Looking for sex in Iceland?
A nation as famously characterised for its sparse and tiny population as it is for its volcanos and glaciers, Iceland is home to just 335,000 people. Known as the land of ‘Fire and Ice’, Iceland has been growing in popularity as a tourist destination over the last two decades swelling from around 600,000 visitors a year in 2000 to a staggering 2 million in 2017. Most visitors who hit the country tend to stick to the capital city of Reykjavik and the surrounding tourist routes known as the ‘Golden Circle’. The most northerly capital in the world, Reykjavik is as provincial as cities get and is smaller than many towns and villages in most western nations.
In this guide, we explore the culture of sex in Iceland looking at both the prostitution and pornography laws as well as looking at what the Icelanders think about casual sex. We also take a look at the legal status for LGBTQ rights plus, we reveal what the best options are for dating via the classified sites in Iceland.
Sex in Iceland
Iceland is deemed a part of Scandinavia and has a shared history due to its associations with Denmark. The country was ruled by the Danish until 1918 and even shared its monarchy until the 1940s. As a result, there are lots of cultural similarities with both Denmark and other Scandi countries such as Sweden, Finland and Norway.
Icelandic society is very liberal compared to much of Europe and the country has some of the world’s most progressive laws on gender equality and LGBTQ rights. Pioneering the way on anti-prostitution and anti-pornography legislation, Iceland is regarded as a blueprint for reform on both counts with more than 70% of the population in support of the tight controls in place.
The culture of sex and nudity in Iceland is very open and the Icelanders have a reputation across Europe (and beyond) as being quite promiscuous. The belief was perpetuated by the national airline, IcelandAir who ran a heavily criticised campaign in the 1990s publishing slogans such as “Fancy a dirty weekend in Iceland?’ and “Have a one-night stand in Reykjavik”. Portraying their countryfolk as ‘easy’, the company’s (supposedly) ‘tongue-in-cheek’ advertising caused public outrage, particularly with feminists.
And it doesn’t stop there, Quentin Tarantino was famously quoted in 2006 as saying on the Late Night show:
“But you know it’s funny because normally in America, the idea is to get the girls drunk enough to go home with you,” he said. “In Iceland, you get the girls home before they get so drunk that they’re passing out in your bathroom or vomiting all over you. That’s the trick.”
This followed an equally high-profile incident on the Oprah Winfrey show where an Icelandic woman stated that Icelanders were up for casual sex, saying:
“I guess we’re a bit liberal about things because we have a much lower threshold for beginning new relationships. And you don’t have to go on a date, number one and two, and perhaps on the third date you ask him in. You don’t have rules like that.”
The celebrated American pick-up artist, Roosh Vorek also wrote an interesting book in 2011 called Bang Iceland in which he confirms the culture of the hook-up in the country after his own experiences.
“It’s basically backwards: they have sex first before having an extended conversation that women from almost any other country in the world would require as a prerequisite to sex.”
Of course, not all Icelanders are looking for a one-night stand and many citizens resent the image that has been created in the media about liberal attitudes at the extreme. However, the general population could not argue with some of the stats about sex in Iceland:
- The average number of sexual partners for Icelanders is 13, compared to the global average of 9. This is the highest figure in Europe with the closest country being fellow Scandinavians, Finland with 12.4 partners. The lowest number in Europe was found in Slovakia who clocked up just 5.4
- According to Reykjavik’s main sex shop owner, demand for BDSM sex toys in Iceland has risen by 220% since the publication of 50 Shades of Grey.
- The average age that Icelanders lose their virginity is 15.6 years old which is the lowest age of first intercourse in the world.
- Icelanders also receive their first sex education at an early age with the average being 12 years old. Compare this to the global average of 13.2 years old and the previous statistic may make some more sense.
- The incidence of unprotected sex in Iceland is high (57%) compared to the global average of 47%. It is highest in Norway at 73% and lowest in Slovakia and Germany at 30%.
- 19% of those who responded to the survey reported having had a sexually transmitted infection
- Only 2% of Icelanders believe that young people should abstain from sex until they are married. In context, most of Europe felt this way with the majority of countries voting under 5% in favour.
- 50% of Icelanders are happy with their sex lives with 62% believing they are open-minded about this aspect of their personal lives. However, almost half (47%) wished they had sex more frequently and only 7% claiming that they do not have a high sex drive.
- 35% of people in Iceland like experimenting with different sex aids with a similar number (33%) stating that they like to be inspired and look for new ideas.
