My week started out a little bit crazy and derailed my creative flow for two days. You would think, after all this time in the world of sex, I'd remember that some companies won't let you play in their sandbox the moment you mention sex they find offensive.
It happened to me a few days ago.
There I was, all excited about my new book release, using my snazzy MailChimp account to create a beautiful email. Less than fifteen minutes after I tried to send the email out, I received a notification from MailChimp. My account had been closed because I violated their Terms of Service and tried to promote something they deemed inappropriate.
Are you fucking kidding me??
According to their rules, they don't allow several types of sexual content:
- Pornography or other sexually explicit Emails
- Escort and dating services
- Adult novelty items or references
First of all, that's oddly specific. Second of all, I respect a company's rules, and I recognize that I can't be explicit in someone else's space the way I am in my own. Anyone who's received my newsletters knows the explicit stuff only occurs after you click a link.
If that wasn't frustrating enough, they never dinged me for the several newsletters I'd already sent out. No, it was for an erotic romance novella. Really, guys? Erotic romance is now porn or an "adult novelty item?" Give me a freaking break. I think what triggered their system to flag my account was that I used the terms "BDSM" and "Erotic Romance" in the tweet I scheduled at the same time.
Yes, I emailed their compliance department for clarification. All I received in return was another link to the "Acceptable Use Policy." Apparently (if I read between the lines) erotic authors aren't welcome. Le sigh.
The Hunt for Adult Friendly Companies
Once I realized I had to find a new email provider, I did a search for sex-friendly/sex positive companies and found this article from MiKandi.com:
Guess which email provider is listed - and it's the only one?? That's right - MailChimp. Something must have changed since May 2015 when that article was published - and not in a good way.
I spent the better part of a day looking at Terms of Service and acceptable use policies for dozens of email providers. Don't be surprised, many of them said they don't allow "pornographic, illicit, or obscene" content. Since that's up to an individual's interpretation, there was no way to know if I was safe or not. I didn't feel like signing up, importing everyone over, creating emails, and only finding out later that they deemed my content too explicit.
I narrowed it down to two possibilities: AWeber or Feedblitz. Both have free 30 day trials, but after that, the price difference was huge - $19 a month versus $10 a month. Yeah, I'm just a little baby blog trying to share kinky fuckery with the world and maybe sell a book or two. Feedblitz won based on cost and the fact that their TOS doesn't mention anything about sex. Nothing at all.
And it got me thinking. That list from MiKandi.com is pretty good, but it was the only one I found after plenty of searching. Those of us who write about sex, sell products, write books, or just want a website need to know who's friendly or not - who will let us play in their sandbox and share our consensual, legal sexual material.
So I'm starting a list. Give me a few days and it'll have a permanent place on the website. Until then, I'll start with who I know to be sex-friendly, and I hope you'll share the companies you work with in the comments (or feel free to contact me directly). And if you run a sex-friendly business yourself, please let me know so I can add you to the list!
Adult Friendly/Sex Friendly Online Businesses
- HostGator (Full disclosure: This is an affiliate link. If you click on it and purchase service, I make a commission.)
- Twitter - Their ad/promotion services aren't adult friendly but considering the amount of naked pictures I've seen in my feed, they clearly don't limit accounts or content very often.
- Etsy - I applaud them for sharing such detailed information about what they allow and what they don't. Anyone who's sold collars, cuffs, or floggers on Etsy knows they're pretty liberal, as long as you play by their rules.
- Simply-Linked - Ever been to Masturbation Monday and seen the list of links? This is the service I use to let people share their posts, and the site hasn't said a thing about my content in over a year of use.
- PayPal - Some companies say PayPal isn't a problem, but their Acceptable Use Policy keeps it very vague, only saying that "certain sexually oriented services or materials" are prohibited, without saying what that means. And, as always anything "obscene" is prohibited, too. I include it only because some people haven't had any problems with them. Buyer beware.
- Patreon - Financial support of NSFW accounts is allowed, as long as those accounts are clearly marked.
I have no doubt there are more I can add - and I want to - with your help. Share the companies you've worked with as a writer, blogger, toy seller, crafter, whatever you do in the online space that involves sex. We need to support the businesses who support us. Sex is a multi-billion dollar industry. Companies don't seem to mind making money off of sex as long as they don't have to admit it (just ask Amazon that limits plenty of erotic books to the "adult zone" where it can't be found easily). Well, let's give our money and time to the people who don't hide us in the corner, pretend we don't exist, or apply a blanket policy of "obscene" or "pornographic" to anything they consider the wrong kind of sex.