Halal sex shop to open in Saudi Arabia's holiest city

The Sharia-compliant shop aims to challenge stereotypes of women in the conservative Muslim kingdom

Saudi woman applies makeup on a model
(Image credit: AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty)

A 'halal sex shop' selling Sharia-approved products is set to open in Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The owner of erotic brand El Asira, Moroccan-Dutch businessman Abdelaziz Aouragh, says his latest branch will open in Islam's holiest city - Mecca.

Saudi clerics were consulted to ensure the shop adhered to strict laws and customs, and have given it their approval, Aouragh told Arabic news channel Alyaoum24.

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Masturbation is forbidden under Islam, so the shop will not be selling vibrators, sex dolls or other similar toys, nor will it stock pornographic material.

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Instead, it will offer a wide range of "pleasure-enhancing" products including massage oils, scented candles and creams. "Our products include items that increase feelings of sensuality and improve the atmosphere between the couple in the sexual relationship," he said.

Aouragh says he want to challenge the way women are viewed in Islamic society. "It is not true that Muslim women are seen only in the kitchen and seen only wearing the veil. We should also highlight love."

Woman face a multitude of restrictions in Saudi Arabia, but Aouragh insists his products will create "more admiration and love for women" by improving marital relationships.

In 2013, the first online sex shop in the Muslim world to operate in line with Islamic teaching opened in Turkey. "Despite what outsiders may believe, sexuality is a normal human necessity in Islam," the site's founder Haluk Demirel told the BBC.

But halal sex shops should be careful not to use "pornographic" language, he says. "For example, instead of 'horny' we use 'desiring'. These details are important."

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