Vegan sex shop offers responsible romping
A Berlin sex shop has taken clear-conscience consumerism to an intimate new high, with organic, vegan sex aids.
"Other Nature" a women-orientated eco-friendly sex shop offers organic lubricants, silicon vibrators, and whips recycled from old bike tyres as an alternative to mainstream sex shop wares.
Their manifesto is a brave one – to bring customers away from big name sex shops, which they believe sell poor quality, potentially hazardous sex toys.
They say fun, healthy sex can be environmentally responsible.
A wide range of dildos, hand selected in every for colour and size are set out across the counter and they all have one thing in common – nothing was created using animal products, nor was any ingredient tested on animals.
Because, unlike organic foods, there is no official framework for assessing intimate toys, the women check personally that everything they sell passes strict guidelines.
"We are a sex shop, only we do it better," Anne Bonnie Schindler, one of the shop's co-managers, said.
"We contacted each of the manufacturers and asked where the materials came from, where these objects were produced and if animal substances were used," she explained.
And next to a display of tubes of lubricants, a small sign explains that they are glycerine-free and contain no parabens or allergens. In the back there is a reading room, and shelves of independent, niche erotic literature. In the evenings, the owners offer workshops on how to make your own sex toys.
"Our customers are of all ages and contrary to what we expected, they’re not just women," Schindler, 31 and an experienced sex shop employee said.
Schindler, who for a long time worked in a "classic" sex shop, is herself a vegan, shunning any product that comes from an animal or was tested on animals, such as leather, fur, wool or even beeswax, and is one of around half a million vegans living in Germany.
And according to Jöran Fliege, of the Vegan-Berlin association, "the trend is seeing a strong increase," he said.
Anja Hägele, of the Peta animal rights organisation, said veganism was not just about what people ate, it also affects what people wear, use as household products or cosmetics.
Now a vegan lifestyle can not only be expressed in the kitchen and bathroom – it can also reach into the bedroom.