The coronavirus outbreak has forced countries into lockdown, and maybe sharing the time with a guaranteed virus free partner has its attractions. But just at the same time sex doll sellers are facing a shortage as most are are shipped in from Chinese
factories that themselves have been affected by lockdowns.
Jade Stanley, who owns a sex doll business called Sex Doll Official, revealed that there has been a major slowdown due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation in China. They've gone home, been
quarantined and been unable to return to factories.
The pandemic has also led to a worldwide increase in sales of sex toys. With the prospect of long periods at home either alone or with your partner, people are exploring new ways to make the best of
the time available.
Most Germans are spending much more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. That means good news for some in the sex industry and bad news for others.
Rising sales figures at many online erotic shops suggest what some healthy Germans told to
lock down at home are doing in some of their free time. But on the flip side, the crisis is hitting the livelihoods of many sex workers hard.
Sex toys, for example, are selling particularly well. The number of orders placed with the online erotic
shop EIS has doubled since Covid-19 hit Germany in late January. Vibrators are particularly popular at the moment. A spokesperson for erotic outlet Orion said its online shop had also seen increased sales.
Erika Lust, a producer of feminist porn,
has reported that more people are viewing her films than usual. Since the outbreak, streaming times on her platforms have increased by 20 to 30% globally.
But for many sex workers in Germany and worldwide, the pandemic has had drastic
consequences. I simply don't have a job, said German sex worker Marlen, who did not want to give her full name. She has some money saved and could at least take a few weeks off. But others cannot afford to, even though the German federal and state
governments have decided to close brothels.
The popular porn website Pornhub has made its premium services free till April 3. Initially the offer was restricted to covid hotspots Italy, Spain, and France, but noe the service has been made free all over the world.
PornHub has has also announced
that it will be donating a portion of its income to helping out with the coronavirus crisis.
Pornhub also released a chart showing how porn viewing has increased at the time of lockdown.
Japan has reportedly reversed its decision to discriminate against sex workers who are economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CNN has reported that Health and Labor Minister Kazunobu Kato declared that Japan's legal sex workers will be
eligible to receive government assistance as part of the nation's economic relief package.
Japan's original COVID-19 relief plan initially barred sex workers, along with bars, restaurants and gangsters, from receiving any economic aid and was
widely criticized for being discriminatory in its application
The financial relief will be paid to businesses and it is still unclear how self-employed sex workers would be treated under the new plan.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, sex workers who have gone online to make a living are discovering the market is saturated with performers, whilst at the same time many subscribers are canceling their subscriptions due to their own financial
According to Newsweek reporter Ewan Palmer's article , established online performers are losing customers or receiving
less money from fans who are experiencing their own financial struggles as the economy continues to spiral downward. As many go online to make ends meet, those without an existing online profile are finding a glut of performers and difficulty trying to
In addition, American sex workers are barred from the government's effort to help small businesses whose incomes were severely impacted by the pandemic. The Small Business Association's Economic Injury Disaster Program prohibits anyone who
presents live performances of a prurient sexual nature or derives their income from the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature from receiving benefits.
Brothels will be allowed to re-open in Austria on 1 July, in an easing of coronavirus restrictions. The health ministry is working with groups representing the country's 8,000 registered sex workers to develop hygiene measures, according to the Austria
Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands also plans to reopen brothels on 1 July.
Those in Greece opened last week. Rules brought in by the Greek government include card-only payments, a time limit of 15 minutes per customer, compulsory
face masks and workers taking a list of clients' contact details in case they need to be traced.
Germany has been releasing most businesses from coronavirus lockdown but the country's sex work industry remains banned. Brothels and similar sex-related businesses have been closed since mid-March due to the pandemic -- though other close-contact
businesses such as nail salons and massage therapy parlors have been permitted to reopen.
In response, a group of sex workers in Berlin staged a protest on Friday, wielding an inflatable sex doll outside the Bundesrat, the upper house of Germany's
parliament. The protesters also brandished placards with slogans including, Let us work, Open the brothels now , and Our sector is being driven underground.
The Federal Association for Erotic and Sex Services, a trade association and
lobbying group for the sex industry, said that the sex workers seem to have been forgotten by politicians. The trade group called the continued shutdown of the sex industry incomprehensible in view of the developments in other sectors.
Canada's province of British Columbia have issued guidelines recommending the use of glory holes as a method of COVID-safe sex.
Previously New York guidelines suggested the use of barriers to avoid risky, face-to-face contact during sex, B.C. health
officials have specifically recommended glory holes to allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.
The B.C. health officials say that sexual partners should wear facial masks during their activities specifically because heavy
breathing during sex can create more droplets that may transmit COVID-19.
