The acceptance of sexuality is inextricably linked with freedom and quality of life. In this unique research piece, we show which cities are considered to be the most sexually permissive and liberal in the world. more
The acceptance of sexuality is inextricably linked with freedom and quality of life. We show which cities are considered to be the most sexually permissive and liberal in the world. more
|1||Cologne||17||19||23||4||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||69.2|
|2||West Hollywood||32||28||3||0||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|3||Amsterdam||14||23||6||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||69.2|
|4||Madrid||22||35||4||5||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Abolitionism||Authorized||69.2|
|5||Berlin||31||44||15||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||69.2|
|6||Santiago||7||31||5||0||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||76.3|
|7||Vienna||7||18||4||0||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||69.2|
|8||San Francisco||35||29||4||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|9||Montreal||6||53||8||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Neo-abolitionism||Authorized||74.8|
|10||Vancouver||5||23||5||0||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Neo-abolitionism||Authorized||74.8|
|11||New York City||82||99||23||2||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|12||Toronto||10||57||9||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Neo-abolitionism||Authorized||74.8|
|13||San Diego||24||50||7||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|14||London||30||39||11||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Abolitionism||Authorized||69.2|
|15||Barcelona||30||38||7||0||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Abolitionism||Authorized||69.2|
|16||Los Angeles||53||90||5||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|17||Chicago||30||68||4||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|18||Miami||7||25||8||1||Legal, but requires surgery||Legal||Illegal, in some contexts||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|19||Paris||19||30||5||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Neo-abolitionism||Authorized||69.2|
|20||Atlanta||15||38||7||1||Legal, but requires surgery||Legal||No protections||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|21||Rome||4||41||3||2||Legal, surgery not required||Civil Unions||Illegal, in some contexts||Abolitionism||Authorized||69.2|
|22||Sydney||5||14||9||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal, but required surgery||Illegal||Decriminalization||Authorized||59.4|
|23||Melbourne||1||16||5||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal, in some contexts||Decriminalisation||Authorized||59.4|
|24||Dallas||26||78||5||0||Legal, but requires surgery||Legal||No protections||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|25||Houston||24||55||5||1||Legal, but requires surgery||Legal||No protections||Illegal||Authorized||74.8|
|1||New York City||176||71||10||2||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|2||Cologne||18||15||23||4||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||67|
|3||Berlin||32||44||15||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||67|
|4||Madrid||22||35||5||5||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Abolitionism||Authorized||72.2|
|5||Los Angeles||62||115||3||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|6||San Francisco||116||28||11||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|7||London||27||39||9||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Abolitionism||Authorized||76.1|
|8||Amsterdam||15||23||6||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||73|
|9||Montreal||9||24||7||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Neo-abolitionism||Authorized||85|
|10||Atlanta||29||46||7||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|11||Sydney||8||14||8||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Withcriminalization||Authorized||66.9|
|12||Paris||21||29||5||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Neo-abolitionism||Authorized||78.4|
|13||Chicago||49||42||4||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|14||Toronto||16||28||9||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Neo-abolitionism||Authorized||73.9|
|15||Melbourne||4||15||5||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||66.9|
|16||San Diego||48||45||3||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|17||Barcelona||24||38||4||0||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Abolitionism||Authorized||72.2|
|18||Houston||30||43||5||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|19||Vienna||27||18||4||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal||Abolitionism||Generics available (not fully refunded)||79|
|20||West Hollywood||84||32||3||0||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|21||Rome||5||45||3||2||Legal, surgery not required||Registered partnerships||Illegal in Some Contexts||Abolitionism||Generics available (not fully refunded)||65.1|
|22||Miami||16||31||7||1||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|23||Dallas||34||49||4||0||Legal, surgery not required||Legal||Illegal in Some Contexts||Illegal||Authorized||73.9|
|24||Santiago||7||31||5||0||Legal, but surgery required||Registered partnerships||Illegal||Legal||Authorized||76.3|
|25||Vancouver||8||23||5||0||Legal, Surgery Not Required||Legal||Illegal||Neo-abolitionism||Authorized||85|
New York has always been a city of freedom. After all, one of the most famous symbols of the city, the Statue of Liberty, has been standing there since 1886 to welcome newcomers. With over eight million inhabitants, New York City (NYC) is considered the largest city in the United States. People from all nations and cultures of the world live together there in a diverse melting pot. The city can definitely be described as one of the most liberal in the world and therefore ends up in 11th place in our ranking. In NYC there are an impressive 99 sex shops and around 82 gay bars available to the thriving LGBTQI community. Incidentally, it was the so-called Stone Wall Riots in 1968 on Christopher Street in NYC that triggered the global movement for homosexual rights. Since then, in many cities in the world, Christopher Street Day ‘pride’ events are held in memory of this event every year. In NYC sexual freedom and freedom of speech are both highly regarded, although sex work is not officially legal.
