Green Up Your Sex Life: 10 Tips


Turn down the thermostat and heat things up naturally with a fire and your body heat.
Turn down the thermostat and heat things up naturally with a fire and your body heat.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/© Getty Images/Thinkstock

The number of American households that recycle: 77 percent, a number that's been increasing in the last few years [source: Business Wire].

The number of times Americans have sex: about once every four days (85 times a year), on average, according to the Durex Sexual Wellbeing Global Survey.

What does recycling have to do with sex? Sex feels good. And, as it turns out, going green makes us feel good, too -- about 65 percent of people surveyed in a study from Euro RSCG Worldwide report that they feel good when making environmentally friendly choices [source: Bennett and O'Reilly]. If you're an eco-friendly person making green changes to the way you live, it's time to green up your sex life. After all, size does matter: The smaller your carbon footprint, the better.

10
Set the Mood with Candles

Most candles aren't green, and we're not talking about where they fall on the color wheel. Candles are often made from paraffin wax, which is petroleum-based -- that means that when you burn a candle, you're burning fossil fuels. Yes, those same fossil fuels that are linked to climate change. While you may think the few candles you burn at home will make little impact on climate change, think about this: Americans spend roughly $2 billion per year on candles (and that's just the candles, not the accessories). And it takes 1 billion pounds of wax to keep up with the yearly demand for candles in the U.S. [source: National Candle Association].

Instead, choose candles made from more eco-friendly materials, such as soy, beeswax or palm oil -- the greenest options being the ones made locally (which eliminates the additional fuel used to ship the candles).

9
Try Natural Aphrodisiacs

There really isn't much scientific evidence behind the claims of most aphrodisiacs, but that shouldn't stop you from giving them a try -- after all, the power of suggestion can be more powerful than any pill. Studies show that placebos have helped to reduce the size of tumors, reduce pain and reduce the symptoms of depression, so don't underestimate their power to turn you on.

Chocolate, though, contains an ingredient called phenylethylamine (PEA), a stimulant that boosts mood and may reduce stress levels, two things that can help your libido after a long day. Make your chocolate choice eco-friendly by selecting fair trade-certified brands.

Try foods that appeal to your senses -- foods that smell good, taste good, look good and feel good on your tongue. Be careful which natural aphrodisiacs you sample, though. Spanish fly (derived from beetles) is a well-known love drug, but take note: It's toxic and can cause kidney damage and gastrointestinal complications.

8
Have Sex, Save Energy

The average American household spends a bundle on energy bills: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates an average family has an annual $1,400 energy bill, with about 50 percent going toward heating and cooling.

Save money and make your home a little bit greener by adjusting your thermostat and heating things up the old-fashioned way: under the covers. Among its many health benefits, sex raises your body temperature. And to top it off, an average 160-pound person will burn about 55 calories with 30 minutes of vigorous sexual activity -- keeping you warm and helping you save some green [source: Discovery Health].

How low should you go? The U.S. Department of Energy recommends lowering your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the wintertime, and even lower when you're asleep or not at home. They estimate you'll see about 1 percent savings on your energy bill for every degree you lower the thermostat (over a period of 8 hours). Bundle up!

7
Date Other Eco-friendlies

Looking for a date? More than 96 million unmarried adults (43 percent of the adult population) in the U.S. sounds like a big dating pool, but when you're more interested in the size of your carbon footprint than the size of someone's SUV, what's a green girl or guy to do? Check out the numerous online eco-friendly dating sites -- there's something in all shades of green, from vegans and vegetarians to organic farmers. Green dating services cater to singles with environmentally friendly values and people who care about sustainable living, healthy lifestyles and a healthy planet.

When you meet someone who is like-mindedly green, you just might stoke a red-hot romance.

6
Sexy Scents

Scent is important to our sensuality and sexuality. No, not pheromones. Some fragrances are just sexy, but because we often don't take the time to stop and indulge in them, we just don't notice. Scent can evoke memories, relieve tension, ease anxiety and make us feel attractive. Sandalwood, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, jasmine and patchouli are scents thought to boost the sex drive, and ginger, while best known for its anti-nausea attributes, may also help.

