weiss, New York-based author of Eco-Sex, Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable. Holly Hirst, owner of Toronto’s popular sex shop Come As You Are, agrees adding that small changes in the bedroom can cut down on waste in the environment. To green up your sex life, Weiss and Hirst say to start with these three tips.

1. Protection: Condoms are necessary in many relationships, but cause unnecessary harm to the environment. The most sustainable type of condom is latex, which is a renewable resource that biodegrades (albeit over a long period of time). Polyurethane condoms don’t ever breakdown and even though lambskin ones do, they don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). When it comes to disposal, toss condoms in the green bin or trash rather than flushing them, says Weiss. Latex won’t decompose in water and, according to the Ocean Conservancy, can end up smothering coral reefs and littering beaches. If you want to be even more planet friendly, look for vegan condoms, which don’t come into contact with milk products during manufacturing.

2. Lubricants: Organic lubricants without parabens or glycerin are the green choice, says Hirst. Parabens are chemical preservatives that can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. While the jury is still out about whether or not there is a direct link, she says it’s a good idea to avoid them for now. Glycerin can be non-synthetic, but it strips the vagina of natural lubricant, which makes you more susceptible to STIs, says Weiss. So read the labels next time you’re buying lube. Go extra eco-conscious with a soy-based lube (a natural renewable resource) instead of water- or silicone-based. It has a light consistency and is okay to use with condoms and toys.

3. Toys: When you’re spicing things up with a new toy the last thing you’re thinking of is health and safety, but you should be. The sex toy industry is unregulated, says Weiss, so some toys, such as rubber and jelly ones, can contain high levels of unhealthy chemicals, like phalates. “A toy will be exposed to your thin mucus membranes where these chemicals are easily absorbed right into your bloodstream,” she says. Thankfully, Hirst says there are a number of healthier, more sustainable choices on the market. “To avoid plastic toys, go with ones made from glass, silicone, stainless steel, ceramics, or even recycled hardwood. Rechargeable vibrators are also great because you don’t have to use batteries.” Be greener with the Earth Angel Vibrator, which is the world’s first wind-up vibrator made from phthalate-free, 100% recycled plastic.