It's hard to avoid any conversations about plastics these days and rightly so. Plastics, of all categories, take a long time to decompose and are, sadly, detrimental to our ecosystem in ways that are only now just being best understood. It's hard to watch Seaspiracy, not just for the impact on the earth's sea creatures, but to also learn that poor/bad/indifferent/ugly/self-serving (delete as appropriate) behaviours are seen not just in big business but also within "charities" set up to combat the negative effects of capitalist consumption.
It was a documentary on recycling that gave us the idea for Lore, that being sex toys can't be recycled. Yes the electrical components of your vibrator can be reused, yes silicone in itself can be sent to a power station and burned as fuel but, really, we're not convinced that is anymore "eco-friendly" than a lump of coal...
So, we created some founding principles- all products should be vegan or cruelty-free (preferably both) and all should be body-safe. We dearly wanted to add recyclable but as a previous post has highlighted, we're short of the £100,000 required to conduct the correct R&D to create a mature recycling pipeline for pre-loved sex toys. A dream we are still pursuing.
In the meantime, we purposely only list sex-toys that are body-safe for women AND men. Dr Shanna Swan's book "Countdown" provides interesting insights (will post review when finished reading) that has further entrenched our commitment to body-safe toys. Phthalates, sparingly, are still used in sex toys but there is no outright ban either in the UK or the EU- indeed, the USA's FDA has them noted as a known carcinogen but there is minimal regulation there also. We therefore recommend non-porous toys that are made of glass, steel, silicone or ABS. This drastically reduces the products we can offer our customers but we sleep better at night knowing what we sell, directly to humans at least, is not detrimental.
Toxicity in intimate products is not limited to sex-toys; toy-cleaners, lubricants and massage oils can also be comprised of chemicals bad for your intimate areas. Historically this message has been aimed at those in possession of a vagina with a particular focus on the ph balance (important when trying to avoid Bacterial Vaginosis, thrush, and other uncomfortable side effects of not having clean sex toys) but now we want to extend this message to all- no matter how you identify. Discussions about sexual health (lets just call it health so that is isn't seen as some secondary category that could or could not be considered important) are not always the easiest conversations to have, even with medical professionals, yet we're here because a sperm and an egg joined up and had a party*. Obviously sex isn't just about reproduction, it is damn good fun- the exploration, the explosions, the excitement, whether alone or joined by one or many, and we wanted whatever you reached for in those heady moments to be safe. So, what we have on The Lore of Change is what you'd find in our sex toy box- we live by what we sell. So here is our advice for the discerning sex connoisseur:
Avoid TPE, a porous and widely used material in toys for men, be it sex dolls, cock-rings, or strokers. The plastics get into your body and can cause problems and if you're using them with a female partner, the same rules apply to the stretchy cock-ring as to the rabbit vibrator. Also, no one wants a smeggy dick**.
Avoid PVC on intimate areas. PVC can contain phthalates (check product descriptions to see if the manufacturer states they are phthalate free) but they are also porous meaning you can never properly clean the item. Critically, and therefore worth noting, the sex toy industry is not heavily regulated (some of you might be supportive of that) but it does mean that as "novelty items" there aren't any baselines that manufacturers have to follow. We're, for example, currently investigating what goes into the powder coating on some silicone toys and struggling to get an answer *sigh*.
Avoid phthalate substitutes such as DOTP and DEHT which have not undergone robust research. Some lab tests have shown that DOTP interacts with hormone receptors- whether this is bad remains to be seen. In the meantime, we steer wide of such products.
Finally, and obviously, avoid phthalates. They cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system. This won't happen with a one-time exposure, it is all about aggregation and continued exposure (think about clingfilm that contains PVC and those sarnies you eat on a daily basis...). Clearly minimising your exposure to phthalates is key in all aspects of your life.
As stated, stick to non-porous and non-toxic materials. If you don't know what it is, don't put it in your mouth... Glass and metal are easily recyclable, if somewhat unforgiving materials- though we do recommend temperature play.
If you cannot live without those rotating vibes or the sense of restriction a perfectly size cock-ring provides, stick to 100%, preferably medical grade, silicone. Yes it isn't yet properly recyclable but it's not going to leech chemicals into your body and, looked after, can have a long life that may survive until we've finally sorted sex-toy recycling.
For oils, lubes and cleaners- if you're a vagina owner look out for products developed with the ph balance in mind- YES Organics are a great brand (and based in the UK). If you're after a cleaner we stock Natural Pleasures which is free of nasties and made from natural and biodegradable ingredients- though we still recommend a wee rinse before play. Finally, we've categorised our oils and lubricants into edible and non-edible, which is primarily done based on the presence of sugar but also active ingredients- we've a fabulous Cayenne Pepper massage oil but would recommend using it on nipples, backs, cheeks of your arse and avoid your clit or cock. You can shop by value (i.e. Vegan or recyclable) and much of our range straddles multiple values. We're proud to write that we've products to suit any budget or event- often we encounter folk who think that Organic or Natural or Biodegradable is expensive and we smile when we say not necessarily true. Yes we have luxe brands (High on Love is a particular fave of this author) but we also have many quality products at less than a tenner.
(Picture of where we'd like to be whilst writing this blog)
As many of our lovely customers know, we only stock vegan condoms and dams. Again in a range of prices from the ever practical My.Size (yes, really, a condom you can purchase that is reflective of your girth) to RELEAF a wee German company that plants a tree for ever condom manufactured. Condoms are subjected to more rigorous testing and laws so we know you can rest easy with whatever brand you use.
Oh, and if you were here looking for more info on the sun and sea- keep those plastics away from water (no one wants our environment to be comprised of animals stuffed with god knows what) and toys away from the sun- UV rays break down some chemical structures...
Ta for now!
*Clearly not a medical term
**Also clearly not a medical term