Sex + Dating

The Case for Keeping Your Sex Toys Animal-Friendly

iStock/NiDerLander

When you're making the beast with two backs, are you considering all the friendly, non-human beasts who just have one back (but possibly four legs)?

Indeed, a third of all Americans believe animals should have the same rights as people; and 72% of Americans oppose testing cosmetics products on animals. All this has created an increasingly robust market for companies who offer animal-friendly options, and we’re not just talking eyeliner and body lotion -- we’re talking dildos and lube. Today you can find hundreds of kinds of sex toys and condoms that are vegan, eco- and animal-friendly.

So if you’re ready to ditch your morally reprehensible sex life -- or, at least, the morally reprehensible props said sex life employs -- there’s no time like the present. After all, do you really want to run the risk of sex stalling out with that attractive stranger from the bar because you couldn't vouch for your lube being cruelty-free?

 

A photo posted by Doc Johnson (@docjohnsonusa) on

PETA launched the Beauty Without Bunnies program back in 2012 as a shopping guide naming personal-care companies committed to not testing products on animals. That guide didn't include sex toy companies -- yet… though it was only a matter of time before animal rights campaigns bled into the personal-pleasure market. Sex-toy manufacturer Doc Johnson threw its hat into the ring by partnering with Beauty Without Bunnies in 2014 in order to certify 289 of their personal care products as PETA-friendly.

And in the two years since, cruelty-free and vegan sex toys have become the new standard in sexual gratification. You've got vegan condoms, animal-friendly dildos, cruelty-free lube: you ask, the sex toy companies answer.

Repeat after me: phthalate- and cruelty-free. These are the buzz words of buzzers; and they're considered necessities of any high-grade product on the market today. Phthalates are chemicals added to plastic to make it softer and more flexible -- but they also leach into the skin really easily and disrupt things like hormones and cells and can even cause cancer. Oh -- and they're ridiculously bad for the environment. Thankfully, most high-quality toys today are marked phthalate-free. Check out LELO, Dee Lee Doo, Tantus, Leaf, Laid and Sports Sheets if you're clueless about where to start.

Cruelty-free obviously means no animals were harmed in the process -- which makes leather, fur, feathers and other animal-based materials off-limits. But to comply with PETA's Beauty Without Bunnies standards, companies need to take things a step further.

”We had to verify our raw materials were not tested on animals and submit irritation and toxicology studies on our ingredient decks to PETA,” said Doc Johnson COO Chad Braverman. “This was not an easy task and took about four to six months." But, Braverman added, "Our products have benefited and we have seen nice customer engagement as a result.”

 

A photo posted by Ethical Kink (@ethicalkink) on


The Vegan Sex Shop, Kinkclusive and Ethical Kink are companies helping consumers source animal- and eco-friendly products. "The sex industry understands that as interest in a vegan lifestyle grows, so too does interest in vegan pleasure objects," said Vegan Sex Shop owner Drew Winter (who was also crowned PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door in 2007). Increasingly, manufacturers are creating vegan lines and explicitly-vegan products.”

With so many alternatives, you’re out of excuses. So swap out that leather flogger for faux, and look for lube and condoms that weren’t derived from bovine breast milk or dumped down some cute little bunny’s throat. Consider it a karmic balance so you don’t feel so dirty the next time your SO orders the veal.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Kristin Battista-Frazee is a marketing consultant and author of The Pornographer's Daughter... and who now wants to eat less meat. Check out her website and follow her on Twitter: @porndaughter.