Eco and Body Friendly Sex Toys

Eco & Body Positive Sex Toys

Flickr photo by carbonnyc (cc)

Hi everyone, Lisa here! As most of you know, Lunapads manufactures and sells washable cotton menstrual pads, pantyliners and underwear. We do this because we believe that using healthy, eco-friendly menstrual products is a creative and empowering way to honor and care for ourselves and the planet.

Jamye Waxman: Sex EducatorFor Madeleine, making the switch from tampons to cloth pads brought her the unexpected benefit of discovering a deeper connection with her body. Click here to listen to her conversation with Jamye Waxman about the connection for her between period positivity and pleasure.

Lots of our customers tell us that they have had a similar experience, and that using Lunapads led them to a new found appreciation for their bodies; not just during their periods, but all throughout their cycles and every day of the month. For some of us, using sex toys is another one of the many ways we can nurture the relationships we have with our bodies. Of course, being the eco and body friendly folks that we are, we want to be knowledgeable about the products we use and the effect they have on our bodies and the earth.

Unfortunately, sex toys are often comprised of a mystery-mix of chemicals and other ingredients not disclosed by their manufacturers – and because sex toys are classified as “novelty” items, they’re not regulated by the FDA or held to the same stringent health and safety checks that medical devices are. So, how do you choose a toy that is good for your health, and the health of the planet? Here’s some info about the different materials and options available.

Carol Queen, Good Vibrations

“Sex is part of our lives, so any issue that concerns us out of the bedroom has implications inside it: if we recycle, buy local produce, watch our carbon use, and think ecologically in other ways, it makes sense to do the same when we make sexual choices. Our well-being and that of the earth are connected, so consider where you can go ecorotic!”
Dr. Carol Queen, Good Vibrations

True medical grade silicone toys are phthalate and pvc-free, durable, non-porous, and easy to clean – just use mild soap & warm water, then allow to dry completely before storing. Silicone toys can also be submerged in boiling water to be thoroughly sterilized, and reused for years.

Hathor Aphrodisia Pure LubeSomething important to note is that silicone toys are not compatible with silicone or silicone-based lubricants, which will dissolve the surface and really degrade the silicone over time. Instead, stick to natural, water-based lubes like Hathor, which we carry at Lunapads.com. Hathor Aphrodisia products are organically sourced and vegan, as well as paraben, petroleum and glycerin-free.

Glass toys are typically made of tempered, shatter-proof medical grade borosilicate glass (aka pyrex) which is a non-toxic material made of sand. Borosilicate toys are phthalate free, hypoallergenic, non-porous, and can be chilled or heated without damaging the integrity of the glass.

Other materials recommended by eco-sex aficionados include sustainably harvested wood, ceramic, and stainless steel. These materials are all very durable, which means they are less likely to end up in a landfill. When choosing a wooden toy, just be sure to look for a product that is treated with a body-safe and hypoallergenic sealant.

Jelly and soft rubber toys contain high concentrations of phthalates, which are petroleum-derived plastic / pvc softeners. These phthalates are highly volatile and easily released into the air and groundwater, and can be absorbed into your body through your skin and mucous membranes. Jelly toys are relatively inexpensive, which may make them desirable – but are they safe? There is a lot of debate around this issue, but what we do know for certain is that the use of phthalates in children’s toys is restricted or outright banned in the EU, United States, Canada and Australia.

You will know if you have a toy contain phthalates by its strong, plastic-y chemical smell and sometimes slick or oily film on the surface. Some manufacturers add fragrance to mask the smell of phthalate off gassing, which may cause irritation and allergic reactions. Furthermore, jelly and soft rubber toys are extremely porous and can easily harbor bacteria and cause infection if not cleaned properly; which is difficult to do since they can’t be boiled.

In terms of energy use and vibrators in particular, look for toys that are rechargeable – or choose a vibrator that plugs in, since this doesn’t require using disposable batteries, which equals less waste / batteries in the trash. Rechargeable toys are typically higher quality too, so they’ll last years. There are even a few solar powered toys available, apparently. Anyone tried one?

Another factor to consider is where your toys are made, and that distance relative to where you live. Most sex toys are manufactured overseas. In 2005, The Guardian estimated that 70% of the world’s sex toys are manufactured in China. If you’re in Canada (like us) or the US, that’s a very long way to travel and a hefty carbon footprint. Opt for toys that are manufactured closer to home whenever possible.

Which retailers and manufacturers do you trust for environmentally friendly and body safe sex toys?

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  • Anonymous

    I only buy from trusted sources like Portland’s She Bop shop, because they are very knowledgeable and open about their products and only carry high-quality body-safe toys.

  • DM

    Honest to goodness, I do not have a trusted source and this has never crossed my mind until now. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I would love to try something that won’t harm me or my hubby.

