Designed for pleasure: Style, indulgence and accessorized sex

Clarissa Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines sex retailing in the United Kingdom and advancements in sex toy design in order to explore the part that these products play in discourses of female sexual self-discovery. As British culture appears increasingly transfixed by sex and sexual adventure, the proliferation of sex toys could be explained as just another instance of its relaxed attitudes. The existence of specialist erotic boutiques for women indicates a shift in perceptions of womens sexuality, although the focus on 'acceptance of sexual practices ignores the ways in which womens consumption of sexual artefacts is dependent upon the intersections of gender and class identities and the construction of a particular form of hedonistic femininity. This article explores the ways in which High Street sex retailing engages with feminism and questions of identity and taste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-184
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007
Externally publishedYes


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