Sex workers in Germany are appealing to politicians to ease coronavirus restrictions that have prevented them from working during the pandemic. Sex workers have taken their complaints to the streets, in demonstrations in Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and
There are growing reports of sex workers being subjected to violence, underpayment and being forced to compromise their health because of clients' demands during meetings in non-formal settings.
This week, Berlin's government appeared
to give way to their demands after announcing a graduated return to sexual services without intercourse. From 1 September, intercourse will be allowed to take place between sex workers and their clients in the German capital, but only under strict
hygiene regulations. Sex workers operating in Germany's 15 other states hope the governments there will soon follow suit.
The Federal Association of Erotic and Sex Services has accused lawmakers of failing to address the concerns of sex workers
because of the stigma attached to the industry, while giving hairdressers, tattoo parlours, massage and beauty salons, fitness studios, saunas and swinger clubs the green light to reopen weeks ago. They point out that in neighbouring Switzerland,
the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and the Czech Republic, brothels are being allowed to operate again.
Britain's sex industry is still far from normal as prostitutes slowly start to work the streets again and brothels begin reopening in the wake of lockdown. But demand from Brits is not what it was before the pandemic, as many appear hesitant to get their
Laura Watson has been involved with the English Collective of Prostitutes for 10 years. The group represent sex worker across the country. She explained that:
There are still clients out there -- during
lockdown that obviously decreased and it is not like it is anything near normal, but there is a demand out there. It's women's need for money that fuels the industry -- women go into it for financial aid.
It was reported that just
one-in-three sex workers continued to meet up face to face during lockdown. Others took their business online using web cams.
Research on one adult website showed that thousands of escorts and sex workers are now listing themselves as available. One
website appeared to have 21,827 escorts on its books. And there were 10,000 in London alone, with other popular areas including 1,341 in Manchester and 1,630 in Birmingham.
It hasn't gone back to
normal in that women have put whatever safety procedures they can in place. All the measures that the Government have deemed safe, including social distancing when they can, and the general measures have been mainly implicated. I think women are trying
their best to keep as safe as possible. It's understood that some women have used paper bed sheets and extra sanitisers in a bid to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
Sex workers in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and in other northern jurisdictions, filed court cases to force local officials to lift a coronavirus ban on sex workers.
On Tuesday, the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia
agreed that with similar close contact businesses open, there was no rationale to keep brothels closed. The court found no clear evidence that one-on-one sexual activity carried a higher risk of transmission than indoor gatherings of up to 150 people,
which are allowed under Germany's current coronavirus health regulations .
While sex workers in North Rhine-Westphalia -- whose capital is Dusseldorf and largest city is Cologne -- may return to work this week, their counterparts in Hamburg and
Bremen, where courts also overturned the ban, may resume their activities on September 15.
But the court ruling did not come soon enough for Cologne's Pascha mega-brothel, which according to a Mirror newspaper report , was so devastated by the
shutdown that it has now filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors, putting 100 sex workers and dozens of support staff in the 11-story facility out of work.
The UK Government has changed the law to dictate that couples in an established relationship are now banned from intimate meetings (unless they live together or are in a support bubble). Previous incarnations of coronavirus restrictions offered
exemptions fro people in an established relationship but these have been dropped from rules imposed on areas classed as high or very high risk areas (applying to about half of the people in England).
Downing Street has confirmed that couples living
apart in areas under these tougher restrictions can only meet outdoors. And, if the prospect of outdoor-only encounters during the bitter winter months was not grim enough, Boris Johnson's official spokesman clarified that they are not even meant to
touch each other under social distancing rules.
Asked if couples living apart in tier 2 areas can see each other indoors, the prime minister's official spokesman said on Friday:
The rules on household mixing in tier 2,
I think, set out that you should mix with your own household only unless you've formed a support bubble, and that obviously does apply to some couples.
The prime minister's spokesman clarified that the restrictions were set out in
law. Asked why an exemption for established relationships was not written into the law for those in tiers 2 and 3, Johnson's spokesman added:
Because the purpose of the measures we've put in place is to break the chain
of transmission between households, and the scientific advice is that there is greatest transmission of the virus indoors.
I don't suppose the Government will be publishing daily statistics about compliance with such miserable and
In response to a new COVID-19 surge in the Netherlands, the Dutch government has now ordered already-struggling sex workers to shut down their businesses for at least the next two weeks.
A spokesperson for the sex worker lobbying group Red Light
United told DutchNews:
It is very quiet in the red light district, there are no tourists and hardly anyone on the streetsMany of our workers are in enormous financial difficulty.
announced the new lockdown on Tuesday, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the business restrictions would include sex clubs, but not other close-contact businesses, such as hair salons.
It's going to be a bleak winter for
Europe. But for sex workers, a group that feels it's been forgotten during the pandemic, the return of lockdowns doesn't just mean being out of work, it could also mean being once again cut off from vital health services. As the first wave of coronavirus
hit the Continent, many countries implemented complete bans on sex work.