Sex toys are still illegal in Cuba but now a group of artists has been given a little space to set about breaking taboos.
Consolez Vous is the project of the artists Yanahara Mauri, Javier Alejandro Bobadilla and Joan Diaz, who during the last Biennial of Havana stormed the Cuban Art Factory with the provocative idea of installing a sex shop. Their pieces are
now exhibited at La Marca, as part of the Design Biennial, organized by the National Design Office.
The original idea was to establish a traveling sex store. The authorities did not accept this proposal and placed the proposal in the Art Factory, a place where thousands of people enter daily.
These erotic objects are all transparent, they have messages and things inside, apart from the mixtures of colors. We prepare the right environment to make them look better and be more appealing.
To make the pieces, they use polyester resin. The material is liquid, it looks like honey. We have toys of different sizes and colors, some are smooth but there are others that have curves. In the shop some complained that the objects do not
vibrate or that they are very hard. Others asked that silicone be used instead of resin.
In the absence of places licensed for the sale of sex items, an illegal market has developed in the country. A sex toy costs between 20 and 60 CUC. Sex shops in Cuban exist clandestinely in private homes with products arriving in the country in
the baggage of the so-called mules -- individuals who bring items through customs.
The Consolez Vous artistic project ran throughout the month of April and the first week of May at the Art Factory. Although at first the idea was to give away the objects, the high price of the raw material forced the artists to sell their work.
Each sexual object is sold at 5 CUC (roughly 5 dollars). The price barely covers the investment, but it is part of the purpose of the display: For these objects to be within reach of people's wallets, he adds. For the Biennial we made 500 toys
and we only have one small box left in Matanzas. We have sold more than 400, says Bobadilla proudly
As unlikely as it sounds, Thailand, known worldwide for its prosperous sex industry and its tolerant attitude towards sex -- is one of the last remaining countries in the world where sex toys are illegal, along with Saudi Arabia and India.
Now feminist, pro-LGBT and sexual health campaigner Nisarat Jongwisan has taken up the challenge to get the sex toy ban reversed.
Nisarat decided on this coure of action during a visit to Australia when she walked into a sex shop for the first time. She recalled thinking:
A Land of Toys opened up in front of her eyes. Why can't I have the same privilege of buying whatever makes me feel good?
She came back to Bangkok carrying her first personal vibrator -- along with a new desire, to start a fight to decriminalise sex toys for the happiness and safety of my people. And, along with that, to encourage sex-positivity in Thailand where
words such as orgasm and climax are banned from public speech.
The first knockback came from her friends and even her boyfriend: They thought what I was doing was wrong. They didn't want to know or talk about my new, happy sex life. It makes you look like a bad person. But Nisarat carried on and launched a
petition to ask the amendment of the 287 Section removing sex toys from pornographic items.
A little-known political party competing in next week's Thai general election revealed one of its priority proposals for Thailand was to legalise the production and sale of sex toys.
The Tai Rak Tham party also proposed 24 hour opening for entertainment venues.
Deputy leader Chitsanupong Trairatrangsri said the party wished to emphasise the policy as the country has a huge amount of rubber which was the raw material for sex toys. Therefore, if the production of sex toys was allowed in Thailand, it would
add value to the rubber trade, he said.