In a rare move, Kickstarter will feature a sex toy.
The sex toy brand Cute Little Fuckers (CLF) will get its very own campaign on the crowdfunding platform on Tuesday. The company has already released three gender-inclusive sex toys shaped like monsters, and hopes the Kickstarter campaign will get them the money required to produce more of these toys and potentially release a fourth.
Step Tranovich, CLF’s founder and creator, interviewed people with different gender identities before designing the toys, so they could prioritize the preferences of non-binary and gender nonconforming people. Each toy even comes with its own pronoun, which can be found on CLF’s website.
“The toys are designed to be used in a lot of ways, which cover multiple anatomies, so no one toy is made for one body part,” Tranovich said.
This approval is a big deal because Kickstarter hasn’t allowed many sex toy campaigns, said Beau Ambur, Kickstarter’s senior outreach lead on design and technology.
“Kickstarter’s mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Step’s project uses fun and innovative design to meet a need in their community and beyond. In that spirit we’re happy to welcome it to Kickstarter.” David Gallagher, Kickstarter’s senior communications director, said in an email.
“The fact that a big, public organization like Kickstarter is making sex toys on their platform accessible really increases the accessibility everyone has to sex toys and also normalizes it,” Tranovich said.
Despite Tranovich’s optimism, there still aren’t many sex toys on the platform. Searching “sex toy” on Kickstarter yields just 13 results, three of which are actual sex toys. The rest are comics and films around sex toys and sex education.
The Kickstarter campaign for Dame Products’ “Fin” vibrator debuted in 2016 after being initially rejected. As Mashable reported in 2017, this was the first time sex tech had been featured on the site. Prior to that, while there was no external-facing policy against sex tech, internal guidelines did prohibit sex toys. After the first rejection, it took an email between the two companies to get Kickstarter to approve the request.
Three years later, although Kickstarter greenlit Tranovich’s campaign, it says it still reviews sex toys on a case-by-case basis. The company also does not allow explicit imagery like pornography, Ambur said.
The fundraising issue for sex tech companies extends beyond the internet, too. Banks will refuse to provide loans to adult businesses while venture capital firms have “morality clauses” that don’t allow them to get involved with adult content. Advertising proves difficult for these companies, as well. Dame, for example, recently sued New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for rejecting its advertising campaign.
CLF, for its part, was approved by Kickstarter because of its sex-positivity and inclusivity, according to Ambur.
Indeed, Tranovich wants these toys to be as inviting and approachable as possible. Although they designed these toys with nonbinary communities in mind, they emphasized that these toys are for everyone.
“I want them to be toys that someone who is new to sexual exploration can walk into a store … and see these friendly monster toys and go ‘OK, I can do this.'”