058 Vegan Guide to Birth Control and Safe Sex
Let’s talk about sex, baby! With our advice, you’ll be doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well….and safely! The princesses talk safe sex and birth control options for vegans.
In This Episode
Nichole and Callie discuss birth control and safe sex options for vegans: what is, what’s not, what resources are available, as well as giving tips for having safe, healthy consensual sex.
Before we dig in, we want to acknowledge asexuality. An asexual person is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who someone is, like any other sexual orientation. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently. Some like physical affection like kissing and snuggling, some don’t. Some are aromantic, some desire romantic relationships that simply don’t include sex. Asexuality is just as valid, complex and varied as any other sexual orientation.
If you’d like to find out more, Asexuality.org is a great resource.
The discussion of hormonal birth control and pregnancy prevention will be cisgendered and hetero-centric. For this part of the discussion, man means the person with the penis, woman means the person with the vagina and uterus. If there is a better way to for us to speak of these things that’s more inclusive, please let us know. We didn’t know how to word it better, but we absolutely acknowledge that sex that could lead to pregnancy could be happening between two people who don’t strictly identify as man and/or woman.
The rest of the advice was structured to be for anyone, of any gender identity or sexual orientation. If we get something wrong, let us know, but we definitely made this in mind of speaking about sex generally, not just for heteronormative or monogamous sex.
Hormonal Birth Control
Most brands of birth control pills and hormonal IUDs contain lactose, a milk by-product. There are some that do not, but they change often, so do an internet search or talk to your doctor to get one that is lactose-free.
The shot, the ring and the patch do not contain animal products (Depo-provera, NuvaRing, Ortho-Evra)
All hormonal birth control is tested on animals, and we excrete these hormones in our urine which filters out into the water system and has an adverse effect on marine life.
Non-Hormonal Birth Control
Copper IUDs do not contain animal products but ARE tested on animals.
Certain barrier methods are available: the FemCap (a cervical cap), and diaphragms are available vegan. Be aware that diaphragms must be sized by a doctor, and both barrier methods require the use of spermacide, which can be purchased vegan as well (ContraGel is one). Sponges are another option that is available vegan. All of these methods require pre-planning, making spontaneous sex a bit difficult, but are all valid options.
Natural methods rock but require a lot of dedication and communication between partners in long-term relationships. For those who participate in casual sex, there is a limited window of time each month during which sex will not result in pregnancy, requiring either abstinence the rest of the month or relying on condoms or other barrier methods for the other portion of the month. Lady Comp and Cyclotest are a great but expensive help with this, the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a great resource.
Sterility is a good permanent option for those who know they never want kids or don’t want anymore, but will require (in most cases) the use of medication that has animal products in it or was tested on animals, as well as the techniques themselves were tested on animals at one point. However, it’s a one-time thing and then you are done forever.
Pregnancy Prevention Notes
Pull-out (or withdrawal) method has been shown to be more effective than we’ve been told, for every 100 women who participate in sex that uses the pull-out method correctly, only 4 will get pregnant versus 27 for those who don’t do it correctly. To use the pull-out method correctly:
- The man has to know his body and has to pull out before orgasm begins
- If the man came earlier that day, semen can still be in his urethra, which can be carried into the vagina via pre-cum or pre-ejaculate. Washing the penis and urinating before sex can help clear out any residual semen
- The man should not ejaculate on the vaginal area. Is hot as fuck, we know, but semen on the vulva or labia can make it’s way into the vagina
- Similarly, both parties should be extremely careful with clean up, which is another reason to not come on the vagina. Make sure to use different items to wipe up the semen than you are using to wipe off your vagina, and be wary of hands that have had semen on them, especially if you go for round two before washing them
- Pregnancy can result from anal sex for similar reasons – if the man ejaculates in or around the anus, semen can find it’s way into the vagina, classily known as splash-back
Condoms may also contain casein, as can dental dams, medical gloves and finger condoms, but there are tons of brands that are vegan if you search for them on the interwebs.
Glyde is a great brand for vegan condoms, they offer organic flavored ones as well! Sir Richards is another trusted brand. We weren’t able to verify from the website that they are vegan but a listener told us about Hero condoms out of Australia, they are a green company that donates one condom for every one sold. And, the vegan super-condom is coming out soon!
