Make It Last: How To Have A More Sustainable Sex Life

Biodegradable vibrators, stainless steel dildos... a greener sex life can still be fun, honestly.
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Many of us have been trying to green up our lifestyle in the past few years – carrying reusable bags, buying less single-use plastic, and considering our carbon footprint when booking holidays. So, if we want to help the planet in other areas of our lives, why not in the bedroom, too?

It might seem a strange topic to tackle – after all, there isn’t the same wastage involved with sex as there is with other activities like eating, dressing and travel.

But surely living more sustainably has to include our sex lives? And no, we’re not talking Bridget Jones’ eco-dolphin-friendly, two-years-out-of-date condoms, which tear when you use them. We don’t all want babies with Patrick Dempsey (or was it Colin Firth?) – especially when having fewer children might just be the best thing we can do for planet right now.

Happily, the sex industry is catching up with our green aspirations – from biodegradable vibrators to vegan condoms – and, according to the experts, these sustainable products are in demand.

Renee Denyer, senior store manager of Sh! women’s sex emporium, which opened in London in 1992, tells HuffPost UK people are much more aware of what they’re buying these days. “They’re asking questions,” she says. “They think about materials, where things were made, how they are powered, and they consider spending a bit more to make it last longer.”

Some customers also read up on the impact these products may have on the planet before they come into the shop, she adds. “You can tell who is environmentally-aware. It’s just not a world of fast sex products anymore.”

Some brands, like Swedish brand Lelo, are leading the conversation when it comes to better quality sex products. “Lelo started this trend and, in doing so, have brought the whole industry up a level with them,” says Denyer.

Here are some more brands (and tips) to bring into the bedroom.


Lauren Singer, a zero-waste blogger from New York who runs sustainability shop Package Free, says she was “shocked” by the demand for biodegradable vibrators. When she starting stocking them, they sold out almost instantly. “People were crazy about them.”

Denyer says there are plenty of options for customers in the UK. In fact, as vibrators go, they are the easiest product to go sustainable with, she says (possibly because you’re going to have one for longer than a condom).

The best one? Gaia, she recommends, which markets itself as the “world’s first biodegradable and recyclable” vibrator. It’s made from a plant-based bioplastic, which means once you’ve used it to the end of its life, you can recycle it in the same way as compost. Gaia vibrators come in two sizes and three colours – coral, green and blue. The smaller size starts at £12.99 and the larger is £14.99.

It’s worth noting that some shops and brands offer to recycle customer’s old vibrators when they are finished using them – of any type, not just sustainable ones. Lovehoney recycles them, then makes a donation to the World Land Trust, a rainforest conservation charity, on your behalf. We can’t help but applaud.


Some sex shops are choosing to stock dildos made from more sustainable materials, rather than just plastic. “We sell glass toys,” says Denyer, who compares them in durability to a Pyrex oven dish. “They will last you for years... unless you drop them on a concrete floor of course.”

Safe and temperature responsive, a glass dildo “can be warmed or cooled to offer pleasurably different sensations to erotic zones”, the website states.

Another sustainable option? Dildos made out of stainless steel. Njoy is a well-known brand that makes products for medical-grade stainless steel, the kind that is used in hip replacements. “So if it’s good enough for that, it’s good enough for your vagina,” says Denyer.

Njoy dildos start at £20 and go up to £100 for more complex toy. Glass and stainless steel dildos are less likely to get damaged because there are no breakable components that may need replacing – making them last longer.


The use of lube is way more widespread than it used to be – because why should anyone put up with dry or uncomfortable sex?

Nearly half of millennials use lubricants, according to stats from research group Mintel, but while this is good news for our sex lives, it isn’t great for the environment.

Lots of lubes on the market are full of chemicals and parabens.

Some people opt to use alternatives like coconut oil or aloe vera, but if you’d prefer to shop for lube specifically, Denyer suggests the organic lubricant called Yes, whose products start at £5.99 for 50ml.

The Yes products promise to be the “purest range of personal lubricants available”, according to the brand. They have no parabens.

“If you shop organic for your food, then you probably want an organic product for your vagina,” says Denyer. “And the price difference with non-organic reflects the same as between organic and non-organic food.”


There are lots of options to choose from if you’re looking for environmentally-friendly condoms. If you want a vegan product, Denyer recommends Hanx.

Hanx condoms don’t contain casein, an animal protein usually added to latex condoms to make them smoother. Instead, it uses thistle extract, as well as corn-starch powder and silicon oil. “These are really popular, although they are a little more pricey,” says Denyer. “But if you want to live a vegan lifestyle, you want to go as wide as you can in that.” Hanx condoms start at £4.99 for a pack of three.

Another option is Sustain condoms, a fair trade product made from natural latex and recyclable paper packaging. They are manufactured ethically, with 10% of all profits going to women’s health organisations. They’re also free of nitrosamine, a carcinogen present in many other condoms. Sustain condoms are available online for £11 for a pack of 10 condoms.

We don’t yet know how long condoms take to biodegrade or what they’re doing to our natural habitats, so regardless of which ones you buy, you should always dispose of them correctly – this means not flushing them down the toilet (unless you fancy another fatberg build up). And, honestly, who fancies that?

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