Looking for information on the sex scene in Estonia?
With just 1.32 million people, Estonia has one of the smallest populations in Europe yet has been growing as a popular tourist destination over the last decade. The UNESCO World Heritage capital city, Tallinn, is well connected for international flights and has a thriving seaport. It has one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful medieval walled cities yet is also a thriving modern capital. Formerly a part of the Soviet Union, this beautiful Northern European and Baltic country is known for being one of the least crowded countries with its picturesque forests and many islands. They’re a nation that are pretty good at sport and have one of the highest strike rates per population for Olympic medals; a total of 25.5 medals per resident (up to Rio 2016). They’re also pretty good at the sport(?) of Wife Carrying, even inventing their own method for doing so (the ‘Estonian Carry’)! But what are the people like and what are the cultural views on sex in Estonia?
In this guide, we’ll take you through the stats and facts that should give you a broad view of the sex industry, porn viewing trends and adult network in Estonia. We also take a look at the attitudes towards sex in the country along with the current state of play for the LGBTQ community plus give you some ideas about the dating culture in Estonia.
- 1 Sex in Estonia
- 2 Adult Industry in Estonia
- 3 Prostitution Laws in Estonia
- 4 Estonia Porn Viewing Trends
- 5 LGBTQ in Estonia
- 6 Top Classified/Personals Sites in Estonia
Sex in Estonia
To get an idea about the attitudes in Estonia towards sex it’s important to get some historical and political background. A part of the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991, the country was not exposed to the same cultural sexual revolution that most of the Western world experienced in the 1960s. Like some other Baltic States and much of Eastern Europe, Estonia was sheltered from this revolution of feminism.
As a result, gender equality in Estonia has not historically been great; the wage gap between men and women, for example, is the highest across the continent at 30.9%. However, things have been improving over the last decade and the country is currently ranked 34th (index of 0.734) on the Global Gender Gap report. The United Kingdom comes in only marginally better at 29th with an index of 0.744! Oddly, one of Estonia’s closest neighbours and visitors, Finland is ranked 4th best in the world.
This is interesting to note in a country where the gender balance markedly leans towards female dominance; yes, for every 100 women in Estonia, there are just 84 men. It is one of the lowest rations of men to women in the world…which should make dating in Estonia a little easier for the guys (see ‘Top Classified/Personals Sites in Estonia’, below).
The late revolution of sexual freedom for women has resulted in a disparity between men and women when it comes to sexual double standards. Issues like infidelity in marriage and who should initiate sex are still viewed as okay in the male population and not in the female population.
Though independence from the Russians came in 1991, the country’s inhabitants still largely view women as a commodity and advertising, for example, still objectifies women as sexual objects reflecting social attitudes as a norm that has not been seen in the West since the late 1990s.
Most of the commercial sex industry in Estonia operates from the capital city of Tallinn where around a third of the population are located and which attracts around 3.5 million visitors each year. This figure doesn’t include the vast numbers of day visitors to the city that come via Helsinki and Stockholm. The price of alcohol is notably cheaper than in the Scandi countries of Sweden and Finland so Tallinn is a popular day trip for booze cruises and maybe more! You can find out more about exactly what is attracting tourists to the capital in our Tallinn Escorts and Sex Guide.
In a survey conducted in 2006, it was revealed that Estonian men were more likely than the women to take precautions when it comes to contraception. This is typical of the region with this also being the case in Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden. It seems that the split East/West shows girls being in charge of this aspect of their sex lives in countries like France, UK, Spain and Austria.
A report in 2008 based on the sexual experiences of 15-year olds in Estonia showed that 18.8% of boys vs 14.1% of girls used contraceptive. According to data from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, one in five teens of this age have had sex (the same as the UK, less than Finland and more than Latvia).
Sex education in Estonia is considered good and 97% of 16-17 year olds had received a comprehensive learning programme. It was the first country of the former Soviet Union to introduce the subject in schools and the curriculum has been heavily influenced by the Scandinavian model. So good is the system that the World Health Organisation and UNSECO both present it as an example of good practice.
Estonia is one of the least religious countries of the world where just 14% of the nation declare that religion is an important part of their daily lives. This is in stark contrast to many Eastern European countries where orthodox churches still play a major part in how social issues such as contraception, abortion and marriage are legislated. This can be seen most notably in the nation’s view over abortion. In a 2018 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 81% of people were in favour; in Latvia and Lithuania, this figure is just 55% and 52% respectively.
A worrying report on the social attitudes in men towards the issue of rape, conducted in 2016 on behalf of the European Commission, showed that more than 35% of Estonian men said that sex without consent could be justified. This figure was lower than 6% in neighbouring countries like Finland and Sweden and highest of all in nations like Romania and Hungary where more than half of men polled believed this to be true.