Cologne is world famous for its carnival and cathedral, which is the highest church building in the world. But for many residents of this cosmopolitan, tolerant city, sex is the new religion. Cologne is definitely one of the most liberal cities in Germany, maybe even the world, and its first place spot in our ranking certainly reflects this. No other city in the Sexually Liberal City Index has as many annual LGBTQI events as Cologne, with a total of 23 events throughout the year. Whilst Cologne may sometimes appear to play second fiddle to Berlin and Hamburg, anyone who has visited cannot help but fall for its charms with many international artists and celebrities making 'Kölle' their home. The city on the Rhine is a true model of liberality and openness, especially in the sexual sense, and residents wholeheartedly welcome like-minded visitors who share their values. Rather than insisting on equality, Cologne celebrates everyone’s uniqueness.
When you consider the most sexually liberal cities in the world, Berlin will often come to mind so it is no wonder that it appears in fifth place on our list. There has long been a huge LGBTQI scene with 15 annual LGBTQI events drawing a huge international crowd, at least 44 sex shops, 31 gay bars, a thriving BDSM and fetish scene and numerous world-famous, inclusive techno clubs, especially the Berghain or Watergate. Nobody in Berlin has to hide if they want to be open about their sexuality, which is clearly part of the city's appeal. Indeed, the world's largest erotic fair "Venus" takes place in Berlin every year. Prostitution is also completely legal in the city and sexual minorities are protected by anti-discrimination laws. This positive attitude to sex is what puts Berlin at 5th place in our ranking.
Madrid’s fourth place position in our rankings may surprise some readers, but connoisseurs of this wonderful city will understand. Since the end of the dictatorship in 1975, Spaniards have been full of joie de vivre and want to live uninhibitedly. Sexual debauchery does not attract disapproval in Spain’s larger cities and Madrid in particular is a frontrunner when it comes to sex positive attitudes with at least 22 gaybars and 35 sex shops across the city. The adult entertainment industry is also thriving in Spain, where local pornography production companies and numerous online platforms for webcam sex go about their business largely uninterrupted. It has even been suggested that the adult entertainment industry contributes around 26.5 billion euros to the country’s GDP. Impressively, this is the second highest contribution in the world, second only to China. Self-employed prostitution has also been legal in Spain since 1995 with only pimping and the operation of brothels remaining prohibited.
Los Angeles - The City of Angels. The huge city in California on the US west coast knows how to inspire. The beaches of Los Angeles are world-famous and home to some of the world's best skaters, surfers and all round beautiful people. Countless famous musicians, actors and celebrities can be found in this city which is the home of blockbuster films. The liberal lifestyle in Los Angeles attracts freedom-loving people from all over the world, so it is hardly surprising that there are at least 53 gay bars and over 90 sex shops here. The LGBTQI scene is huge in Los Angeles, although there are comparatively few annual events in this regard - at least officially. The fact that sex work is generally prohibited in L.A. means that it does not appear higher in our ranking.
San Francisco - the fabulous metropolis on the west coast of the United States - has been a centre for liberalism and freedom for decades, particularly in the free love and counter culture eras of the 1960s and 1970s. Although the city is more commonly in the media today because of its tech companies in Silicon Valley, San Francisco is still widely known for its particularly liberal attitude to life. Sexual freedom and eroticism are abundant here and there is a vibrant LGBTQI scene with 4 annually recurring events - the fourth highest value in our ranking - and the third highest number of gaybars. However, sex work is also illegal in San Francisco, like almost everywhere in the USA.
