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Swiss Culture: Swiss Sex & Prostitution

Robert Easton

The 2005 Durex Sex Survey proved what many may have long suspected - Swiss people have sex in pretty much the same ways as people in the rest of Europe.

According to the survey, the Swiss have sex an average of 104 times per year, which makes them slightly more active than the inhabitants of co-hosts Austria, but 38% of Swiss respondents still wish they could have sex more frequently.

17% said they had had a one night stand, 40% had had anal sex, and 22% had been involved in some kind of bondage. This makes them slightly less kinky than North Americans and British, and roughly similar to Scandinavians.

In comparison with most European countries they are relatively unlikely to use vibrators, but only Canadians are more into massage oils and lotions than the Swiss.

Of all the Europeans, only Germans are less likely than Swiss to have had sex in their parents' bedroom, in this respect Swiss are on a par with Malaysians. 42% of Swiss claim to have had sex in a park, and 38% have had sex on the beach, which is quite impressive for a land-locked country.

Switzerland legalised prostitution in 1992, but it was not until 1998 that the first legal brothel, called 'Petite Fleur' was opened in Zurich. In the intervening years similar attempts had been stopped by local campaigners, people were happy to legalise prostitution but no one wanted to live next to a brothel. 'Petite Fleur' (meaning small flower) had 30 rooms which it rented out to prostitutes by the day.

Nowadays prostitutes pay VAT, and some even take credit cards. Adverts can be found in the back of tabloid newspapers.

Legalising prostitution means that the trade can be more easily regulated, ensuring regular health check-ups for sex workers, and making the job safer for them.

Campaigners who wanted prostitution to stay illegal claim that the number of prostitutes in Switzerland has increased since the law changed, and in 1999 the Zurich based newspaper Blick claimed that Switzerland had the highest density of brothels in all of Europe.

One problem is that only Swiss citizens are officially allowed to engage in prostitution, whereas in reality a very high proportion of prostitutes are from Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Far East.

It could be argued that for these people the trade remains almost as dangerous as before. They could face deportation if caught by the police so they are unlikely to report abuse and some are afraid to go to Swiss hospitals for sexual health check-ups.

Tantramassage, a New Age form of massage blending elements of Yoga and Sex Therapy, is increasingly popular in Switzerland.

Although it claims to be non-sexual, and the client is totally passive, it invariably includes genital massage, and clients are likely to climax during their hour and a half long, 'non-sexual' massage.

A good genital massage supposedly serves the purpose of helping sexual energy flow through the body, which is vitalizing and good for the health. In tantramassage, massage of the male and female genitalia is known as 'lingam' and 'yoni' respectively.

A tantramassage including 'lingam' will probably cost you in the region of 100-200 Euros for 90 minutes.

Critics point to the lack of any scientific basis to the theories behind tantramassage, and suggest that a spiritual tantramassage with lingam to stimulate healthy sexual energy is not much different from a good rubdown and a trip to the bathroom with a copy of 'Dicke Frauen'.

Sex in Germany
Sex in Austria
Sex in South Africa

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