Having sex with someone you love and care for is fun, it feels good right? But did you know a lot of the lubricants, condoms and even sex toys are made with petroleum-based chemicals and materials? I want to help you green your sex life, so I’ve rounded up The ULTIMATE Guide To Eco-Friendly Sex (toys, lubricant & condoms)!
This post contains mature subject matter, please check with your doctor before trying/using any of the suggestions below
Let’s begin here. Protection is key when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, I am not going to get into those options in this blog post, it’s a very personal choice and one you need to talk to your doctor about. There is a very comprehensive guide here that you can take a look at that. But I am going to talk about everything else.
Condoms are typically made of lambskin, latex, polyurethane, or other synthetic materials such as AT-10 resin and polyisoprene and a few other unwanted ingredients, which we will come back to in a bit.
Chemicals to avoid in condoms:
You’ve heard of these preservatives in skincare, right? Parabens are found in many lubricants and lubricated condoms. They are used to stop the growth of bacteria and extend the shelf life of the condom. Some research has shown that parabens can mimic hormones in the body and disrupt the functions of the endocrine system.
There is a lot of debate about whether or not paraben from condoms can cause harm. I’d err on the side of caution.
The FDA still deems parabens safe at low levels of exposure, and most products contain low amounts but cumulative exposure from many different paraben products is what will cause health problems to arise.
Nonoxynol-9, Is a spermicide that is added to the condom to help reduce the risk of pregnancy and STI’s. Studies have shown that it can cause inflammation of the cervix, vagina, and rectum. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that condoms containing N-9 were not found to be any more protective against sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy than their counterparts lacking N-9.
There are special requirements for the labelling of condoms containing nonoxynol-9 issued by the FDA. Kimono condoms were the first to remove N-9. Trojan Armor Series condoms contain N-9. Be aware that most condom companies do not warn consumers about the potential risks of nonoxynol-9.
Glycerin, not to be confused with glycerol (a sugar), is used in condoms as a lubricant. If left in the vagina too long it can mess up your PH balance leading to a yeast infection. It’s hard to tell if your condom contains this ingredient because it’s not typically listed on the box.
Is a protein byproduct of milk and it’s used to make latex condoms smooth. This is not Vegan. More info here on vegan options.
Benzocaine is a local anesthetic used to delay a man's organism. It can also kill the mood a little as you can get a little dumb and studies have shown that you can have localized inflammation, irritation, and dryness.
These are some of the most common condoms on the market. Made either from a latex tree (natural) or synthetic latex-like polyurethane. People with an allergy to latex can try these brands:
- LifeStyles SKYN
- Trojan Naturalamb
- Trojan Supra
- Durex Avanti Bare
"Whatever your condom choice: DO NOT FLUSH CONDOMS DOWN THE TOILET. They can wreak havoc on sewage systems and aquatic life. They belong in the trash to biodegrade."
A word on Lambskin Condoms
Are made from the intestinal membrane of a lamb. If you are vegan this is not an option for sure. They are approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as an effective means of preventing pregnancy but don’t prevent STDs.
From my research men who use these (I have not) say they do have a more natural feel than a latex condom because they are super thin and give a greater sensation during sex. But some have also complained about the smell.
The disadvantages are that they are super expensive and don’t’ protect against sexually transmitted diseases. They also look a little different from regular latex condoms. Personally, I would not use these as they are made from an animal and that bothers me.
The other two types of typical condoms are made from latex or polyurethane, or other synthetic materials such as AT-10 resin and polyisoprene, and other ingredients we need to be aware of since they are going right up in there if you get my drift.
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN EVEN FURTHER BY CONDOM BRAND
- Do not contain nonoxynol-9
- Have a latex-free brand called Durex Avanti Bare
- Do contain parabens and glycerin
- Free from N-9 and casein
- Their Kimono MicroThin Plus with Aqua Lube water-based lubricant does contain glycerin and parabens
- Made from latex
- The most popular brand on the market
These brands contain benzocaine:
- Trojan Extended Pleasure
- Durex Performax
- Trojan Double Ecstasy Condoms
ECO-FRIENDLY CONDOM BRANDS
Sustain condoms do not contain glycerin, parabens, benzocaine, or lidocaine. They use fair-trade rubber, are vegan, and are available in unscented and lavender. They also offer vagina-friendly pads, tampons, wipes, and period underwear, all designed with non-toxic materials so that women don’t have to worry about what chemicals their bodies are absorbing. Used them! Love them!
