Fantasticocks Rep Talks Impact of Etsy's Sex Toy Ban

LOS ANGELES—E-commerce marketplace giant Etsy recently announced that starting July 29, it will prohibit the sale of most adult products and content on its popular platform. This has prompted outrage among independent sex toy and pleasure product companies that rely on the platform as a primary sales channel. The company explained that these policy changes are related to what it characterizes as so-called "evolving industry standards."

AVN spoke to Preston Stevenson of Fantasticocks about the potential harm of the new trust and safety policies. Fantasticocks designs and manufactures handmade adult toys bound in the realm of the broad and ever-evolving fantasy genres. Stevenson's company sells fantasy dildos, masturbators, cock rings, egg-laying ovipositors and grinders, among others.

In fact, Stevenson shared that his company takes pride as one of the first in the pleasure product space to develop and sell toys for members of the trans community. 

"We were one of the first to create and design toys and packers for the trans community specifically to bring a new level of inclusion to the market where it did not exist before," Stevenson said.

However, due to the platform's new policies on adult toys, Stevenson worries his company's loyal customers, both within the trans community and otherwise, will be left scrambling. "We will no longer be able to offer our creations on the platform in any form and will have to take down all of our listings," he explained. "This will not only impact many customers looking for fantasy adult toys, but it will specifically impact our customers from the trans community."

Fantasticocks started selling on Etsy in 2018, shortly after it was formed. With over 55,000 orders on the books, Stevenson said that Etsy's new policies are censorial. This is especially the case when their two sales channels are the Etsy marketplace and the Fantasticocks website, which is built on top of the Shopify ecosystem. 

"We think this prohibition on most adult products on Etsy may come from a few different factors," Stevenson said. "We have seen rumors that credit card processors have been putting pressure on platforms like Etsy to remove those listings as they consider them 'high risk.'"

As AVN reported last week, Etsy's new policies directly prohibit adult toys that are "inserted into the body, [are] applied to the genitalia, [and] are designed for genitals to be inserted into them." Being so broad, this directly covers adult toys "such as dildos, vibrators, anal plugs, sex dolls, and Fleshlight." Fantasticocks falls right into these categories, unfortunately.

"Etsy's adult toy market is quite expansive and brings in a sizable source of sales and revenue for the company, so to effectively decide to flip a switch and damage their company's bottom line even more overnight does not seem to align with practical business sense," Stevenson asserted. 

There are external forces at play, too. Namely, anti-pornography and extreme religious organizations such as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), which in 2022 named Etsy to its controversial "Dirty Dozen" list. As a part of the Dirty Dozen marketing blitz, NCOSE characterized Etsy as an enabler of "sexual exploitation." NCOSE said, "Etsy has an ethical obligation to stop profiting from and normalizing child sex abuse and exploitation."

NCOSE's claims have been contested, however. AVN has reported extensively on cultural battles involving the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, including an effort at one point to classify the organization as a hate group

The group made a fuss in 2018 by characterizing Cosmopolitan magazine as "porn," which resulted in Walmart removing the popular women's fashion and entertainment quarterly from its checkout lanes.

NCOSE also received criticism for naming the American Library Association, academic database provider EBSCO, mainstream streaming platform Netflix, and online gaming community Roblox as "exploiters." There is very little credibility linked to NCOSE outside of the anti-pornography movement and the far-right.

While it's certainly within the realm of possibility that NCOSE's targeting of the firm in 2022 played a part in Etsy's policy change, "The reasoning behind this push is ... speculative," Stevenson submitted. "Knowing the numbers of the Etsy corporation with the sales being down, stock prices falling. ... [We] believe there must be a pressure of some sort that comes down to belief rather than numbers. ... We only see the inevitable downfall of the platform as a whole."