Eco-Friendly Sex Shop: What the Heck Is That?

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Last week, we brought you a story that examined the sprawling tale of a group of underground activists committed to radical environmentalism and animal rights. Sure, sure, some of you said, but what's this about an eco-friendly sex shop?

These curious readers noticed that one of our sources, a longtime environmental activist named Kim Marks, was identified as the proprietor of just such an establishment. Yet, we got sidetracked by all the firebombing, tree-sitting and personal transformation, and neglected to explain what the heck an eco-friendly sex shop is.

Fortunately, Marks offers a detailed explanation of what she's trying to accomplish on the website of her Portland store, As You Like It.

First off, she discusses her target audience, whom she calls "ecosexuals."

What is an ecosexual? Eco comes from the latin root oeco, meaning home or house. Ecosexuality, therefore, is about taking care of our home, Earth, in truly holistic way. Not only does this cover the usual suspects as far as environmentalism- recycling, composting, waste not want not mentality, but ecosexuality takes it one step further and brings environmentalism into our sex lives.

And how do we do that? Marks details her store's interpretation.

Some things that we look for: body safe materials, fair labor practices, rechargeable products, products manufactured in North America to cut down on carbon footprint from shipping, materials that don't harm the workers who manufacture the products, and materials that aren't made from endangered species. We have a quick and easy visual system on our webstore that allows our customers to see some basics about the product their looking at (including Made in N. America, Rechargeable, and Body Safe).

A gander at her website's bestsellers page produces some illuminating examples.

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Take, for instance, the "Gigi by Lelo" vibrator. This device is not only "aesthetically beautiful," with a "contoured shape perfect for both clitoral and g-spot stimulation," but it is "made of phthalate-free, medical grade silicone, medical grade stainless steel and medical grade plastic that is completely safe for the body."

We had to look this one up in our archives, reading back over a 2007 story we did on a similarly-minded sex shop then near South Lake Union, but phthalates apparently are evil chemicals that have a horrible scent and may cause cancer.

As You Like It also features a dildo "made entirely of 100% Ultra-Premium Silicone" and a lubricant composed of "certified organic botanical extracts" including flax and green tea.

We do have to wonder, though, whether each and every product will pass political muster for the incredibly discriminating activist crowd. Will vegans appreciate a "slapper" made of not just one layer of leather but three?

On the other hand, apparently the layers amplify the "sound of the leather smacking bare skin."

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