by Furry Girl
Now, I love Babeland, and I refer people there to buy anything that I don't sell myself. I bought my first couple of sex toys at the Seattle store when I was 18, and still pick things up occasionally. So this is in no way criticism of the company.
But, in browsing some sex blogs today, I have to say, it was damn funny to see one of Babeland's new advertisements featuring the exact same stock photo used on the cover of a book I found when I was searching for anti-feminist writings:
It reminded me of the Cockeyed article tracking a stock photo model being used to sell everything from high-class dating to a prolife crisis pregnancy center. I wonder where else this red-haired woman's photo has ended up over the years.
I wish I was that stock photo model. If anyone does, I have the right to be known to the world as That Ecosexy Bitch. (Seeing as how I've been a bitch my whole life, and was selling "ecosexy" before most anyone had ever heard of such a strange thing.)
by Furry Girl
The term "eco-sexpert" has escaped into the wild, and it makes me fear for the future of civilization.
Things have been changing in the last year or two. All the decent sex shops now have a section of "earth-friendly" products - which may or may not actually be any more "natural" than their other items. There have been tons of articles on "eco-sexuality", appearing everywhere from the New York Times to tiny sex blogs, trotting out the same non-insightful suggestions on how to "green your sex life". Plus, there's the press releases from large adult novelty companies boasting to the world how great they are because they did some barely-consequential thing they should have been doing in the first place, like recycling at their office, or making sure their China-made "jelly" products do not contain arsenic.
With all the "eco-sex" flying around everywhere, I can't help but notice that, like the rest of the greenwashing movement, it's mostly one big push for why you need to buy more stuff.
Now, before we go any further, I should tell you a bit about me. I'm not some kind of silly leftist who refuses to shower and thinks you have to re-use everything until it disintegrates, and I'm not here to lecture you with elitist greener-than-thou dogma. I'm a pragmatist - stuck between the mainstream world that thinks I'm a weird hippie for being vegan and not owning a car, and the hardcore greenies who recoil in horror that I take several long-distance flights a year and own electronic things made of toxic components.
In 2004, I started two pretty unique projects, which are rarely mentioned in the endless ocean of articles about "eco-sexuality". It's my own fault for not working harder at self-promotion over the years, but I've always been better at actually putting my nose to the grindstone and doing things than hyping up publicity for myself.
VegPorn.com is a small indie porn site devoted to cute vegetarian and vegan models, and from the start, was inclusive of a variety of body types and gender identities. Not only do I operate the only porn site aimed at herbivores, but I was also producing queer-friendly alt porn years before it grew to be the hip genre that it is today. (As a side, before the term "vegansexual" hit the internet, I was trying to invent a good term. The best I came up with was herbivoramorous, which is only slightly more awkward and silly-sounding than vegansexual.)
After getting that off the ground, I began work on its offshot, what would become TheSensualVegan.com. I sell a collection of vegan and natural products, almost all of which are made by other small businesses. (Supporting other DIY sexual entrepreneurs is important to me) Rather than having a "staff picks" or "recommended" section, everything in my store is awesome - it's not padded out with a bunch of filler stuff that isn't very good. I try to provide my customers with as much product information as I can get, so they can make choices based on their own values, such as letting them know if a company is owned by a woman, or where the product is made. My best-selling lube is Hathor Aprodisia, made by a mother-and-daughter team in Vancouver. Most of the sex toys I stock are from Tantus Silicone, a small, woman-owned company in Southern California.
I do my best to investigate products. I ask manufacturers questions. I wouldn't carry Glyde's vegan condoms until the company sent me signed letters from both itself and its latex processor in Malaysia assuring me no animal products were being used. (Latex companies are tight-lipped about their production process and whether they utilize milk-derived proteins.) There's another brand of condoms out there that I'd like to carry as soon as they meet my personal fussy assurances - I don't want to sell anything to vegans that might not be vegan. I've publicly criticized a lube company called Good Clean Love, which is plugged regularly in "eco-sex" articles and incorrectly sold in many quality sex shops as vegan. When I inquired with Good Clean Love about carrying it, the owner admitted that the product isn't actually vegan as the label stated, and contains a milk-derived ingredient, but she lied on the packaging. (I've heard that the labels have now been changed to reflect the real ingredients. Too little, too late - I think this company should be blacklisted for using outright lies to profit off conscientious buyers.)