As the proud capital city of England and the centre of the United Kingdom, London is also its liberal heart. Many districts of London are known for their artistic scenes and there is a huge and welcoming LGBTQ community, particularly in the Soho area, with even more gay bars than Berlin. Responsible sex is also a priority, with contraceptives more freely available in London than in any other city in the rankings. In recent years, public interest in sexual freedom has increased strongly in the city too, with a growing number of sex shops, events and sex parties. There are well organised events for all tastes including Pegging or BDSM and the Japanese bondage Shibari seems to be particularly popular. In the end, it was just a few points difference that saw London rank at number 14 in the list and it is still a great city full of sexual freedom of movement.
Amsterdam is often called the Venice of the North because of its many water channels and picturesque architecture and rarely do we see as much beauty in a city so small. With its relaxed drugs and prostitution laws, Amsterdam has also been a centre of sexual freedom and discovery for decades. The legendary red light district of the city attracts millions of visitors every year and exemplifies the sexual freedom of Amsterdam - and it has it all. There are 'only' 6 annual LGBTQ events, but the gay pride parade and its extensive supporting program is one of the best in the world. Since 1987, the first monument in remembrance of persecuted and killed homosexuals has also been located in Amsterdam. With its numerous liberal regulations for all possible areas of life, Amsterdam ends up in third place in this ranking as a city that, like no other, knows how to combine modernity and the past in an attractive mix. If you are looking for freedom and culture, you might find your paradise in Amsterdam, although you might have to wade through a few stag do groups to get there!
Montreal in Canada is one of the most liberal and livable cities in the world. The second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris, Montreal is also no stranger to lovers. Whilst there have not been any official brothels in the city for a number of decades, there are numerous alternatives available if sex is on the agenda. In the centre of the city in particular there are many strip clubs which will oblige patrons looking for a sexual encounter. Whilst there are relatively few gaybars in Montreal, smartphone apps are a popular way to find like-minded sexual partners in the city. When it comes to prostitution, Montreal follows a neo-abolitionist approach that is similar to the so-called Swedish model: offering sexual services is not illegal, but buying such services is punished. Essentially this portrays an assumption that positive, voluntary sex work is rare, which is at odds with the views of many sex workers. Therefore, Montreal does not achieve a higher spot in our ranking, although in comparison to many cities worldwide Montreal is very liberal, hence a respectable 9th place.
The city of Atlanta seems significantly larger than its 500,000 inhabitants thanks to its many international cultural achievements in both the arts and music and its mix of urbanity and nature. There are seven annual LGBTQI events in Atlanta and at least 15 gay bars, with a total of 38 sex shops in the city area. Atlanta is a small spearhead of liberality and freedom in the USA. Beautiful, lively and diverse, this mix of amenities is probably what places Atlanta in our rankings of sexually liberal cities. If you want to get to know the USA, away from the usual tourist destinations, you should definitely consider a visit to Atlanta.
Sydney is located on Australia's east coast and is world famous for its opera house with the iconic shell silhouette. Where there is great art, there is often a liberal spirit and this certainly applies to Sydney. Considering the city has over five million inhabitants, there are actually relatively few gay bars there (around 5), but Oxford Street in the Darlinghurst district is a particular LQBTQI highlight. The 'Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras' and numerous annual LQBTQI events are also not to be missed. The Kings Cross area comes close to a red light district, where there are numerous strip clubs and erotic bars and sex workers can also be found. There are also a diverse range of brothels throughout the city that enjoy a good reputation for high standards. Prostitution is regulated and decriminalised in Sydney, but still not completely legalised. However, this does not change the fact that in addition to isolated street prostitution there are also a fair number of escorts. It is often international visitors who have chosen this profession for themselves and thus combine a very high side income with the fun and adventure of their travels. There are also some massage parlours in Sydney that specialise in erotic offerings. There are about 14 sex shops in the city too. Taking everything into account, Sydney can be considered a liberal metropolis with regard to sexual freedom and ends up in 22nd place.
