Most everyone has heard of Etsy, the website where folks from all over world sell unique vintage and handmade products. What many people don’t know is that some of those crafters are making and selling sex toys. You can find dildos that are truly one of a kind, toys beautifully crafted with loving care.
Unfortunately, you can also find shoddy, dangerous junk intermingled with the good stuff, and that makes some people hesitant to purchase from Etsy vendors. My goal in writing this post is to give you some general guidelines to evaluate Etsy sex toys, and also to introduce you to some vendors I recommend (including photos of their work as illustrations).
Etsy Sex Toy Safety
First off, you’ll want to thoroughly read the description and item details of the toy you’re considering. The basic rules of body safe materials still apply, with a few adjustments for handmade products. A good Etsy seller will tell you exactly what their product is made of. The following materials are definitely body safe:
- Silicone (including Dragon Skin)
For these materials, you need to dig a little deeper:
- Wood – All wood sex toys are not created equal! When properly sanded and treated with a body safe finish wooden sex toys are fine. Sadly, not all vendors understand those concepts. Look for phrases like “multiple coats of a durable non-toxic finish” and “glass-like surface”. Remember that making wood toys right is time-consuming and labor intensive. While quality wood shops do stock a few lower priced models, most quality wood dildos cost $75 or more. If the shop is chock full of prices that seem too good to be true, walk away.
- Glass – Borosilicate and soda lime glass are considered safe for sex toys. If the toy material is simply listed as “glass”, you should check in with the seller for clarification. As with wood, if you see prices that are too good to be true you should probably move on. Another red flag is seeing lots of toys in the shop that look exactly the same, or look like toys you’ve seen elsewhere. There are unscrupulous sellers who try to pass off cheap mass produced glass as their own work, don’t risk your safety to save some money. To learn more about glass sex toy safety, read this post.
- Ceramic – Make sure the finish is specified as non-toxic, and use common sense when evaluating the design. Are there narrow points that could be prone to breakage? Are all insertable portions well finished? As with glass, watch out for mass quantities of identical toys and bargain basement prices.
- ABS plastic (hard plastic) – ABS is, in and of itself, considered to be body safe. However, sellers may use pigments, adhesives or finishes that are not necessarily body friendly. I had a bad experience with a shop that 3D prints custom ABS toys. In theory, that’s a really cool idea. In reality, the toy I received had an unpleasantly rough finish and had a horrible burnt/chemical smell. Even after washing it and airing it out for days, it continued to stink and I ended up pitching it.
And then there are the materials from which you should run away screaming. Of course, that includes any PVC/jelly/porous toys that are being upcycled or passed off as handmade. But then there are the really odd ones. Please note that I am not making any of these up…there are (or have been) actual Etsy sellers who made sex toys from:
- Sculpey clay (porous and a breakage hazard)
- Wax covered driftwood (porous and a splinter/breakage hazard)
- Seed beads strung on metal beading wire (potential for lost anal toy/internal injury if the wire breaks)
Aside from assessing the material, remember any sex toy destined for anal use must have a flared base or flange to ensure it won’t slip completely inside your body. You want to enjoy your beautiful new dildo, not spend an evening in the emergency room having a doctor fish it out of your colon.
Can I Trust This Person?
If the seller you’re looking at has been on Etsy for awhile, check out their reviews. The overall rating is useful, but it helps to read some of the actual review content. Don’t give too much weight to any individual remark…even the best sellers will have one or two miserable people who left bad reviews over something stupid. But if there’s a consistent negative comment popping up, that’s probably worth noting.
Another unfortunate fact about Etsy sellers is that many don’t last. They open a shop with great intentions, only to let production fall by the wayside a few weeks or months later. I’m not going to tell you to avoid new sellers, because quality new sellers need and deserve support. You should, however, look especially carefully at their shops. They may not have many (or any) reviews yet, but there are clues to be found. Have they taken the time to write policies and solid descriptions of their products, or does the shop feel a little half-assed? Are there photos of actual finished products? If they’re selling custom pieces, are they clear about how long it will take to make your order? Is there assurance that your order will be shipped discreetly (i.e. the return address on the package won’t say “BOB’S MEGADILDO EMPORIUM”)?
The bottom line here is to trust your gut. If the shop looks seedy or unfinished, it could be a reflection of the seller’s attitude toward their work. If they’re brand new, check back in a couple of weeks to see if things have improved. If you really like a toy but have mixed feelings about the shop, contact the seller to get your questions answered before you buy.
Overall, my experience buying sex toys on Etsy has been very positive. Most things I’ve ordered looked even nicer when I saw them in person. I’ve had the occasional delayed order, but I’ve never been stiffed out of my money. I’ve had an order that wasn’t packed as carefully I would have preferred (silicone toys rattling around a cardboard box without padding or bags), but what I received was exactly as advertised.
Etsy Buyer Etiquette
Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a seller, let’s talk briefly about how to be a good buyer. These things really should go without saying, but I’m going to say them anyway.
