You can buy and sell porn on eBay.
It’s true. In fact, you can get more than just a bunch of dirty DVDs or Blu-ray discs. New or old, from magazines to books to movies– everything that can be legally sold in a regular adult novelty store can be found on eBay or similar online auctions. This shouldn’t be a big shock considering that the first companies to make money off the internet were adult websites. Even Amazon.com sells nude “art” and “erotica” photo book and calendars, material that some people would label pornographic, so it makes sense that online auction houses would get in on the action as well.
However, what may surprise people are the amount of auctions aimed at women. From lacy and leathery undergarments to brightly colored silicone toys, and salty games to spice up your sex life– everything can be found here. Is this just another example that adult themes are becoming more mainstream, more acceptable to women?
Perhaps. But it’s more involved than that.
Ask any man who’s been in an adult store and he’ll tell you that the whole place is marketed toward men. So if you’re a woman looking to explore your sexual side, you won’t necessarily be comfortable asking for product suggestions from a store clerk while eager men are perusing the latest magazines and movies behind you. Indeed, except for the Good Vibrations stores (mostly based in the Bay Area), there aren’t a lot of sex shops catering to women. And while there are numerous online destinations one can visit to purchase these items, they too are usually directed toward men, using the kind of over-the-top imagry that can turn a woman off.
Besides, you can access eBay and not have anyone know what you’re doing.
Think about it: Employers rarely block eBay, so you can view the adult auction at work. Got questions about what item is right for you, your desires and experiences? You can contact the seller anonymously, and since they’re in this to make money they’re often very well educated and non-judgmental when it comes to giving answers.
Have a boyfriend or husband? You can spend hours on eBay and he won’t think twice about it. You might even find a great Fiestaware vase with matching salt and pepper shakers while you’re there. (Though, to be clear, anyone clicking on your browser history can track your activity back to the adult auction, so it may be smart to clear it if you’re feeling a need to be discreet.)
Auctions also offer legal adults access to material that may otherwise be banned in their home state, and at prices they can afford. For example, if someone lives on a military base or in a state that has strict laws regarding the shipment of adult items, many sellers won’t know those laws or simply ignore them, believing they’ll never get reported. Prices, like with most online auction items, are often below retail price– though the adult market has not tapped into the penny auctions market, where one can find enormous discounts on high-end items like iPads, iPhones, and computers.
Make no mistake, eBay is very strict when it comes to buying or posting content. They usually require a valid credit card to verify your age, and they flag anything that could be considered even remotely illegal, such as key words that in themselves do not seem wrong but when placed in an adult context could be viewed that way. They also take precautions against minors finding their way into these sections, but if you’re living with curious teenagers who have access to your accounts, you may want to clear your saved passwords and change them– just to be safe.
Sex toys are a $15 billion dollar a year industry, and these sites make good money by taking a fee and /or commission from the seller. They behave like the modern-day liquor store owner, with those brown-wrapped magazines hidden behind the counter, keeping the activity very discreet. And from the number of auctions going on at any given time–there are 559,992 happening on eBay as we write this–it doesn’t look like they’ll be stopping these sales any time soon.