Bahraini sex shop thrives in conservative Gulf

Tue Jun 8, 2010 10:53am EDT
 
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By Frederik Richter

MANAMA (Reuters Life!) - Where does one buy lingerie, sex toys and ointments designed to enhance female sexual pleasure in a Gulf region which frowns on open displays of sexuality?

From a lady in a traditional headscarf of course.

Khadija Ahmed's sex shop has survived against all odds and some particularly intense scrutiny from customs officials since it opened in Bahrain in 2008.

Ahmed's shop, a rare sight in the region, sells a wide range of lingerie, creams to delay male orgasm and sex toys out of the tiny Khadija Fashion House south of Manama, or through her website (www.khadijamall.com) to customers across the region.

A modestly dressed Ahmed in a traditional flowing black abaya and headscarf told Reuters that most of the items she sells are already available in Bahrain's fashion shops and pharmacies anyway and that she shuns some products to avoid stirring public anger.

"I don't sell vibrators for example, as this is against Islam," she said, adding that her faith banned the replication or display of sensitive parts of the body. However, other toys such as vibration rings were fine, she said.

Ahmed said she has not encountered much trouble with the public in Bahrain once she replaced lingerie in her display window with short dresses after complaints from neighbors and a nearby mosque.

Discussing and displaying sex in public is a taboo in most Middle Eastern countries, but Islamic scholars have also said that sex toys are legitimate if used by married couples.   Continued...