Read the full listing carefully, especially the toy measurements. If there’s anything you need clarification on (how squishy is the silicone, what is the girth at a specific point on the toy, etc.), ask before you buy. Most sex toy shops understandably won’t allow returns unless the toy is defective.
When you’re ordering, keep in mind that even a ready-made toy may take longer to ship than a toy from a larger vendor. Many of the folks making these toys have other jobs besides making sex toys. They may only ship products once or twice a week due to time constraints. This is not Amazon Prime, accept that you will not have that shiny new dildo within 2 days. Read the shop’s policies and don’t bother the seller with “Where’s my dildo?” inquiries unless the expected delivery window has passed.
Do not contact sellers to ask for a lower price on a listed item. You are buying a unique, hand-crafted product. Yes, it probably does cost more than a similar mass-produced sex toy. Etsy artists don’t have the economies of scale that large manufacturers do, and they deserve to be paid for their time, labor and creative ability.
If a shop offers custom work, that does not mean that they are obligated to do absolutely everything you ask at no additional charge. If the custom listing states “up to 3 colors”, don’t ask for five. If you are asking for a complex color scheme, or something larger than usual, or something that requires lots of added time and labor, be prepared to pay for it. If the price you are quoted is above your budget, do not whine or attempt to wheedle them down to a lower price. Something along the lines of “thanks for your time, but that’s a bit more than I can manage right now” is the appropriate response.
If a seller tells you that your custom request is not possible or advisable, respect the artist’s knowledge of their material and skills.
Remember that handmade products will naturally vary slightly, this is what makes them special and wonderful. If you order a custom toy similar to a previous model made by that artist, it will likely not be identical to the original.
If you get a product that isn’t quite what you expected, contact the seller politely and respectfully to make them aware of your concern. Most issues are innocent mix-ups. Maybe there was a misunderstanding during the order process, maybe they didn’t see a minor defect in your toy before it shipped, maybe they were exhausted after a long day of work and accidentally shipped the wrong item. Let them know why you’re not satisfied and ask what can be done about it. Allow the seller time to respond to your inquiry. Do not leap immediately into Rabidly Disgruntled Consumer Mode. Do not threaten, harass or abuse the seller. Do not toilet paper their house or mail them glitter bombs.
If the worst happens and you have a seller who never delivers, or who ignores your inquiries about a product issue, then it’s time to take the issue up with Etsy and/or PayPal. Leaving negative feedback is certainly acceptable at this point. Advice against threats, abuse, harassment, toilet paper and glitter bombs still applies…remain calm and let the system do its job.
Finally, if you get a product that you absolutely adore, TALK ABOUT IT. Leave a glowing review, preferably with a few specifics about why your new sex toy is amazing. If you are comfortable doing so (or if you have alternate accounts for such things), post pics on social media. Tell other sex toy fans who made this fabulous creation, and how they can get a gorgeous handmade sex toy of their very own. This will help your favorite artists to keep creating and producing art for your orifices.
Etsy Shops To Check Out
For the moment, at least, this list only includes purveyors of dildos, kegel balls, butt plugs and/or vibrators. Etsy also has a multitude of BDSM gear shops, but that’s not my primary area of expertise and I don’t feel qualified to make recommendations. I have also excluded sellers who have a sales website outside of Etsy.
This list is primarily composed of shops that I have personally purchased from, with a few that I have heard good things about and mean to try. An asterisk next to the shop’s name indicates that I don’t have personal experience with their products. None of these sellers have paid or sent me products in exchange for being included on this list.
- Akifu Toys* – A German shop specializing in dragons, demons and other fantastic designs. I want to get my hands on Drogger and Slasher.
- Blue Ritual – Dildo artist Yves has returned with new designs! Fornax is a knotted alien, Malus a gitrhty, uncut, hand-sculpted beauty. Their pours (especially striped toys) are stunning. Leonius, a sculpt from Blue Ritual’s previous incarnation can be found at A Krow’s Nest.
- Chick Makes Dick* – UK based shop making some new and different designs. I’m curious about the Nubbed Horn.
- Damn Average – Silicone insertables ranging from the realistic to the fantastic, sizes ranging from dainty to daunting. Gorgeous marbled colors are Sheep’s trademark and specialty. I ordered my first Etsy dildo here, and I keep coming back for more.
- Fascinus Silicone – The toy that caught my attention here is the Zeppelin, an inflatable vaginal or anal plug that starts out around 2 inches in diameter and expands to about 4 inches. Silicone inflatables are hard to find, especially at a reasonable price, making the Zeppelin a rare treasure.
- Fck Buddies – Some truly unique and fun designs here! There’s Carl the Caterpillar, the Wriggler and my personal favorite: Niles Crocodile. Yeah, I had to have me a crocodildo. M’lissa was also super quick in responding to my custom color inquiry.
- Geeky Sex Toys – If you are a nerd like me, you need to check this place out. I reviewed my Pokemoan dildo set, and they have loads of other sci-fi, superhero and fantasy themed toys.
- Gespenst’s Fantasy Gear – Golem (in extra soft) is a fun design, Tulip is a nice, petite G-spotter. If you’ve ever felt the urge to put a garden gnome in your orifice, this is the shop you’ve been looking for.