On the whole, and in keeping with sociocultural norms seen in many other Nordic European nations, Estonia has fairly liberal views on sex although this is noticeably split between generations. Those Estonians who were brought up in the Soviet era are far more conservative and traditional in their views of family, fidelity and sexuality. By contrast, young Estonians are much less opposed to homosexuality, gender equality and sexual freedoms.
Adult Industry in Estonia
Pornography is legal in Estonia as long as the participants and audience are over the age of 18 and is line with other legislation including violence and cruelty.
Porn Production Companies in Estonia
There are no porn production companies in Estonia with the few porn stars the country producing choosing to work in the established capitals of Prague in the Czech Republic or Budapest in Hungary. That’s not to say that amateur content can’t readily be found on the popular porn tube channels…it can.
Most Popular Adult Stars in Estonia
Unsurprisingly for a country with such a small population, there are few adult stars of note that come from Estonia. There are, perhaps, more glamour models than porn stars with the following names being of note:
- Lotte Zhemtshugov (former Playboy and nude model)
- Maarjan Parn (former Playboy and nude model)
- Mylie Bryce (nude model)
- Zarina A (adult model)
- Piret Aava (former Playboy and nude model)
- Kerli Väära (former Playboy and nude model)
- Anzelika Kikkas (former Playboy and nude model)
According to XVideos, the top porn stars from Estonia (by video views and global rankings, ever) are as follows:
|Performer||Total Video Views||European Ranking||World Ranking|
Now retired, the blonde porn star Kristina Bellanova is probably the most famous of all Estonian adult film stars. Working on a few dozen titles in the 1990s, Bellanova still has a lot of fans on Vintage Porn forums and continued working as a model after retiring from porn. Well known and loved in the country, real name Kristina Raudsepp, she was voted one of the top 100 most influential women in Estonia in 2011.
Prostitution Laws in Estonia
At the current time in Estonia, prostitution is legal but not legalised. Organised prostitution, on the other hand, is illegal.
Prostitution in Estonia has had a mixed history in modern times. Prior to Soviet occupation in 1940, the sex industry was fully legalized and the government kept records on the number of sex workers across the country’s cities. Instead of brothels, cities had ‘pleasure flats’ in which several independent prostitutes could work. The system was established to help maintain control of public health. When the Russians took up control, the system was radically altered and selling sex was made a criminal act along with begging and preparing or distributing pornography; according to the Soviet government, these were all elements of a ‘parasitic lifestyle’.
In reality, very few criminal cases were brought against sex workers; notably not in Tallinn where the KGB allowed the practice of ‘foreign currency prostitution’.
Since Estonia gained its independence in 1991, prostitution has been decriminalised and sex workers can, once again, ply their trade free from the fear of getting a criminal record. However, most activities related to third-party connections and soliciting in the sex trade remain illegal including running a brothel, pimping and street walking.
The UNAIDS programme estimates that there are around 1,000 sex workers operating in Estonia yet other sources believe there to be at least double this number of women in Tallinn alone. One report in the Baltic Times (2004) suggested that Tallinn had more than 4,000 prostitutes. Whatever the actual figure, it is clear that the capital city is serving a demand for sex tourism which is on the increase in Estonia.
As a result, you can find many establishments in Tallinn where sex (and other adult entertainment) is on offer.
Estonia Porn Viewing Trends
As ever, we turn to the global porn hosting giants at Pornhub to give us an insight into the porn viewing trends in Estonia. As a small population, they don’t always rank on the Big Picture but Pornhub did provide their latest review of the numbers back in 2017. So, let’s see what kind of adult content the country enjoys watching…
The most popular search term for the country in 2017 was the keyword ‘Estonian’. Like so many European nations we’ve covered in our country guides, Estonians are keen to watch local adult content. However, there is also a nod to the country’s two most influential neighbours, Finland (‘Sauna’) and Russia. In fact, relative to the rest of the world, Estonians are 453% more likely to be viewing porn tagged as ‘Russian’ and 82% more likely to be watching content marked as ‘Czech’ (not a close neighbour but the capital of the adult industry in Europe).
The full top twenty most popular search terms for 2017 are as follows:
- Step Mom
- Step Sister
Clips viewed most commonly from within Estonia fell into the top five categories:
And, when it comes to the most searched for porn stars in Estonia, there is little change to the tastes of the rest of the world (in 2017, at least) with the following names coming out on top:
- Kim Kardashian
- Mia Khalifa
- Lisa Ann
- Madison Ivy
- Riley Reid
In contrast to the gender equality gap when it comes to wages, traffic to Pornhub is more equal than many countries with 31% of visitors from Estonia being female; this compares to a global average of just 26% (in 2017).
