Veganism – once the preserve of hemp-clad worthy types best avoided at parties – is now mainstream. I realised a tipping point had come when I had to specify “cow’s milk” to an incredulous barista when ordering a flat white last week in Marylebone.
So potent is this trend that it’s now infiltrating our sex lives. And not just in a dietary sense.
The sexual benefits of a vegan diet have been reported for a while. A high profile PETA advertising campaign two years ago claimed vegans had better sex, and this year’s James Cameron documentary ‘The Game Changers’ famously shows the positive impact a plant-based diet can have on male sex drives – prompting Cameron to comment in an interview with the Toronto Star that he’d “love to put Viagra out of business, just by spreading the world on plant-based eating”.
But away from the kitchen, vegan toys and products are growing in popularity. We’re not talking dildos crafted from kale – slick, well-designed brands are picking up the vegan baton. The timing seems right for a shift. Even us non-vegans are increasingly conscious of what we’re putting into our bodies. From food to skincare, we’re making better and more informed choices. Isn’t it time we paid attention to what we’re putting in more… intimate areas?
While this may not guarantee any wiser choices in who you invite round to play, here are some points to consider if you want to keep your vagina vegan – or just enjoy some eco-friendly exploits…
If you’re after a ‘natural’ (i.e. non-hormone based) contraception, condoms are still the most effective option. But did you know most condoms aren’t vegan?
“Most condom production uses casein which is an animal bi-product” explains Sarah Welsh, who co-founded of vegan condom brand, HANX, to meet the demand for a more natural and female-friendly product.
“We discovered we can remove casein with no side effect to the product. And we thought well why wouldn’t we? It’s kind of disgusting!”
Switching to a more natural brand may also cause you fewer problems – some people are allergic to casein and mistakenly think it’s a latex allergy.
Your make up is cruelty-free, and your face cream is organic. But do you know what’s in your lube?
Brands like The YES YES Company have you covered with great quality products that are kind to your skin – avoiding parabens, glycerine hormones and other skin irritants.
“So many people just don’t realise what they’re putting in their bodies,” explains Araminta Pender, from The YES YES Company “and it’s so important to consider when it’s your intimate area! It’s really exciting that there are so many growing brands emerging now that promote self-care and consumers can make informed decisions.”
Worried about what’s in that lurid pink vibrator? Fret not – you can still be eco-conscious and get that buzz. They key here is to think re-chargeable options (no more batteries) made with good materials.
For vegans, sex toys can be a minefield as even rubber (in theory plant-based) can contain casein – and dyes used in production could have added nasties. It’s best to contact the manufacturer directly for full information.
For the eco-conscious consumer there’s also some concern about the use of phthalates in sex toys too – a chemical now banned in some children’s toys. Not only can phthalates cause allergies, but its porous makeup can harbour bacteria. If you’re concerned, seek out silicone, glass or metal toys (avoid anything ‘jelly’ like).
Cruelty-free doesn’t mean fun free! For vegan doms and subs you’ll obviously need to avoid leather or silk restraints, or anything feathered.
As with vibrators, it’s often hard to know what’s been used in the manufacturing process of bondage accessories.
Specialist online vendors like Lacy’s Vegan Sex Shop are a great option here – and proof that vegan sex can still be… sexy. Started by a vegan couple who found it difficult to source vegan options, Lacy’s offers an extensive range of cruelty-free ropes, tapes, restrains, floggers, collars… and anything else you can think of for the bedroom.
If in doubt you can always contact the manufacturer. Or try the Vegan Society’s trademark search for registered vegan producers.
With so many options available, taking a more informed approach to sex products seems like a no-brainer whether you’re vegan or just looking after your body. The only real question remains… can vegans swallow?
Main shot: jan zhukov @ unsplash