Sex toy sales take off amid Colombia’s coronavirus quarantine
BOGOTA (Reuters) – Gerson Monje holds up his cell phone to proudly show off his online sex shop. A red banner stating “sold out! ”Is coated on half of the products.
As most Colombian businesses suffer during a five-week lockdown meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus, an online industry has seen a sales boom in this generally conservative country: sex toys are flying off virtual shelves.
“Sales started to increase on the fourth day of the quarantine,” said Monje, who is still able to deliver products to customers amid the nationwide lockdown. “We have seen a 50% increase.
“People are at home and have more free time. They are with their partners or alone and need to have fun in their daily activities when it comes to being intimate, ”said Monje.
Reuters spoke to six online sex shops in Colombia and all said they had seen an increase in sales since the quarantine began. Colombians are expected to stay at home until April 27, with the exception of outings to buy food and medicine and bank visits, among other exceptions.
Sex toys could help people keep their spirits up during long isolation, psychologist Carolina Guzman said, and could lead to a loosening of sexual mores.
“Colombia has a very conservative idea of sexuality and the communication that surrounds it,” she said. “It’s a good time for people to allow themselves to work on their curiosity and understand that buying and using these products is a good thing.
Other countries have experienced a similar phenomenon. Sex toy sales in Denmark more than doubled, while UK lingerie chain Ann Summers said sex toy sales rose 27% in the last week of March.
Inside the Sex Sense sex shop in Bogota, manager Adriana Marin watched Pope Francis give a Good Friday Mass on her computer as she sprayed cans of produce with disinfectant.
Its online store sales have taken off even though its storefront is closed and the competition is fierce. There are around 30 other sex shops in her neighborhood alone.
At the Bali Sex Store in Medellin, sales are up 140%.
Products with mobile phone apps that allow separate partners to control toys for each other are particularly popular, said Katty Gonzalez, the store’s marketing manager.
“Before, people didn’t have time because of so many things in their daily life and I think because of what is going on right now, it gives them the opportunity to explore different things”, she declared.
(This story is passed on to correct the name of the sex shop in the ninth paragraph to “Sex Sense” of “Sixth Sense”)
Reporting by Steven Grattan; Editing by Julia Symmes Cobb and Rosalba O’Brien