But what about commercial perfumes? They may smell nice, but as much as 95 percent of the chemicals used in most department store brands are derived from petroleum, and some of these have been linked to cancer, central nervous system disorders and asthma [source: Sevier]. For safe scents, you're better off searching online or making your own. Better yet, bring potted flowers indoors to stimulate all your senses.

5
Slip into Something Sustainable

When you slip into something more comfortable, make it something crafted from sustainable, environmentally friendly fabrics, such as organic cotton and silk, or sustainable materials like bamboo and hemp.

When they aren't organically produced, fabrics such as cotton contribute to the problem of climate change. Farmers who grow cotton using conventional methods rely heavily on toxic and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that degrade the environment -- in fact, 10 percent of the chemicals used in American agriculture are used to grow cotton. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is produced with methods that promote soil health, biodiversity and sustainable farming practices. And because it's regulated, the product label can't advertise something as organic unless it's been produced in accordance with the USDA regulations. Sexy and sustainable.

4
Use Birth Control

Save the planet, don't have children -- or choose to have fewer children. It may sound draconian, but the world's population is growing at an alarming rate. Right now, the world is home to more than 6,875,000,000 people, and more than 310,500,000 live in the U.S. It's estimated that one child born in the U.S. today will add nearly 10,500 tons (9,500 metric tons) of carbon dioxide to the carbon footprint of one parent [source: LiveScience]. Think of it like the carbon footprint of your family tree: An average American generates about 20 tons (18 metric tons) of carbon dioxide every year, and having more children and grandchildren means the family will leave behind a colossal carbon footprint [source: Walser].

3
Organic Lubes

Here's something you may not know: Americans spend more than $80 million buying personal lubricants in a year, and your favorite brand may contain some of the same ingredients as fluids in your car. Yikes! Not only are some ingredients in many popular lubes unsafe, but they're also unregulated when it comes to your personal safety, leaving you at risk for bacterial and viral infections.

A study conducted on the safety of popular over-the-counter lubes found that water-soluble Astroglide is toxic to both cervical and rectal cells and tissues and is not friendly to our naturally occurring microorganisms, including Lactobacillus. And KY Jelly isn't looking like a much better option -- it contains chlorhexidine, a disinfectant that you'll also find in mouthwash and soap, and when tested, it killed all the good vaginal flora [source: Dezzutti].

Instead, look for personal lubricants made with organic or nontoxic alternatives, and types that are free of glycerin and paraben. Most organic and nontoxic lubes are not only people-friendly, but they are eco-, latex-, rubber- and plastic-friendly, too.

2
Green Sex Toys

Sex toys are big business -- worldwide sales are upward of $15 billion a year. But it's a big business with a big secret: The safety of sex toys isn't regulated. Most toys are made with unsafe materials like polyvinyl chlorides (PVC), which are considered toxic, and phthalates, which are petroleum-based and may be linked to reproductive issues and certain cancers.

Don't be turned off by toxins. Instead, choose toys made from medical-grade silicone or natural materials such as glass and stainless steel. Trade batteries for the rechargeable type, or if you want to up the ante, try the new phthalate-free, solar-powered vibrator on the market that, when fully charged, lasts about two hours.

1
Choose a Better Condom

Most condoms on the market are made of latex (rubber) or polyurethane (plastic), and they come in all sorts of colors, flavors and sizes. They're one of the most popular forms of birth control around the world.

Choose a greener condom by looking for organic, fair trade and vegan types (which are made from natural latex and lack the milk proteins added during processing). Lambskin condoms (made from sheep intestines) are biodegradable, but they only offer protection against pregnancy, not against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Also, when the time comes to dispose of a condom, don't flush it down the toilet. Flushed condoms can clog up your plumbing, cause problems in the waste system and possibly end up floating in our oceans. While latex is biodegradable, condoms have additives that make them stronger, and their strength makes them degrade more slowly in landfills. Regardless, the best way to dispose of a condom is to throw it out with your trash.

Check out the next page for lots more information about how going green can be fun.

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