(Photo: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke)
A Turkish businessman has opened the country's first online sex shop catering to Muslims by selling products in a less-explicit manner that secular online sex stores. Along with selling merchandise, the website also reportedly offers advice for Muslims, such as information on how to have "halal sex," or sex that is lawful under Islam's Sharia law.
Entrepreneur Haluk Murat Demirel, 38, started the "Halal Sex Shop" after his friends told him they were seeking sex advice but found secular online sex stores to be 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 told Reuters.
The website presents its products as being "entirely safe" and falling in line with Islamic law. Upon entering the site, users can choose to click one link if they are a female, and another if they are male, and they are then redirected to gender-specific pages. Headlines on the website include, "Oral sex according to Islam," "Sex manners in Islam," and "Sexual life in Islam."
The products can reportedly be purchased using U.S. currency, Turkish liras, or euros, and each purchased item comes with a small pamphlet on sexuality according to Islam.
The founders write on the website that although many assume Islam is against sex, the religion actually "encourages sexuality under certain conditions," such as marriage.
According to Reuters, there are very few sex shops in Turkey, a predominately Muslim country with a secular constitutional structure. Most of the sex shops in the country are found in the metropolitan area of Istanbul, a city that also contains an entire red light district.
The country's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has previously been criticized by some being too conservative; he previously suggested that erotic shops be renamed "love shops," and has also advised women on the number of children they should have and abortion restrictions in the country.