If you can buy vegan condoms (yes, you can) then it makes sense to consider the quantum leap to vegan sex toys, doesn’t it? Although Veganism is high profile right now, vegan sex toys have quietly been around for several years, it’s only now that they are really gaining momentum.
Most condoms are made of naturally occurring latex but this doesn’t make them vegan. Condoms can contain casein which is an animal by-product, a protein derived from milk so a big no-no for vegans. The use of casein is far less prevalent than it used to be and now condom manufacturers have gone a whole step further and are catering for the vegan crowd with vegan condoms and some guaranteed gluten-free (just in case it’s going in a mouth). SKYN and Avanti make non-latex condoms using polyisoprene. But it’s also not just about avoiding animal products, it’s about steering clear of companies who test on animals – Durex and Trojan spring to mind. GLYDE is probably the most popular vegan condom in the States and is 100% cruelty-free and with the rubber stamp of approval from the Vegan Society. VeganEssentials also stock non-latex vegan condoms for those who have a latex intolerance. In the UK, Condomi is Vegan Society approved.
Where have vegan sex toys come from?
Vegan sex toys have been borne out of the vegan movement and many sex industry observers firmly believe that any animal products in the sex toy industry will all but disappear before long. This is purely because of the shift in the eating habits of the British public and the awareness of where our other consumables apart from food comes from. It’s quite simple, if you don’t want to eat it then why would you insert it into a part of your body? So apart from vegan sex toys, add to this vegan condoms as discussed, natural lubricants and vegan massage oils and you really can have a truly ethical, guilt-free love life.
For many vegans, it is about avoiding the cruelty which is associated with the use of animal products in all areas of their lives. Those who subscribe to veganism tend to examine the use of animal products and animal testing (not necessarily one in the same thing) in all aspects of their daily living, not just food. So it makes sense that this should extend into the bedroom department. But its difficult with sex toys as routinely, these do not contain ingredient lists or manufacturing policies.
But in 2020, it is actually getting much easier to source vegan sex toys. Many of these websites are just pulling together different toys where they can verify their origin and what they are made of and also ascertain that the items are manufactured without animal testing. Anything that ticks the vegan box can go on sale. It’s not like there is a specific manufacturer who is making these, well maybe one or two.
Never one to miss a commercial marketing opportunity, sex toy retailers are keen to cash in on what has been described as the environmental lobby. Some websites are getting ahead of the game with a vegan filter on all their listings so you can easily pull up vegan products. For some retailers, vegan sex items give them ethical and environmental credibility. Here are some choice selections in addition to the vegan condoms:-
A biodegradable vibrator
– it looks like an old-fashioned bullet type but users report a really decent level of service. So what’s it made of? It is manufactured out of starch-based bioplastic which is non-porous (big tick there for the cleanliness brigade) and has top-notch eco-credentials. Retailing at just under £15, it seems too good to be true but it is the real deal
Natural and planet-friendly body lubricants
– this is tricky as natural oils are not recommended for use with condoms because they can interfere with the latex. But there are organic water-based lubricants available on the market avoiding those pesky petrochemicals and parabens
Solar-powered California Exotic Solar bullet vibrator
– this has actually been around for about 15 years but no-one seems to have noticed
For those into their kinks, you can pick up vegan-friendly rubber whips, harnesses that are absent leather, there is even an upcycled bicycle inner tube vegan harness. You can buy vegan body paint and in the ultimate irony, BaconLube – completely 100% vegan with a luscious bacon taste, forbidden tastes in saucy areas.
So if you are thinking of throwing out all your old sex toys and upgrading to vegan, organic and biodegradable, what should you do with the discards?
Lovehoney, a UK sex shop, will actually recycle old vibrators from their customers and they are not alone. Toys made from ABS plastics are sterilised (phew) and then passed to recycling companies. Silicone products are sterilised in something called an autoclave and then reformed into whatever you want – silicone doesn’t leach any toxic chemicals. Jelly rubber or latex has to go to landfill unfortunately, they are uncleanable and even if you could clean them, they still remain an environmental biohazard. Glass and stainless steel toys obviously receive a big tick.
For the average punter, you can be sure you are buying something that is not going to harm you or your partner’s body and is free of toxic chemicals like phthalates. You will get a warm glow (in addition to the sex) that you are doing your bit for the planet and are not subscribing to animal testing or animal cruelty. Veganism is actually going to have a very positive effect on the cheaper end of the sex toy market in which poorly made goods abound produced from dubious sources made from goodness knows what and treated with toxic chemicals. There is no regulation and rather perversely, the enquiring mind of the vegan is going to make it difficult for poor quality cheap products to survive. That’s no bad thing. And, ethical sex toys don’t have to be expensive either. You can also subscribe to the upcycled market and buy a product which is either totally recyclable or biodegradable. There really is no excuse.