One of the facets of veganism that is extremely important (and often misunderstood, as veganism is frequently confused with a "plant-based diet") is the fact that all purchases and utilized objects must also be cruelty-free and free of any animal byproducts. That means wearing a leather jacket while only eating plants does not a vegan make. It is very good to know, then, that it is extremely possible to be fully vegan while also practicing safe, fulfilling, and amazing sex. So what vegan products can you use in the bedroom?
Full disclosure: I am a vegetarian — not a vegan. But I have immense respect for the vegan lifestyle and hope to one day transition to full on veganism. From vegan condoms to vegan massage oils, there is a huge market for animal-friendly and eco-friendly sexytime items. And, as you will discover, these intimate purchases are not only beneficial for animal rights activists. As these objects and chemicals are typically used around very sensitive areas of our bodies, all-natural plant-based products are amazing for folks who have latex allergies and/or are prone to yeast infections.
Moreover, vegan products for the bedroom have a lot of variety — you won't be stuck using only one type of condom or one type of lube, etc. Let's explore some of the environmentally-friendly options awaiting your next romp in the hay:
1. Vegan Condoms
Vegans certainly know to avoid lambskin condoms, which are made from sheep's intestines, but it is not as commonly known that latex condoms also contain an animal product — specifically, protein derived from milk. In a press release from Condomania, an online condom store, the company president Matt Mandell explained: "Latex condoms often contain casein, a milk protein commonly used to enhance smoothness and texture. Customers following a vegan lifestyle — or those with lactose allergies for that matter — should look for condoms that are labeled vegan or latex-free.” It is important to note, as Mandell does, that vegans are not the only folks in need of prophylactics free from animal products — as people with dairy allergies will also benefit.
In the press release, Mandell continues to explain that many people can benefit from vegan condoms — and not only for ethical reasons: "Aside from supporting cruelty-free products, there are other reasons why men, and women in particular, may want to switch to vegan condoms. For example unless stated otherwise, most non-vegan brands on the market use glycerin which has been linked to yeast infections.”
So which condoms are vegan? Sir Richard's (which come in ~ribbed~), GLYDE, Sustain Comfort Fit, and L. Ultra Thin vegan condoms are a few of the most popular brands. In addition to not testing on animals, they utilize plant-based ingredients, like natural latex rubber.
2. Vegan Lube
Some of the most popular sexual lubricants are not up to vegan standards. They may contain lactoperoxidase, an enzyme derived from dairy, or depend on the work of honeybees in their manufacturing process (which goes against the philosophies of some vegans.) A few lubes that are free of any animal products, animal labor, or animal testing include Good Clean Love, "Encounter" by Elbow Grease Lube, Sliquid, über lube, and PLEASE Liquid (by GLYDE) — and these also come in various flavors and scents.
3. Vegan Whips & Collars
Vegans who are part of the BDSM community may encounter the dilemma that is finding non-leather products to fulfill their kink needs. Babeland, Ethical Kink, Early2Bed are online retailers that can help.
6. Vegan Aphrodisiacs
Mother nature is the purveyor of many vegetable-based and fruit-based aphrodisiacs. Watermelon, strawberries, leafy greens, and pistachios all provide a sexy boost in the bedroom. Watermelon contains phytonutrients that improve circulation, potentially increasing your libido. Nutrients in strawberries increase the production of libido-boosting hormones.
The magnesium, folic acid, and calcium within leafy greens can counteract libido-reducing contaminants often present in our bodies. Leafy greens also increase your histamine production, which helps you reach orgasm. Pistachios are high in vitamin E, which improves circulation, thus increasing your libido.
Winner of the 2015 Best Eco-Friendly Sex Toy, Leaf+, a green vibrator, comes in four different unique designs. Retailers Babeland and Early2Bed also have a vast array of vegan vibrators, handcuffs, and more — so get to exploring.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Babeland; Ethical Kink; Early2Bed; Leaf+