Etsy, a once vibrant marketplace known for its eclectic range of handmade and vintage items, has announced a controversial policy change effective July 29th, 2024. In a move that has disappointed many of its sellers and buyers alike, Etsy will now prohibit the sale of most sex toys and explicit adult content, significantly narrowing the diversity of products available on its platform.

This decision marks a departure from Etsy’s original ethos of supporting independent creators and providing a marketplace for unique and sometimes unconventional goods. By implementing stricter guidelines, Etsy risks alienating a segment of its community that values freedom of expression and the ability to access a wide range of products.

Key changes to the policy include the following:

  • Significantly limiting the types of adult toys and sexual accessories that can be sold on Etsy: Some categories of adult toys and sexual accessories are prohibited, and it is now more clear which specific types of adult and sexual items are allowed if listed appropriately. You can see more detail about prohibited items here.
  • Prohibiting items that depict sex acts and genitalia: Photographs and photo-realistic depictions of sex acts and genitalia, even if they are obscured in listing images, are prohibited. Adult nudity is generally permitted if it is non-realistic, like paintings and sculptures, if listed appropriately. Pornography in any form is never allowed on Etsy. 
  • Introducing stricter criteria for listing images that feature mature content: Mature content—including permitted nudity and permitted sexual content—may not appear in the public areas of your account, including but not limited to your shop home, username, or avatar. If your listing includes mature content, the first thumbnail image must be adequately obscured. 

Affected sellers will receive instructions on how to comply with the updated policies. Despite these changes, Etsy remains “committed to supporting creative entrepreneurs and fostering a marketplace that celebrates individuality and craftsmanship.” Just… without adult oriented themes. *sigh*

For more details on Etsy’s revised policy regarding adult content, please visit their post “Strengthening Our Approach Towards Mature Content on Etsy.”

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