Sex tips for greens

How to get your freak on in an eco-friendly way

Sex for the purpose of reproduction is inherently anti-environmentalist. Our planet is overpopulated and children suck up resources, especially if they’re born in the United States or another industrialized nation with high energy use, meat consumption and vehicle miles traveled.

When it comes to sex purely for pleasure, it’s also hard to be green, as lubricants, condoms, toys and birth-control methods contain toxic chemicals that may be harmful to our health and the planet. A comprehensive global sex-health survey conducted by Durex in 2005 found that the average person has sex about 100 times a year, which potentially produces a lot of waste in the process.

Consider this: Hundreds of millions of condoms are improperly disposed of every year in this country. They’re flushed down toilets, which pollutes our waterways if they make it past sewer-treatment plants. But some straight women opt not to use oral contraception because of how studies link long-term use of the birth-control pill, for instance, to an increased risk of cervical and breast cancer. And the pull-out method is a bit risky.

So, yep, abstinence is the greenest way to (not) have sex.

But what fun is that?

For environmentalists, our attempts to combat global warming and the onslaught of sea level rise, melting glaciers and species loss shouldn’t end when we get our freak on in the bedroom. Or on the couch, or the back seat of a Prius, or even in our organic gardens.

Although for some, it does. For female environmentalists, “When it comes to their vibrators, they’re a different animal,” said Karen Ussery, manager of the G Spot in Midtown Sacramento—using rechargeable batteries for her toy is the last thing on a woman’s mind.

We won’t get much help greening our sex lives from sex shops or grocery stores, as most don’t yet carry organic products. So if you’re in need of a quick fix, you’re going to be in a bind; and not in the literally tied-up, abandon all control and go crazy kind of way. But in the this-night-is-not-turning-out-how-I-hoped kind of way.

Toys—dildos, vibrators, anal beads, cock rings—are typically made from plastic that might leech phthalates, which are industrial chemical compounds linked to defects in male development. The greener choice is to select toys made from steel or glass.

Now for the big event: Light a soy-wax candle and share a bottle of organic wine, then turn off the lights and thermostat to conserve energy. Massage your partner with natural body oil that contains botanical ingredients, without synthetic fragrances or petroleum derivatives.

With an edible G-string, you can nibble right down to your partner’s liquid-cream center beneath, or vice versa, which not only makes for a tasty treat but also results in minimal waste (recycle the package). The yummy undergarment, however, contains questionable ingredients, such as high-fructose corn syrup, titanium dioxide, and artificial flavor and colors. A better idea is to make your own “underwear” with a spray of organic whipped cream or a drizzle of organic chocolate syrup here and there.

Contraception poses a dilemma. You can buy vegan condoms and dental dams that contain no animal derivatives on the Internet; otherwise, you’re stuck with lambskin or latex alternatives from the grocery store. Although biodegradable, lambskin (made from lamb intestines!) is definitely not vegan, and these condoms don’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Despite being a natural substance derived from the rubber tree, latex may not biodegrade, as some preservatives, spermicides and lubricants inhibit this process. Polyurethane condoms can’t even be recycled. The best idea: Wrap soiled condoms and dental dams in toilet paper and toss them in the garbage.

Now, you’re really enjoying yourself, but need some, shall we say, assistance. Don’t bother reaching for that bottle of lube on your nightstand; it’s likely filled with synthetic chemicals, including parabens, which are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt hormone function. Instead, buy water-based lubricants free of parabens, glycerin, hormones, silicon or petroleum products, and avoid artificial scents and flavors.

Close out the evening by savoring a nice, warm shower with your partner—just to save water, of course.