Sex toys and products

4 Steps to Choosing an Ethical, Cruelty-Free Sex Toy

by Kinkly
Published: APRIL 29, 2015 | Updated: APRIL 15, 2020
Orgasms should leave you feeling great - about yourself, about your body and about the ethical pleasure products you use to achieve them.

Even if you started your day with fair trade coffee, lathered up with soap that wasn't tested on animals and slipped into a pair of organic cotton pants, there may be one part of your routine that isn't so eco and animal friendly: your sex toys. Yup, you heard me. And, when so many other products are increasingly advertising their ethical status, you gotta wonder: Is that dildo an ethical purchase? Was your favorite lube tested on animals? Are there animal products in your favorite condoms?


Good questions. But the better question is how to know? Here are a four ways to ensure that your pleasure products leaving you feeling as good about your purchase as you do about your orgasm.

Seek Out Certification

Some companies that produce sex toys and other pleasure products actually have certifications from other organizations to show their commitment to ethical practices. These are no guarantees, but certifications do show that a company has high standards and is willing to jump through some hoops to prove that its products were produced ethically. PETA certifies several companies as Cruelty Free based on their commitment to avoid animal testing and cruelty. Condoms by Glyde and Sir Richard's are certified as vegan, while products from Doc Johnson have been certified as cruelty free.

According to Tim Crawford, a research and development manager at Doc Johnson, "that means Doc Johnson did not, does not, will never do any animal testing on our products and will not use any material that underwent animal testing prior to the year 1995." It also means that neither the company nor its ingredient suppliers conduct, commission or pay for test on animals for ingredients, formulations or finished products.


Organizations like PETA and Leaping Bunny aim to hold companies accountable when it comes to animal testing and animal ingredients. Although this certification isn't common among pleasure product retailers, it's one way to find ethical sex products.

Consider Where It's Made

Like many consumer products, sex toys are often made in China to reduce manufacturing costs. Choosing toys that are manufactured and assembled in the United States cuts down on shipping - and your toy's carbon footprint. You're also supporting the U.S. economy, rather than sending jobs overseas. Some people see that as an important ethical consideration as well. Companies like Doc Johnson, Tantus, Aneros and Sliquid manufacture all or most of their products on U.S soil.

Check Materials/Ingredients

Checking materials and ingredients is the simplest way to make a more informed - and more ethical - purchase at your local sex toy retailer. If you're concerned about the use of animal products, they can be hiding in a lot of things. Latex condoms, for example, may contain a milk protein called casein, while many lubricants contain glycerin that may have animal origins (ensure that lubes are glycerin free or specify vegetable glycerin to be sure.) When it comes to your personal health, you should also be on the lookout for phthalates, a chemical agent that's used to soften plastics and is often found in sex toys. Any sex toy you buy should at least specify that it's phthalate free. Better yet, buy sex toys made of medical-grade silicone, glass, metal or wood. (Learn more in How to Avoid a Toxic Relationship With Your Dildo.)


Think Recycle

It is possible to masturbate without clogging a landfill. That isn't to say that it's easy. In the U.K., where the law requires that all electronic items be recycled, Lovehoney takes in unwanted sex toys from its customers and sends them to a recycling company. In Canada, there's, conducted by a sex toy collective, Come As You Are Cooperative. In the U.S., Scarlet Girl offers a recycling program. You can also reduce waste by buying high-quality toys that are built to last.
Orgasms should leave you feeling great - about yourself, about your body and even, for some of you, about the ethical pleasure products you use to achieve them. "It is very important for the end user to be able to purchase and enjoy our products with a clear conscience," Doc Johnson's Tim Crawford said. Coming with a clear conscience? Yeah. We kind of like the sound of that.


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