Article and photos by Jenna Anderson
Introducing toys to the bedroom can bring a new level of fun, intimacy, and excitement. But for those wishing to make a conscious choice to protect themselves and the environment, options can seem limited. Medical-grade silicon toys are on the rise among Canadian and other companies, and – who knew? – glass and even stainless steel toys are helping to provide an alternative to the potentially-harmful plastics.
It’s difficult to find toys that are made of recycled materials, however. There isn’t enough demand yet for these products to be widely available.
“Our focus tends to be more body-friendly,” said Cheryl Shlanda, part-time employee at the Love Nest in Winnipeg. The store has responded to evolving research by stocking body-safe products, as well as carrying items are packaged efficiently, without a lot of excess.
Smitten on Osborne Street is deliberate about carrying safer items.
“We do not carry items with phthalates in them,” said manager Chelsea Harvich. She said that in addition to being a known carcinogen, everything sticks to these items, which make them harder to clean and easier for bacteria to stick.
A look through both of these stores proves that there are options for anyone looking to be more body-safe. Let’s take a look through some of what’s available:
One option for a more body-friendly toy is choosing one made of silicon. Silicon is non-porous, which means your toy won’t hold on to bacteria the same way a plastic one would. It doesn’t need harsh cleaners (you can use dish soap), which helps to minimize chemical use.
Silicon toys range in price, starting at about $45. The Canadian-made We Vibe line is on the upper end of the spectrum, with rechargeable batteries and several versions ranging up to $160. The We Vibe toys cost more initially, but are durable and last a long time – which is more economical and environmentally friendly than purchasing multiple toys in the same time frame.
“You can heat it, you can cool it – you can drop it,” said Harvich. “It’s tough stuff.”
Glass is a recyclable, renewable resource, and it’s heavier than silicon, which provides a different experience for the user. You can heat or cool the toy with water to enjoy different sensations.
“It’s the same kind of stainless steel that your cutlery is, only heavier,” said Shlanda.
You may not have known that this was an option for your next sex toy. It’s heavier than glass toys, and is a good choice for anyone who may have a weakened immune system. You can also have some temperature fun with a steel toy by putting it in the freezer or a bowl of hot water. There’s a whole line of Metal Worx toys, starting from about $45 for a medium-sized cock ring and going up to $140 for combination toys.
Organic lubricants are a good option if you’re concerned about the potentially-carcinogenic effects of some ingredients in traditional lubricants. Many people find organic lubes to be just as effective – and there’s a wide variety of options to choose from – from flavoured to anal-specific.
The Sliquid brand is available at both Smitten and Love Nest for under $20, and is hypoallergenic, 100% vegan, and is not tested on animals.
“They’re amazing; the entire line is amazing,” said Harvich. “It’s rare that you find a company that is so committed to being body-safe.”
There are plenty of body-friendly options in Winnipeg, and if demand dictates, the selection will only increase. If you wish to purchase a toy with minimal environmental impact, consider a We Vibe or Fuze Toys – Fuze is also a Canadian company. Its toys are adaptable, with a dildo having options for a vibrator or harness, so you only need one toy that serves multiple purposes.