Let me be clear: I have a firm and unshakeable belief in the need to reuse, reduce and recycle whenever possible. But it occurred to me recently that there might be some things – due to their massive and inescapable skeeve factor – that simply should not be rinsed off and put back in the hands of unsuspecting consumers. It seems logical to me to put sex toys at the top of that particular list.
Once something has been used in such a personal and intimate way, the idea of giving it a second go-round is a little off-putting. And yet, it has come to my attention that there is an organization whose sole purpose is to promote and facilitate the recycling of sex toys. According to this company’s website, all you have to do is put your used item into a pouch and drop it into a designated receptacle; it will be retrieved, sterilized (thank God) and remade – into either a new sex toy or a more general use item – such as underwear, a toothbrush, chopsticks, or patio furniture. For submitting items to be recycled, you are rewarded with a discount on your next purchase.
For the record, I am not a prude. I do not think that sexual enhancement products are just for floozies and sinners; I wholeheartedly support those who use titillating trinkets as part of an adult relationship. But I shudder to think that a battery-powered rubber device that was once part of an illicit three-way in a sketchy motel could somehow be reincarnated as my toothbrush.
In the interest of propriety I will not go into detail about the products that qualify for this exchange program – suffice to say that most of them will have taken a wild ride through bodily fluids. It’s hard to imagine that mere sterilization could make such objects clean enough for certain uses. I could probably live with the idea that a deconstructed sex toy had been recycled into an ink cartridge or a garbage bag, but I honestly cannot imagine one landing on my table as a chopstick.
This unwelcome knowledge is causing me to cast a wary eye on the recycled items I currently use. I have been struck with this uncomfortable thought: Is someone else’s refurbished vibrator in my house at this very minute? Intellectually I know that recycled products are entirely clean. But emotionally I am not OK with this. Suddenly I find myself wondering about those self-righteously eco brown paper towels: where have they been, exactly?
This sex-toy thing will absolutely not stop me from purchasing recycled items. But you know those black lights they use on CSI to illuminate bodily fluids at a crime scene? I may have to invest in one.