Sometimes she disguises her merchandise as medicine. Others like bakery delivery. Whatever the packaging, Andrea dos Anjos knows that discretion is key when emerging evangelical sex shops in Brazil send erotic products to their customers.
Dos Anjos opened her online store, Memorias da Clo, in 2019, providing evangelical women with a safe space to ask questions and seek advice about products designed for a part of life that remains taboo for many conservative Christians in the world. Brazil.
The 43-year-old Baptist is based in Rio de Janeiro, but advises clients primarily through a private messaging app, like her pioneering colleague Carolina Marques, who has opened her own evangelical sex shop – or “love store,” as she prefers. call it – a year ago.
Marques’s company, ConSensual, offers an online catalog of ârelationship auxiliaries,â such as sex toys and flavored lubricants – all tactfully presented, avoiding the wilder side of the sex toy business.
The idea, she says, is that customers “won’t have to rush to shut down their laptops” if someone walks into the room while they’re browsing her website.
Marques, 26, a member of the Assembly of God church, consulted with his pastor and wife before opening his business.
They are the ones who advised against calling it a “sex shop”.
âIt scares people,â she remembers saying. “‘This is vulgar. This is not who we are.'”
âThey always remind me to be careful with the packaging,â says Marques, who wants to become a sex therapist.
Discretion is paramount for evangelicals, who make up about 30 percent of Brazil’s 213 million people, a percentage that has skyrocketed in recent years.
âI’m not going to show up and hand out flyers after church,â says Marques at her home in Sao Goncalo, a suburb of Rio.
âWe Christians always have this taboo around sensuality. But in a marriage, with your spouse, it can be natural. I want to get rid of the stigma that says sex should only be for procreation. . “
The Brands product line includes a vibrating egg-shaped gadget to help get partners in the mood, lubricants with flavors such as cotton candy or âcandy appleâ and aphrodisiac scents.
Dildos, anal sex toys, and masturbation materials are strictly prohibited.
âI don’t want (customers) to feel like they’re doing something wrong,â she says.
Dos Anjos says she turned to the Bible to seek to answer the question, âWhat is sin? in relation to sexuality.
The answer, she decided: each couple should set their own limits.
She got the idea for her business after leaving her husband, who sexually assaulted her.
After their divorce, she went to a sex shop.
âIt was a time in my life when I didn’t know what fun was. But the clerk there was a man. How could I have discussed this subject with him? she says.
“I realized that many evangelical women must feel the same way.”
She says a large part of her job is giving advice to women on issues such as lubrication issues and postpartum sex.
She also accompanies couples. She remembers a couple, both virgins, whom she counseled for days before having sex for the first time.
âIn this case, the sale didn’t come until later,â she says.
Jessica, 24, is a regular customer of ConSensual.
“I mainly use massage gels, thermal lubricants, flavored … They make the relationship more pleasant and fun,” she told AFP.
She requested that her last name not be used, speaking through a WhatsApp message to protect her identity.
Jessica says she convinced some of her friends to try erotic products. Others, she says, dismiss the idea as being too “aggressive.”
Marques, who says she has started receiving orders from other parts of Brazil, has a phrase she uses to allay such fears.
âOur body is the temple of the Lord and we must take care of it,â she said.