In May 2021, eBay announced a chilling new policy banning the sale of adult products on their platform beginning June 15 2020. It forbids the sale of any pornographic content, such as DVDs, magazines, games, sex toys and lingerie. Somehow, select issues of Playboy managed to avoid the axe, being considered collector’s items. Because, you know… only Playboy is considered collectable. LOL.
It really makes me wonder why eBay would turn its back on one of the more profitable sectors of their marketplace. Adult oriented retailers and sex-positive companies have been selling products there for years. Are they following suit with some of the larger social media platforms? Are they bowing to pressure from payment partners? Perhaps changes in upper management’s sense and sensibilities are at work? The only thing I do know is as of this writing, eBay has not offered any definitive reasoning for this reversal.
Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr all banned sexually explicit, pornographic, and even simple nudity from their services. I’ve seen some communities on Facebook get warned or suspended for text based memes which featured no offensive imagery but where considers “perverse or deviant” in their satire. I’m not sure who decides what content fits what tag there, but I am reminded that when we let governments or private corporations dictate what kinds of sexual behavior is “right or wrong”, we’re barreling down a slippery slope to be sure.
Hats off to Twitter for being the only large social platform not to police it’s users in this way. They at least get it.
It is my opinion that with this move, eBay is sending a clear message that they not only disapprove of what consenting adults may wish to purchase for their own pleasure, but are condemning the entire sex work industry. Sure they can run their business any way they want but it’s a bad look to be falling in with the rest of the sex police, all fretting and wringing their hands that someone may see a nipple or something.
If you’re looking to put sex positive products, I suggest local retailers first. Barring that, Amazon still has adult oriented items for sale. They know the #1 rule of retail: “Never make it hard for me to give you money”.