More Eco-Sex: Eco-Babes in the Bedroom

Stefanie Iris Weiss, author of Eco-Sex
Eco-sex isn’t just about you and a partner. Pull that sex toy out of your nightstand drawer and take a good, hard look at it. Perhaps it has brought you much pleasure, but did you ever stop to think about what it’s actually made of? Considering where the thing goes, you really should take stock of the materials that give your little friend its shape and size.
Playing It Safe

The brilliant and wise team behind Smitten Kitten, an awesomely progressive sex store in Minneapolis, has initiated a campaign to enlighten the public about the dangers of sex toys and healthier alternatives. Below is their “Smart Shoppers Tool Kit” (courtesy of CATT). Use the following tools and tips to make smart, informed decisions despite ill-informed store clerks, unreliable product packaging, and overwhelming options.

1. Implement the smell test. Your sense of smell is your most reliable tool for identifying a potentially dangerous sex toy. If you smell any chemical odors or perfumes, you can assume they are a direct result of a process known as off-gassing, in which myriad, unknown chemical compounds are migrating out of the material (usually PVC or polystyrene) and contaminating the air you breathe. There is concern that these “mystery” chemicals will also migrate onto your skin and into your body during use. Safe, 100% medical-grade silicone toys do not smell because there are no chemicals present to off-gas.

2. Be wary of claims that condoms will protect you from toxic toys. If your salesperson or product literature suggests that you always use a condom over your sex toy, beware that this toy is potentially toxic. Safe sex toys made from 100% medical-grade silicone, high-quality glass, surgical steel, polished stone, or hard plastics (including acrylic) do not require the use of a condom because they can be thoroughly sanitized to prevent the exchange of microscopic organisms, including bacteria, fungi and viruses that might cause infection. Remember, to prevent the transmission of infection, you must sanitize your toy before sharing it.

3. Never take claims made on sex toy packaging at face value. There is absolutely no requirement that the product packaging for sex toys or the literature contained therein be truthful in any way. Just because packaging might say a toy is made of silicone does not mean it actually is! Sex toy manufacturers have gotten savvy (you might say tricky). They try to lure consumers to purchase products by falsely labeling them as safe. These toys are clearly labeled as silicone but contain only trace amounts of silicone and are instead riddled with much less savory ingredients!

Also, consider claims like “hygienically superior” to be baseless until convinced otherwise by your own good research or common sense. Be on the lookout for confusingly similar spellings of materials that you know are safe. For instance, never confuse silicon with silicone. The long and short story is, don’t trust the packaging without supporting evidence.

4. Be suspicious of space-age, overtly sexual or technical-sounding terms for sex toy materials. One way to spot these faux “materials” is to look for the registered trademark symbol (®) following the “material” in question. If the term in question is trademarked, this means that it is a trade name and has been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If you see the (™) symbol, this may mean that the user claims some exclusive rights to use the mark or word. Remember, no actual names of materials will ever be properly trademarked.

Know that these trademarked terms do not necessarily connote any specific chemical composition. They are instead marketing terms used by companies to differentiate and sell a particular product without making any specific claims or mention of the actual materials used in the production of the item in question.

This means that all of those directions about caring for “cyber” or “real” are suspect at best because these words are nothing more than a product marketing executive’s smooth attempt to seduce you into buying the product because it sounds sexier or more technical than the competitor’s.

For example, there is no reliable way to know what a toy labeled “cyber” is actually made of without full disclosure from the manufacturer or an independent chemical analysis by a qualified laboratory. Always wonder why a toy is labeled with a fancy name without also disclosing the ingredients!

To determine if a toy is safe, you must first determine the actual composition of the toy. Toys made from nontoxic and nonporous materials such as 100% medical-grade silicone, polished stone, surgical steel, high-quality solid glass, and hard plastics (including acrylic) are safe. You will notice that ® or ™ symbols are not present following actual ingredients (as opposed to those made-up marketing terms) because you cannot claim intellectual property rights on such words.

If you’ve been reluctant to green your lifestyle because it seems too complicated or even cliché, now you see why eco-sexuality is a seductive bridge to all things green. You don’t have to do it for some far-off, amorphous reason that you can’t wrap your brain around. You can simply do it because you want your sex life to maintain its sizzle while keeping the planet cool. And with all the fringe benefits of eco-sex (health, stamina, increased sensuality, consciousness expansion), how could you possibly pass it up?

Want more? Get your own copy of Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable.

Stefanie Iris Weiss, MA, is the author of nine books, including her latest title–Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable (Crown Publishing/Ten Speed Press, April 2010). She’s written about the quarter-life crisis, women’s issues, sex, the environment, dating and relationships, health and wellness, the divinatory arts, and more. Stefanie is a regular contributor to British Elle, and has written for Teen Vogue, Marie Claire,, Elle Japan, Elle Netherlands, and Zink Magazine, to name a few.

Find even more Eco-Sex tips at

Article excerpted from


About minesgreencircle

Founded in 2008, the Mines Green Circle is the special Green Environmental Unit of Palace of the Golden Horses and Mines Wellness Hotel for “Better Environment, Better Health”. It advocates green practices amongst the personnel of the Palace of the Golden Horses and Mines Wellness Hotels as well as its guests.

Posted on May 20, 2011, in Going Green and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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