PARIS (Reuters) – French aficionados are deprived of lavish restaurants and forced to stay home at night to curb the spread of the coronavirus. They are turning to sex toys to spice up their Valentine’s Day.
“Perhaps at a time when everything seems to be forbidden, sexuality has become one of our last bastions of freedom,” said Patrick Pruvot, founder of the Passage du Desir chain of sex toy stores.
In the three months leading up to this year’s Valentine’s Day, sales in the seven branches of Passage du Desir rose by 68% compared to the previous months. A year earlier, sales in the same period before February 14 only rose 12%.
Candy cuffs and other sex toys sit on the shelves of Pruvot’s store, surrounded by closed restaurants and cafes in central Paris. Large heart-shaped red boxes with 14 toys for the bedroom give an advent calendar a touch of Valentine’s Day.
“We would normally go to a restaurant, but it will be a little difficult. So I thought he might like paying him some attention, ”said Maryne Fraudin, 21, as she looked in the merchandise for a kinky game for her and her boyfriend.
France prides itself on its nation of seducers. Seduction not only affects how the French relate to one another, but also how they do business, define style, vote for politicians, and enjoy food and drink, wrote Elaine Sciolino in her book La Seduction.
For a long time, the French were slow to accept sex toys, a taboo that slowly wore off before the pandemic left many couples with more time at home, Pruvot said.
“The COVID crisis has accelerated the trend,” he said.
Other countries have observed a similar phenomenon during the COVID-19 lockdown. From Denmark to usually conservative Colombia, sex toy sales rose early in the pandemic, while UK lingerie chain Ann Summer reported higher sales during the initial lockdown.
“What more can we do if we can’t go out,” said Anthony Jeka before heading out with his partner and a tote bag full of goodies.
Reporting by Ardee Napolitano; Letter from Richard Lough; Arrangement by Alison Williams