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Austrian Culture: Sex in Austria

Robert Easton

Sinful Sex. The legal situation regarding prostitution in Austria is complicated and varies by region, but it is basically legal.

Prostitutes are to be found in brothels, strip clubs, saunas and massage parlours, and others practice an interesting innovation called Kabinsex.

The 'cabin' is similar to that which would be used for a peepshow, but with two holes in the wall. The first hole is at the appropriate height for a porn film to be watched through it, and the second hole is located just below waist height - so that the prostitute can administer her services through the hole without even meeting the customer.

It's difficult to see how the customer can know whether they're being serviced by a woman, a man, or a well trained monkey. More luxurious cabins have an extra hole at chest height- the lucky customer can put his hands through the hole to see what he can feel.

In July 2005 Freizeit, a magazine widely read in both Germany and Austria, sold out in one day after it offered free sex to readers. The magazine ran an advert for a Salzburg brothel which included a voucher offering half an hour for free with any of its girls.

There were complaints from some of Freizeit's more conservative readers, but the brothel experienced a huge increase in business.

Prostitutes must be at least 19 years old, and are obliged to register with the local authorities, pay tax, and take regular health checks. It is estimated that about 70-80% of prostitutes in Austria are immigrants.

Their situation varies, because in some areas they are allowed to work, in others they work illegally. Critics argue that legalisation has created a two-tier system of prostitutes, where some (those who can work legally) are protected, whilst others are in an even worse situation than before.

Others suggest that the number of prostitutes in Austria has risen sharply since the practice was legalized, and there does seem to be evidence that many legal brothels are run by the same people who ran them when they were illegal.

In a recent survey of 29 countries, Austria was found to the most sexually satisfied with 71% of respondents claiming to be satisfied with their sex lives. Poor Japan was last with only 25% of people saying they were satisfied.

The 2005 Durex Sex Survey found that Austrians were amongst the most likely Europeans to have had one-night-stands, out-slappered only by Scandinavians, and that 37% had had sex in the garden.

The survey also showed that 47% of Austrians have had unprotected sex without knowing their partner's history, and if they saw someone had lubricant, Austrians, more than the inhabitants of any other country, would assume it was for anal sex.

The Austrian Baron Richard Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing compiled hundreds of case studies of the personal habits of wealthy Austrians, including homosexuality, fetishism sadism and masochism.

This would not be surprising but for the fact that he was working in the 1800s, when all the above practices were considered to be the height of immoral perversion and depravity. Krafft-Ebing lived from 1840-1902, and his seminal work Psychopathia sexualis was published in 1886.

He was the world's first sex-psychologist and coined the word masochism. Aside from those referred to in his book he compiled many more cases studies, but died before he had the chance to publish them. His papers were rediscovered in 1992 and sold to the Wellcome Trust charity.

Related Links

Sex in Germany
Sex in Switzerland
Sex in South Africa

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