The coronavirus shutdown has brought swaths of the global economy to a standstill, but for producers and purveyors of condoms and sex toys, businessis booming. Ritex, Germany’s largest domestic producer of prophylactics, saw sales nearly double in March. Thecompany, whichis based in the north-western town of Bielefeld and is still operating, said its sales of condoms last month doubled compared with the same period a year ago,to12.7m. The same trend is happening in other countries. Ann Summers, the British lingerie chain, said sex toy sales last week were up 27 per cent over last year. Its best-selling item was the Whisper Rabbit, which it markets as its quietest vibrator. “Customers are placing increasing importance on noise while they have a fullhousehold,” the company said. Around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has halted social life. Shops have been closed,football matches postponed, and bars and clubs shut. Strict social distancing rules in Germany and elsewhere mean gatherings of more than two people are banned. Axel-Jürg Potempa, a German sexual health specialist, said he predicted a coronavirus-related baby-boom by Christmas. “The crisis creates new, additional bonds,” he said. Fear of Covid-19 was prompting a flood of adrenalin and a subsequent “dopamine rush” in many, which “increases desire and libido”, he told the Berliner Kurier. Robert Richter, Ritex’s managing director, said the rise in condom sales was partly explained by panic buying after curbs on social contact were introduced last month, with Germans hoarding essentials such as toilet paper and handsanitiser, as well as prophylactics. But there was also an emotional reason, he added. “In a crisis, when you’re isolated, you seek more emotional intimacy with your partner and sex is part of that,” he said. “And that might well lead to more condom use.” Dildo King, a Berlin accessory supplier, said it had seen an 87 per cent increase in sales of sex toys year on year since the restrictions were announced. Fetish article sales were up 94 per cent and sales of one particular product had increased more than eightfold compared with last year. “We are doing incredibly well out of this crisis, but I’m not exactly jumping for joy,” said Raiko Spörck, managing director. “People are dying and no one’s happy.” The company was having trouble procuring stock, he said: “The producers weren’t prepared for such an onslaught.” Eis.de, another leading German online retailer of sexual accessories,said orders had doubled since Germany introduced social restrictions: on March 23 it saw the biggest sales volume in its history. There had been a 300 per cent increase in sales of aids for men and women in the southern state of Bavaria, and a 3,000 per cent increase in demand for fantasy nurse costumes, the company said. Sales of jumbo packs of condoms, each containing 100, had risen five fold. However, as in all areas of business, Covid-19 has interrupted supply chains. Karex, which makes one in five condoms globally, had to shut down its three factories in Malaysia for 10 days last month as authorities imposed strict curbs. The company was able to win an exemption from the lockdown rule late last week, arguing that it was a producer of essential medical goods, and restart the plants.