An online Islamic sex shop selling condoms, massage oils and perfumes has been launched in Turkey, becoming the first of its kind in the predominantly Muslim country.
The "Halal Sex Shop" website presents its products as being "entirely safe," and in compliance with Islamic norms.
What is Halal sex?
Halal sex shops also can't display pornographic imagery, since such images expose a person's awrah, the Arabic word for areas forbidden from the public eye. According to some, women are not allowed to see the region stretching from the navel to the knees on another woman, and men are permitted to see only a woman's face and hands. Although Turkey is the only Muslim country where porn is technically legal, huge black markets dedicated to it run through Muslim countries with stringent anti-porn policies, with Pakistan leading the entire world.
A Turkish entrepreneur has opened what he says is the country’s first online sex shop for Muslims, selling everything from lubricants to herbal aphrodisiacs and offering advice on how to have “halal” sex.
Haluk Murat Demirel, 38, said he had been inspired to launch the site (below) by friends who wanted sex advice and products but found the content on other websites and in specialist stores too explicit.
“Online sex shops usually have pornographic pictures, which makes Muslims uncomfortable. We don’t sell vibrators for example, because they are not approved by Islam,” Demirel said. Sexual mores provoke frequent debate in the majority Muslim but constitutionally secular country. There are relatively few sex shops, even in major cities, although in parts of Istanbul those that do exist advertise themselves with bright lights.
Internet users who enter the site find two different links directing them to separate sections for male and female products.
Other sections of the website are designed to discuss sex in the context of Islam under various headings: "Oral sex according to Islam", "Sex manners in Islam" and "Sexual life in Islam."
The founders of the website said they believed the online shop would help correct prejudices against Islam which they claimed is perceived as "against sex."
"The religion of Islam has praised sex under certain circumstances," is written on the site. "The use of every product on sale is in compliance with Islam."
Turkey does have so-called "erotic shops" in its streets, however Islamic conservative Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested last year they rename themselves "love shops."