Sex and the Environment

One would think that sex is a pretty environmentally-friendly activity. Unlike many other hobbies, it generally doesn’t create a lot of waste, and it’s also good exercise! However, some of the instruments related to safe sex could be having a detrimental effect on both the environment and your health.

sex can be healthier and greener!

Image provided by Flickr creative commons user pedrosimoes7

 

Birth control chemicals and the environment:There has been much speculation surrounding the effects of birth control chemicals on waterways and aquatic life. The chemicals that women ingest when they take birth control pills are still present in their fecal matter in small amounts, and consequently flushed into the water system. The primary chemical in question is ethinyl-estradiol (EE2), a synthetic hormone found in various forms of contraception, including the pill. There have been suspicions that this and other synthetic hormones have contributed to reproductive problems in fish. However, studies have shown that birth control pills contribute very small amounts of the hormone into the water supply, especially compared to industrial agriculture (cows are given synthetic hormones to produce larger quantities of milk). Chemicals used in manufacturing, such as BPA, also contribute estrogen compounds to the environment. While estrogen is naturally occurring in humans, the synthetic form takes longer to break down. However, the contribution of EE2 to the water supply from birth control pills is often over-exaggerated based on political agendas.

Birth control chemicals and human health: Birth control pills are extremely beneficial in a number of ways – they help women make responsible decisions about their lives and their families. They also help to control population, which is good for the environment. However, the hormones in contraceptive pills can have physical side effects including migraines, depression, nausea, breast tenderness and spotting. Basically, putting synthetic chemicals in your body is always a little bit scary. Choosing a hormone-free method such as a copper IUD is perhaps the best way to avoid the negative side effects of conventional contraceptives. These are usually good for birth control for 10-12 years, making it fairly cost effective. Because it is only inserted once, there is also almost no waste generated from packaging.

Condoms and the environment: Have you ever considered how condoms contribute to environmental waste? The chemical additives applied to biodegradable latex condoms actually make it more difficult for them to break down in landfills, and condoms made from polyurethane simply don’t break down. Packaging and instructive materials are another form of waste associated with condom use. There are vegan condoms on the market, as well as more natural lambskin ones. However, using lambskin condoms may not be as effective at preventing STD’s.

 Chemical additives in condoms and human health: Lubricants found on condoms can include incredibly toxic chemicals. One common one is benzene, a known carcinogen. It’s also common for condoms to use petroleum-based lubricants, petroleum being perhaps an unpleasant thing to apply to one’s genitals. Condoms also may contain chemical-laden synthetic fragrances and colors. You should be wary of other personal lubricants as well, as they can contain chemicals that can cause irritation and lesions, leading to increased chances of getting an STD.

 

While you might be doing your best to practice safe sex by using condoms and other forms of contraception, keep in mind that the products you’re using may contain harmful chemicals. Read labels on condoms and lubricants carefully, and ask your doctor about the chemicals in the birth control options available to you to make the most informed choice. Armed with the right knowledge, you can make sure that your friskiness is as environmentally friendly and healthy as possible.

 

Sources:

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20326842,00.html

http://www.arhp.org/publications-and-resources/contraception-journal/august-2011

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2009/03/treehumper.2.html

Is birth control in our water destroying the environment?

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