An exhibition of handmade sex toys seems to have started a new revolution in Cuba. The news agency Reuters reports that after an exhibition in which sex toys were displayed as art, more and more people are calling for the ban on sex toys to be lifted.
To their own surprise, three Cuban artists were invited to the Havana Biennale, a Cuban art exhibition. They came with a collection of sex toys and an improvised pop-up sex shop. Now it turns out that Cubans are tired of the government ruling their sex lives. The citizens of the country are calling for the legalization of sex toys.
Yanahara Mauri, Javier Alejandro Bobadilla and Joan Díaz have apparently started a revolution on the island, which has been under communist rule for decades. So far, however, this mainly refers to the availability of sex toys, which have been banned in the country despite the more open and liberal culture regarding sexuality.
Sextoys are forbidden in Cuba
There are no legal sex shops in Cuba yet and the sale of imported sex toys takes place on small alleys or from car trunks. Apparently, sextoys in the country have the reputation to be something mainly used by homosexuals and the male, heterosexual upper class in the communist island state sees a danger for their own ego in the existence of sex toys.
At least that’s how the three artists explain the current ban. Their art concept for the exhibition at the Havana Biennial was officially approved, so that the three artists also set up a pop-up sex shop on the exhibition grounds.
Art project leads to loud calls for legalization
For their shop, the three created phallic sculptures in bright colors on which they put Cuban revolutionary slogans such as Che Guevara’s »Hasta la victoria siempre« [Engl: Until Victory, always!].
Since many of the materials used for sex toys are rare on the island, the artists sometimes had to find very creative solutions. For their whips the three used fishing lines and for the forming of dildos resin was used. The products sold in the shop are therefore far away from western safety standards and comfort.
Nevertheless, the artists emphasize that their objects can not only be used as works of art, but also for sex. Declaring the project as a work of art allowed the sale of the toys, as commercial production and sale would still be prohibited.
Breaking taboos for sexual self-determination
Yanahara Mauri, who has made a name for herself primarily as a photographer, says: “We want to break taboos.« The creeping opening of Cuba to tourists from the West and the ever stronger Western influences that became possible in the slipstream of Obama’s détente policy have sown the seeds for the Sextoy Revolution in Cuba.
An illegal online shop is already active on the island. The 25-year-old owner, who wanted to remain anonymous, gave an interview to Reuters, saying, »Demand has doubled in the last two years.«
Online marketplaces and word-of-mouth propaganda have already created a flourishing sex toy trade. Nevertheless, the three artists presented sex toys for the first time in public space with their pop-up store.
All artworks sold out: Many pre-orders
In the meantime, all 500 objects that the three had created for their shop are sold out. They have accepted advance orders for more.
The project of the three sex revolutionaries is called »Consolez Vous« and since the end of the Havana Biennial their pop-up store has been located in the graffiti gallery »Havana La Marca«. There, the artists want to continue selling sex toys and producing their objects commercially. But for this they need enormous support from their future customers. Otherwise, the government will hardly consider legalization.