Q. Hey Umbra!

So I’m finally starting up a relationship with a guy as eco-friendly as I am (I’d say eco-freaky, but since I’m writing about sex, I thought it would be overload). However, since neither of us is into polluting, killing animals, or overpopulation, how do we go green in the bedroom? Just what are the ins and outs of eco-friendly safe sex?

Portland, Ore.

A. Feet.No animals were harmed in the making of this love.Dearest Sascha,

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Uh. The ins and outs are basically the same. Do you mean the equipment used during the ins and outs? Can that be the opening joke on a family site such as this?

Sascha, yours is one of the questions that allow me, periodically, to touch upon the topic of reproduction. To go super-green with another eco-head in the bedroom is to avoid adding to the world’s population, and there are only three ways toward that goal: pay careful attention to birth control, eschew intercourse, or be the same sex as your partner. That’s it. The environment will be best served by having fewer consumers drawing on its resources in an unsustainable manner. That is, fewer people, but particularly fewer Americans. Sexual safety, in the environmental sense, is mostly about family planning. Children should be wanted, and smaller families are a nice consideration of the burden each human places on the planet. Isn’t that tactful of me? As we raise our children, we should think carefully about the messages we send about consumption, the natural environment, personal transport, and personal responsibility. We should raise ethical children anyway, and add an environmental aspect to their ethical conscience.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

You may be wondering about birth control and the environment. If so, please read my previous article on the topic, excising my mention of withdrawal as a birth-control technique as you read. What was I thinking? Withdrawal is not a birth-control technique, it’s insanity. You should of course be careful about STDs, so perhaps your question is about an ecological condom? Every condom is inherently ecological, and they literally come in green if you so wish. There are even vegan condoms made with cocoa powder in place of milk protein (raising the question of whether the cocoa industry is better than the dairy industry, but let’s put that aside for another day).

Perhaps you are mostly wondering about sex toys? Why, we’ve covered that topic on this very website, which leaves no aspect of an eco-head’s life unexamined. The big trouble with sex toys such as dildos and vibrators — plastic toys — is the use of vinyl and phthalates in their manufacture. Phthalates are a family of chemicals used to soften plastics, and linked to potential hormonal disruption. Vinyl is our sworn enemy. Our article details the problems faced by sustainably minded sex-toy purveyors, offering some fun solutions — not only for toys, but also for non-vinyl and non-leather clothing. Well, not really clothing. What do you call cuffs? Partial clothing? Clothing leftovers? Anyway, you were wondering about killing animals, and we thought leather clothing leftovers might be your concern. Turns out nylon is a good substitute in some cases.

I suppose hemp sheets are another must-have if you’re going green in the bedroom. Dimming the lights is a suave low-kilowatt maneuver, and if you use candles, please follow my earlier advice on candle shopping. It was my editor who brought up dimming the lights — you didn’t think I forgot my party-girl editor series, did you? — and her other standby techniques include organic massage oils and a little night music played on old combs. But her final eco-seduction tip is the piece de eco-resistance. Looking for a nice movie to set the mood? Look no further than An Inconvenient Truth. Hot!

Have fun with your new guy.