Sex in Belarus

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Belarus is a popular tourist destination, particularly for Russians since gambling here is not banned as it is in their own country. With a reputation for being one of the capitals of European sex tourism, the country receives a lot of international attention for its adult industry tours. Though prostitution is illegal, we wanted to know why Belarus has this reputation and how this compares to how sex is viewed in society.

In this guide, we take a look at the prostitution and pornography laws in Belarus as well as looking at what kinds of porn the Belarusians are watching. We also examine the current landscape for the LGBTQ community as well as looking at the culture of sex in Belarus.

Sex in Belarus

Situated in the north east of Europe and bordered by Russia to the east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west and Lithuania and Latvia to the north, Belarus is home to a population of around 9.5 million people. It is a large, flat but forested country, around 207,600 sq. km (similar to the UK and three times the size of Latvia). Belarus incorporates some beautiful cities like Minsk, Grodno and Brest; Minsk itself is home to around a quarter of the population of the country and is therefore one of the most populous cities in Europe.

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Belarus is an often overlooked part of Europe but is a sizable country. Image via Wikimedia.

Belarus is a Slavic nation and has strong ties with the former Soviet Union and shares many cultural similarities to Russia; from religion and architecture to the social class systems and values, there is a lot of correlation between them. So close are the two nations that Belarus has been in negotiations with Russia since 1996 in an attempt to form a single state to be called the Union of Russia and Belarus. This followed a referendum in 1995 when Russian was adopted as an official language alongside Belorussian. Although, Belorussian is widely spoken, Russian is the more common tongue.

A staunchly conservative nation, Belarus is the only country in Europe where the death penalty is not just a legal one but has been used several times in the last decade. By and large, the country is considered very safe as well as being clean and green with (compared to Ukraine and Russia) excellent roads. In fact, according to statistics, out of almost 380 cities, Minsk was ranked 351 in terms of danger and is one of the safest capitals in the world.

The country, technically, has a democratic constitution but Belarus is often referred to as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’. The President, Alexandr Lukashenko, has been in office since 1994 and has been at the centre of official sanctions imposed by both the EU and the U.S.A. for human rights violations.

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President for over 22 years, Alexander Lukashenko retains strong ties with Russia. Image via Wikipedia.

Belarusians are considered very friendly, hard-working and hospitable people with a humble and sincere attitude. However, in the latest World Happiness Report 2018 which ranks 156 countries by general happiness (measured by satisfaction on freedom, income, health and social support), Belarus is ranked just 73rd. The country’s ‘Happiness’ level has been steadily falling over the last four years, dropping from 59th place in 2015 to 61st in 2016 and then 67th in 2017. This suggests that the rest of us are getting happier or that the Belarusians are growing more discontent with their lot.

Though a well-developed nation, Belarus is ranked in the ten poorest countries in Europe.

So, with all these factors at play, where does sex fit into Belarusian life?

In a study conducted in 2017 entitled ‘Belarus: Family Formation, Stability of Family Relations and Fertility in Changing Socio-Economic Conditions’, around 10,000 citizens aged 18-79 were quizzed about their love and sex lives.  Some of the findings included:

  • 4% of Belarusian women aged 30-34 were married whilst around 6% of women aged over 30 have a regular partner but do not live together or have a registered partnership.
  • 44% of men between the ages of 25-29 are married whilst 63% of women in the same age range are also living in a registered marriage.
  • The average age women in Belarus have their first child is 23.8 years old whilst men become dads for the first time at 26.8 years old.
  • 64% of men and 54.2% of women believed that men should be the family’s breadwinner. Compare this to just 2% of women believing that the breadwinners should be them.
  • Almost three out of four women (74.9%) do all the cooking in a household.
  • The most popular form of contraception in Belarus is the condom with 53.8% of respondents aged 18-39 favouring this method.
  • Alarmingly 29.4% of those interviewed (aged 18-39) believe that the withdrawal method is the best form of contraception.
  • Almost a quarter of Belarusians under the age of 40 do not use any form of contraception.
  • 4% of women in Belarus have never had a long-term partner.

