Do you want to know more about sex in Italy?
Italy has a population of 60.6 million people with a further 48.4 million tourists visiting the country each year. In fact, tourism accounts for over 60% of the country’s income so catering for visitors is an essential ingredient to economic success; whether those guests are looking for culture and entertainment or something of a more adult nature.
In this guide, we take a look at the sex industry in Italy including prostitution laws, porn viewing trends and the situation regarding LGBTQ equality. We also take a peek in to the Italian adult industry and give you some recommendations for the best personals sites so you don’t have explore the country alone.
Sex in Italy
Though Italians have a reputation for their sexy outlook on life, with the men earning an international reputation as ‘stallions’, the truth is a little less commending.
In a European poll conducted in 2013, though Italians rated their own sexual performance quite highly (joint 4th position with neighbours Spain – Switzerland came out top) they are not the most adventurous of nations compared to the rest of Europe.
- Only 27% of Italians have had a one-night stand, one of the lowest rates in Europe. Compare this to Nordic countries like Denmark, Finland and Sweden where the rate is almost one in two.
- By contrast, one in four Italians admit to being unfaithful to a partner which is about average for those polled.
- Just 18% of Italians have had sex in a public place though this may be due to the strict laws here but compare this to Spain where the rate is 32% or Denmark at 41%.
- Despite the country having large numbers of strip clubs, only 17% of Italians have visited one vs 27% in Finland (again) and 26% in Norway.
- Italians have the lowest percentage of people watching pornography at just 39% with Denmark and Finland (yes, again) coming in top at 63%.
- Italians also have the lowest proportion of men using Viagra at just 3% vs 11% in (you guessed it), Finland.
- Only 12% of Italians have used a sex toy, the lowest figure across those countries polled. The highest? Yes, Finland.
Sex education in Italy has long been criticised; as a Catholic nation the subject is not part of the national curriculum. Despite efforts dating back decades, including an offer by porn legend, Rocco Siffredi offering himself up as a teacher (!), the Italian education department has not been moved to change the situation.
The result of this basic lack of knowledge in schools has resulted in generations of Italians being clueless about sex and contraception; overall, a general ignorance about other issues relating to sexual health prevails.
A survey by the Italian Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society in 2008 revealed the alarming fact that one in three young Italians believed that having sex in water or standing up is an effective contraceptive.
30% of the younger population do not use any contraception at all whilst around one in five rely on the ‘withdrawal’ method alone.
Other popular misconceptions include using Coca-Cola as an effective contraceptive douche and the belief that you can’t get pregnant if you don’t have an orgasm.
With 90% of young Italians becoming sexually active before the age of 17, this lack of basic sex education hasn’t resulted in a high teen birth rate. In fact, the birth rate amongst teens in Italy is one of the lowest in Europe, though this has been a result of a 75% reduction over the last 30 years.
The reasons for this contradiction between sex education and falling birth rates is unclear. The Italian government is keen to reverse this trend and has introduced a ‘baby bonus’ to encourage population growth. The €80 a month payment for low and medium income families, introduced in 2014, has yet to prove an encouragement to boost the country’s birth rate.
STI rates in Italy are quite high with Italians being the 7th most likely nation in Europe to contract a sexually transmitted disease. HIV rates are at a prevalence rate of 0.3% which is around the average for Europe.
Adult Industry in Italy
Though Italy has become synonymous with the rise of softcore pornography in the seventies, the country did not experience hardcore porn until the 1980s. The first hardcore film was released in 1983. Il Telefono Rosso (‘The Red Telephone’), starring Cicciolina, sparked controversy and had to be re-edited before being legally released three years later.
Hardcore pornography in all media forms is still technically illegal in Italy though the enforcement of the legislation that covers distribution and production is virtually non-existent. Softcore porn is legal and can be purchased for home use from sex shops or can be aired on free to view TV stations between 11.00pm and 7.00am.
Valentina Nappi is currently the hottest Italian export in the world of porn and is ranked as the number one star on popular adult tube site, X Videos. With almost 1900 videos and 415 million video views, Nappi has worked with pretty much every adult studio going including Bang Bros, Reality Kings, Evil Angel, Brazzers and Monsters of Cock. At 27, there’s plenty of life in this exceptional model still and we can only hope she continues to add to her vast library of content.
