Singapore may not be as conservative as you think.
After the Fifty Shades Of Grey book was released in 2011, adult toys flew off the shelves here.
The book and subsequent instalments in the erotic trilogy by British author E. L. James have led to an impressive uptick in the sale of Geisha balls (otherwise known as Ben Wa balls).
The adult toy was used by the main characters in the first book, which was recently made into a movie. But it is not all play, and women also use the tool to exercise their pelvic-floor muscles.
The owners of Alice Maple, an online adult toy store based here which opened eight years ago, said 70 per cent of the spike is linked to the sale of a remote-controlled version of the toy.
"We used to sell 10 a month," said the store owner, who wanted to be known only as Mr Francis. The 34-year-old runs the store with his wife.
"Now, we sell between 40 and 50 a month," he added.
The majority of these new customers "are married couples in their late 30s", he said.
The tools used for BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) are also proving to be a hit, thanks again to the book series.
Said Kelvin Khor, 30, owner of another local online store, www.horny.sg: "Since the launch of Fifty Shades, there has been a spike in the sales of BDSM products such as handcuffs, bed restraints, floggers, hogties and so on."
Mr Khor said male customers are mostly keen "to impersonate Christian Grey", the male protagonist in the book series.
One of the most mentioned toys in the book, used by the male character, are leather handcuffs.
"I usually sell about 40 sets of leather cuffs and restraints a month, but that has gone up to about 55 sets," the adult-store owner said.
But most couples are still too shy to walk into an adult toy store at the mall.
He said: "We have closed-door private appointments for our customers for maximum privacy. They either come into our showroom or chat with us over the phone.
"We'll listen to what they need and recommend appropriate toys."
The book series has had such an impact that Mr Khor started bringing in Fifty Shades merchandise.
He said: "We have the Fifty Shades Of Grey universal bed restraint with detachable cuffs, flogger, crop, clamps, blindfold starter kit and a few more."
Mr Francis said he too has had "couples citing the book".
The craze for such adult toys began when the Fifty Shades series - dubbed mummy porn - became a worldwide phenomenon.
The book features Anastasia Steele, a geeky insecure college misfit, dating Grey, a handsome billionaire entrepreneur, who maintains a pristine reputation in the public eye.
Of course, that is not who he really is.
His tortured past and rough-sex obsession begin to surface when Steele is introduced to his kinky realm in the Red Room of Pain, a hidden den of pleasures in his swanky penthouse apartment.
Behind those fictional locked doors is where Grey keeps whips, paddles, chains and an assortment of other bondage gear.
The uncut R21 erotic romance movie premiered here on Feb 12.
This article was first published on February 22, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.