Irelands Sex Shops Everyone has a kink, they just might not know it yet
THE ARRIVAL OF Ireland’s first sex shops was met with protests, organised prayers, and a touch of general hysteria.
When Utopia opened in Limerick in 1993, there were thousands joining “pray-ins” against the shop.
Jim Bellamy had brought his range of toys and magazines to the Republic from Northern Ireland, where it was already established, and it quickly spread like wildfire to the major cities.
The shock generated by this sexual phenomenon encroaching on ‘innocent’ Catholic Ireland was hardly surprising giving the conservative nature of the country. But despite a growing grá for the sex toy today, only last month there was uproar at the opening of an adult shop in Drumcondra.
Playblue.ie – already an established name in the small world of Irish adult shops with a booming online site and a shop in Kilkenny – hoped to open in the centre of the Dublin suburb.
Locals took great issue with it being located just 50 metres from a national school.
Robert Doyle, one of the owners of Playblue, told TheJournal.ie that he was shocked by the reaction.
“The reason we decided to back out was because it was hurting other businesses in the area, which was unfair on them,” he explained, and they were actually delighted with the publicity.
“We were on the Six-One News, we were delighted with the advertising and protests. If we had protests outside the shop each day we could have been treating them to sandwiches.”
An industry moving upmarket
Part of Robert’s surprise at the reaction was because sex shops have become part of the retail fabric of the country and are shaking off the image they once held.
Their wares, be it toys or magazines and DVDs, are also commonplace. The estimates for how many people – both men and women – use sex toys range is generally around 25%. Vibrator ownership is said to be highest in New Zealand at 38%.
“More people own a vibrator than an iPhone,” Robert claimed.
“The traditional view of an elderly man in a mac” being the man customer of sex shops is “definitely not the case anymore”, he said, citing a massive increase in the number of women and couples visiting the shops.[fblike]