Lubrication is often woefully overlooked during sexytimes. It is especially important because of vaginal and anal tearing that can occur during sex.
Vaginal tearing: many women do not have enough natural lubricant for safe, enjoyable, penetrative sex, even when aroused, due to hormonal birth control, which can cause vaginal dryness as well as decreased libido, or due to natural dryness. Vaginal tearing can lead to UTIs, yeast infections, bacterial infections, as well as an increased risk of STIs.
Anal tearing: the anus does not have the natural lubrication that the vagina has, nor are the walls of the anus as thick. This means proper lubrication during anal sex is extremely important, as is proper preparation for anal sex and condoms with untested partners, in order to prevent and reduce tearing that could increase risk of STIs or infection, as well as to enhance and ensure a pleasurable sexual experience. If you do practice anal sex regularly, make sure to do your Kegels to keep your sphincter strong. (Morpheus meme: One does not simply have anal sex)
Lube recommendations: Nichole’s favorite lubes are spit and coconut oil, although there are many vegan options on the market.
Spit is sexy and the application of it generally feels really good, but it is full of bacteria so if you are prone to infection, it’s not the best route.
Coconut oil is yummy smelling, natural and lasts the longest out of anything she’s tried. Plus it has anti-bacterial properties, which can help keep things clean while you get dirrrrrrty. BUT if you are using latex condoms, make sure to avoid oil-based lubricants and find yourself a water-based one instead.
There’s a company online called Good Clean Love that makes vegan, organic personal lubricants. You can order from their site or find them on Amazon.
Remember: never touch a vagina with a dry anything, no matter how wet it is! It feels gross and it hurts! And lubricate, lubricate, lubricate!
Sex Toys & Kink
Sex toys can have similar pitfalls to condoms and barrier methods: casein, lactose, as well as rubber, leather, glycerin, animal additives to flavorings, dyes and polishes. Vegan options for all sex toys are available, you just have to make sure to buy consciously. The Vegan Sex Shop is a great site vegan sex toys, as well as other sex-related items like lubricant, and even BDSM and fetish gear. They even have fun and wacky items like a dual showerhead made for pleasuring yourself and others in the shower! Best of all, The Vegan Sex Shop donates 6% of proceeds and let’s you choose which organization they go to.
Standard kink paraphernalia can contain leather, silk, feathers, latex and rubber that have casein, fur, etc. Ethical Kink is a GREAT sight that is not only vegan, but also feminist, and has an awesome and wide array of items for the vegan kinksters.
Enthusiastic consent is the only way to go for any and all sexual activity. All partners involved should be in agreeance for everything that happens. Get confirmation of consent before progressing to the next phase, and be clear about your intentions in AND out of the bedroom before sexytimes go down. Tricking or pressuring people into sex is not cool, it’s rape. We have a culture that normalizes, even celebrates, those activities but they are rape and they are not ok.
Anyone under the effect of drugs or alcohol cannot consent, by law. If you couldn’t legally operate a vehicle, you could not legally consent to sex. Of course this gets murky when both parties are drunk and consenting, so the take-away here is that it’s generally a good rule of thumb to not get fucked up before you have sex and not to intentionally sleep with someone because they are fucked up.
Make sure everyone is stoked and on-board before any pants activities occur! Consent is fun and sexy as fuck!
Do What Is Best For You
We wanted to provide everyone with this information to help them make an informed decision about their bodies and sex lives. What you do with it is your business, and any decision you make is the right one as long as it’s right for your needs, lifestyle, future plans, and current resources. Don’t do something out of a fear of judgement from others. It’s your body, your life, and you gotta live it in a way that serves YOU best, not the movement, not other’s expectation of you. Taking care of yourself first is always the road to being the best vegan you can be.
Links and Resources
- NYC Restaurateur to Convert 15 Bars and Restaurants to Vegan (VegNews)
- Chef Drops Foie Gras From Menu After Vegan Death Threats (Time)
- Three female protesters for PETA go topless, ‘bed down’ for veganism (Fox L.A.)
- Is Birth Control Vegan? (The Vegan Woman)
- Is Birth Control Vegan? (Bite Size Vegan)
- Green Your Birth Control (Huffington Post)
- Vegan-Friendly Contraceptives (ContraGel UK)
- Withdrawal / Pull-out Method (Planned Parenthood)
- The Truth About Condoms (Planned Parenthood)