Other current stars who are popular with big studios include Alura Jenson, Amia Miley and Madelyn Marie.
Italy has long been producing superstars of the adult industry and the back catalogue of performers who hail from this Southern European nation reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of porn.
Perhaps the most famous is Cicciolina (Elena Staller) who famously went on to become a member of parliament whilst still producing hardcore porn. She even delivered political speeches with one of her breasts exposed. In 2002, she commented on this notorious claim to fame by saying:
“My breasts have never done anyone any harm, while bin Laden’s war has caused thousands of victims”
Some big names you may recognise include Evita Pozzi, Heidy Cassini, Gia Malone, Roberta Missoni and Isabella Manelli
Some vintage stars include blonde bombshell, Baby Pozzi and her sister Moana Pozzi, Virna Anderson, Clarissa Bruni, Jessica Rizzo, Selen and pornstar legend, Sofia Ferrari.
Italy has also spawned some renowned adult film directors including porn legend, Rocco Siffredi, the original ‘Italian Stallion’ and star of 1300 feature porno films.
Known for his porn parodies, Axel Braun, son of the equally famous pornographer Lasse Braun, is a member of both AVN and XRCO’s Hall of Fame. The popular parody, Batman XXX, was a bestseller in 2010.
Other Italian directors of note include Joe D’Amato, Denis Marti and Luca Damiano.
Though most Italian porn enjoyed online at present is of amateur origin, there are two adult studios producing international content in Italy; Defeated.xxx and Diva Futura.
In addition to the production of pornography, there are many industries in Italy servicing the adult entertainment markets including erotic massage, strip parlours and prostitution. You can find details of the sex industry in individual Italian cities via our city guides to Milan and Rome.
Prostitution Laws in Italy
Prostitution in Italy is legal though the act of profiteering from third-party involvement of the sale of sex is strictly forbidden. This effectively means that pimping and running a brothel are illegal.
As a result, independent escorting and street prostitution in Italy are the two main ways to engage the services of a sex worker. Both are reasonably popular and the country supports an estimated 100,000 prostitutes; half of these work on the streets with two thirds being Italian by descent. Migrant sex workers can work legally in the country as long as they have a valid work or resident’s permit.
Some sex workers are employed by legitimate businesses like strip clubs and massage parlours but strict control by the authorities tends to ensure that any acts performed in such venues are done so discreetly.
The cost of sex in Italy varies depending on where you pick up a service with migrant sex workers often charging budget rates on the streets of around €30. Escorts charge an average of €150 per hour.
Italy: Porn Viewing Trends
Each year, the global internet porn tube hosting site, Porn Hub, produces a report detailing the porn viewing trends in every country. Italy doesn’t escape the microscope and we can bring you the highlights of the most recent survey.
In terms of overall traffic, Italy is the 9th most popular visitor to the porn giant’s website
Unusually, the top search for porn stars included a man. Though not necessarily an indication of the country’s homosexual community but more a result of wanting to see a local boy done good, Rocco Siffredi was the third most popular porn star searched from Italy along with another compatriot, Valentina Nappi. Second place was reserved for American-Lebansese star, Mia Khalifa.
In keeping with the appetite for local porn, top searches for 2016 from Italy were far and away for the keyword ‘Italian’, followed by:
- Amatoriale Napoli (Amateur Naples)
- Amatoriale Italiano (Amateur Italian)
- Italian Amateur
- Step mom
The last term refers to Latino porn star, Susan Pino.
Top gaining search terms for 2016 include searches for 360-degree VR porn as well as the tags ‘Giantess’, ‘Ballbusting’ and ‘Harley Quinn’.
The gender split of the viewing audience across Porn Hub for 2016 was 77:23 in favour of the guys.
Age-wise, proportionally more over 45s watch porn in Italy than globally with 28% of the viewing audience falling into this age range (vs 23% worldwide).