Belarusian women have a reputation for being feminine, beautiful (in that classic Slavic way) and very friendly but quite shy. Sex, in general, does not happen fast (unless you are paying for it!) as the culture in Belarus is principally based on traditional family values.

Due to the political landscape and quite strict visa legislation, there is less of an influence in Belarus from Western capitalism and consumerism along with the inherent culture that this brings. In this way, much of the orthodox values of their society have been preserved. Most women in Belarus are looking for long term relationships or even husbands with no hook-up culture to speak of (see Top Classified/Personals Sites in Belarus, below).

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The city of Minsk is a modern capital but not Westernised. Image via Pixabay.

However, the country has a reputation for being one of the sex tourism capitals of Eastern Europe and there is much underground prostitution. Though illegal, there is the suggestion that the authorities turn a blind eye to this kind of activity. In 2009, the Minister of Sport and Tourism, responding to claims that Minsk was a hub for sex workers, ‘jokingly’ told press “while traveling any person has full right to do what he likes. If he likes sex, it can be sex; if he likes cakes, it can be cakes”.

Overall, the culture in Belarus is a reasonably orthodox one and sex, whilst not a taboo subject, is a private matter and not something that is generally talked about. The predominant characteristic is one of conservatism and traditionalism with some strong views being held on same-sex relationships (see LGBTQ in Belarus, below). On the flip side, prostitution and sex tourism are common but, in general, remain discreet.


Adult Industry in Belarus

Pornography is illegal in Belarus and the production, promotion, distribution and sale of pornographic materials (or pornographic objects) carries a risk of a criminal offence. At the lenient end of the scale, those caught would face community service and/or a fine with the maximum sentence being up to four years in prison.

As a result of these strict laws, there is no legitimate porn industry in Belarus. Not wishing to risk criminal convictions, both adult film actors and producers are known to work in other parts of Europe.

Popular Adult Stars of Belarus

Despite only recording about a dozen movies, one of the most enduringly popular adult film stars of Belarus is Lita Phoenix. Working almost exclusively with the studio, Legal Porno, Phoenix has worked under several aliases including ‘Peachy’, ‘Linda Y’, ‘Paige’ and ‘Selena’. She is a bit of unknown and mysterious name in porn and there has been little from her since the release of Sweethearts Special 47 in 2016 but she has garnered interest in her anal action and lesbian scenes. She is an all-natural performer with an enticingly cheeky smile and should, by rights, have a much bigger back catalogue.

According to XVideos, the top porn stars from Belarus (by overall rankings and video views) are as follows:

Performer Total Video Views European Ranking World Ranking
Olivia Grace 128,572,734 168 134
Lita Phoenix 61,952,785 193 352
Olivia Devine 27,890,999 529 1748
Brianna Ruslana 3,715,162 1,584 6,195
Svetlana Morich 1,935,202 2,495 7,400
Khia Kaltava 175,390 3,098 8,674
Nila Mason 467,838 3,462 10,353
Di Devi 294,494 3,705 12,370

Other adult industry stars from Belarus include:

  • Ekaterina Zakharenko – Playmate of the month, October 2012 (Playboy Russian Edition)
  • Irina Beljakova – Playmate of the month, May 2004 (Playboy Russian Edition)
  • Daniel Sea, nude model

Prostitution Laws in Belarus

Prostitution is illegal in Belarus but is considered an administrative offence rather than a criminal one. It is a commonplace activity and there are an estimated 22,000 sex-workers in the country, according to UNAIDS.

Despite the illegality of prostitution, Belarus has become a popular country for sex tourism, particularly from Russia where there are no visa restrictions. There are also sex tours that operate to the capital from both Western Europe and from Turkey.

For the Russians, the draw is two-fold with gambling being legal in Belarus and not in their own country. High-rolling Russians hit the casinos, stay at the top hotels and come to expect a bit of action on the side. In fact, some of the casinos are thought to have at least a few links with the sex industry. A few high-profile arrests have been made in recent years involving owners and managers of some of Belarus’s best casinos and clubs.

Despite these arrests, it is generally thought that there is some degree of control from the interior ministry in the unofficial ‘regulation’ of these establishments. Whether this is true or not is open for discussion but anecdotal evidence suggests that, if you can pay well, you can easily find brothels in Belarus.

