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Midori's Postcards from a Sex Nerd: The Sexiest Cities, Part 1

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Where is the sexiest city? Do images of lovers cavorting on beaches, romantic walks along quaint cobblestone paths or luxurious hide-away hotels come to mind? If you think “the sexiest city” is an easy question to answer, your buying the hype of travel advertising.

  San Francisco

There’s a reason why I live here. On any given evening you can find a sexuality class, sex party suiting some interest or another, erotic art show, burlesque performance, or sexual-minority, political-activists’ gathering and it’s always leather-weather.

You’d think that San Franciscans would be debauched sex fiends, living hard, dying young, night crawling creatures with bags under our eyes. But we’re not. We frequently disappoint the debauchery-seeking visitors by closing up the fun by 1:30 am, then getting up at the crack of dawn for a bit of yoga and a cup of single-estate sustainably grown fair trade Java. Of course you can get your Java at a kinky coffee shop like Wicked Grounds, a chain coffee place jam-packed with leather bears, or vegan beaneries filled with lithe bodied yogis and underground erotic artists.

San Franciscans don’t engage in sexual activities just to shock anyone, or for mind-numbing excess. In the city that spawned Barbary Coast, Allen Ginsberg and the Summer of Love, shock for shock’s sake is considered juvenile. It’s all about life balance, being true to who you are, letting others be who they are, healthy sexuality…. and recycling. The worst thing you can say about San Franciscans is that we’re terribly earnest and smug about our little corner of bliss.


In the city that begat Grunge, glamour and glitz isn’t their thing – but if you want a place where you can create your dream non-conventional romantic or erotic relationship, and have the nicest friends with the most complicated poly geometry, Seattle is your town. The Center for Sex Positive Culture, the jewel in the city’s sensual crown and firmly rooted into the local psyche, provides a space for every possible sexual interest group to self-organize for their own pleasure-seeking, self-actualization.

The world-class annual Seattle Erotic Art Festival is hosted in city-owned property in the heart of downtown, drawing in all citizenry of legal age. If you want more art and culture, The Little Red Studio brings stage productions to wow your heart and loins. Seattle also passes one of my critical Sexy City tests–It’s one of the friendliest social cultures for bisexual men. Bi men seem to be the carnary in the coalmines of sex positivity. They’re closeted in homophobic cities like all the other queers, but are pressured to pick sides or generally ignored in many entrenched, rainbow-flag waving queervilles.


For all that people associate Amsterdam with pot and prostitution, the Dutch are actually quite stayed and personally conservative people. They do not want to be told how to be, nor would they dream of oppressing another’s legitimate self-expression. They frown on foolish excess but celebrate individuality. Amsterdam is sexy because it’s a gentle and tolerant culture full of art and intelligent discourse.

  Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax? Yes. It’s a remarkable little port town of fishermen and lumberjacks, hosting fine universities and art schools, creating an artsy, tolerant, down-to-earth and frisky culture. The population is tolerant and small enough that the queers and sexual special interest groups support one another and haven’t splintered off to huddle in separatist enclaves. Every time I teach there the hets, homos, dykes, bi's and other assorted types comfortably rub elbows and play with each other.

  Not Hot City: Las Vegas

Sin City! City of Vice! Glitz, glamor, tits and ass! So why does Vegas totally fail for my Sexy City list? For all of Vegas' obsession with sex, it’s not open and welcoming of sexual diversity and expression. Sexual entertainment is available for money, but it needs to conform to a standard of lowest common denominator of hetero-centric sexual imagery.

A prime example of the sexual tightass-ness of this city when Zumanity, from the visionary geniuses of Cirque du Soleil, had to censor out implied male-male sensuality from their show to please their customers and reflect the local tone. A strong right-wing moral attitude pervades the permanent resident population, seeming to drive anyone with interesting sexual profile into a closet lined with a whiff of paranoia and self-preservation, all too reminiscent of pre-Stonewall middle America.

What’s your vote for a Sexy City? Give me a good enough reason, and I just might visit it!

(More to come in Part Two!)



I'd put Cape Town, South Africa up for the vote. Besides the stunning scenery we also tend to be very open minded.


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