World’s first sex shop shuts down, declares bankruptcy

Germany’s pioneering sex shop chain, Beate Uhse, said Friday that it has filed for insolvency, as the empire started by a female World War II pilot fails to rise to the challenge posed by erotic e-commerce.

In its hey day, the group sold lingerie, erotic films and sex products.

Uhse began her foray into erotic business in 1946, when she put together a pamphlet called “Document X” describing how women could avoid pregnancy.

In post-war Germany, her advice was in high demand and she sold thousands of copies of her brochures.

The mail order business thrived and the former fighter pilot and member of the Luftwaffe opened in 1962 her first shop in the German town of Flensburg.

Named Institute of Marital Hygiene, the store selling lingerie and contraceptives became the world’s first sex shop.

Her activities often ran counter to the morality of post-war Germany and she was called before the courts in thousands of legal suits filed against her. Yet she remained frank and unashamed about selling erotic ware.

After Germany relaxed its anti-pornography laws in the 1970s, Uhse’s business flourished. Uhse became a household name in Germany.

Scantily-clad women handed out mail-order catalogues of sex toys and a pink-ribboned history of lingerie to celebrate the launch of shares in the company.



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