In terms of sexual experiences, Icelanders were found to have tried the following:
- Extra marital affairs: 39% (4th highest in the survey)
- Threesome: 26% (joint 2nd highest in the survey)
- Homosexual sex: 17%
- Sadomasochism: 8%
- Tantric sex: 6%
- Bondage: 12%
- Sex using a vibrator: 44%
- Anal sex: 42%
- One-night stand: 61%
In terms of sex aids, the following percentages of Icelanders claim to own these popular devices, toys and accessories:
- Vibrators: 37%
- Pornography: 45%
- Love Balls: 9%
- Erotic Literature: 25%
- Cock Rings: 11%
And, as far as interesting places to have sex goes, the most popular place for Icelanders (other than the bedroom) to have sex is in the toilet (54%) followed by the car (53%), parent’s bedroom (46%), at a party (43%) and in the garden (23%). Also making the list were an alleyway (17%), public transport (11%) and on an aeroplane (6%).
Source Data: Durex Global Sex Survey.
Just bear in mind that nudity in Iceland (much the same in Sweden and other Scandi countries) is very informal and if you visit the swimming pools or ‘hot pots’ then you will have to be very comfortable being naked in front of the same sex. It is compulsory to shower nude before entering the pool area and the Icelandic will show no timidity in insisting you abide by their rules! It is worth pointing out here that, according to a 2008 study on the size of men’s penises, Icelanders were said to have the longest in Europe with an average length of 16.5 cm or 6.5″! Maybe that’s why they are all so happy with their naked bodies…
Adult Industry in Iceland
There is no adult industry to speak of in Iceland and, besides the occasional amateur film that is uploaded to tube sites there is no porn export from the country.
In fact, the production (and sale of) pornography is banned in Iceland and has even gone so far as to prohibit the broadcast of more ‘mainstream’ porno content including the Danish Zodiac films from the 1970s. In the early 1990s, a private TV channel manager was fined heavily for airing them.
The extent of the ban is also felt across other areas of the adult entertainment industry including gentleman’s clubs. Stripping is also prohibited in Iceland and has been since 2010.
There are no porn stars of note that come from Iceland although the country has produced a handful of glamour models who have appeared topless, including:
- Solveig Gylfadottir
- Asdis Ran Gunnarsdottir
- Berglind ‘Icey’ Olafsdottir
Prostitution Laws in Iceland
In 2009, Iceland adopted the ‘Nordic Model’ to legislate for prostitution in the country. The model is based on Swedish legislation and makes it a crime for someone to pay for sex but does not criminalise the role of a sex worker in selling sex. However, a prostitute does commit a crime if she engages in her (or his) work with other prostitutes; doing so constitutes a brothel which is also against the law.
The new laws replaced a total ban on prostitution prior to 2007 in which both the acts of buying and selling sex were illegal. An egalitarian country that has a strong reputation for gender equality, the new legislation was widely popular with both the general public and in parliament although many believe that the decision would only drive sex workers ‘underground’.
Penalties for breaking the prostitution law are light and the names of convicted offenders are kept anonymous. A lack of police funding in this area has meant that many suspected breaches of the law are not followed up.
Street prostitution in Iceland is very rare, not only because of the weather conditions making it almost impossible during the winter months but also as a result of the ban. However, prostitutes (as in many European countries) do use the internet to advertise. Most offer personal services via carefully worded listings as the popular platforms tend to remove suspicious profiles and questionable advertisements.
Outside of the capital, Reykjavik, it is thought that prostitution is an extreme rarity. Unusually for a European capital, much of the sex trade in Reykjavik is run by word of mouth.
Despite this, the country does have a market for prostitution and you can find some escorts working in Reykjavik. A visa-free country in the Schengen Zone, Iceland is also a transit country for sex workers trafficked from Europe to the Americas with a small number of women being prostituted illegally.
Iceland: Porn Viewing Trends
Each year, the global porn tube hosting site, Pornhub, publishes statistical data to analyse the traffic to its site. Whilst there is a lack of up to date information, the following stats reveal the most recent porn viewing trends in Iceland.
27% of viewers to Pornhub from Iceland are women which, compared to the global average of 26% reflects the country’s gender equality.
Traffic from Icelandic women ranks the country at 108 when it comes to watching porn worldwide with the most searched terms being quite patriotic. ‘Icelandic’ is a popular keyword as is:
Compared to Icelandic men, women were far more likely to be watching porn from the following categories:
- Female Friendly
- Double Penetration
- Rough Sex
Interestingly, of all the Scandinavian countries, Iceland’s women were the only ones who did not rank ‘Pussy Licking’ in their most popular searches. By contrast, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark’s female porn viewers all made this category their favourite.