Paris - The City of Love. Perhaps this sounds trite, but it is still true. For centuries, Paris has also been a centre of sexual debauchery, made famous by the novels of Alexandre Dumas, the Marquis de Sade, Restif de la Bretonne and many others. This pattern continues to this day by authors such as Emma Becker with Paris at the heart of much French erotic-pornographic reading material, films and music. Another source of beauty and, at times, eroticism is the world-famous fashion industry in Paris. The LGBTQI scene is also extremely alive in Paris in certain quarters. What may be surprising due to France’s cultural history is the fact that prostitution in Paris and the rest of the country has been banned since the 1950s. The city of the Moulin Rouge and the famous 19th century brothel has outlawed sex work. Nevertheless, there is of course a lot of prostitution in Paris, just primarily in the more unsafe area of street prostitution. For this reason, despite its reputation as the city of lovers, Paris lands in 19th place.
Chicago is a remarkable metropolis in the northeast of the United States and is located in the state of Illinois, directly on the gigantic Lake Michigan. The centre of the city has almost three million inhabitants with the wider city home to nearly ten million. Anyone looking for a liberal lifestyle and sexual freedom in this part of the United States is in good hands in Chicago. Because who can say no to 30 gay bars and 68 sex shops? The LGBTQI scene is well established in Chicago and same-sex marriages and trans rights are also championed. Even if the winter is bitterly cold in the city a fiery sex life is always on offer it seems! The cultural metropolis not only celebrates St. Patrick's Day, with an iconic green River Grün, but Christopher Street Day is also high on the agenda in this inclusive city.
Toronto is located in the southeast of Canada on Lake Ontario, near the border with the USA. There are numerous sex shops and strip clubs in the city, which are mostly located in the Old Toronto district. Around nine annual LGBTQI events are held in Toronto, which corresponds to a relatively high value in the middle of this ranking. Purchasing sexual services is against the law in Toronto so there is no formal red light district in the city. Of course, this does not change the fact that there are still ways to obtain sexual services. In Toronto, prostitution is only slightly disguised by escort agencies that enable additional services and erotic experiences. In general, Toronto is considered a very liberal and open city, which is certainly correct, the only exception is the prostitution laws that, similarly to Sweden and a number of other countries who have adopted the Swedish model, ban the purchase of sex. In addition to the escort agencies mentioned, there are also numerous massage parlours in Toronto that offer discrete alternatives. With a little internet research, such parlours can be found relatively easily and there are a number of online forums for contacting sex workers too.
Melbourne in Australia is the largest city in the state of Victoria with over five million inhabitants. It is located in the very south of the huge country, in a bay called Port Phillip, directly on the coast opposite Tasmania. In our ranking, Melbourne is the second sexually liberal city in Australia which makes the cut. For the LGBTQI community there are five annual parades and events that attract huge crowds. The liberal proportion of European culture has always had a huge impact on cultural, social and artistic development in Melbourne and this includes the erotic scene. There are numerous brothels to suit all tastes here. However, there is also a lot of street prostitution in areas such as St. Kilda and Gray Street where many sex workers are battling addiction problems.
San Diego is definitely a wonderful but underestimated city that flies under the radar for many people. In southern California, near the Mexican border, San Diego not only offers a wonderfully liberal attitude to life, but also the guarantee of good weather - a potent mix! In addition to extensive sunshine, there are also numerous beaches in the area and the city offers beautiful promenades that invite you to take long walks to enjoy a breathtaking view of the sunset. The city of around 1.5 million inhabitants is also home to 24 gaybars and around 50 sex shops, although prostitution is illegal. Of course, this does not mean that there is no prostitution in San Diego, it just takes place behind closed doors, with all the associated risks for those involved. As such, this is the reason why San Diego does not appear higher in our ranking, despite its sunny disposition.
Barcelona on the Mediterranean is a fascinatingly beautiful city with one of the highest qualities of life you can imagine. Who would not be enthusiastic about the mild climate, the wonderful summers, the beaches, the culture and the Catalan cuisine on offer? That is why millions of tourists visit the Spanish city every year. After all, Barcelona is widely famous for its lively culture and freedom-loving residents. You could say that Barcelona is the liberal centre of Spain - or Catalonia, depending on the perspective. The LGBTQI scene is also huge and especially diverse in Barcelona and all lovers of a sexy lifestyle get their money's worth there. There are 30 popular gaybars in Barcelona, and 38 sex shops. If you like to live a sexually free life and want to live out your fantasies openly, you can find your paradise in Barcelona. Sex work is not officially legal in Barcelona but there are still numerous apartments, and even hotels with an hourly rate, where the state simply looks the other way and eroticism flourishes. Despite the position on sex work, the extremely attractive Barcelona still makes it into our ranking with flying colors to 15th place.
