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Parisians snap up 'butt plugs' after 'Tree' fiasco

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There's been a spike in butt plug sales after the exhibition of the "Tree" artwork. Photo: Bertrand Guay, Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
17:27 CET+01:00
Rightwing outrage and vandals put an end to the inflatable "Tree" artwork in Paris that was said to resemble a giant sex toy. But the controversy piqued Parisians' sexual curiosity and sent many - both men and women - rushing to buy real "butt plugs"

Parisians are reportedly rushing to buy butt plugs in the wake of a controversy over an inflatable tree artwork that was attacked by vandals after it was compared to a giant sex toy.

“We used to sell around 50 a month,” Richard Fhal, a sex toy wholesaler told The Local.

“Since the controversy (in October) we’ve moved more than a thousand,” said Fhal who supplies shops around the capital as well as his own retail website and chain of three stores.

He noted that previously customers for anal plugs were almost exclusively male and gay, but in recent weeks heterosexuals - with an equal mix of men and women - had been snapping up the products that cost between €20 and €40 each.

When the US artist Pal McCarthy’s pop-up art work, titled “Tree”, was erected in mid-October in the chic Place Vendome in Paris, observers pointed out that it resembled a giant anal plug.

It quickly fell victim to the conservative populist backlash that has invaded French politics over the past couple of years. Within days vandals had attacked it, and it was decided to pull the plug on the project.

But the controversy sparked curiosity among many Parisians, who may previously have given little thought to the potential pleasures of anal plugs.

“The term ‘plug’ didn’t mean much in France,” said Fhal of Editions Concorde sex toy wholesalers, who said his competitors were also seeing a mini sales boom. “We were selling them as anal stimulators but now everyone in France knows the term ‘anal plug’.”

L’Express magazine last month published a lengthy article on the rising popularity of the plug, which helpfully included detailed instructions on how to use the devices and listed the dizzying variety of plugs available in materials ranging from glass to stainless steel to silicon.

by Rory Mulholland

SEE ALSO: Made in France sex toys stimulate the French economy

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