Want to know more about sex in Turkey?
With a population of 82.8 million people, Turkey is located at the very south eastern edge of Europe and is the second largest nation on the continent. It is uniquely positioned as a gateway between the east and the west and is bordered by Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia and Georgia as well as the Middle-Eastern countries of Syria, Iraq and Iran. Packed with cultural heritage, this huge nation is a diverse land celebrating modern and traditional aspects of his history.
In this guide, we take a look at the legislation on prostitution and pornography as well as the current status of the adult industry. We shine a focus on the country’s attitudes towards sex in general as well as the casual dating scene and LGBTQ rights.
Sex in Turkey
Turkey is considered by some to be the centre of the world. Sitting at the crossroads of both the Asian and European continents as well as being close to Northern Africa, it is possible to reach 260 globally prominent destinations from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. The country has long been an important hub of civilisation and boasts some of the oldest architecture and sites in Christendom.
It is a country which has had strong roots in its ancient traditions and culture with the East whilst also embracing a more Western and European style.
Predominantly Muslim 98% of the country identifies as Muslim and the Islamic faith has a strong influence on social attitudes towards sex.
The subject of sex is a taboo even in modern Turkish culture with the country being very conservative on the subject.
Despite the fact people don’t talk about sex and that it is less visible certainly doesn’t make Turkey a prudish nation. Far from it. Prostitution is legal and, though family and marriage is very important, some married men have sex in brothels to experiment.
The contrast of the Islamic concept of haram which extends to prohibit women from showing their bodies publicly and that of the cultural belly dance is quite stark.
The country has been able to blend its culture and religion with a modern take on sex with Turkey’s first Halal sex shop opening online in 2013.
As a country, Turkey’s liberalism towards sex can be split between east and west with cities like Istanbul, firmly in Europe, being a stark contrast to Adana and Gazientep bordering Syria to the east. The former has a far more cosmopolitan, modern and Western attitude with the latter being very conservative parts of the country.
In Istanbul, the culture of sex is far more relaxed than anywhere else in the country and the city has a vibrant and diverse entertainment scene. It is a popular destination for tourists with around 10 million visitors to the city each year. As a result, you can find some good entertainment venues in Istanbul and the city still has a lot of brothels.
However, there is no disguising the recent effect that the presence of extremist values is beginning to have on Turkish politics with the current government clamping down on previously liberal areas such as prostitution.
Sex education is virtually non-existent and is not included on the national curriculum nor at universities. Even those studying subjects like psychology have little information provided to them for their studies. It is also rare for parents to provide any education when it comes to sex and curious teenagers are left with little practical knowledge of sexual health, relationships and diversity. Men who visit prostitutes are often very naïve about sex and a recent BBC undercover report found sex workers who had had clients that had tried to have intercourse with them through their belly holes.
Proponents of a more liberal system argue that Turkey should adopt a holistic approach that includes for cultural adjustments. However, there is strong opposition to such a system and the conservative government (Justice and Development Party) has made no motion for change.
As a result of poor sex education, there is very little information in the general population about safe sex. With the exception of reportable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and syphilis, STI rates are largely unknown in Turkey. However, the prevalence of syphilis is reportedly on the rise with the number of reported AIDs case up by 465% in the last decade.
The BBC report goes on to uncover that in the famously homophobic country, transgendered and gay prostitutes are common (although illegal). Some prostitutes report that anal sex is more of a preference with their clients.
Adult Industry in Turkey
Porn in Turkey began to rise in prominence during the 1970s with the import of softcore titles from Italy. Mostly comic films, they were enjoyed mainly for their sex scenes.
‘Öyle Bir Kadın Ki’ (‘She is Such a Woman’) was the first Turkish film featuring a hardcore sex scene. It was legally produced and distributed in 1979 and resulted in a surge in popularity for pornography in Turkey. The intense demand for hardcore porn was to be short lived as it was cut short by the 1980 Turkish Coup d’état when the government banned graphic depictions of sex in film.
In the mid-1980s porn production returned to the country with several low-budget producers knocking out cheap porn of a low quality. By the 1990s, porn was being imported and sold across Turkey but over the last decade has begun to disappear. The reasons for this are two-fold; firstly, the porn being produced in the rest of Europe and America is of a far higher quality and Turkey could not compete. For some reason, Turkish porn producers were casting male stars who were invariably older, fatter and hairier and the demand for local porn diminished.
Secondly the current climate of conservatism has begun to have an impact on Turkey’s social and political attitudes towards porn. More specifically, the influence of the Islamic value system is making it harder to uphold the legal right to produce, distribute and sell pornography in Turkey.
Though producing porn is legal in Turkey, most content featuring Turkish performers or aimed at the Turkish markets are actually produced in Germany. The two countries share a long history of economic, cultural and social bonds and this has also extended to now include the adult industry.
Şahin K (real name Salim Yilmaz) is a Turkish porn star who has starred in over 170 low budget porn films. He is Turkey’s answer to Ron Jeremy and has worked on the popular porn series Istanbul Life for over three decades. Productions are now filmed by the Trimax studio in Germany and are even performed in German. Yilmaz lives in Russia and does not return to his home country very often.
Top Turkish Adult Industry Stars
Cassie Nova is ranked 3160th in Europe and, 10,252nd in the World, Nova has clocked up just 133,293 video views on the popular XVideos website. Also known as Kassinova, she starred in over 100 movies during the five-year period 1988 to 1993 and was popular for her big breasts.
