I see a recurring thread on Reddit where someone wants to buy sex toys online but is afraid that someone they live with is either going to see – or open – their toy delivery, or learn about what they purchased later from a shared bank statement. I thought I’d offer some tips and ideas. These are U.S. specific, but the general ideas apply elsewhere.
First off, if you share a bank account with anyone else, the easiest solution to buying toys online privately is to get a prepaid Visa credit card. If you live in a major city, you can easily buy these at grocery store counters. You can also buy them online. Alternatively, if you have a PayPal account, you can transfer money into it and make purchases using that money (as opposed to using PayPal to pull money directly from your bank, which will note the purchase).
Second, be aware that nearly every reputable company ships toys discreetly. Boxes will be plain and nondescript, and often toy makers and retailers use company pseudonyms on their packaging (for example, company Peepshow Toys ships as Hamilton Park Electronics, and indie maker Strange Bedfellas ships as SB Creative LLC). If you’re purchasing internationally, they may need to write down the contents of the package on said package, but it’s more likely to say “sculpture” or “figure” before “sex toy”. It’s unlikely anyone is going to know your purchase from any other. If you’re worried, check for a FAQ or shipping policy on the toy maker or retailer’s website to find out exactly what they do to protect your privacy.
But let’s say you live in a very strict, uptight, or nosy household. How do you even get the toy past the front door?
- Get a P.O. box with USPS. Have your package shipped to the P.O. box. While the price varies depending on location and the specific size, a small box usually rents for under $18 a month with three months paid upfront (if you live in a rural area, the price will be lower). You will need acceptable I.D. and to visit the post office in person during business hours at least once to get one.
- Get an in-store post office box from a company like UPS or Postal Annex. The same principle applies. This will generally be more expensive than USPS but may be worth it if the location is closer to where you live or work.
- If you’re not necessarily buying toys (please don’t buy toys on Amazon!) but instead buying things like lube, books, storage solutions, etc, you can have Amazon deliver your package(s) to one of their Amazon Lockers. These tend to be located inside convenience stores like 7-11 or inside gas stations but can also be found at pharmacies and grocery stores.
- Sign up through USPS to hold your packages (and all of your mail!) at your local post office for up to 30 days. You’ll need to physically pick up your mail at the post office but it’s a good solution if you’re not prepared to rent a post office box but can still get to a post office. UPS and FedEx also have hold package options.
- If you think you can intercept a package on the day it arrives but only need warning for which day that might be, USPS has Informed Delivery, and both UPS and FedEx have similar options to alert you of a package due to arrive soon. You will need to sign up for each and none of these are fool-proof as packages may show up early or late.
- Send your packages to a trusted friend to temporarily hold on to them for you. For a lot of folks this sounds easier on paper than it is, but if you do have the resource of a good friend who isn’t going to open your mail, send your package to their address (with permission and ample warning, of course).
- And finally, if you don’t have the I.D. or resources for any of the above, a last-ditch option is to buy multiple things at once from separate companies then claim you bought gifts, are working on future projects, or your “single” store purchase shipped out in several separate boxes. Since nearly every toy company ships discreetly, one box isn’t going to stand out in a pile of boxes.
Hopefully one or more of these options work for you.