Thousands of people drive up and down the A1 every day, stopping off at fast-food outlets and petrol stations. But something else lines one of England's busiest roads: sex shops. Why are they there and, in the age of the internet, who is going in?
There are seven Pulse & Cocktails adult superstores in total, which occupy former roadside restaurants - mostly Little Chefs. On the A1, a major trunk road connecting London and Edinburgh, there are three stores. This caused comedian Alan Carr to pose the question on Twitter: How horny are the drivers on the A1?
Quite, as it turns out. But why is Britain's longest road such a handy location for selling sex paraphernalia?
The [shops] are good for a number of reasons, said Graham Kidd, one of the directors of Pulse & Cocktails, which has been in
business for 21 years. They have good car parking, they are high profile and they are discreet - you're not likely to run into your neighbour inside.
The Bolton News has noticed a change in to organisations behind the Private Shops.
Bolton Council has approved the licence for the Private Shop in Bolton. However it noted that another company has been added to the licence, Darker Enterprises. This
company has been associated with Private Shops for some time and is the wholesaler used by the chain.
The newspaper notes that the Essex-based company is restructuring its retail operations across the country.
It is reported that there will
no noticeable changes beyond the name on the licence
Boots has revealed that it will stock adult toys as part of its new sexual pleasure and wellbeing category.
The health and beauty retailer will stock Lovehoney and So Divine adult toys, as well as massage oils and flavoured
lubricants, both in-store and online. It will also be stocking a new range of vegan-friendly condoms by online condom subscription service Hanx and will offer fertility support across 400 stores.
Ann Summers has negotiated new rent terms for the majority of its stores.
The Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold has accused some retail landlords of burying their heads in the sand by ignoring the crisis on the high street, after several
refused to accept lower rents to support the chain.
The sex toys and lingerie specialist has been struggling during a high street downturn. Gold said the past year had been the toughest I can remember in my 38 years in the retail business. She set
out Ann Summers' position in a frank column in Retail Week
Gold said the company had successfully negotiated new terms for almost all the chain's stores, 95 out of 100, but that it might have to use a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to deal
with the remaining five outlets. A CVA is a form of insolvency that enables companies in difficulty to close unwanted stores and reduce rents on others.
Warren Allmark, the chair of Chester Pride, said that postponing the 2019 event over weather concerns was the hardest call ever.
But just two days before the event was due to take place Warren and authorities including Cheshire West and Chester
Council had to take the decision to postpone the festival after the Met Office predicted high winds and gusts of up to 50mph.
Although many have been supportive of the decision, there has been some negative reaction to the cancellation on social
media, with some questioning why a bit of bad weather prompted the cancellation of the entire event. However Allmark explained:
We don't just turn up at 7am on Saturday and bang up a few tents as some think. We have to
close off the event space at 5pm on Thursday and start building on Thursday evening.
We will recover from this.
Chester Pride and Warren Allmark received some supportive words from
Nice n Naughty sex shop:
We are devastated to hear that Pride has been cancelled. On the 10th of August 1999, Nice n Naughty was born in the heart of this city. In proud support of Chester Pride from
its very first, we have been privileged to witness the Chester LGBTQ+ community grow, strengthen and thrive. Our little shop has changed so much in 20 years, and with our massive refurbishment finally complete we are better, kinkier, more inclusive and
more beautiful than ever. And you know what Chester? We couldn't have done it without you.
So, as a gesture of our love and solidarity; in honour of Pride and our 20th birthday, this Saturday the shop staff of Nice n Naughty
Chester will be donating 20% of their days wages, 10% of store takings and 10% of www.nicennaughty.co.uk takings to Chester Pride. A donation which our Director, Simon Prescott,
has pledged to personally match.
We will be open 9-8 tomorrow, with the tunes blasting and rainbows everywhere. We will be, as we always have been, a safe place to be whoever you want to be. We will be proud.
The BBFC's Annual Report covering 2018 revealed several interesting snippets about R18s.
R18s with a cinema certificate
In 2018, the makers of Four Play , a short explicit pornographic film, submitted the film with an R18 request for cinema classification. This is only the third R18-rated cinema film since 1993, and the film forms the centrepiece of a Channel 4 TV
series in which a group of mothers, concerned by the abusive nature of much online pornography, make their own ethical porn film.
The television transmission of the documentary shows the mothers attending a private screening of
Four Play, although any explicit detail is masked or obscured for TV transmission in accordance with Ofcom rules. Although the film does not technically require a BBFC age rating, given that private screenings do not need our authorisation, the makers
intended to demonstrate that the film has been properly regulated and is within UK standards. Given that Four Play is a sex title featuring images of real sex but nothing abusive, harmful or illegal, we accordingly classified it R18.
The two other
cinema films certified with a hardcore R18 were
( Correction , with thanks to Craig. Previously Dr Lust was credited as one of the 3 hardcore R18 cinema releases, but this was in fact the last cinema film to be
given a softcore R18 certificate in 1993).
Deep Throat is a 1972 US adult film by Gerard Damiano. With Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems and Dolly Sharp.
Deep Throat was not given a standalone cinema release. It was reissued uncut in 2005 to accompany certain screenings of the documentary Inside Deep Throat .
The Good Old Naughty Days is a 2002 France
adult documentary and compilation of vintage stag films by Michel Reilhac. Starring Liandra Dahl, Annabelle Lee and Joost Smoss.