I know what you're thinking- such a capitalistic brat I am, telling you why my company is great and why other companies practice greenwashing and only care about money. I'm not saying that I am the only business owner who genuinely cares about social and environmental issues, but I do think an increasing number are just scrambling to cash in on a market, and not even offering very good products. People like myself built this "eco-sex" world because we wanted to make and sell products for buyers like us. (And I know that this is nothing new - I can imagine for how natural foods stores started in the 1970s must feel about Whole Foods.)
In my 6 years of pioneering the niche, I've read dozens of articles about "greening" sex, which are lists of vaguely sex-related things you should buy, such as organic sheets and fair-trade chocolate, interspersed with suggestions like feeding fruit to your naked lover or having sex outdoors. There's only one real "eco sex" tip I want to give you this Earth Day - because you don't need another shopping list of food and housewares.
Buy high-quality. Junk breaks and goes to landfills.
I understand that not everyone has much money to spend on sex products, but I promise you that a nice $80 sex toy will last you more than twice as long as a $40 knockoff made of some weird chemical "jelly" from a factory in China. When I was younger, I had a bunch of "jelly" toys, and they simply don't last. They chemically melted into each other, picked up stains, smelled weird, and leaked strange oily substances. With sex toys, buy medical-grade silicone, metal, or glass. Buy products you can sterilize and keep and enjoy for decades, and share amongst partners without fear of passing cooties. Buy less stuff, spend less money in the long run, and decrease your carbon footprint, by buying better stuff. Purchasing a new low-end jelly toy every year, which leaks chemicals into your body, and then into a landfill, is not where you should be putting your money. Whatever other gear you use to enhance your sex life, buy the good stuff. Hopefully, you'll also support independent businesses who care about their work, rather than giving your money to multinational conglomerates riding the wave of a popular gimmick.
Furry Girl: a good time not yet had by all.
- I operate SWAAY.org, an accessible sex workers' rights site that educates the general public about our lives and our issues.
- I've been vegan for 13 years because it's the easiest way for an individual to contribute to less violence, suffering, and exploitation.
My adult sites
- Cocksexual.com: Strapons
- EroticRed.com: Menstruation
- FurryGirl.com: Unshaved
- TheSensualVegan.com: Store
- VegPorn.com: Herbivores
More of me online
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New to my blog? Some favorite posts
- "You have no right to dislike feminism after all it's done for you!"
- "You misrepresent true feminism by focusing on the bad feminists. They're not real feminists anyway!"
- An argument for more sex workers to be out?
- Degrading, violent desires
- Do you have what it takes to be an empowered sex worker?
- Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s
- Feminist porn isn't a branch of sex workers' rights, it's an obstacle
- How are we branding sex workers rights in the US? (Let's focus more on *worker*, less on *sex*!)
- How to do your homework on trafficking, "rescue", and the affected communities
- Let's stop pretending that "objectification" is a thing that exists
- Musings on ethical porn and the red herrings of "feminist porn" and "violent porn"
- My call for a "working" class uprising against inaccessible discourse and the over-representation of dabblers
- Sex trafficking is the new crack: manufactured "epidemics" as political tools
- The common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists
- Things I've gained from being a sex worker: an anti-paternalistic perspective
- Vigilantism and 'crushing bastards': in praise of anger, hatred, and taking joy in the smiting of one's enemies
- Want to play BINGO with the antis?
- Watch out for psuedoscience: my long-time nemeses of concern trolling and "teaching the controversy"
- What do I mean when I say "sex worker"? Why I'm against an overly-broad definition
- Why I call them "anti-sex worker" rather than "anti-porn" or "anti-prostitution," and why you should too
Favorite sex/ho blogs
- Amanda Brooks
- Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
- Belle de Jour
- Born Whore
- Bound, Not Gagged
- Dan Savage on SLOG
- Danny Wylde
- Jiz Lee
- Kat's Stories
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sex Worker Pie Charts
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat
- Whore Madonna