Zero Waste Sex
As is it officially the month of super commercialized love, therefore I’m doing a blog post of zero waste tips involving the topic of sex! I was a bit nervous to write this and even post about it on platforms my family reads, but I believe we need to de-stigmatize sex a way to promote positive and educational discussions. Sex is a normal part of every human’s life and avoiding this topic (especially the waste generation) would not be honest. So here goes!
Tip #1: Research your sex toys
There are many, many types of sex toys made from a variety of materials, most being plastic or silicone. There are some recycling programs in place that will accept old sex toys, I would suggest looking for programs in your area. Currently, it is difficult to drop sex toys off at a materials recovery facility due to the negative stigma associated with these toys, but depending on the complexity of material, some can be broken down into other materials. Check out articles like this, this and this for more information.
When purchasing sex toys in the please consider a couple of things: 1. Can you buy something locally? This could reduce shipping waste and carbon emissions.
2. Is it rechargeable or does it take batteries? Items that can be plugged into charge greatly reduce excessive battery waste, but will have to be disposed of differently when compared to a product that takes standard batteries.
3. What type of product is it made from? There are glass and wood sex toys that can be completely recycled (no vibrating function with these) but don’t “perform” when compared to plastic or silicone. Google eco sex toys, they’re out there!
Tip #2: Use a condom
Condoms are NOT ZERO WASTE, and belong in the category of trash every time. Not in the toilet, not in the compost bin, but in the trash. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Using condoms is an effective way of controlling the population. On average one American will produce over 127,000 pounds of waste in their lifetime. You would have to use over three million condoms to generate the same amount of waste that would occur if a baby were conceived. Therefore use those condoms! There are a ton of different types of condoms; most of the more affordable ones are made from a synthetic blend of materials, including female condoms made from nitrile. Condoms that contain natural rubber can still be processed with a variety of chemicals making it unsafe to attempt to compost. Lambskin condoms (which don’t protect against STDs, just pregnancy) will biodegrade but most municipality green waste programs will not accept condoms, no matter what they are made from. There are a couple brands out there creating condoms from natural rubber, that say they don’t use chemicals (@sustain and @lola brands) I have not personally tried these, but they will biodegrade over time. Keep in mind that it will still take a really long time to break down and they do not advise trying to compost them or putting them in the green waste bin.
Tip #3: Know your lubes!
Know your lubes, especially if they can be used with condoms or not. Opt for natural products if possible.
Breakdown of the products above: A- Sweet Almond Oil, this is actually a massage oil that is for external use only, meaning that it should NOT be used as a lubricant. Additionally it is a natural oil, which would cause tearing when used with a latex condom. . B- Coconut oil, this is a great option if don’t want to purchase a whole bottle of lube, safe for internal and external use on the body. This natural oil CANNOT be used with latex condoms. C- Avocado Oil, similar to coconut oil, this oil is safe for use on skin internally and externally, but should not be used in conjunction with latex condoms. D- Aloe Vera gel, since this gel is water based it is the only one here that is safe with latex condoms! Double-check your ingredients to ensure the product doesn’t contain alcohol, because that would be very drying for your skin. There are so many more types of lubrication products on the market, it’s important to choose ones that work both with your life style and budget. There are not many #zerowaste lube options out there, unless you can purchase natural oils in bulk, or want to make small batches from Aloe Vera leaves (the leaves only last for about 3 weeks, before going bad). Hopefully this was helpful in sharing some information about items you can (and definitely cannot) use around the house instead of making an additional single use plastic purchase.
Tip #4: Don’t feel any shame getting STD/STI testing!
I personally get tested every few months using my GYNO or @plannedparenthood. This is less of a zero waste tip and more of a general sex tip, but I feel that this matter is too important to ignore when discussing info concerning sex. Getting tested ensures you are staying healthy, and keeping your partners healthy as well.
Tip #5: Choose a birth control that works for you
Woman - never feel guilty for any waste produced from your birth control, EVER. ALSO: Everyone - never feel guilty for any waste created from medications you take, EVER.
For my last post in this series, I wanted to share that I personally believe that waste generation and reduction on a personal level should exclude medications and items recommended by trained professionals. Those recommendations keep people alive and safe.
(This is not a pregnancy photo, just a good opportunity for me to get a photo of myself and my hormone free IUD for the next ten years) I wanted to post about birth control specifically for women, because it has been a huge issue in my life personally over the last two years, and if it wasn't for a few women speaking up on social media about their personal experiences, I would still be experiencing the terrible side affects due to a hormonal IUD that was NOT right for my body. Birth control for woman is a very intricate topic, there are many factors that go into the final decision. I want to let you know there is nothing wrong with speaking up if something doesn't feel right, or if you are curious about other products. You have every right to research and propose to your doctor what you believe is the best thing for your body. If the doctor disagrees with you, and you feel strongly, I hope you are empowered to get a second opinion from a different doctor or another clinic. Trust yourself!
Let me know if there is anything I missed, or any tips you want to share!
Thanks for reading!