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Going Green in Bed: A Primer on Sustainable Sex Products

Yes, you read that headline correctly: Sustainable sex products. They do exist. In fact, as the green movement sweeps over the country, the makers of biodegradable condoms and solar powered vibrators and organic lubricants are elbowing their way into the U.S.’s thriving sex products industry.

Before introducing you to the world of sustainable sex, I must concede that, unlike my other posts, I haven’t actually tested out any of products described here. Not that I’m shy or wary of ordering “green” condoms, but with my girlfriend in sunny southern Florida and me still in Ann Arbor, it’s a bit difficult to try any of these products. (And even if she were here or I in Florida, my guess is that she’d rather stick with what’s worked for us so far. She did, however, help with the research for this article!)

Which means you, the reader, have an assignment: Test these products (safely, of course) and then report back with a comment or e-mail on how it went. I’m relying on you here, and can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

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With that in mind, let’s start simple.

Environmentally friendly condoms: Regular, latex condoms found in any grocery store or pharmacy are the safest but can be harmful to the environment, as latex can take years to biodegrade after disposal.

More environmentally friendly natural lamb condoms. Courtesy of naturalamb.com

Instead, you could try natural, lambskin condoms, which break down faster than latex; they don’t, however, protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so be smart about their use. And all brands and types—whether latex or lambskin or polyurethane—come with a good amount of necessary packaging, which ends up in the garbage too.

Verdict: Though eco-friendly condoms are a good idea, best to put safety over sustainability.

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Thankfully, there are plenty of organic options in the lubricant market. Web sites such as Earth Erotics offer a healthy choice of organic lubricants, like “Hydra Water Based Lubricant,” made with organic extracts ($16); “Intimate Organics” brand massage balms ($16), whose ingredients include aloe, cocoa bean and goji berries and received the stamp of approval from Co-op America; and “Good Clean Love” brand personal lubricants, made of “99.99% vegan, 95% organic ingredients, with no animal products or animal testing” and containing no petro-chemicals or parabens.

Good Clean Fun natural lubricants. Courtesy of eartherotics.com

Options abound when it comes to “green” lubricants, and they’re relatively affordable, too, compared to K-Y or Astroglide lubricants.

Verdict: Get online and order yourself some good clean lubrication (if you need it).

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Admission: I know next to nothing about vibrators, other than some of them are shiny and most make a funny whirring sound. (This last bit I didn’t know until freshman year of college when a pair of single girls lived in the room next to mine. Oh, to be young again…)

A few hours of Internet perusing later, however, my vibrator IQ has, ahem, risen exponentially. When it comes to “green” vibrators, there are brands with rechargeable batteries (keeps batteries out of landfills); latex- and phthalate-free vibrators, the latter of which can lead to birth defects; and—yes—even solar powered vibrators, eliminating batteries altogether and harnessing the power of the sun for your own pleasure.

Behold—the solar powered vibrator. Courtesy of alternativecustomer.com

The downside of these kinds of eco-friendly vibrators is their price. Rechargeable vibrators range in price from $70 to $160, and a latex-free Laya brand vibrator costs around $50. The Solar Sensations brand solar powered vibrator, new to the sex products market, costs $32.95.

Verdict: I still know too little about vibrators to judge, so I’m leaving the reader to decide.

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Those are some of the highlights of the burgeoning sustainable sex products industry.

You can also buy bamboo or organic cotton bed sheets or even eco-friendly lingerie and underwear. Either way, there are plenty of options out there for you to try.

Planet Green has some additional tips to make your intimate moments more “green,” too:

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.

So there you have it: The world of sustainable sex products. Now get out there, go green and get busy.