Switzerland’s attitude towards sex mirrors the nations cultural concepts of liberalism, freedom and tolerance.
The country is one of just eight European nations that has a legal and regulated sex industry where prostitution is a legitimate career. Other EU nationals can also legitimately work in brothels and in controlled red-light areas in Swiss cities. As a result, many of the country’s migrants work in the industry and sex in Switzerland is easy and safe to pay for.
In this guide, we take a look at exactly how the industry is regulated, the cultural attitudes of the Swiss towards sex and porn as well as reviewing rights for the LGBTQ community. And, if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also given you some information on how to hook up in Switzerland using personals sites.
Sex in Switzerland
A landlocked, mountainous country in the very heart of Europe, Switzerland has a reputation for being the happiest place in the world to live with one of the lowest crime rates in the western hemisphere, a high life expectancy and possession of marijuana use being decriminalised in 1999!
With a population of 8.3 million people, the country is also known for being neutral when it comes to world politics, carefully staying out of conflicts like the two World Wars and avoiding many other clashes between bickering nations. As a result, the Swiss have a reputation for being non-confrontational, peaceable and content. This harmonious way of life which is engendered in the country’s psyche includes high levels of tolerance which includes attitudes towards the sex industry.
But what about their sex lives?
According to a recent survey conducted by the internet market research company, YouGov, the Swiss rate their own sexual performance as the highest of all their polled European neighbours. Rating their own sexual prowess and quality of their sex lives at number one, the Swiss however were one of the nations least likely to be experimental in the bedroom. Compared to many European countries, the Swiss fell well short in many risqué areas:
|Used a sex toy||28%||Finland (39%)||Italy (12%)|
|Dressed up for sex||6%||Finland (14%)||Germany (2%)|
|Had a one-night stand||36%||Denmark (51%)||Netherlands (23%)|
|Watched Porn||47%||Denmark & Finland (63%)||France (38%)|
|Can remember names of all sexual partners||48%||Norway (60%)||France (42%)|
|Filmed themselves during sex||11%||Finland (15%)||Netherlands (7%)|
|Cheated on a partner||23%||Denmark & Finland (32%)||Netherlands (15%)|
Perhaps Swiss men save their more unusual bedroom activities for the professionals with 20% of men aged 20-65 using the services of a prostitute at least once a year.
As for the sex industry, Switzerland has a comprehensive offering of adult services, all legal and regulated. You can find brothels, strip clubs and adult massage parlours in the big cities as well as red-light areas where street prostitutes are allowed to ply their trade. Many of these zones have drive through facilities for clients to receive a service in their car.
Multiculturalism can be seen in every aspect of Swiss life, including the sex industry, with the country having four official languages (German, French, Italian and the peculiar Latin based language of Romansh – pronounced like Sean Connery saying “Romance”).
Because of the diversity of languages, finding sex services can be a bit tricky unless you have a multi-lingual app as English isn’t widely spoken in many areas of the country.
However, you can find out more about the kinds of establishments available by reading up on our Zurich Sex Guide.
Overall, sex in Switzerland is a rich and diverse industry that is celebrated in a number of ways; Lausanne, in the west of Switzerland, hosts an annual alternative porn festival called La Fête du Slip (underpant fest) which promotes sex-positive porn and you can find examples of sex meeting entertainment throughout the country.
Adult Industry in Switzerland
The adult industry in Switzerland is a big business and includes legalised prostitution and adult entertainment as well as porn studios.
It is worth noting that a lot of the adult film stars from Switzerland choose to work in neighbouring Germany or France where the porn studios are bigger. Notable studios that work with Swiss actresses are BB Video and MMV Films.
Prostitution Laws in Switzerland
Prostitution in Switzerland is legal and has been since 1942. The industry is regulated and you can find licensed brothels in most Swiss cities where the hostesses are subject to regular health checks.
As part of a legitimate economy, Swiss prostitutes pay VAT and often accept credit cards; however, this often means that prices are higher (in the legal brothels) than other European countries as a result of taxes, overheads and expenses.
Pimping is illegal and street prostitutes are only permitted to work in designated zones of the city. Any soliciting outside of these areas is illegal and perpetrators are subject to a fine if they are caught.
Only Swiss citizens are legitimately allowed to work as prostitutes but EU nationals can also work in Switzerland for a period of 90 days, subject to a health check, police interview and presentation of relevant health insurance paperwork.
As a result of the legalised framework and liberalisation in Switzerland, it does attract a lot of sex tourists making it a popular place for migrant sex workers looking for work. However, because of the large numbers the country attracts, most cannot secure positions in licensed brothels and work on the street or as escorts; this, despite the fact that Switzerland has one of the highest densities of brothels in Europe!
