March 7, 2008 / 6:37 PM / 11 years ago

Swedes convince their state shops to sell sex toys

STOCKHOLM (Reuters Life!) - It may seem surprising to some that it hasn’t already happened, but Sweden’s state-owned drug stores have finally caved into public demand for sex toys and massage oils.

Some 50 stores in a chain of about 950 will begin selling dildos and other products in June, said Elisabet Linge Bergman, press officer for Apoteket, which translates literally as “the pharmacy”.

“We know from research that among the products that we don’t sell in Apoteket today, these kind of products are demanded,” Linge Bergman said.

The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education conducted the research and found people would prefer being able to buy such products at state-owned outlets rather than via the internet or other shops.

Sweden, home to a thriving sex film industry in the 1970s, has long had a reputation for being open about discussing sex and sexuality.

Linge Bergman said Apoteket will sell the products discreetly, but at the same time would not try to hide them either.

“The sexual life is an important part of life for most people,” she said. “We want to have these at big stores, where there are a lot of customers so that everyone can feel anonymous when they are buying them.”

Linge Bergman said staff at the stores showed no resistance to the plan and she added that polls by Swedish media suggested people mostly thought this was a good idea.

Apoteket has a monopoly on the sale of over-the-counter drugs, although Sweden is starting to open up the pharmacy market.

Reporting by Stockholm Newsroom, editing by Paul Casciato

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