The majority of prostitutes working in Belarus are either Belarusian or Russian with women also coming from other Eastern European states including Ukraine and Moldova. There is also an appetite from tourists for Asian girls and there is a high proportion of Vietnamese women working in the industry.

Owing to the fact that a lot of prostitutes work from the streets, the peak season for prostitution is during the summer months with very little action at all during the winter. This is also due to the fact that demand dries up during this time due to a lack of visitors. Of course, the top-end brothels continue to operate whatever the season.

You can find sex for sale in almost all areas of the adult nightlife of Minsk including the saunas, spas, and clubs as well as from the street, near hotels and via escort ads or online directories.

There are also some good strip clubs in Minsk as well as hotels that can arrange striptease or lap dancing and it is often easier than you’d think to arrange something more intimate with one of the performers.

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Image via Texas Strip Bar, Minsk.

Belarus: Porn Viewing Trends

Despite pornography being illegal in Belarus, there is a good appetite for internet porn. However, it is thought that many users access their porn using a VPN or proxy-server as there are laws in place which prevent ISPs and Wi-Fi hot-spot operators from allowing traffic to porn sites.

Each year the behemoth of porn, Pornhub, produces statistics on the traffic to its site by country and Belarus last went under the microscope in July 2017. The data used to produce this report is based solely on the traffic to Pornhub but, as the most visited adult site in Belarus (ranked 45th of the top 50 sites visited in the country), the stats are indicative of general trends.

First off, although Belarus is ranked 92nd in the world in terms of its population it is the 66th most frequent visitor to Pornhub by traffic.

There is little surprise that, with such close borders and links to Russia, the most popular search terms for porn in Belarus is ‘Russian’, followed by:

  • ‘Overwatch’
  • Mom
  • Russian mature
  • MILF
  • Step Mom
  • Anal
  • Orgasm
  • Russian Mom
  • Teen
  • Anime
  • Hentai
  • Cumshot Compilation
porn viewing trends belarus overwatch
In common with their Russian neighbours, the Belarusians enjoy porn parodies of Overwatch. Image via Flickr.

In fact, when compared to the rest of the world, Belarusians are 2222% more likely to be searching for the term ‘Russian Mature’, 1985% for ‘Russian Mom’ and 1475% for the term ‘Russian’.

Next up…staying power. Belarusians spend an average of 9 minutes and 6 seconds on the site which is around 5 seconds longer than Russians but almost half a minute shorter than the global average. The city with the most stamina is Baranovichi (+84 seconds) whilst residents of Maladzyechna come and go within just 8 minutes and 37 seconds.

Residents in the capital, Minsk, represent around 40% of the traffic to Pornhub from Belarus with the top searches from the city actually being for ‘Minsk’ itself showing a penchant for local amateurs. Other popular searches from Minsk include:

  • Threesome
  • Russian Party
  • Amateur Anal
  • Czech
  • Massage
  • Russian Students
  • Russian Homemade

The global average of female visitors to the site is 26% but, in Belarus, this is much higher at 30%.

The majority of visitors to Pornhub are in the age group 25-34 representing almost 40% of traffic to Pornhub from Belarus.

Top Belarusian Porn

Due to the lack of professionally made porn from Belarus there is very little adult content for material shot in the country. Certainly, there are no archive websites that specialise in this area. Your best bet to finding good Belarusian porn is via the main tube hosting sites where there is a good amount of amateur content, however some of these are tagged with ‘Belarus’ but are actually Russian.

LGBTQ in Belarus

Being homosexual in Belarus is highly restrictive and, although completely legal, carries with it a highly negative social stigma. Homosexuality was legalised in 1994 with an equalised age of consent but it is far from being an accepted lifestyle in modern Belarus.

Most of the LGBTQ community of Belarus prefer to remain closeted rather than face any potential verbal/physical abuse, assault or violence and almost certain discrimination. In the case of the latter there are no laws to protect LGBTQ citizens against any form of discrimination, either in the workplace, in public or within the health and law enforcement services.

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LGBT rights in Belarus are very poor compared to the rest of Europe. Image via Wikimedia.

