Greening your sex life: 10 eco-friendly ways to make love better
Toss in a little green and sex can be good for the planet, tooBy Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Sex can improve your memory, strengthen your sense of smell, reduce stress, and boost your immune system. If you toss in a little green, sex can be good for the planet, too. Here are 10 ways to make your sex life a little more eco-friendly.
1. Go green together
When an opportunity to try something new as a couple arises, whether it’s choosing a massage oil or a new toy, go “au naturel.” Greening your intimate life can strengthen your relationship by giving you a fun, healthy focus in the bedroom. Simply discussing greener possibilities can spark up your love life; actually trying them may fan the flames of desire.
2. Consider your birth control
The Pill is a popular choice, but it's not a green one. “Whether from the Pill, the patch or hormone injections, synthetic estrogen makes its way into [our waterways] and has been shown to alter the apparent gender of fish,” says Gillian Deacon in Green for Life. More eco-friendly birth control methods include the IUD and latex or lambskin condoms (thrown in the garbage afterwards, not flushed down the toilet).
3. Frolic on organic bamboo sheets
Bedding can be healthy as well as sensuous. The experts at TreeHugger.com, a “green solutions” website, report that bamboo bedding is softer than cotton and drapes like silk. Bamboo wicks moisture away from your skin and comes from a renewable resource that is rapidly replenished. Other eco-friendly linens include organic cotton and hemp silk. They’re typically grown without pesticides or other harsh chemicals, and bamboo is also naturally antibacterial.
4. Massage with natural oils
Numerous shops offer natural, organic massage oils and lotions. One, Naked Soapworks on Bowen Island, B.C., makes bath and body products without artificial colours, stabilizers or preservatives. “Our Kama massage oil is scented with a blend of reputed aphrodisiacs, including rose, jasmine and ylang ylang,” says Naked creator Laurel Bailey, who adds that the same blend is also available to be used in room sprays, diffusers or the bathtub. “I can’t guarantee great sex, but if you’re naked rubbing oil on each other, you’re at least halfway there!”
5. Bask in the light of beeswax, soy or vegetable candles
Make sure your lighting is both warm and clean. “The soot from paraffin candles can cause respiratory damage, scented candles are loaded with chemicals, and the wick is likely made with lead,” writes Deacon in Green for Life. “Natural waxes burn longer, cleaner and more evenly than paraffin, without putting oily soot into the air.” Since some natural candles do contain paraffin, make sure you check the ingredients.
6. Consume less energy
Instead of watching a sexy video, turn out the lights and turn up the natural flames by whispering your intentions in your partner’s ear. You don’t have to be explicit to trigger a rush of excitement and adrenaline. Saying, “Now, I’m going to massage your biceps as I nibble on your ear,” and describing your own feelings—“Shivers ran down my back when you did that”—can make a spicy meal even hotter.
7. Explore your racy side
Greenpeace reports that some sex toys contain phthalates, which can damage reproductive organs, disrupt the body’s ability to regulate hormones and harm the kidneys and liver. Phthalates are chemical softeners used in polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, to increase flexibility. So skip the vinyl and venture into the green world of PVC-free rechargeable, glass or solar vibrators. Or, if you want to get even more risqué, explore fair trade, sustainable wood spanking paddles.
8. Lube it up naturally
Your more delicate areas are highly vascular, which means they contain blood vessels that connect directly to your bloodstream, and may need lubrication. Check the ingredients in the lubricants you use, and avoid any that contain petroleum or other chemicals. Two companies that offer natural lubes are Sensua Organics, whose offerings include lubricants made from aloe vera, grapefruit seed extract and vitamin E; and CollectiveWellbeing.com, which offers a natural berry blend.
9. Tinkle afterward
“Urinating after sex is good for the environment,” says Heather Stephenson, co-founder of IdealBite.com, a website bubbling over with green tips. How is tinkling green? “Antibiotics are prescribed for urinary tract infections, which can be prevented by peeing after sex.” Some of the antibiotics you take aren’t absorbed by your body but are excreted into the water system. And too many people flush unused antibiotics down the toilet, which could affect not only the environment but also human health.
10. Bask in a green afterglow
Enjoy your postcoital snuggle in a green sleep sanctuary. Easy ways to create an eco-friendly bedroom include using environmentally friendly laundry detergents to wash bedding—in cold water—and, when the old one gives out, investing in a natural foam or rubber mattress. Bigger green steps to the land of nod include removing and not replacing worn-out wall-to-wall carpeting and buying furniture made only of eco-friendly materials.
Web exclusive: July 2008