Re: Er, *who* exactly, in the EU ?
I have an Italian girlfriend. She was quite shocked to learn what Ann Summers is. In Italy, there aren't many sex shops but those that are are greasy little back-alley things with neon lights and rubber suits in the window (and, having driven through Europe, I can attest that "sex-shop" is the most common thing you will see in the dark driving through any small town, no matter how picturesque or isolated). They have a terrible reputation and most people wouldn't be seen dead in them (my girlfriend is hardly a pope-dope, but even she had reservations about even acknowledging them).
By contrast, Italy is where I saw my first ever, confirmed, genuine prostitute, just standing in a small group on the side of the road in a tiny sleepy town while we drove through in the middle of the afternoon. My girlfriend's comment was "Oh, yes, they're always there. This whole area is called <some Italian equivalent of Shag Lane or whatever>". Didn't even raise an eyebrow.
Lingerie shop selling sex toys behind a screen to discerning customers? Shock. Prostitute offering her wares at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of nowhere with "free samples" displayed to passing drivers? Not a problem.
Sexual advertisements and acceptability differ across the world, across countries, and across families. The UK does have a tendency to be more discrete and classy about it (well, as classy as you can get while selling certain items) which actually gives us a BIGGER market for it, whereas the continent tends to be more brash and open and putting people off.
I have a German friend who has the same problem - you order online or not at all, and hope to god nobody knows, whereas over here even 30 years ago people were having Ann Summers parties as a regular event with their friends.
But there's nowhere, absolutely nowhere in the world, where you can't get your jollies if you try. (Someone once tried to be a smart-ass and say "Vatican City", but that just made me laugh harder).