Sex is natural, but many things you bring into the bedroom may not be. Everything from the toys you use to the foods you work into foreplay can either help or harm the environment, depending on your choices. Whether you want to celebrate Earth Day right or bring more planet-friendliness to your sex life overall, there are many ways to shrink your carbon footprint while maximizing playfulness and pleasure. Keep reading for 10 fun, frisky and effective ideas.
1. Shower Together
On average, each person in the U.S. uses 80 to 100 gallons of water daily, and a standard showerhead uses about five gallons per minute. To cut back on your water usage, clinical sexologist Martha Lee of Eros Coaching in Singapore recommends showering together. “You’ll not only shrink your carbon footprint, but better engage in the [intimacy] process during and after,” she said. In other words, starting your day with less water and more skin-on-skin contact can set the tone for stronger emotional connectedness all day long. Shared showers can also function as foreplay for better sex, she said.
2. Use Body-Safe Sex Toys
Environmentally speaking, all sex toys aren’t created equal. Many plastic toys contain phthalates. The soft, flexible feel these chemicals create comes at a cost. Linked with reproductive and neurological problems and easily transferable from products into the environment, the Environmental Working Group listed phthalates as one of the top 10 most attention-worthy toxic chemicals in 2016. To guard against these risks, go for body-safe toys. Avoid rubbery smelling toys and ones that list phthalates or jelly rubber, PVC or vinyl (all of which also likely contain phthalates) as ingredients. You can also look for “body-safe” lingo on product packaging.
3. Choose Eco-Friendly Manufacturers
Manufacturing practices play a big role in the eco-friendliness of sex toys, according to Sarah Tomchesson, head of business operations at The Pleasure Chest. “One thing for all pleasure shoppers to know is that anything that vibrates — aka anything with a motor — is manufactured outside of the U.S.,” she said. This can be a plus, seeing as the U.S. has the world’s highest carbon monoxide emissions rate per capita. For a safe bet, choose Fun Factory toys. “All of their body-safe products are designed, manufactured and packaged in [the company’s] factory in Germany, which also offers top-notch working conditions,” said Tomchesson. The minimal packaging derives from recycled cardboard with no plastic or glue.
4. Switch to Vegan Condoms
Condoms provide a great way to guard against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and safe sex is sexy. From a planet-safe standpoint, vegan condoms may be your best bet and they are equally effective in preventing STDs. Unlike conventional condoms, vegan condoms are made with natural rubber latex and without animal products (such as casein milk or lamb intestines). They also tend to use sustainable manufacturing processes and materials. Because they’re typically all-natural and free of harsh chemicals, they may also feel better to the penis, vagina and anus — all without that pesky latex smell. The packaging tends to be more sustainably made too. While you should never reuse condoms, do be sure to recycle the cardboard container.
5. Make Love by (Eco-Friendly) Candlelight
Few things set a sensual tone like candlelight. While regular candles don’t produce as many toxins as major contributors like cars, they can increase your carbon footprint. Paraffin candles produce a variety of harmful byproducts, including carbon dioxide. They’re also derived from petroleum, which is nonrenewable, and often come in wasteful packaging. Save electricity and skip those chemicals by using beeswax or soy-based candles to light up those romantic nights. You can also make your own candles or purchase locally made artisan varieties.
Related: 9 Foods for Better Sex for Women
6. Use an Organic Lube
The lube you use can either harm or help the planet. Organic lubricants use energy-efficient manufacturing systems, often come in recycled or recyclable packaging and do not contain harsh chemicals commonly found in their commercial counterparts that for some people cause irritation. Good Clean Love lubricants, for example, are devoid of paraffin and petrochemicals, which have been identified as potentially carcinogenic. Sierra Sage sources plants and herbs locally for use in their intimacy salves. For added perks, look for skin-fortifying ingredients like aloe on the label.
7. Switch to Organic Sheets
Have more fun between the sheets, knowing you’ve put thought into the actual bedding. Most bedsheets consist of synthetic fabrics or conventionally grown cotton, which experts consider the world’s dirtiest crop due to the risky pesticides used for production. Go for sheets made with raw materials like bamboo or certified organic cotton. Companies like Plover Organic use hydrogen peroxide bleach, a less toxic alternative to chlorine bleach, and only low-impact, fiber-reactive dyes, which means they’ve been classified as eco-friendly by Oeko-Tex Standard 100, a credible international certifier.
8. Wear Greener Underwear
No matter what the color, organic and sustainably made bras, panties, boxers and lingerie can help you get more eco-bang for your buck — in and outside of the bedroom. Companies like Naja make elegant, sultry undergarments out of fabric made from recycled plastic. PACT Apparel makes certified fair-trade and sweatshop-free briefs made of cotton grown without hazardous bleach, fertilizers or pesticides. If you’re fresh out of organic threads, go au naturel. Birthday-suit is always organic.
9. Share Planet-Friendly Vittles
Start your date night right with organic foods, which are cultivated sustainably without risky pesticides or excessive amounts of water. If you can’t afford or access organic produce, go for varieties less likely to absorb pesticides, such as sweet corn, avocados, pineapple and papayas. For added romance and energy before sex, feed each other pineapple or papaya chunks dipped in dark chocolate, which is believed to have aphrodisiac perks and may increase blood flow where it counts (i.e., your genitals).
10. Choose a Planet-Loving Partner
If you’re single and seeking a relationship, you may want to consider more than a prospect’s personality and appearance. Wendy Strgar, a loveologist, author and founder of Good Clean Love, believes planet-conscious people make better lovers. “The more consciousness we bring to life, the richer our experience,” she said. “When we bring our full attention to our sexual life, it will literally blow our mind.” So next time you’re at the organic market or an Earth Day event, keep your eyes — and heart — open. The person beside you may turn out to be an especially compassionate partner and lover.
What Do YOU Think?
What’s your favorite step toward a greener sex life? What step would you add to our collection? Let us know in the comments below!