Passed R18 uncut for 2002 cinema release. Note that the film would be banned for its doggy sex if it were to be resubmitted today.
Continued decline in R18s
In 2018, there was another decrease in the number of pornographic films submitted to us. We classified 298 films, which is a 19% decrease in submissions compared to 2017.
The proportion of R18 titles subject to cuts in 2018 was 15%, the same as the previous year
Relaxation of the UK obscenity law
During 2018, the CPS consulted on the
guidance it issues to prosecutors on the issue of obscenity. As a result, in early 2019, it issued new guidance that places a stronger emphasis on the depiction of harmful and abusive behaviour as the key reason for prosecution, rather than the depiction
of niche sexual practices.
Accordingly, at the beginning of 2019, the BBFC revised its own R18 policies to permit the depiction of certain activities, including but not limited to sexualised urination [and fisting], provided those
activities occur in a consensual and non-abusive context.
Channel 4 and Crackit Productions are going behind the scenes of an extraordinary family business for a one-off documentary. T he Sex Shop Family will follow the Richardsons, whose stock in trade is sex toys and whose staff meetings focus on the
merits of a gimp mask or the latest vibrators.
Head of the family is dad and self-made businessman Tim. He's run Brighton sex shops Taboo and Lust for over two decades, and his family life is as unique as his business backdrop.
Tim's current wife Calandra works alongside ex-wife Nancy, who's also mother to Tim's two children -- Kizzy and Taz, the heir apparent whom Tim hopes will one day take over the sex shop empire.
As well as explore the intriguing
family dynamics, the film will welcome viewers into the colourful, secret world of the sex shop, where every kink is catered for, whether the customer is hankering for fluffy handcuffs or a life-sized sex doll. The family's eye-wateringly frank dealings
with their clientele will give the audience a unique insight into the nation's sex lives.
Google has an unfair bias towards Ann Summers' domain name, making us significantly harder to find online than our lingerie competitors. Customers looking for our biggest category, lingerie, are actively diverted away from finding our website -- even if
we shut up shop tomorrow and started selling sofas, this prejudice would not change.
In a recent Google search for Ann Summers lingerie -- in organic search, ignoring paid -- we were served Very, Amazon, Asos, Debenhams,
Simply Be, House of Fraser and eBay before you got to our website, which sits depressingly on page two.
Google's argument is that Ann Summers is an adult retailer -- non family safe to use its terminology. Yes, we sell sex toys.
But let me be clear, the products we are talking about in this context are our mainstream lingerie range. And, of course, we do not want to put inappropriate products in front of children.
Here's the irony. Ann Summers has a range
of 293 sex toys. Amazon has over 50,000 sex products, many of them considerably more adult in their nature than those we sell.
Yet Google would not consider Amazon non family safe. Google would not impose the same restrictions on
Amazon as it does on us. So, the good news is, Google's policy prevents my nine-year-old daughter searching for a sex toy from Ann Summers, but the bad news is she can buy a gimp mask from Amazon -- in fact, Alexa will even order it for her. Abuse of
A few shoppers have been 'outraged' a saucy Valentine's Day advert for high end lingerie brand Agent Provocateur. The poster was prominently displayed Bath's House of Fraser store and shows an underwear-clad model gazing at herself in the mirror in pink
Local councillors said they were absolutely shocked and appalled by the picture, saying it is pornographic imagery of women that is not suitable for the high street.
The poster was used to promote Agent Provocateur's pop-up stores
for Valentine's Day at House of Fraser branches across the country, including one at Jolly's in Bath.
Ahead of Valentine's Day, the lingerie brand's creative director, Sarah Shotton, said:
We want people to
remember to love themselves in their body, mind and self-confidence.
The Daily Mail tracked down a few trivial whinges on Twitter.
Hannah Lees, who manages a Bath-based running group, tweeted: I have no words. Well, apart
from these #objectification #everydaysexism. When other Twitter users suggested the pictures were harmless, she replied: She's not 'owning her sexuality and her body She's posing as directed by her employer.
local resident Kirsten
Elliott wrote: It's disgraceful. Exposing girls and boys to this perpetuates the patriarchal hegemonies which damage us all. Your daughter is negatively impacted by this image.
Local councillor Victoria Atherstone complained about a similar
poster in the Cheltenham branch of House of Fraser. She tweeted:
Absolutely shocked and appalled by this @TheMissAP high street store photographic campaign displayed in @houseoffraser #Cheltenham shocking pornographic
imagery of women #exploitation NOT SUITABLE for the high street - please take it down.
A spokesman for Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said there had only been one official complaint about the images - but they weren't in the
watchdog's remit.He said their advertising rules didn't extend to shop fittings or in-store material and that it likely fell to local councils.
Coventry City Council has waived its sex establishment licence fee to allow a two-day erotica trade show to be held at the Ricoh Arena.
Organisers of the Erotica Trade Only (ETO) Show have been allowed to hold their event at the Ricoh in March without
paying the standard £5,768 charge.
The council initally seemed to be set on charging an annual feed for the 2 day event but changed their mins when informed that it was a trade only show and is not open to the public.
Coventry will now
consider the merits of a reduced licence fee for future temporary events that may be organised in teh future.
Nice 'n' Naughty
Enjoy better sex
Naughty has been voted the best adult retailer in the UK and Europe and our objective is simple - to help people enjoy a better sex life. Whatever your sexual orientation, we have something to offer.