  • Gina

     Smitten Kitten! It’s an awesome feminist sex shop in Minneapolis 🙂

  • Lucille LoveDay

    I love Betty Dodson the grandmama of sexual healing! Also Passionfruit the Women’s Sexuality Shop in Melburn. I ask my Ladies and also my Man. Glass is amazing for lurve toys and I always trust my intuition!
    Lucille XX
    https://passionfruitshop.com.au/about.html
    https://dodsonandross.com/

  • LP

    Used to be a local shop “ruby’s pearl” that was a great local resource but it closed unfortunately

  • Just started getting into this so SUPER appreciate the article and the responses!!! I don’t have any resources yet, I’m trying to put some websites together for my clients and interested friends… and yet another reason I love you ladies 🙂

    • Thanks, Roxanna! I would love to check out your list of resources when it’s done. Keep us posted!

  • Artemisnee

    I don’t really have one unfortunately. I went to Babes in Toyland once but I don’t live close enough to NY to go often. I see the ads for Smitten Kitten in Bitch Magazine all the time and would love to stop by for a visit if I’m ever in Minn.

  • Guest

    There is a local shop here in Montreal called joytoyz, and they run workshops on a multitude of subjects to help you and your guy (or gal) find your mojo–there’s even one on burlesque and striptease–as well as home demonstration parties and have a series of videos on YouTube.

    The founders carry sex toys that are female-friendly and keep in mind the safe health aspect in what they sell.See joytoyz.com

  • Latrice

    I usually head straight to my mom for info. She is a sexual health teacher at a local clinic & I trust her judgment. I wish there was a local shop I could go to but so far no luck. Great post!

  • Lalapetitee

    I’m in college & my local womens clinic is the place I turn to. I also have a few reliable friends I can rely on. I always wished there would be more organic/natural options for people. Thanks for the great info 🙂

  • Egarden

    A local store, Smitten. My friend works there and it is a great place! An adult store like no other, much more woman friendly.

  • Laska

    I am based in Vancouver, BC and I offer Sex Toy Parties in Vancouver, BC and my events/seminars are educational based.  I also import high quality sleeves for bullets designed out of Silicone /TPR.  Please visit my website for organic lubricant and high quality sex toys – free shipping in Canada.  http://www.sexedwithatwist.com

  • Danielle Garcia

    I do not have one!!  Your post was very informative though.  Thanks so much for sharing it

  • NicoOrange

    I used to just search the internet for information, but a few years back our town got a way-rad, local sex shop that has all the environmentally friendly toys and lube.

    • Congratulations, NicoOrange, you are the winner! Emailing you now!

  • KH

    I don’t have one place I go to but I search the internet before I buy anything.  Although I would love to find a one place I could go to and not have to worry about the products.

  • TanyaD

    A book called Ecoholics had some interesting info about green sex… I’m pretty sure they even mentioned lunapads 😉

  • Adica

    Just like all my other natural products, I use anything recommended by Debra of Debra’s List (www.debraslist.com). She also has a few threads on her Q&A blog (greenlivingqa.com) that give suggestions on sexual products, or you can ask her yourself.

  • Kharry2864

    I use a glass toy and i must say it is absolutely amazing!
    i unfrotenlty do not have a trusted source for good information 🙁 
    i will be looking through the comments to get some ideas! thanks for an awesome site!

  • Kharry2864

    I use a glass toy and i must say it is absolutely amazing!
    i unfrotenlty do not have a trusted source for good information 🙁 
    i will be looking through the comments to get some ideas! thanks for an awesome site!

  • lajulie

    Good Vibrations is legendary back home in northern California.  I would love to see eco-safe and healthy offerings offered by Lunapads as well.

  • <3 Lunapads!!

  • Cleverlilac

    I usually refer to Smitten Kitten’s website for information.

  • Guest

    I like Babeland… recently they have started carrying more eco-friendly stuff and fewer jelly toys. They even reformulated their generic lube so it would be paraben-free. Plus their site is full of detailed information about toys/materials, and since I’m in Seattle I can go in-person too. Yay Babeland!

    • Seattleite

      I also like Babeland… I like to go in to the store, which is probably the tidiest sex shop I’ve ever been to.  The staff are very helpful.

  • Rebecca Allen

    https://www.goodcleanlove.com  Great lubes, toys, and information about sustainable relationships!

  • My trusted, go-to source for information about sexual health is Scarleteen, the most fabulous, sex-positive informational site I’ve ever seen: https://www.scarleteen.com/.  It handles sensitive topics with care and consideration but is truly no-nonsense about getting the facts right.  Even though I was exposed to comprehensive sex. ed. in school, I feel this site was a more valuable educational resource.

    There are a couple other great resources I want to mention here.  For questions that only a sexpert can answer, I recommend Columbia’s GoAskAlice service: https://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/.  For questions that non-medical professionals can answer, I recommend LiveJournal’s VaginaPagina community: https://vaginapagina.livejournal.com/.  Between the two of them, I’m not sure there are any sexual health questions that can’t be resolved.

  • Guest

    Venus Envy shop has lots of eco info for each product they sell.