Estimated at $35.1 Billion back in 2020 and expected to grow to $54.6 billion by 2026, the sex toy market has enough money to get anyone’s juices flowing. Despite its size, however, more and more people are asking the question, can you use PayPal for sex toys and adult products?
The answer, as it turns out, is harder to find than the fabled clit. Let’s shed some light on this oft-misunderstood topic.
PayPal’s Unclear Stance
When it comes to info on sex toys, PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy is about as useful as a butt plug to a colostomy patient. While they do say that you can buy or sell digitally-delivered adult content with permission, they don’t really make a peep about toys or other adult products.
Adding to the confusion, their help center states that they allow the sale and purchase of certain sexually-oriented physical goods within the US. But does that include dildos, lube, and the like?
Well, their examples comprise videos, DVDs, and magazines, without one mention of a silicone tip or shaft. Again, they dodge the issue like we assume Ron Jeremy does with paternity tests.
Just assuming that sex toys and adult products fall under these physical goods also won’t do you any good. It’s not uncommon to see users banned not just for selling such wares, but for simply buying them.
And it all gets even worse when we consider the fact that certain adult toy stores explicitly work with PayPal. Buy from them, you’re probably safe; buy from elsewhere, and you may lose your account.
So, what makes these particular vendors special? The answer is simple, though you may not like it.
PayPal Is Being Vague on Purpose
Overall, the adult industry comes with a high chargeback rate, heavy state regulations, risk of fraud, and overall stigma. That said, there’s too much money in it for a giant like PayPal not to skim a bit off the top.
However, they don’t want to face the prejudice and do the additional work that comes with the market. In essence, they’re holding their orifices puckered for insertion with one hand while keeping security on the phone with the other.
If a seller is big enough (as in, can send enough money through their system), PayPal will give them the green light. Otherwise, the seller gets sent away without as much as a kiss and phone number.
To make matters worse, PayPal is notoriously flaky when responding to queries on the topic. It’s not rare for a seller to ask if their niche is allowed and wait months for a reply that may never come.
And if they take a risk and get kicked out, they’re out. PayPal has a track record for not restoring blocked accounts or (best case scenario) keeping suspensions exceptionally long.
So, what does all this mean in practice? Well, that depends on whether you’re looking to buy or sell.
Can You Use PayPal to Buy Sex Toys and Adult Products?
As we’ve mentioned above, a number of adult stores openly work with PayPal. If you use your account to buy toys exclusively from them, you should be fine.
Some of these include:
- Good Vibrations
- Honey Play Box
- Wild Flower
- Organic Loven
However, we still suggest being safe rather than sorry. Paying via a credit or debit card will always be a better option unless that choice is absolutely not on the table for you.
Can You Use PayPal to Sell Sex Toys and Adult Products?
Let’s say that you have the means to build an adult industry juggernaut that PayPal would cooperate with. Would you really be okay with risking the possibility of losing access to your primary payment solution at any time, with no notice or chance to appeal?
In all likelihood, the answer is no, which should put a lid on the question of PayPal and sex toys and products.
That won’t be a problem, though. You’ve got a wide range of exceptional alternatives for the world’s biggest (and most disliked) payment processor.
Enter Adult Payment Processors
Despite everything we mentioned by now, the industry is still going strong. For every mainstream service that alienates it, two fresh ones pop up, eager to plunder its ripe booty.
We informally refer to these as adult payment processors. From CCBill to PaymentCloud and others, they specialize in servicing all naughty segments of online business — everything from sex toys to erotic massages and porn sites is included.
Anyone can use their card or bank account to purchase sex toys. However, most would prefer some kind of intermediary.
While the adult industry isn’t nearly as stigmatized as a decade ago, people are understandably hesitant to directly provide their data to adult vendors. Payment processors provide a degree of protection in that regard, including the chargeback nuclear option.
And let’s face it, a CCBill transaction will raise fewer eyebrows in your bank than a direct receipt from Bad Dragon. Of course, this screen isn’t perfect, but it’s there.
So, while you may not be able to use PayPal for sex toys or products, that won’t really matter. Just as good — or better — options exist, and they’re here to stay.