- Glass by Woozy – Brightly colored glass toys in all sorts of shapes, their handled toys are definitely on my wish list. My first order from this shop was stunning and delivered quickly, and the second was equally impressive. I would definitely recommend this shop to anyone seeking a truly unique glass plug or dildo.
- Good Wood Adult Toys – This is a newer shop featuring both handcrafted wood dildos and silicone cast from wood designs. Robby was a delight to work with when I wanted a custom color Tail Kisser, and the dark green turned out exactly as I had hoped.
- A Krow’s Nest – Fantasy creatures of all sorts can be found here, mostly in gorgeous metallics and pearlescents. I have a glittery Cupid, which is beautifully sculpted and fun to use. The Eel is a neat looking prototype toy geared toward stimulating small penises/large clits. I’ve also picked up Mako and Torvald.
- Kudu Voodoo – Their Laughing Dragon is intricately sculpted and I have yet to see a color combo that didn’t look amazing. The Whatsamacallit would be ideal for those who like tentacles but aren’t into texture. Update – Kudu Voodoo’s shop is now on its own website here!
- Luscious Playthings – Beautiful glasswork that passed Dangerous Lilly’s polariscope stress testing. I own their girthy and curved Extra Large model.
- Monster Maxim – Smaller designs here, for those with orifices less adventurous than mine. I have Droth, an adorable small, wavy monsterpiece.
- Necronomicox – Here be Lovecraftian dildo sorcery. Malice made a magnificent pearl white Mythos with shiny purple eyes for me, and was a pleasure to work with. Adding to the coolness, it came with a rolled parchment scroll certificate of authenticity.
- New Folklore Silicone – Colorful creature creations, including a Dire Echidna and Goblin. I picked up a colorful Bully the Giant Toad, a nicely detailed toy with a fun shape. Since then, I’ve acquired Cybil, Spindle, Blink and Brewster too!
- Phoenix Flame Forge – They have two neat looking werewolf designs (Skoll and Hati) each in two sizes. There’s also Monty the Manticore, and silicone sculpts of each character available as well.
- Phallicity – Only a couple of designs in this British shop so far, but they look interesting. Of course, thick, large-headed Big Ed caught my eye.
- Pleasure Forge – This shop specializes in fantasy creatures of the D&D (Dungeons and Dongs, that is) variety. Gnolls and Kobolds can be found here, along with the twisted tentacle Chaos Beast and humongous Ogre.
- Rock Paper Tentacles – If you like a big fat head on your silicone toys, look no further than the Caveman’s Best Friend. Riptide’s tapered twining tentacles provide an entirely different but equally marvelous sensation.
- Shapely Toys – I just stumbled upon this new shop, offering some distinctly different non-representational designs. The Rhombus is pleasantly girthy yet tapered and not too long. The Bird intrigues me.
- ShouldaWooda – Lumberjill Leisurecrafts makes dildos with heart and character, not to mention experimenting with textures not often seen on wooden toys. If you’re after veins, bumps, nubs, ridges or swirls carved into gorgeous wood, this is the place to look.
- Silvarus* – Feast your eyes on these smooth, elegant wood creations, worthy of being displayed as art.
- Slick’s Dicks – Australian dildo crafter with funky fantasy designs and color palettes that make me drool. I could stare at my rainbow Grabby for hours. Alien egg Labiova Majora is a cool, colorful stimulator for larger clits or smaller penises.
- SmallTownPlanet – As I was writing this piece, I wanted to include at least one ceramic dildo artist. A quick Etsy search led me to this Polish shop, where I found myself compelled to purchase a ray gun dildo. Seriously, how could I not?
- Ttamage – Glass creations from clear to colorful, poker straight to curved and twisted, silky smooth or nubby as can be. There are dildos, kegel balls, plugs… and if you don’t see something you love in the large and ever-changing inventory, you can request a custom piece.
- XenoCat Artifacts – Designs here are reptile (Anole, Caiman) and insect themed. The Monarch’s curve and bumps look like my cup of tea.
Candiru Curio– Fantasy bits plus the one and only SharkPlug. Average has retired from dildo crafting.
- Funvibes –
If you’re looking for an unconventional shape, they have you covered. I got my ice cream cone dildo here. Most items are available as either a vibe or dildo. Read the measurements carefully, there are some thick toys here.This shop has closed.
- Tails and Portholes –
Maritime fantasy designs include the Nereid, Merman, Abyssal King, Poseidon, Leviathan, Jellyfish and Coral Reef. The only artist I know of who routinely produces dual density silicone toys. Many designs are on the girthier side (1.75″ diameter or more) but Poseidon is smaller and the Abyssal King is available in a range of sizes.Sadly, this shop closed in February 2017
If you feel that I have made a grievous omission, or you know of a hip new dildo merchant I should consider adding, please do bring it to my attention. You can leave a comment, use my contact form or drop an email to ninjasexology [at] gmail.com. Thanks, and happy shopping!