What Is Eco-friendly Sex?

How much of an impact do our sex lives have on climate change? GETTY I MAGES
Spread the love

Eco-Friendly Sex: What Is It And How Does It Impact On Climate Change?

When we think about the different ways we can reduce our carbon footprints, our sex lives are not usually at the top of the list.

Yet web searches for sustainable products such as vegan condoms and waste-free contraception have been steadily on the rise in recent years.

What is eco-friendly sex?

“For some, being eco-friendly sexually means selecting lubes, toys, bed sheets, and condoms that have less impact on the planet,” explains Dr. Adenike Akinsemolu, an environmental sustainability scientist from Nigeria.

Dr. Adenike Akinsemolu is a sustainability expert from Nigeria who advocates for living a waste-free life. PHOTO COURTESY

“For others, it entails reducing the damage in the creation of porn to workers and the environment. Both examples are valid and of importance.”

The UN Population Fund estimates around 10 billion male latex condoms are manufactured each year and most are disposed of in landfills.

That’s because most condoms are made from synthetic latex and use additives and chemicals, meaning they cannot be recycled.

Lambskin condoms, which have been used since Roman times, are the only fully biodegradable option. However, they are made from the intestine of a sheep and do not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How much of an impact do our sex lives have on climate change? GETTY IMAGES

Many lubes are also petroleum-based and therefore contain fossil fuels. This has led to a rise in water-based or organic products. And homemade options are becoming more popular.

Dr. Tessa Commers has more than a million followers watching her TikTok videos on sexual health. Her most viewed video – with almost eight million watches – is a recipe for homemade lube made from cornstarch and water.

“The water-based lubricants, organic and vegan condoms are a good pick for having fun and embracing a sustainable sex life,” says Dr. Akinsemolu. “They not only cause minor damage to the environment but offer their users a great time.”

However, caution must be taken with some greener products, as some can’t be used with most condoms because they may cause breakage. And before making any decisions around contraception, it is advised that you speak to a doctor or family planning professional.

Sex toys are another area where the use of plastic is widespread. Steel or glass alternatives are available, while the option of buying rechargeable toys also helps reduce waste. There are even solar-powered sex toys on the market.

Companies such as LoveHoney also offer a sex toy amnesty where they assist in recycling old and broken toys that cannot go through typical recycling routes.

Where else can waste be reduced?

Then there are less obvious parts of our sex lives where changes can be made to reduce waste.

Purchasing ethically made lingerie and clothing, avoiding shower sex, using less hot water, keeping the lights switched off, and opting for reusable washcloths are all ways to reduce our impact on the planet.

Like most things we buy, packaging often leads to waste. Lauren Singer, an entrepreneur and zero-waste influencer from New York, says this is where most companies can make a difference.

Condoms, lube, and daily contraceptive pills are all products that can generate packaging that ends up in landfills. IUDs (intrauterine devices) and implants are longer-term contraceptive options, which have less waste but come with their own risks.

Lauren lives almost entirely waste-free and, since 2012, has collected anything she hasn’t been able to recycle in a jar.

Lauren Singer has been collecting all her non-recyclable waste in a jar since 2012. PHOTO COURTESY

You won’t find condoms in Lauren’s jar and, as they are the only contraception effective against STIs, she asks all her sexual partners to get tested before sleeping with them.

“I’ve got a monogamous partner now, but if you don’t feel comfortable asking a partner to get tested before going to bed with them, then you probably shouldn’t be sleeping with them at all,” Lauren says.

However, she says there is nothing more unsustainable than an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease.

“We have to consider what waste is worth producing and what isn’t,” she says. “People shouldn’t use condoms or not take birth control because of the waste aspect – it’s more important to protect you and your partner.”

Dr. Akinsemolu agrees. “Safe sex, whether using eco-friendly products or not, is the most sustainable for people and the planet in the long run,” she says.


Felicity Gitonga
Felicity Gitonga is the founder of Africa Business News. abn, freelance writer, journalist, and author with a passion for telling stories.

Waiguru Officially Ditches Jubilee Party: Joins UDA 

Previous article

Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Awarded Africa’s Leading Airport Hotel.

Next article

More in Enviroment

You may also like


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *