Friday, July 16, 2010

Revolution? Da. Sexual? Nyet.

New York Times
July 14, 2010

Past the topless woman dancing in a cage and the towering transvestite perched on three-inch heels, Ksenia Borisova was trying to grab the attention of passers-by. Her wares were housed in immaculate displays, complete with colorful instruction manuals, but after five years in business she was still having difficulty generating much interest.

As always, sex toys are a tough sell in Russia.

“We have to try to enlighten the customers,” said Ms. Borisova, an owner of Erotic Fantasy, a supplier of German-made intimate equipment in Russia. “No one knows what, why and how: what lubricant is, why a dildo is needed, how to use vaginal balls.”

Other vendors at a recent convention for sex shop owners in Moscow were similarly vexed.

Two decades after government-imposed prudishness ended with the Soviet collapse, Russians still shy away from embracing European-style sexual mores. Despite a burst of licentiousness in the early 1990s, when pornography and prostitution surged through the country, the sexual revolution has never really taken hold here.