SEX TOYS AND PRODUCTS
Is Your Sex Toy Ethical?
If living ethically is important to you, you'll want to know if your sex toy is ethical! You don't want any shady business in your business.
"Ethical". It's a lofty word with even bigger implications - both social and physical. Absolutely everything about your sex life can be ethical; it can just take some time and effort on your part to research and source.
From ethical porn to ethical relationships to ethical sex toys to ethical lube - there's a whole lot of things to consider in your sex life if you're truly trying to make your sex life as ethical and sustainable as possible.
There are some simple, easy ways to figure out if your sex toy is on the right path to being ethical, though, and it starts with knowing the manufacturer and the toy itself.
Enjoy Body-Safe Materials
The easiest place to start is with the materials your sex toy is made from. There isn't much that's "ethical" about some of the sex toy material blends you can find—even the stuff produced in the US! Since there aren't any FDA regulations about material used in sex toys (which mostly fall under "novelty items" so are subject to less stringent regulations than some other product categories), manufacturers are free to call things a material if it contains just an ounce of that material—and the rest is made up of an entirely different substance.
This means your "silicone" toy could be 5% silicone - and 95% something else even though it's being marketed as a "silicone" option. Nothing about that falsehood feels "ethical" to me, and it's why it can feel a bit like the wild, wild west when you're looking to buy a sex toy.
Starting your journey by shopping from trusted, high-end, brands can make a world of difference. Since a high-end's brand depends on a customer's positive perception of them, these companies have a lot more to lose (their entire brand, really!) if they ever tried to cut corners like that.
Plus, some high-end companies, like Fun Factory, just believe in doing things the ethical way! As they put it, "We’re equally horny for ethics and orgasms, because we know that if you feel good about the toy in your hand, it’s easier to feel good during play."
In the end, if your sex toy's price seems "too good to be true", it probably is.
Read: I've heard some some sex toy materials are dangerous. What ones are good and which are not so good?
Know Where Your Sex Toy is Produced
While global manufacturing has made it more difficult to truly know where your sex toy is manufactured, having a general idea of where it came from can help you figure out how your toy was made.
Does the person who makes your sex toy make a living wage? Are they able to take adequate breaks - and do they work in a safe-as-possible working environment? Manufacturing isn't always pretty work, but an ethical company will take steps to ensure their products are crafted as safely and respectfully as possible.
I'll be the first to admit that it can be hard to determine this. Generally, if a company manufacturers ethically, they'll be the first ones to tell you about it. It certainly isn't the cheap way out, so when companies spend time and money to ensure your product is made ethically, they're generally going to be sharing it somewhere on their website or blog.
If you can't figure it out, feel free to ask them!
Think about Environmental Concerns
Ethical sex toy manufacturing also includes consideration for the Earth. What impact does your sex toy have on the environment? This is such a huge category that it's hard to break it down in a few paragraphs, but it means considering your toy's manufacturing impact, the shipping impact, its lifespan, and its waste impact.
Different manufacturing techniques can affect the planet in different ways. If a sex toy sources parts from 20 different countries, that means there are 20 different shipment fees - and emissions from those shipments - to consider before a product even gets made.
The "making" process can have its own concerns. I won't pretend to know the inner workings of pleasure product manufacturing, but like any industry, there are "better" practices and there are "easier" practices. Figuring out which one your sex toy manufacturer leans towards can be difficult, but as a general rule, higher costs generally means a lean towards the "better".
For example, Fun Factory buffs their toys by hand - so they don't have to use excess chemicals to smooth any of their toy's silicone after creation. Not only does this cut down on chemicals in the environment, but it's also safer for the workers too.
Packaging and shipment can be a big part of a toy's environmental impact too. Very little of the single-use, blister-pack packaging can be recycled - and it's usually a poor option for long-term storage of your toy too! Sturdier cardboard boxes allow for storage of the toy, but cardboard can also be recycled in many parts of the world. To easily do your part, don't forget to break down and recycle any sex toy packaging as best as possible after you receive it.
Being environmentally ethical about your sex toy also means steering clear of any sex toy that seems built to break down. While buying super-cheap may be easier on your budget, it ultimately contributes to a lot more waste. It's almost always worth saving up; you'll get a better toy AND it'll have less of a negative impact on the planet. Vibrating sex toys from high-end brands like Fun Factory can easily last for 5 to 10 years - and some of my non-vibrating toys (like my dildos and anal plugs) from Fun Factory are going on their 13th year of living in my bedroom.