The Texan city of Houston impresses with its advantageous location directly on the Gulf of Mexico. The attractive city is generally considered the liberal centre of Texas and attracts many people who are looking for freedom and an unconservative lifestyle. After all, not everyone in the south of the United States is a cowboy and Republican. But speaking of cowboys, every year there are five recurring LGBTQI events such as a Christopher Street Day parade and at least 24 gay bars. Houston only gets a few point deductions in this ranking due to slightly difficult access to contraceptives. Prostitution is also officially prohibited in Houston as it is almost everywhere in the United States, which does not necessarily contribute to the security and quality of life of the sex workers. However, there are numerous strip clubs and erotic bars, which also offer discreet sexual encounters. Houston ends up in our ranking in the final spot, but outranks many other cities worldwide, and is therefore a surprising newcomer among the most sexually revealing cities in the world.
Vienna, the incomparable capital of Austria is internationally known for its Christmas markets, music, delicious pastries and charming architecture. The city is also highly rated for the quality of life of its residents which is one of the reasons it has made it to number 7 in our ranking. Vienna has almost two million inhabitants and is a real international metropolis that is committed to the finer things in life. Art and culture have always been at home in the city but so have freedom and debauchery. Vienna has what is thought to be the largest LGBTQI scene in Austria and is home to 7 gaybars and four annual LGBTQI events. Like Germany, prostitution is also legal in Austria, which means that residents do not have to fear any reprisals from the state when it comes to sex work. Unfortunately this is unusual in comparison to other countries worldwide and is certainly one of the reasons that Vienna scores so highly in our ranking.
West Hollywood is a small, independent city in the famous metropolis of Los Angeles on the US west coast. Numerous palm trees adorn the streets of West Hollywood and ensure a real holiday feeling all year round with both beaches and mountains within easy reach to its 40,000 residents. Although L.A. is only a few kilometres away, West Hollywood still appears as a separate entry in our ranking thanks primarily to its strong LGBTQI community. There are around 32 gaybars in West Hollywood, which is significantly more than in many other major cities in this ranking, particularly given the population size. There are also numerous gay saunas and several hotels and restaurants that are part of the LGBTQI scene. West Hollywood is home to 28 different sex shops welcoming all preferences and tastes as well. All of which adds up to the second place spot in our rankings, even if - like most other US cities - prostitution is still prohibited in West Hollywood.
Rome, the eternal city. All paths lead there, it is said, and from our own experience we can confirm that these paths are worthwhile. Because Rome offers a unique attitude to life that is difficult to compare. Since Ancient Rome over 2000 years ago, the capital of Italy has been a non-ending source of joie de vivre, which hopefully never dries up. In addition to its spectacular history and the numerous associated historical buildings, Rome offers a wonderfully lively everyday culture that stimulates joy all year round. Although Rome has been the centre of Catholicism for a long time, the metropolis is still a liberal place to be. There are 41 sex shops and around 4 official gay bars in the city, with many more unofficial LGBTQI restaurants and venues. However, Italy is one of the very few countries in the western world in which marriage for homosexual couples is not yet possible. Although homosexual acts in Italy have not been punitive since 1890, there have only been officially recognized registered partnerships for same-sex couples since 2016. Although it flourishes in secret, sex work in Rome is not legally permitted either. Together with the remaining restrictions for homosexuals, this is the reason why Rome sits at 21st place in the ranking.
Welcome to Miami! The fabulous Floridian city of the Sunset Boulevards is located with its many islands right by the sea. According to its image in popular culture, Miami is an expression of complete joie de vivre and has served as a backdrop for numerous films for years. Millions of visitors who come to Miami every year are not disappointed by its exuberant lifestyle. The South Florida Style Magazine even calls Miami the sex capital of the United States and apparently condoms are constantly sold out in some pharmacies. The beach, palm trees and holiday vibe lead to an exuberant attitude to life. There are numerous strip clubs in the city, which are the perfect starting point for other erotic adventures, although there is generally a sexually charged mood wherever you go in Miami thanks to the annual spring break parties for which the city is world famous. So although sex work is illegal in Miami as it is almost everywhere in the USA, there is still a high level of quality of life and the erotic joys are certainly not neglected. Miami is unique and despite certain restrictions a very revealing and liberal city in the sexual sense.
