BBC Explains How to Have Carbon Guilt Free Sex

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Worried that your sex toy might be made of petroleum products? Have you checked the ingredients in your lube? The BBC wants to help people who might be worried about the carbon impact of their sex life.

Eco-friendly sex: What is it and how does it impact on climate change?

By Harriet Orrell
BBC World Service

What is eco-friendly sex?

“For some, being eco-friendly sexually means selecting lubes, toys, bed sheets and condoms that have less impact on the planet,” explains Dr Adenike Akinsemolu, an environmental sustainability scientist from Nigeria.

“For others, it entails reducing the damage in the creation of porn to workers and the environment. Both examples are valid and of importance.”

The UN Population Fund estimates around 10 billion male latex condoms are manufactured each year and most are disposed of in landfills.

That’s because most condoms are made from synthetic latex and use additives and chemicals, meaning they cannot be recycled.

Lambskin condoms, which have been used since Roman times, are the only fully biodegradable option. However, they are made from the intestine of a sheep and do not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Many lubes are also petroleum-based, and therefore contain fossil fuels. This has led to a rise in water-based or organic products. And homemade options are becoming more popular.

Lauren lives almost entirely waste-free and, since 2012, has collected anything she hasn’t been able to recycle in a jar.

You won’t find condoms in Lauren’s jar and, as they are the only contraception effective against STIs, she asks all her sexual partners to get tested before sleeping with them.

The climate impact of reproducing

Which brings us to another point where sex and the environment collide – having children.

According to a 2017 study, living car-free saves about 2.3 tonnes of CO2 a year, while sticking to a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes. By comparison – if you live in the developed world – not having a child saves about 58.6 tonnes per year.

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Lauren Singer looks pretty attractive, but personally, I’d feel nervous about falling asleep next to someone who prides herself on putting things she no longer has a use for in her special jar.

Of course, having the British government BBC, or someone like Lauren, lecture you on the carbon-friendly way to have sex probably causes an immediate reduction of the “problem”, so maybe the issue wouldn’t pop up in that scenario.

Obviously having the government and climate fanatics like Lauren lecturing people about how to enjoy sex without harming the planet is not nearly intrusive enough to keep the planet safe from waste and excessive carbon dioxide.

For the last few years, scientists have been working on a machine which can read your thoughts, including your dreams. The current generation device is the size of a room, and its ability to make sense of your thoughts is extremely limited, barely functional. But I keep thinking, the first computers were also just as large and clunky.

As the technology has developed a device could conceivably eventually be produced which could be implanted into your head, which would help wearers lead entirely carbon guilt-free lives, by analyzing their thoughts in realtime and warning them when they were thinking about doing something which might harm the planet.

If bad thing persists, the implanted device could send a report to the climate police, so the government could assign the miscreant to the nearest climate re-education facility.