There is no legislation which covers, directly or indirectly, any prejudice and inequity on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Homosexuality and transgenderism are both classified as mental illnesses in Belarus and there is a high suicide rate within the community.

It goes without saying that same-sex marriages are banned and there is no legal (or social) recognition of homosexual relationships. Adoption rights and IVF/surrogacy treatment for gay couples is also off-limits. Research conducted by the Pew Research Centre in 2017 show that only 16% of Belarusians are in favour of same-sex marriage with 81% being opposed to the idea.

Most Belarusians consider homosexuality to be a deviant lifestyle choice and categorise it as a ‘disorder’ with almost half of the population (47%) believing that gay people should be incarcerated. However, just one in ten want the law to be changed to outlaw same-sex relations.

Public support is exceptionally rare and political leaders both in power and in opposition are vocal on their condemnation of homosexuality. The language used can be quite chilling with the leader of the youth organisation of the popular Belarusian Front stating in 2002 that homosexuality was “a death-worthy sin and perversion”.

The community face the constant threat of anti-LGBTQ violence and reports of attacks, beatings and rape. are uncommon but not rare. In addition, victims report that the police often refuse to register such attacks and do not conduct thorough investigations into these incidences. In addition, they also accuse the authorities of collecting personal information from them which do not relate to the crimes committed. Furthermore, the police are also accused of inciting violence and perpetrating unprovoked harassment of establishments known to be frequented by the LGBTQ community.

As recently as 2018, the Belarusian Government called same-sex relationships ‘fake’ after the British Embassy in Minsk flew a rainbow flag in support of Pride.

As a result of the constant threat of discrimination, abuse and violence there are no official LGBTQ organisations in Belarus with just a handful of groups who do their best to represent the interests of the community. Several attempts have been made by these various groups to organise rallies, marches and peaceful protests but all have met with some form of official resistance forcing many of them to be cancelled. This being said, there have been a dozen or so Pride marches held in Minsk, the last being in 2013.

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Activists march in support of Belarusian LGBT rights at Stockholm Pride, 2018. Image via Wikimedia.

There are no official figures on the number of homosexuals in Belarus but one of the main sources of community online, the gay blog, is visited by more than 75,000 people each month.

Overall, the situation in Belarus for the LGBTQ community is not a positive one and there is much scope for improvement. Generally, the country is not regarded as either a safe or desirable location for gay tourists.

Top Classified/Personals Sites in Belarus

According to the latest estimates, internet use in Belarus is still lower than in most parts of Europe and is thought to be around 70% of the population, based on 2016 figures of 61%. The internet, for many, is still a relatively new technology and has almost doubled in a decade. This is particularly true in more rural parts of the country.

As a result, dating sites are not popular in Belarus as a whole but are quite useful in the capital city of Minsk. Certainly, Tinder has not got much coverage (outside of tourists who use it) in Belarus. Where it is used by Belarusians, it is generally to make new friends to practice English with.

In fact, the hook up culture has not yet penetrated Belarus with most Belarusians primarily being interested in long-term relationships. Casual encounters with genuine singles are rare and there are not that many opportunities for a one-night stand.

dating in belarus
Tinder is not really used in Belarus and you’d be far more successful trying to hook up in person. Image via Flickr.

It is unsurprising that the three most popular dating sites in the country are all Russian with the following offering premium (and more mainstream) dating opportunities:

All three sites are mainly geared towards the lonely hearts and more serious dating, plus you will have to sign up for a premium membership if you want to access most of their features.

There are a couple of international sites that offer a free sign-up with some interesting ads in Belarus:

These sites are more geared towards casual encounters but, be warned, there are also tales of cat-fishing, scamming and hoaxes on all of them. As ever when using online sources for securing a date, exercise your common sense and apply the golden rule of, ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’.

Most foreign observers report that dating in Belarus is quite easy and it is often the best policy to do this the old-fashioned way and head to the bars and clubs in Minsk. Belarusian women tend to be very open-minded when it comes to the advances of foreigners and statistics show that Italians and Turks are their preferred choice. In second place come the Arabs and Afro-Americans with Germans, Brits, Spanish, French, Swiss and Finnish men sharing third place. It is worth remembering though that English is not widely spoken in Belarus.

Featured image via Max Pixel.