News & Analysis

The shop and gallery looking to change Ukrainian attitudes towards sex

In Ukraine where sex is still considered something to be ashamed of, the sex shop and art gallery S39 opened in March, in order to break a set of taboos of the Ukrainian society.

“I have noticed that people do not know how to communicate with each other about sex, they are afraid to tell their partners about their desires and preferences,” commented its founder, the Ukrainian nude photographer Kostiantyn Savvopulo.

“This is what pushed me to open the place, I wanted people to openly talk about intimate topics and not be afraid of new knowledge and experiences.”

There are more than 100 different types of bandage, instruments and leather fetish-linen from Ukrainian manufacturers, whose prices vary from 20 dollars to 500 dollars, with some pieces being even more expensive. But S39 is not only a sex shop.

S39 is also an art gallery a place to promote sexual education and healthy relationships. Mr Savvopulo told the Kyiv Post that he believes there is a lack of sexual education in Ukraine, and people are afraid to talk freely about everything that concerns sex.

“Not all parents can explain the topic of sex to their children and thus, children usually get this information in a very strange way. The fact that we do not have an appropriate sexual education creates a lot of complexes, and soon brings problems to relationships”, he said.

“Artists want to talk about sexuality, they want people to perceive the beauty of human body and to admire it,” the venue’s art director Dariia Dryhola, said.

Artists often face censorship in Ukrainian society, so for many of them S39 is becoming a space to show their creativity freely and easily.