Consolez Vous is a pop-up ‘sex shop’ in Cuba, where distributing anything “obscene” is illegal, and the artists behind it are calling for the legalisation of the sale of sex toys.
The name of the pop-up means “console yourself” in French, and is also a play on “consolador”, the Spanish word for dildo.
The artists Yanahara Mauri, Joan Diaz Perez and Javier Bobadilla want to tackle the fear around sex toys in the Communist-run country and call for their legal distribution.
The distribution of anything deemed obscene is banned in Cuba.
Mauri, a photographer who looks at gender, identity and socio-sexual issues in her work, told Reuters: “We want to break the taboos. In the rest of the world, this is normal now.”
The sex shop began as part of The Havana Biennial Art Exhibition which takes place in the city every two years, and was approved because of the artistic side of the project.
Bobadilla, in an interview with 14ymedio, said: “I was very skeptical, I have always been pessimistic and I did not think that it would be approved for the Biennial but, well, they accepted it, like magic.
“Some people buy it for decoration, in the end this is art. If someone asks me if I’m selling dildos will tell him ‘no’, that what I sell are sculptures, what they used after they leave the store is someone else’s problem.”
Customers looking at dildos in Consolez Vous. (ailenrivero6496/ Instagram)
Whips made from twisted fishing line are also on sale in the sex shop
The toys are marketed as either for sexual play or to be viewed as sculpture; as many resources are hard to come by the toys are made of hard resin instead of the traditional silicon. Whips are also on sale made from twisted fishing line.
The dildos cost five cuban pesos (approximately £3.90).
Bobadilla said: “The material is liquid, it looks like honey, then you put another substance that hardens it. We give it a form using condoms, which are difficult to obtain, because they are missing from pharmacies.”
As well as being illegal to distribute, according to Reuters sex toys have a reputation in Cuba for being only for gay people. The only way sex toys currently get into the country is smuggled in suitcases, to be sold secretly.
Cuba recently drafted a new constitution which was originally going to enable same-sex couples to marry, but this provision was later dropped.