With 1.5 million inhabitants, Dallas is the third largest city in the US state of Texas and is perhaps a surprising entrant on our ranking considering its conservative reputation. However, this economic metropolis not only offers an impressive skyline, but also harbours a surprisingly liberal attitude to life that attracts freedom-loving people from all over the world. There are around 78 sex shops in Dallas and at least 26 gaybars which testify to the sexual freedom of movement that prevails there. Large events of the LGBTQI scene take place four times a year, such as the Christopher Street Day celebration. There are also numerous strip clubs and comparable facilities. Sexual freedom of movement is a matter of course in the city and, in addition to the good weather, contributes to a pleasant climate and attitude to life. The city is definitely recommended to anyone who is planning a trip to the USA. In our ranking, Dallas ends up in 24th place.
Santiago is the proud capital of Chile, an absolutely picturesque country surrounded by mountains to the north and an impressive 6000km long Pacific coast. Chile is considered one of the wealthiest and most liberal countries of South America. Every year there are five recurring LGBTQI events in the city and some gay bars also exist without any noteworthy restrictions. For a country that only decriminalised homosexuality in 1999 and has only allowed divorces since 2004, this is a remarkable achievement and could be a model for other countries whose sexual freedoms remain more limited. In Santiago there are cafés that specialise in sexy waitresses. These are called Café con piernas, i.e. café with legs. Such cafés represent the mildest level of erotic entertainment in Santiago because strip bars are generally prohibited there. However, there are real strip clubs that are mostly near Santa Lucia Park or the Providencia Straße. Incidentally, prostitution is completely legal in Chile. Similarly to Germany, people aged 18 and over can work in sex work and have to register with the authorities. Brothels and pimps are prohibited, as is the exercise of sexual acts in public. Therefore, because prostitutes often have little retreat to exercise their services, there are sometimes conflicts with the police, who are allowed to hand out fines or even up to five days in prison for sex workers. Nevertheless, Chile has taken big steps forward regarding sexual freedoms and is the only South American country in our ranking, in 6th place.
The second Canadian city to make the Sexually Liberal City Index is Vancouver in 10th place. Situated on the Pacific coast at the border with the USA, Vancouver is very popular with locals and visitors alike. The city is internationally known for its liberal stance, in which no one is discriminated against for their lifestyle. Sexual freedom is very important in Vancouver too, hence its respectable place in our ranking. There are big LGBTQI festivals and events five times a year in the city and far-reaching laws to protect the rights of minorities. Prostitution is not officially allowed in Vancouver though. Similarly to Montreal, the neo-abolitionist principle applies in Vancouver after attempts to achieve extensive containment of prostitution through a sex purchase ban. Of course, this does not mean that there is no prostitution in Vancouver, it is just more discreet than in other cities that are further ahead in this ranking. So as you can see: despite a good mix of liberality and modernity, there are still areas in Vancouver where sexual freedom could be improved. There are numerous strip clubs in Vancouver around the City Centre metro station, which are definitely worth a visit. Patrons can also find discreet suggestions for further sexual encounters there too.
The demand for more sexual freedom may surprise some residents of liberal metropolises. Wasn't there a sexual revolution as early as the late 1960s? Didn't sex shops spread across the world in the 1970s and hasn’t the BDSM and fetish scene been an established part of society since the 1980s? Isn't the LGBTQI+ community more accepted these days than ever before? That may all be true, but there are still big differences from city to city and country to country when it comes to inclusivity. We are therefore introducing you to the 25 most sexually permissive cities in the world in a ranking based on our research.
In order to achieve reliable results, we have incorporated extensive data from a range of categories into our list of the most sexually liberal cities in the world. We looked in detail at each city and their particular strengths and weaknesses regarding sexual permissiveness.
This includes the number of gay bars and whether homosexual marriages are allowed, permission for gender reassignment, the number of annual LGBTQI+ events such as gay pride parades, access to contraceptives and PrEP medication, whether there are anti-discrimination and sex worker protection laws in place and whether sex work is legalised.
