Q: I've gone through a lot of condoms, lube, even sex toys in my life. Are there more environmentally friendly versions available?
A: Let's cut the foreplay and get to the nub of your dilemma: sex is dirty. Just stop emptying the waste basket in your bedroom for a year and see how much trash your love life produces. Condoms, pill packs, massage oil bottles, broken-down vibrators and, yes, those telling wads of crumpled virgin-forest tissue paper. Just about the only people who have entirely eco-friendly sex lives are living alone in hilltop monasteries. And take note: the rhythm and pullout methods, while entirely natural, are surefire ways to burden the earth with another little consumer.
The pill has been wonderfully empowering for women (and a big step forward from the favoured female contraceptive of the 30s and 40s - Lysol disinfectant!). But it means that millions of us are pissing out synthetic estrogen every day - hormones that end up feminizing male fish and reducing their fertility rates. Same goes for the patch, the implant, the shot and any other form of hormonal birth control.
Latex condoms are, of course, your best bet for preventing unwanted surprises, from babies to herpes. While latex comes from the sap of the rubber tree, condom makers told us that undisclosed additives ensure that your safes will not decompose, especially lubricated models. (Vegans should also be aware that most condoms are made with the milk protein casein.) And gross but true, hundreds of millions of them are said to slip into bodies of water every year thanks to sewer overflows and all you boys who flush used skins down the toilet. Keep in mind that polyurethane-based condoms (male and female) and sponges are even worse. Polyurethane creates all kinds of nasty toxins in its manufacture and incineration, and it never breaks down.
If you're not vegetarian and aren't trying to prevent STDs, lambskin condoms are biodegradable (from $18/six at Come as You Are on Queen West, and Good for Her on Harbord). Sadly, the only high-grade biodegradable, vegan latex condom out there is not available in North America, but you can buy Condomi's at www. britishcondoms.com.
If you're with a trusted partner and your doctor thinks you're a good candidate, an IUD is probably the soundest eco option. One small copper device (versus the hormone-releasing versions) lasts up to 10 years! IUDs are about 99 per cent effective but hurt like hell going in and out.
And we hate to take the fun out of your frolicking sessions, but be aware that the majority of jelly dildos and vibrators are softened using high levels of endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Lead and cadmium have also been found in jelly and vinyl toys. And while Cyber Skin might feel oh so lifelike, it's made with the vilest plastic of all - PVC.
Solid, high-quality silicone is much easier on the planet. And lovely glass dildos are the friendliest of all and can even be recycled if you tire of them (from $25 at Good for Her, Come as You Are). Plus, glass and silicone models last much longer than cheapie types that soon break.
If you prefer something with a bit more, ahem, buzz, then Come as You Are carries the perfect toy for you: a solar-powered vibrator ($56) that charges on ambient light! If you insist on sticking to your rabbit ears or vibrating ducky, just make sure to use rechargeable batteries.
All you fetish fans have much to cry about. As we said above, PVC comes with some heavy eco baggage. And leather isn't much better, especially if wearing animals isn't your thing. You can get fun fur restraints , though, at Lovecraft on Yorkville ($33.98).
Most of us are lookin' for lube in all the wrong places. Drugstore brands are loaded with petrochemicals and sometimes animal-based glycerin or lactic acid. Hathor makes a wonderful condom-friendly lube with organic ingredients like ginseng (from $12/2 oz. at Come as You Are, Lovecraft and Good for Her). Sensua makes flavoured and unflavoured lube with grapefruit seed extract to encourage healthy body chemistry that's also 95 per cent certified organic and latex compatible ($20.85/4 oz. at Good for Her). If you want stripper-hard nipples without the air con, Earth's Herbal makes an organic cooling Ice Queen Nipple Gel ($18 at Come as You Are).
In the mood for a naughty art class? Come as You Are sells vegan chocolate body paint ($12). But if you'd prefer organic, health food store like the Big Carrot on Danforth or Whole Foods on Avenue Road offer organic chocolate syrup (from $6.99/650ml).
Body Candy Lickable Massage Balm isn't organic, but it is all-natural, and yummy flavours like orange creamsicle are sweetened with herbal stevia ($8.98/30ml at Lovecraft). A variety of organic massage oils are also available at all the sex boîtes and health food stores we mentioned here - making it much more convenient to get it on without screwing the planet.
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