Vegan sex products are in high demand right now, according to data from Holland & Barrett. The health and wellness retailer, which claims to be Europe’s largest, revealed that sales of animal-free condoms and sex toys just keep climbing.
“In March of last year, we launched our range of natural, vegan sexual wellness products online, and it’s proven really popular with our customers,” Sam Goodman of Holland & Barrett said in a statement.
Vegan condom sales, for example, lifted by 248 percent in the first week of January, compared to the weekly average.
Meanwhile, sales of vegetable-themed sex toys (such as bananas and eggplants) spiked by 69 percent. One gadget – a corn on the cob bullet vibrator – was especially popular, with sales skyrocketing by 191 percent.
Are condoms vegan?
Plant-based food is circulating the mainstream market like never before. But the dinner table isn’t the only place animal products end up.
Speaking to Mind Body Green, integrative gynecologist Shawn Tassone confirmed that latex – which most condoms are made from – is a plant-based product. However, some latex condoms are made softer and smoother using casein, a byproduct of milk.
“There are also condoms on the market that are lambskin, which obviously would not qualify as a vegan condom,” Tassone added.
Further, condoms can be tested on animals since they are considered a “medical device” in many countries, the UNFPA says. Companies trial the products on horses or rabbits, for instance, to meet testing requirements.
“Condom fragments are inserted into rabbits for a vaginal irritation test. The rabbits are sacrificed, and their wombs are extracted to determine its suitability for people,” Gina Park, co-founder of Instinctus, told VICE. Instinctus sells sexual healthcare products including the first vegan condoms available in Korea.
Are vegan condoms effective?
Gynecologist Tassone assured that plant-based, cruelty-free condoms are just as effective as non-vegan versions in terms of protecting against sexually transmitted infections and preventing unwanted pregnancy.
However, a condom being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it contains no harsh chemicals, such as talcum, benzocaine, or parabens.
And because condom manufacturers are not required to place ingredients’ listings on their products, consumers looking to avoid such ingredients may have a difficult time.
Glyde, Sustain Natural, Sir Richards, Skyn, LOLA, Lovability, maude, and LELO Hex are just some of the companies producing vegan-friendly condoms.
This article was originally published on January 21, 2022. It was updated on January 25, 2022 to include new information about the data referenced.