We awarded points for each parameter and the higher the value, the higher the placement in our ranking. As such, some interesting results have emerged. You can find out more about each city in our Top 25 by clicking on the map or in the list.
In considering this study, of course, the question arises as to why sexual permissiveness is an important value to investigate. Quite simply: sexual permissiveness, also known as sex positivity, is a factor in which the state of development of many areas of society coincides. Because it says a lot about a society in general when minorities such as the LGBTQI community or women are restricted in their development opportunities. Such restrictions can be justified both with so-called traditional values and also with political arguments. As the feminist movements of the 20th century have shown, the emancipation of genders or minority orientations is always connected with the acceptance of sexual permissiveness.
Just by looking at recent German history, it quickly becomes clear how beneficial a liberal attitude of both the state and society is to the sexual freedom of movement of an individual. If you look at the history of the legal recognition of homosexuality in Germany over the past few decades, it is noticeable that until 1968 homosexual acts were considered criminal and punishable by law in both the FRG and the GDR. It was not until 2001 that homosexual partners were allowed to have so-called registered civil partnerships, which corresponded to a certain legal recognition. Furthermore, same-sex couples have only been allowed to marry in Germany since 2017.
The situation is similar when it comes to the sexual self-determination of women: until 1970 homosexual or sexually active girls and women were admitted to so-called educational homes, where they were often mistreated. Abortion has only been decriminalized since 1974, but is still fundamentally illegal to this day. Until 1986, mentally handicapped people in Germany were also sterilized as a matter of course without their consent. And horrifyingly, up until 1997, rape within a marriage was still legal and until 2016 rape was generally only considered as such if the victim had resisted violently, which experience has shown is often not the case when victims are paralysed with fear. So, what can we conclude from this?
Based on the developments we have seen in German law and society, it is easy to see how closely sexual freedom and the general freedom of the individual are related. Only when consensual sexuality is not demonised or classed as illegal can the individual enjoy freedom in a society. Anyone who conforms to typical social norms - for example as a heterosexual, white man without unusual erotic desires - may not be particularly affected by restrictions on sexual freedom. However, this does not necessarily apply to the female population of Germany, which makes up 51% of the total population, nor the 7.4% of people who feel part of the LGBTQI+ community in the country. At this point you can already clearly see that a majority of the German population benefits from laws that guarantee a relatively high degree of sexual freedom and self-determination. We hope that our ranking can be a decision-making aid for all those who are looking for a place to live, where they can find their happiness and live as free from discrimination as possible.
Taking the top spot in the Sexually Liberal City Index 2023 - perhaps unsurprisingly - is the German city of Cologne. Known far and wide for its sexual tolerance and openness, even Höhner knew that this Rhenish metropolis was one to watch, describing the city and its inhabitants as “up-to-date in every respect – including sexually.”
The small town of West Hollywood, California, also made it very high in this year's rankings, coming in at #2. Measured by the number of inhabitants, there is a particularly large amount of sex-positive venues (think sex shops, gay bars, etc) to be discovered here. The Dutch metropolis Amsterdam takes a somewhat unsurprising third place in our rankings.
Berlin ends up in fifth place. In fact, two German cities were able to achieve top 10 rankings at the same time. In addition to a large number of sex shops and LGBTIQ events, both Cologne and Berlin benefit above all from a comparatively stable legal situation for sexual minorities and sex workers. Perhaps no surprise thsat the first's first sex shop originated in Germany then!
When we conducted the Sexually Liberal City Index for the first time last year, the American metropolis New York landed in first place. Two years later, the city that never sleeps is "only" good enough for eleventh place. However, this is not because there is less sex-positive life locally - but much more because the competition has become stronger worldwide. While sex-positivity used to be only a marginal topic, today it is impossible to imagine many areas without it. As an example, the Austrian capital Vienna has made a giant leap forward; from 19th place in 2021 to 7th place in our 2023 leaderboard.
Would you have expected these results or do you feel that there is a city missing from the ranking? Then please let us know via https://twitter.com/LustMagOfficial
Curious as to how we calculated these results? Click here to see our full methodology (opens a PDF, German)