In Zurich alone there are an estimated 5000 migrant sex workers. Many are working illegally, often providing cut-price services to compete with the brothels using online advertising or taking to the streets.
Overall, there are an estimated 14,000 prostitutes working in Switzerland bringing in an estimated revenue of 3 billion euros. This staggering sum is largely generated by Swiss men who make up 50% of the prostitution trade.
Switzerland: Porn Viewing Trends
Internet Porn giant, PornHub regularly produces a review of porn viewing trends across the world and Switzerland hasn’t escaped this microscopic attention. Though a little dated (produced in 2014), the report reveals some interesting statistics about the sexual appetites of the Swiss.
From the country where timekeeping is a national pastime, the Swiss spend around 8 minutes and 42 seconds each time they visit PornHub which is short of the global average of 9 minutes and 36 seconds.
Top porn stars being searched include American, Lisa Ann, Asian Asa Akira, French Clara Morgane and German, Madison Ivy.
The top search terms reflect the multiculturalism of the country, being:
The top 50 websites (by traffic) in Switzerland (according to Alexa) include several adult sites, including:
Top Swiss Porn
One of the biggest Swiss Porn sites is the aptly named SwissPornMovies. A website where you can actually meet up with any of the stars, SwissPorn is a pay per view site with clips costing anything from €1 to €10. A great idea for a porn site, if you like what you see, you can arrange a hook up with the stars of the show.
LGBTQ in Switzerland
Homosexuality has been legal in Switzerland since 1942 and the country’s laws for gay, bisexual and lesbian individuals have historically been considered quite liberal. In certain areas of the country, same-sex relationships have been permitted since 1798.
The age of consent was lowered in 1992 making it equal with heterosexuals and, in 2007, same-sex relationships were given full legal recognition (the first country in the world to do so). However, same-sex marriage is still not enshrined in law but is thought to be on the horizon.
Though largely a tolerant and liberal nation, the country’s population isn’t unanimous on the situation with a 2016 opinion poll finding one in four citizens opposed to same-sex marriage.
Transgendered individuals are legally allowed to change the status of their gender without the need for surgery and they are protected in law against discrimination under the Article 8 of the Swiss Constitution Act 1999.
There is still work to be done for LGBTQ activists in Switzerland with many anti-discrimination laws still pending and the following areas still falling short of other EU countries:
- Joint adoption for same-sex couples
- Access to IVF for lesbians
- Lifting ban on homosexual men being blood donors
- Same-sex marriage
Zurich, Basel, Geneva and other big cities have large Pride festivals with the capital hosting around 45,000 supporters.
Top Classified/Personals Sites in Switzerland
A German language, Swiss classifieds site, Anibis is similar to Craigslist offering second hand goods, services and a personals section. You will need to use an on-site translation tool to decipher the various categories and the ads themselves but when we visited the site, there were around 350 women seeking men plus almost 500 professional services being advertised.
As well as serious relationships, there are women seeking casual encounters and hook-ups.
Anibis is free to use and you are equally at leisure to post your own advertisement if you are staying in Switzerland for a while.
An English language site with a separate section for each of the major cities, their classified section has a personals section. The Zurich dating and partnership pages has a real mixed bag of ads including some professional services.
You can filter the results by ‘Affair’ or ’Woman Seeks Man’ but there is no way to filter out the genuine ads from those whose services you have to pay for. The best advice is to read between the lines and maybe to reverse Google search any phone numbers; if the number comes up several times then the chances are it’s for an escort.
You do have to subscribe as a member to access contact details but the service is free.
Home of the casual encounter, Craigslist has a couple of sites covering the larger Swiss cities of Zurich, Lausanne, Basel, Bern and Geneva.
As ever with Craigslist, persona ads are split into categories including:
- Women seeking Men
- Casual Encounters
The site is free to use and there is a real assortment of ads you can browse some of which are posted by escorts.
A service that uses your Facebook profile to establish connections in a city of your choice, The Local uses your likes, dislikes and other personal information to send you details of a daily handpicked match.
You do have to pay for the service in order to make contact with the suggested matches made but it is easy to use and is a possible way to explore dating in a new city.
A 100% free to use personals site with international coverage, Date Hookup covers all of the major cities in Switzerland.
The ratio of men to women is high but there are still plenty of ads to go around though not all of the ladies on here are looking for something casual.
You have to create a profile to use the site but it is quick and quite basic. Messaging is via the Date Hookup system and responses can be sporadic. Worth a go but as with any of the free services, you are advised to exercise caution when it comes to authenticating the profiles.
Featured image via Pixabay.