Three Canadian metropolises among world's most sexually liberated cities

May 26 2023, 5:29 pm

A German magazine has rounded up the world’s most sexually liberated cities, and three Canadian spots are on the list.

Lust Magazine is an online magazine reporting on the sex industry, eroticism and curiosities, and the history of all things sex.

Its research involved looking at various factors across cities, including the number of gay bars and sex shops in a city, the number of annual LGBTQ events, whether gay marriage is allowed there, permission for sexual reassignment surgery, and access to contraceptives and PrEP. It also considered anti-discrimination and sex worker protection laws and noted whether sex work is legal in these cities.

The German city of Cologne took the top spot among 25 cities, followed by West Hollywood, Amsterdam, Madrid, Berlin, Santiago, Vienna, and San Francisco.


Coming in at number nine, Montreal ranked as the most sexually liberated city in Canada, with six gay bars and a whopping 53 sex shops.

The city sees at least eight major LGBTQ events throughout the year, as well as pride events. Gay marriage is legal, as it is in all of Canada, and your legal gender identity does not depend on sex reassignment surgery.

Lust Mag calls Montreal “one of the most liberal and livable cities in the world.”

“While there are relatively few gay bars in Montreal, smartphone apps are a popular way to find like-minded sexual partners in the city,” it noted.

The magazine says the only reason Montreal didn’t rank higher is that it doesn’t technically allow sex work — offering sexual services is not illegal, but buying them can result in punishment. This is a running theme with all other Canadian contenders on the list.

Montreal also ranked #9 in 2021’s list, maintaining its position. Back then, it only had 24 sex shops. The pandemic changed us all, huh?


Vancouver followed in tenth place, with five gay bars, less than half as many sex shops as Montreal (23), and at least five LGBTQ events annually.

PrEP is authorized and available in all three Canadian cities that made the list, but sex work is not officially allowed.

“Of course, this does not mean that there is no prostitution in Vancouver; it is just more discreet than in other cities that are further ahead in this ranking,” said Lust Magazine.

“The city is internationally known for its liberal stance, in which no one is discriminated against for their lifestyle,” its description of Vancouver reads. “Sexual freedom is very important in Vancouver too, hence its respectable place in our ranking. There are big LGBTQI festivals and events five times a year in the city and far-reaching laws to protect the rights of minorities.”

In the magazine’s 2021 list of sexually liberated cities, Vancouver ranked 25th, so this is a huge step up.


Toronto ranked 12th but has more sex shops than Vancouver and Montreal — a whopping 57 stores! It also has ten gay bars, which is high for Canada but somewhat low compared to Toronto’s American sister city New York, with 82 gay bars.

“There are numerous sex shops and strip clubs in the city, which are mostly located in the Old Toronto district,” noted Lust Magazine. “Purchasing sexual services is against the law in Toronto, so there is no formal red light district in the city. Of course, this does not change the fact that there are still ways to obtain sexual services.”

The magazine described Toronto as a very liberal and open city, with low-key alternative spots to buy sexual services, such as massage parlours and escort agencies, but few protections. For example, paying for sex remains illegal.

In 2021, Toronto ranked #14 on the same list. It had 28 sex shops and 16 gay bars back then.

Is your city sexually liberal and underrated? Tell us about it in the comments.

Imaan SheikhImaan Sheikh

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