With all Icelandic eyes on the World Cup in Russia as they compete in the event for the first time, it is interesting to note that the country’s porn viewing dropped as much as 31% during popular ties in the Euro 2016 tournament.
The top websites viewed from within Iceland include two adult websites:
- Bonga Cams – ranked as the 27th most popular site in the country.
- Pornhub – ranked as the 31st most popular site in the country.
Top Icelandic Porn
There are no porn sites that are dedicated to Icelandic porn but there are several Scandinavian sites where you can find performers from Iceland. In addition, most of the top tube sites have clips and videos that have been tagged with ‘Icelandic’ or ‘Iceland’. Though some of the content is merely amateur footage filmed by visitors, some does feature Icelanders.
Our top picks for finding Icelandic porn are:
LGBTQ in Iceland
Legislation to provide equal rights and prevent discrimination for the LGBTQ community is very progressive in Iceland. Same-sex relationships have been legal in Iceland since 1940 but it wasn’t until 1992 that the age of consent was equalised to the age of 15.
The Icelandic government was the first modern nation to have an openly gay head of administration when Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir took office in 2009. Under her charge, the country adopted amendments to its laws on same-sex marriage and homosexual couples may now marry. The law was also voted in favour of by the Church of Iceland who have allowed same-sex marriage in its churches since 2016.
The change in law extended the already equal access to adoption legislation and IVF treatment for same-sex couples.
Iceland has also had comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in place since the late 1990s.
The gay scene in Iceland is very small but is an active and open one, particularly in the capital city of Reykjavik. A Gay Pride festival is held annually in Reykjavik and regularly attracts more than 85,000 people; though many are tourists, this figure represents around 25% of the total population of the country, or one in four people. To put this into context, if London’s Pride Festival attracted the same proportion of the population, the city would have more than 16.5 million people descending upon it. As it stands, up to one million visitors attend London Gay Pride festivals.
As well as being regularly ranked as one of the world’s top gay-friendly tourist destinations, Iceland also scored the highest on the 2015 PlanetRomeo Gay Happiness Index (GHI) with a score of 79. The GHI is a measure of how well gay people feel treated by others, how they feel about society’s attitudes towards homosexuality and their life satisfaction.
Top Classified/Personals Sites in Iceland
With such a small population, and one that is reportedly having more sexual partners than any other European nation, it is important for Icelanders to ensure they are not polluting their gene pools! One entrepreneurial Icelander, Arnar Freyr Aðalsteinsson, has created a useful app to help prevent incidences of incest. The app, ÍslendigaApp, has been downloaded by thousands of Icelanders and uses an online genealogical database to determine whether you are related to your potential partner. Users are encouraged to ‘bump phones before you bump bones’.
Iceland’s dating culture is very much a traditional one with most people still meeting partners and hook-ups at parties, bars and clubs. Whilst there is less of an online dating scene or organised culture of meeting prospective dates, there are some useful sites that might be helpful for visitors to the country. However, it is worth pointing out that the ‘tried-and-tested’ formula of hitting a bar in Reykjavik is more likely to yield results.
Meaning Icelandic for ‘private’, Einkamál is the country’s 69th most frequently visited website with more than 80,000 visits each month. It has a reported userbase of around 25,000 members and is therefore the most popular dating site in Iceland.
It’s a relatively simple design and offers most features that you would expect from a premium dating service; instant messaging, email and match algorithms. The site also hosts live events during the course of the year when they organise a big social gathering to speed up the matchmaking process face-to-face. Previous events include archery classes, autumn walks and bowling.
The site is designed for residents but there is nothing stopping you from registering outside of the country, except the fact the site is in Icelandic… good ole’ Google Translate!
Free Classified Listings
There are several sites that reportedly have some profiles for Icelandic singles but the quality of these listings isn’t brilliant and does tend to be unbalanced on the gender front (heavy on the guys). However, they are free and the only thing you have to lose here is the time taken to register a quick profile and then weed out the unsuitable, out of date or bogus profiles.
Don’t let this put you off, there are some good and genuine singles on some of these that are worth hunting for:
Lastly, it is worth pointing out that Tinder is still quite popular in Iceland for hook-ups and is an easy and fast way to meet potential dates. The beauty in Reykjavik is that the city is small enough that you won’t have any problems finding each other once you make a match.
Featured image via Wikimedia.