Is Your Personal Lube Hurting the Environment?

Personal lube doesn't have to hurt the environment.

Similar to the many personal care products we all slather on our human bodies, personal lube isn’t great for Earth’s environment. Yes, we know. Sex will never be the same.

It’s not as slick as you think…

Most conventional personal lubricants are silicone-based. The specific type of silicon in lube is silica—water plus silicone. The problem with silica is that it’s bioaccumulative, meaning it builds up in the environment.

Silica builds up and doesn’t naturally dissipate. It’s all over the planet.

“Recent research even detected them hanging out in soil, plants, and krill all the way down in Antarctica,” Grist reports.

“All this raises troubling questions about exactly what effect the chemical is having on the ecosystem (as well as on those of us higher up on the food chain). The answer? We dunno. Some, including Canada’s environment agency, suspect silicones (like this and this) are environmental toxins, but nobody’s sure yet.”

In addition to the potential environmental impact—contaminated water, critters, etc.—personal lube also could contain parabens, a common, controversial preservative.

Parabens can irritate skin and could potentially act as endocrine disruptors.

“Data on exactly what health effects they have on us, and in what concentrations, are murky,” Grist adds.

“But some parabens are banned in consumer products in the European Union, and there’s evidence they affect aquatic life.”

So, what’s a sex lover to do?

There are a few options.

Use organic and water-based lubricants (with condoms)!

Sliquid carries various water-based formulas. All the brand’s products are incredibly simple—they contain five ingredients: purified water, plant cellulose from cotton, cyamopsis (guar conditioners), potassium sorbet, and citric acid. They are vegan, easy to clean up, and glycerin and paraben-free.

We’ve also covered other sustainable sex lubricants in the past. Sustain, Intimate Organics, and Good Clean Love are great options.

All are worthy of checking out—and won’t hurt the environment or Earth’s precious water supply.

Related on EcoSalon
Sex Lube: Your Own Personal Oil Slick
Yes, It’s Time to Make a Condom Emoji Already
3 Ways to Have the Best Outdoor Sex Ever


Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.