How do sex bloggers file and pay taxes?

My life isn’t all orgasms and rain­bows; there’s much unglam­orous admin work behind the scenes.

If you want to kill a bon­er, just men­tion pay­ing tax­es. Unfortunately, tax returns are part of the busi­ness of sex blog­ging in the United States.

How do sex bloggers file and pay taxes? 1
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

At what point does a sex blogger have to pay taxes on their earnings?

If a sex blog­ger (or prac­ti­cal­ly any small busi­ness own­er) earns more than $400 from their hus­tle, they have to include self-employment earn­ings on their tax returns.

There are oth­er fil­ing require­ments list­ed in the Form 1040 and 1040-SR instruc­tions, but the main thing to know is that, above the $400 mark, you have to pay self-employment tax­es and income taxes.

That first applied to me in 2018, when I start­ed tak­ing my blog seri­ous­ly as a busi­ness. I’ve filed tax returns every year for my sex blog ever since.


How do sex bloggers and freelance writers pay their taxes?

Here’s a sum­ma­ry of how I file tax­es as a blog­ger and free­lancer in the United States. Of course, I’m no tax expert. Furthermore, what I do might not apply to your exact situation.

  1. Enter your expect­ed earn­ings in a 1040-ES form.
    • This part can be done dig­i­tal­ly in tax soft­ware, too!
  2. Estimate your quar­ter­ly tax pay­ment amount based on the above.
  3. Make your quar­ter­ly pay­ments in April, June, September, and January
  4. Gather doc­u­ments (e.g., 1099-NEC and 1099-MISC) from your affil­i­ates, spon­sors, and platforms.
  5. Calculate your earn­ings from oth­er sources that didn’t send you the above forms.
  6. File a tax return by the deadline.
  7. Get a refund if you over­paid or pay more if you underpaid.
  8. Celebrate! You did it!

Not every­one finds it fun, but here’s what “hav­ing to” pay tax­es means to me: I have the priv­i­lege of earn­ing mon­ey from writ­ing about pleasure.

Yes, being a cre­ator has its ups and downs. Yet, we can all agree that doing what you love and gain­ing the free­dom to live the way you want is a perk!


What business write-offs can a sex blogger claim as tax deductions?

Now onto the fun stuff: as a sex writer and free­lancer, you’ve prob­a­bly invest­ed quite a bit in your busi­ness and brand­ing. I’ll sep­a­rate this sec­tion into two subtopics:

  1. Business write-offs I have claimed before
  2. Business write-offs I hypo­thet­i­cal­ly could claim (but just haven’t yet)

If you’re a sex toy review­er or smut­lancer, see if these busi­ness expens­es apply to you! Remember that writ­ing off a busi­ness expense doesn’t mean you get the thing for free. It just means that you don’t get taxed on that portion.

Tools and services I have written off for my sex writing business

Web host­ing and stor­age - Perks of self-hosting your blog and using WordPress.org soft­ware include:

I use Dreampress by Dreamhost. Your needs as a cre­ator may vary, though. You can get shared serv­er plans cheap­ly, but that also means get­ting the per­for­mance and speed you pay for.

Studio rent — While I can do most work tasks from home, I also rent a room at a friend’s house for stor­age space (300+ sex toys is a lot!) and to do elab­o­rate photoshoots.

My com­put­er set­up - I need a com­put­er to blog. And hav­ing a touch screen for pho­to edit­ing and illus­tra­tion helps.

How do sex bloggers file and pay taxes? 2

My cam­era - I like using a large sen­sor com­pact cam­era for even crisper image qual­i­ty than my phone cam­era. I also find it way more con­ve­nient to edit pho­tos in a batch.

Additional pho­tog­ra­phy equip­ment - Background stands? Shutter remote con­trol? LED pan­el lamps? Tripods? Include all of that in your busi­ness write-offs!

Photo edit­ing soft­ware - Adobe Lightroom is a chef’s kiss emo­ji for pho­to orga­ni­za­tion and edit­ing. Need to edit out the dust and lint caught on sil­i­cone? Lightroom’s gotchu. VSCO fil­ters are great on my phone. And I occa­sion­al­ly used Photoshop for hard­core enhance­ments and cre­ative projects.

Canva graph­ic design web­ware - It’s cheap­er and sim­pler than Adobe Indesign. I deeply respect the lat­ter, but I don’t need all the frills right now.

Zoom Pro - allows you to record Zoom meet­ings to the cloud.

Potential business write-offs that I haven’t reported  — yet

Gasoline costs going to and from my stu­dio. Also, util­i­ties for the space.

Manicures  — One of my friends euphem­ized my job when talk­ing to his mom: “She’s a hand mod­el.” Well, my hands are often in the pic­tures hold­ing my sex toys!

An auto­mat­ed, warm­ing lube dis­penser - Yeah, that’s a thing. I have yet to jus­ti­fy the cost to myself, though.

The best VR porn. Or like, any pre­mi­um porn at all.

Office sup­plies. My planner.

Business lunch­es.

Photoshoot-specific (or work-specific) clothes, make­up, and props - If get­ting an inflat­able pool for sex toy pho­tos doesn’t sound like fun, you’re wrong.


Heads up! This post was spon­sored. Opinions expressed were my own.

2 Responses

  1. D. Dyer says:

    This is per­haps just me but get­ting a tax write off would def­i­nite­ly inspire more cre­ative pho­to shoots. Also prob­a­bly too many trips to IKEA. Seriously, it is great to hear about the busi­ness side of the busi­ness of pleasure.

  2. Cam says:

    Loved find­ing out some of your write offs. I have nev­er con­sid­ered util­i­ties at a place for what­ev­er reason.

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