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BERLIN (Reuters) - Always wanted to buy a sex-toy but cringed at the thought of entering one of those shops?
Dutch Philips Electronics may have a solution. Turn to a convenience store around the corner or online and a purple colored "sensual massagers" could be yours and it may even look nice on your bedside table.
With the launch of a new entry model at the consumer electronics trade show, IFA Philips is raising its presence in a multibillion market, it entered only one year ago, when it launched the products in the United Kingdom.
"Our sensual massagers are shaped to fit the contours of male and female erogenous zones," said Chris Worp, head of Philips relationship care business.
Worp demonstrated the toys, which retail from 70 euros to 150 euros ($100 to $214) in a room at the Philips booth, elegantly decorated with white curtains, cozy sofas and dimmed lights.
"We are unique in our approach as we are targeting couples and we are not excluding a partner, which products that are currently on the market, do."
According to Worp the total market for sex-toys is about $97 billion, but Philips is only targeting a small segment of it that still could be significant in size.
And it serves public health as well. "People who have a good sexual relationships live 12 years longer and look 10 years younger," Paula Hall, a sex and relationship expert who advised Philips in the process of designing and developing the toys.
"It actually reduces chances of getting cancer, heart deceases and lowers blood pressure," she claims.
Since introducing the product line in the United Kingdom at Boots, Amazon and other retailers, Europe's biggest consumer electronics producer has expanded distribution in Spain, France, Germany and the Benelux countries.
"They were very well received both in terms of consumer reactions and sales...We wouldn't be expanding if it was a small niche market," Worp said declining to give details for competitive reasons.
"We found that 40 percent of couples were uncomfortable with the poorly made and often crude sex toys currently available. We will keep expanding both geographically and in products."
Reporting by Harro ten Wolde, editing by Leslie Gevirtz