Traffic to Pornhub from Estonia ranks them as the 88th most regular visitors which is way ahead of their population ranking of 154th. Each visitor stays on the site for around 9 minutes and 26 seconds which is 10 seconds longer than the global average.
The average visitor to the site is 36 years old and is most likely to visit the site on a Sunday and least likely to visit on a Friday. The most popular time of day for Estonians to be browsing for porn is between 10pm and 11pm.
Perhaps one of the most significant differences about Estonia’s porn viewing trends vs the rest of the world is the means by which they are accessing the website. Whilst 72% of the world’s population uses mobile devices to do so, only 49% of Estonians use this method.
Of course, Pornhub isn’t the only adult website that is popular in Estonia though it is ranked as the 37th most visited website in the country. Other sites of note within the top fifty include:
- Bonga Cams – 8th most visited website from within Estonia, even more popular than Facebook and Wikipedia.
- Live Jasmin – 34th most visited website from within Estonia with more visitors than Live Journal and IMDb.
LGBTQ in Estonia
On the whole, Estonia is considered the most liberal of the former Soviet Union countries when it comes to LGBTQ rights. As with many other sociocultural aspects of the country, the views held in Estonia are contrasted along generational lines with those who were brought up under Russian law being more traditional and conservative.
Homosexuality is legal in Estonia and has been since 1992 just a year after the collapse of Soviet rule. Same-sex couples have equal age of consent rights (14) and are also protected by anti-discrimination laws in employment (since 2004), the provision of goods and services (2009) and in other areas.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Estonia but civil unions are recognised by the state and have been since 2016. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, around 71% of the population of Estonia is opposed to allowing same-sex marriage to be legalised. This is lower than in neighbouring Lithuania (Catholic) where 86% are opposed but more than the equally heavily Catholic nation of Poland where just 59% are against gay marriage.
Same-sex couples may also not jointly adopt a child.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual Estonians are allowed to serve openly in the military; at present, a period of 11 months service is mandatory for all male citizens.
Since 2002 it has been legally possible for trans-gendered persons to change their gender.
Tallinn regularly plays host to the annual Baltic Pride parades which rotate around the capital cities in the region including Riga and Vilnius. There was however a period of ten years when the event did not come to Estonia following violent anti-homosexual demonstrations at the 2007 parade.
In general, the living conditions for the LGBTQ communities of Estonia are comparatively more favourable than in other nations in this region but there is still widespread discrimination in the country; notably this is outside of the capital city of Tallinn where there is a good gay scene.
Top Classified/Personals Sites in Estonia
As we’ve already mentioned, Estonia has one of the highest ratios of women to men in the world which should mean that guys get an easier ride when it comes to dating than the ladies.
Even among the younger generation there is still a high degree of traditional values at play when it comes to the singles scene. In general, Estonian women are not keen on one night stands and casual encounters are not common. However, it is not uncommon for younger women to date older men.
So, where can you pick up a date whilst in Estonia?
The following sites all offer reasonably good coverage for singles across the country although most of the profiles are posted by people living in and around Tallinn. It is also worth bearing in mind that some regions of Estonia have greater numbers of Russian speaking locals and these areas tend to have greater coverage on Russian dating sites.
Perhaps the largest and best known dating site in Estonia, Lindo Amor is available in Russian, Estonian and English.
Registering an account is totally free and this allows you to create a profile, browse other members in your area and also gives you a free five-day subscription to access premium features.
In order to send and receive unlimited messages with other members you will need to pay.
There’s a good mix of singles available to browse through on the site including everything from those looking for more casual dating to those looking for serious relationships.
Estonia Friends Date
A totally free dating service purely for people in Estonia, this site is part of the Friends Date Network and was established in 2015.
It’s not entirely clear how many users are registered on the platform but the site purports to have over 5,000 members online at any given time.
A word of warning for this network; once you register your profile here you will automatically be added to up to 150 other niche mobile dating sites that may (or not) match elements of your profile.
Formerly known as AYI.com (Are You Interested?), First Met is one of the largest international dating websites around. It claims to have more than 30 million registered users and has over 3 million fans on Facebook.
There’s great coverage across all European countries including Estonia and registration for a profile is free. The site’s best features are all locked behind a premium subscription which starts at around €11.00 per month.
Launched in 2006, Badoo is one of the largest and most fast-growing social network platforms around to focus solely on dating. With over 60 million active monthly users, the service has a vast range of singles to choose from.
In some regions, the Badoo does have a reputation for being more open to casual dating although you can find everything on offer here; from hook-ups to marriage and everything in between.
Best of the Rest
Lastly, we have three similar sites that all have a good international coverage in major cities including Tallinn.
All freemium services, they offer easy sign up and you can browse most profiles without even registering any details. However, you will need to provide some basic information in order to access some parts of the platform and pay for features like the messaging service.
Featured image via Flickr.