Sibel Dikmen worked with Şahin K in 2000-2002 and performed on films that showed off her sizeable natural breasts. She was popular for her filthy talk and her blowjob technique making her mouth as famous as her boobs.
Known as the Emmanuelle of Kasımpaşa, the erotic movie star Feri Cansel was actually a Cyrpiot who obtained citizenship in Turkey. She holds the record for starring in the highest number of Turkish erotic movies. Most were crossover titles that were dubiously edited to pass for comedies but were essentially erotic porn. She performed in more than 350 movies during the late 70s.
From one extreme to another, Turkey has produced a lot of female bodybuilders and some are also popular in the adult film world. The most prominent of these is Nuriye Evans, a Turkish American who has performed on titles like Kinky Clits, Horny Muscle Girls and Bad Girls of Bodybuilding.
Turkey has produced some stunning models of world renown including:
- Topless DJ, Nikkita, who sometimes performs her set in the nude.
- Doga Bekleriz
- Glamour model, Priscilla Aydin
- With her famously long legs, Turkish model, Tugba Ozay was once the highest paid woman in the industry.
- Simge Tertemiz voted ‘Sexiest Woman in Turkey’ in 2011
- Cagla Kubat, former ‘Miss Turkey’
- Azra Akin, crowned ‘Miss World’ in 2002
- Runner up for ‘Miss Turkey’ in 1997, Gul Golge
With homage to their special relationship, there are several adult stars with a mixed German-Turkish background, including:
- Aylin Alp
- Leyla Stacked
- Arzu Bazman
- Lale Karci
Prostitution Laws in Turkey
Prostitution is legal in Turkey and is largely regulated; however, some local governments are actively not issuing new permits. As a result, a large number of prostitutes in Turkey are operating illegally. Permits are not issued to men and only women may work in the sex trade.
The sex trade is controlled using 1500 state-licensed brothels but in cities like Ankara and Bursa, many of these venues are being demolished under court order. Those still active require workers to obtain an official ID card and submit to regular health checks.
Strip clubs are also required to be licensed and its employees must also have the relevant permits as well as undergoing health examinations. These establishments commonly offer sex for sale and are treated in much the same way as a brothel.
Promoting sex work is illegal and entering the country for the purposes of obtaining work in the sex trade is also prohibited.
It is estimated that prostitution in Turkey earns the country around $4 million in revenue with around 118,000 women providing personal services. The wealth generated by the trade makes the industry very important to the Turkish government and brothel owners are amongst the top tax payers in the country. Famously, Matild Manukyan who owned several bordellos in Istanbul, was the top taxpayer for five consecutive years during the 1990s. She even received an award from the authorities to acknowledge this rather dubious honour!
Turkey Porn Viewing Trends
Though pornography is legal in Turkey, most porn sites are banned by the government though citizens can and do access sites using a VPN. However, watching porn or being involved in porn can be a dangerous pastime in Turkey and just a few years ago, three academics were fired from a university because one of their students made a porn film as part of their dissertation.
There is therefore very little information about what kind of porn the Turkish public is watching.
The top adult websites most frequently visited in Turkey do not fall into the country’s most popular fifty sites. The top five by traffic volume are:
- YouTube CI
Top Turkish Porn
Most of the major porn tube sites have tagged Turkish porn available, including:
To really get a feel for Turkish porn you will need to acquaint yourself with the Istanbul Life series. You can find several films from this series at Vintage Movies.
LGBTQ in Turkey
Turkey does not have liberalised legislation for LGBTQ members. Some areas of the law allow for equality but may aspects are not covered.
Same sex activity has been legal in Turkey since the days of the Ottoman Empire in 1858. It was also legalised in 1923 when the modern state of Turkey was formed. The age of consent is equal to that of heterosexuals.
Transsexuals have been legally allowed to change their gender since 1988 but must first seek legal permission to do so.
The country has no anti-discrimination legislation in place. A bill to provide such protection has been drafted but has not yet been enacted.
There is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships either civil or otherwise.
Istanbul has the country’s largest LGBT scene and does have many gay-friendly bars, saunas and hotels but tolerance in general has been waning in the city.
Organised events like Gay Pride are banned and the last attempt by LGBTQ activists to stage such an event in 2017 were met with resistance. Turkish police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the gathered crowd to disperse the march.
Members of the LGBTQ community of Turkey face widespread discrimination and, in some instances, harassment and abuse. There have been incidences of violence towards homosexuals and transgendered persons in Turkey with the last few years including rape, beatings and, even, murder. The country has had a recent spate of ‘honour’ killings involving homosexuals and Turkey is on a Human Rights Watch over the issue.
In general, Turkey is widely regarded as a homophobic nation where the LGBTQ community face significant threat of discrimination as well as mental and physical harm. It is not a safe country for LGBTQ tourists to be openly ‘out’.
Top Classified/Personals Sites in Turkey
Online dating in Turkey is not common but there are some sites which offer single Turks to meet up via the internet. Most are set up for more serious relationships (Muslima) and are premium match making services with some sites offering traditional lonely hearts.
Casual hook-ups and one night stands aren’t common in Turkey.
Most of the dating and personals sites cover cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa and Izmir.
The top five relationships and dating sites in Turkey (by traffic) are:
The following sites offer other dating and personals options in Turkey:
Featured image via Wikipedia.