First of all, a ‘love shop’ is a sex shop.
Or at least, that’s what the conservative Prime Minister in Turkey suggested for them to be called last year.
Despite Turkey being a secular country (neutral) it has a large Muslim majority and sex shops are hard to spot even in the big cities.
One of the reasons for this is the attitude towards sex, which remains conservative, public discussion of it is still a delicate subject and some politicians prefer to simply avoid ever mentioning it. That’s why recently a Turkish entrepreneur, after talking to some friends who complained that other online sex shops were too explicit, decided to open the first online sex shop to sell ‘halal’ products.
To clarify, halal (meaning ‘permissible’) is any object or action allowed to use or engage in according to the Islamic law.
The first difference you come across when you enter the site is the front page heading, which features two separate and fully dressed silhouettes of a man and a woman, who is wearing a headscarf. Secondly, if you were looking for ‘vibrators’, ‘dolls’, ‘ducks’ or any other similar products, I’ll stop you right there. There won’t be any. This is because in Islam masturbation is forbidden and therefore having these products would make the website not halal anymore. Sexy underwear is also in danger in Turkey. Not long ago for example, when the Prime Minister came to visit a new shopping centre in Ankara, the shutters of the famous lingerie shop ‘Victoria’s Secret’ got immediately pulled down before he walked past, in order to avoid an awkward moment for both parties.
I tried to do research of this website but kind of got lost in translation, so I couldn’t find a description of the products on offer, but there are a lot of different gels, pills, sprays and other things that I couldn’t identify but that looked pretty cool. My favourite section was the ‘Prezervatifler’, commonly called the condom. They have 4 different types, sold in packs of 10-12 and even have a brand called -very seductively- Silky Kiss Maximum. The debate is there, but the founder of the Halal Sex Shop was probably surprised to see that his website received 33.000 clicks last Sunday alone. Apart from selling sex products, they also offer advice on how to have ‘halal’ sex and if they also promote safe sex along the way, I definitely support this new enterprise!