Green sex

If you thought sex was natural, take a look at what’s in your vibrator

Suzie’s store manager Lisa Longden holds up a metal plug, an example of a sex toy made from alternative materials to plastic.

Suzie’s store manager Lisa Longden holds up a metal plug, an example of a sex toy made from alternative materials to plastic.

Photo by kat kerlin

Suzie’s Adult Super Stores is at 195 Kietzke Lane, 786-8557.

You may have noticed a growing number of children’s toys marketed as nontoxic or phthalate-free. A similar trend is happening with toys for adults—and no, we’re not talking about iPads or flatscreen TVs. We’re talking about the types of toys often used to enhance a Valentine’s Day or two.

A stroll through Suzie’s Adult Super Stores in Reno shows all the markings of a sex shop. But look closely, and you’ll find a number of products that are friendlier to the environment than they used to be.

Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals used to soften some plastics. They’re linked to cancer and reproductive issues and are commonly found in things ranging from vinyl shower curtains to nail polish, liquid soap, and yes, plastic sex toys. Avoiding phthalates has been an impetus for sex toy manufacturers to use more silicone when making things like dildos, cock rings and vibrators. The chemical hazard database says there isn’t enough data to assess the safety of silicone, a polymer, but for now, it’s viewed as a safer alternative to many plastics. So if you’re in the market for such a toy, you may notice the package says “PF” on it for “phthalate-free.”

“I’m seeing the ‘phthalate-free’ on everything,” says Suzie’s store manager Lisa Longden.

Longden admits the sex industry doesn’t seem to concern itself much with being green, and that many greener alternatives exist because of people’s allergies to chemically-based products, not just because it’s better for the environment. But she says a lot of vegans come to the store asking for their leather-free bondage gear.

“And a lot of people ask for things that recharge so they don’t constantly reuse batteries,” says Longden.

Other green alternatives for sex toys include products made from recyclable materials, glass, wood or stainless steel. As an example, Lowden holds up a metal buttplug that was sitting on a table with glass dildos.

Libidinous greenies can also find at local sex shops or online things like vegan condoms; organic, water-based lubricants; massage lotions made with hemp oil; and wooden bendy beads.

Time magazine reported last October that Babeland, a Seattle/New York City sex shop, sold four times as much of its Naked organic lubricant as it did of a national synthetic brand containing chemicals. The store took that to mean customers, when given a choice, will choose the more natural option.

Picking up a condom, biodegradable or not, is an eco-friendly option for a perhaps obvious reason: birth control. One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and that of your children is to have fewer of them.

So here’s one vision of the ultimate eco-friendly Valentine’s Day: Take a bicycle built for two to a restaurant serving locally grown, organic food and wine. Go home and dim the lights (see, you’re saving energy), light a couple of soy candles, and proceed to do what comes naturally (see, you’re natural). Ramp up the fun by incorporating organic massage oil, natural lube, phthalate-free vibrators and plugs. Take breaks for bites of organic chocolate and navel-fulls of organic champagne, all on an organic mattress sprinkled with fair-trade rose petals.