- Do not contain benzocaine, parabens, glycerin or N-9
- They do contain corn starch
- They are made from Ntrtaul latex and have a silicone lubricant
Lovability Condoms are made with 100% natural, vegan latex + smooth aloe-infused silicone lubricant. NO spermicides, dyes, fragrances, or chemical irritants.
Glyde is the first certified ethical, vegan and fair trade condom made in worker-owned factories that use locally sourced, natural rubber and do not participate in animal testing, no casein here.
These are made from natural rubber latex and cornstarch powder and medical-grade silicone oil as a lubricant. They are free of “free of” parabens, nitrosamines, casein, gluten, glycerin, synthetic colourants, synthetic flavour, and fragrance. I would like to know where the latex is grown and how it’s grown too.
A lot of the same ingredients noted above in the condom section are also found in most lubricants. Parabens, N-9, Glycerin etc. But in some cases, the following are also present:
Propylene glycol, Is used as a humectant and preservative and can cause irritation. This chemical has also been used in anti-freeze, this is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to say on the subject.
The FDA says the opposite. But honestly, why take the chance.
Chlorhexidine gluconate is an antibacterial, I would shy away from this as well.
Be sure to read the label and if you are not sure, reach out to the company directly. Transparency is key!
BEST NATURAL LUBES
This Sex Oil is free from Alcohol (drying + irritating), Glycerin (drying + irritating), parabens (endocrine disruptor, mimics estrogen), petroleum products (irritating + suffocating to the skin), harsh preservatives (cellular mutator + irritating to the skin) and synthetic fragrances or colour. It’s not recommended you use this with any latex products.
Their Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant is certified organic lubes are water-based and PH-balanced. Made with aloe vera and infused with lemon and vanilla for a light flavour.
This Vancouver-based company’s lubes are made with eco-certified ingredients. Water-based, paraben-free, glycerin-free, taste-free. Vegan, condom, and toy friendly.
ALOE CADABRA NATURAL ALOE LUBRICANT
Aloe Vera is a good choice you just want to make sure it's 100% Aloe and does not contain any other fillers. Some people can be sensitive to Aloe, so do a patch test first.
Many of the brands listed above that make eco condoms also make good lubricants as well.
As more and more of us are looking for products that are people (vagina) and planet safe, the sex toy industry is taking note and offering more than just plastic and synthetic jellies as options when it comes to toys. If you want to reduce your toxic load and your carbon footprint, you are going to want to invest in a toy that will cost a little more money but will last way longer than its cheap plastic (disposable) counterparts.
First off, you will want to avoid jelly and PVC-type toys of any kind. Cock rings and single-use bullets are good examples. PVC or polyvinyl chloride and has a ton of chemicals present (phthalates) that you do not want anywhere near your private parts. And since there is NO regulation on these items it's impossible to know what is actually lurking in them! Like phthalates and Bisphenol A!
Your first line of defence is to ask what it's made from if it's porous you will want to avoid it, as bacteria and other nasties can stay on it and they are really hard (lol PUN) to keep sanitized.
When buying any sex toys, I recommend doing as much research as possible and avoid CHEAP products, like always!
TOP PICK FOR SEX TOYS
Made from porcelain, Adele favours small batch production, focusing on sustainability and conscious sourcing. Her couture sensual tools are hypoallergenic and durable and can be used with any lubricant or natural oil. She offers a wide range of toys for you to choose from.
Made from recycled (handblown) glass in Niagra Falls, these come in a variety of colours. They are non-porous and easy to keep clean.
From Toronto, these are hand carved from wood offcuts and sealed with natural finishes.
All their vibrators are made with medical-grade silicone and are phthalate-free as well.
Are sex toys made from a natural crystal that brings a sense of sacredness to your playtime. These beautiful, hand-crafted tools are created with the intention of opening oneself up to the healing properties crystals provide.
The Gaia Eco Bullet is the world’s first biodegradable and recyclable vibrator! This pleasure-packed petite vibe is crafted from BioFeel, a starch-based bioplastic (a polymer compound material mixed with corn starch).
If you know of any brands you want me to include, please comment below.