ANKARA A Turkish entrepreneur has opened what he says is the country's first online sex shop for Muslims, selling everything from lubricants to herbal aphrodisiacs and offering advice on how to have "halal" sex.
Haluk Murat Demirel, 38, said he had been inspired to launch the site (www.bayan.helalsexshop.com) by friends who wanted sex advice and products but found the content on other websites and in specialist stores too explicit.
"Online sex shops usually have pornographic pictures, which makes Muslims uncomfortable. We don't sell vibrators for example, because they are not approved by Islam," Demirel said.
Sexual mores provoke frequent debate in the majority Muslim but constitutionally secular country. There are relatively few sex shops, even in major cities, although in parts of Istanbul those that do exist advertise themselves with neon signs.
Critics of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, whose roots are in Islamist politics, have often accused him of puritanical intrusiveness into private life, from his advice to women on the number of children they should have to his views on abortion.
Demirel said the website - which offers advice on which sexual practices are banned by Islam and which are not - had proved unexpectedly popular since launching last Tuesday, with 33,000 visitors on Sunday alone.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Robin Pomeroy)