Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 13 News List

The supermarket of pleasure

As Taiwanese society becomes more open to sex, a once clandestine porn and comic shop hopes to expand its market beyond nerdy guys to become the country’s premium mall for adult toys

By Han Cheung  /  Staff Reporter

The second-best selling product, Lai says, is the Mouth of Truth, an orifice that even contains teeth, a tongue and comes with lubricant that resembles saliva. There’s something for every fetish — including a vagina that comes with slimy anime tentacles. Those who want olfactory stimulation can apply liquid scented like vaginal fluids, schoolgirls’ sweat, foot odor and even menstrual blood.

“I once had a customer who purchased the liquid and immediately after buying it ripped it open and started sniffing it,” Lai says. “That left a deep impression on me,” he adds.

The best selling product for females is a self-heating, touch-sensitive dildo that automatically retracts and expands once inserted. It’s impossible to cover the rest of the store, but think urethral stimulation tools, anus-stretching devices and sadomasochism gear.


Ever since the signage change, staff have noticed an uptick in female customers — many who come with their significant others.

The store’s transition is a testament to the changing attitudes toward sex in Taiwanese society. Up until about 20 years ago, vendors could still be prosecuted for public indecency for selling sex toys, with the landmark ruling coming in 1999 when a vendor was acquitted for selling a blow-up doll. Back then, Lai says, a dildo could be sold up to 10 times today’s price.

“People have accepted this industry now,” Lai says, adding that the advent of the Internet has made it almost impossible to keep sexual content hidden.

“I want to break the tradition of having to sneak around to buy sex toys. I don’t want people to feel ashamed to be in here. I want them to feel like they’re in Carrefour or Costco,” he adds.

While Lai acknowledges that many of his employees do not dare to publicly reveal where they work, there does not seem to be shame in the store — it’s brightly lit with neatly organized sections with detailed explanations for the products, a female employee is recommending a toy to two male customers, and everybody seems to be minding their own business. The billboard on the facade changes monthly according to current events, and the store hosts public events such as meet and greets with Japanese porn stars.

“I’ve become friends with many of my customers,” Lai says. “If they have very specific desires, they are not ashamed to discuss it with me. They will share with me their thoughts on a certain product, and that makes it easier for me to recommend what to buy.”

With such vibrant discussion, collecting artificial vaginas has become somewhat of a hobby that has gone way beyond simply satisfying one’s needs.

“These things are reusable, so I’ll still keep the old one unless it breaks,” Tang says. “But I keep buying new ones in pursuit of new sensations.”

Lai says he would like to treat the sex toy business as a cultural and creative industry.

“We want to start developing our own products,” he says.

When asked if he would incorporate traditional Taiwanese elements such as the Eight Generals into sex toys, Lai pauses. He’s thought about it, but he doesn’t think Taiwanese society is ready, especially since much traditional culture involves religion.

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