As well as PornHub, which is the 27th most visited site in Italy, the most popular adult websites in terms of traffic are:
- Live Jasmin – 18th most visited site in Italy (Sex Cams)
- Bonga Cams – 19th most visited site in Italy (Sex Cams)
- X Hamster – 29th most visited site in Italy – (Porn Videos)
- X Videos – 31st most visited site in Italy – (Porn Videos)
- Amaporn – 35th most visited site in Italy – (Porn Videos)
- Txxx – 40th most visited site in Italy – (Porn Videos)
This is quite a lot of porn traffic for a country where only 39% of the population admit to watching it!
Top Italian Porn
Although the international tube sites PornHub, X Hamster and X Videos make an appearance in the top 50 websites by traffic, Amaporn is a local favourite and accounts for a lot of the countries most watched amateur porn.
When it comes to porn exports, the adult studios of Defeated.xxx and Diva Futura do well internationally. However, it is vintage Italian porn which still seems to float our boats and the exploits of classic stars from the 70s and 80s can all be viewed on the Italian Porn, Retro Tube or Vintage Tube websites.
All that we love about Italian porn comes from these classic films and include erotic set-ups, soft lens action and a natural vibe that is truly European which is sadly lacking from a lot of current porn productions.
LGBTQ in Italy
A famously Catholic country, the history of homosexuality and diversity of gender and sexuality has long been an issue when it comes to legalised rights. Authorities throughout history have typically ignored the issues, claiming these ‘matters’ to be a principle of moral and religious conduct and not to be criminally sanctioned by the state.
Homosexuality in Italy has been legal since 1890 under unification of the states. Though not expressly legalised, punishment for engaging in same-sex activities was simply omitted from the penal code.
With advent of fascism in the 1920s the ruling authorities once again deferred the repression of such acts to the Catholic Church. Though not illegal, persecution of homosexuals during this era was rife.
Happily, the current situation is less grey and the Italian LGBTQ community enjoys good equality laws and a steadily improving, more culturally liberal attitude towards their lifestyles.
Same-sex partnerships have been legally recognised since 2016; marriage is still not an option for homosexuals. This, in spite of the fact that public opinion supports the right for same-sex couples to marry (56% in favour).
Transgendered persons may legally change their gender though there is no specific anti-discrimination laws to protect these members of the community. In fact, the only anti-discrimination laws that exist to protect LGBTQ persons are those that prevent discrimination on the grounds of sexuality within employment. This same law extends to the military where gay and lesbian personnel may openly serve in the forces,
Overall the situation in Italy for LGBTQ rights has improved over the last thirty years and the general attitude towards diversity of lifestyle is very liberal. Certainly the major cities openly welcome LGBTQ visitors with Rome, Milan and Bologna hosting annual Pride events.
Certainly there is still much to fight for when it comes to true equality for the LGBTQ community of Italy but there is also much to celebrate too.
Top Classified/Personals Sites in Italy
Exploring Italy alone can be fun and couples can enjoy plenty of joint adult entertainment including lots of swinging clubs. However, if you want to share your experience of this great country then you could always hit these classified dating sites for hook ups, casual encounters or just for a date.
Craigslist has an almost global coverage with its brand of online classifieds covering everything from second-hand products to property rentals, jobs and services. However, it has earned itself a reputation for its dating opportunities, more commonly the casual encounters section.
The site has most listings in the Rome area and, as ever, there are a mix of genuine lonely hearts as well as professional escorts offering services.
As a free to list site, there are no guarantees on Craigslist over the authenticity of ads place and you will need to exercise common sense when it comes to responding to any listings.
Access to Italiano Singles is free but you will need to register a profile in order to view the site. There is a good range of ages and types using the site and some who are looking for casual encounters.
You do need to upgrade your subscription to be able to contact any other member which costs around €13 per month.
You can also use the site to hook up worldwide as the database has a global coverage of internationally networked dating sites.
Some good opportunities on here.
This dating site has an international coverage and you can use it for free to search for other singles in Italy.
Most of the women are of a mature age (35+) and there is a prevalence for more serious dating though you can find more casual hook ups too.
Contacting other members requires a paid subscription which costs around €10 per month.
Best of the Rest
These other dating sites also have a good coverage across Italy with most requiring a paid subscription in order to make contact with other members:
Featured image via Pixabay.