Sex industry

A prostitute in Germany; red is the sex industry's preferred color in many cultures, due to being strongly associated with passion, love and sexuality.
Two porn actors preparing to shoot a scene for an adult film.
British feminist and political theorist Carole Pateman, who has condemned the commodification of women caused by the sex industry

The sex industry (also called the sex trade) consists of businesses that either directly or indirectly provide sex-related products and services or adult entertainment.

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Sex shop

Retailer that sells products related to adult sexual or erotic entertainment, such as sex toys, lingerie, clothing, pornography, and other related products.

A sex shop in Walker's Court, Soho, London.
A sex shop on the corner of Otavalankatu and Rautatienkatu in Kyttälä, Tampere, Finland.
Sex shops on Boulevard de Clichy, Paris, France.
Front window of a Tokyo sex shop advertising adult toys
Pussy Cat Bookshop Amsterdam (1971)
It is illegal for UK sex shops to show goods in the window.
A sex shop in Ocean City, Maryland.

Sex shops are part of the sex industry.


Portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal.

"XXX" is often used to designate pornographic material.
Top keywords searched online for pornography.
Erotic scene on the rim of an Attic red-figure kylix, c. 510 BC.
Oil lamp artifact depicting the doggy style sexual position
Marquee at Pilgrim Theatre on Washington Street showing Dr. Sex (1964)
A selection of pornographic magazines confiscated by customs authorities in 1969.
Two porn actors preparing to shoot a scene for an adult film.
A street stall in Hong Kong selling pornography.
Pornographic entertainment on display in a sex shop window, where there is usually a minimum age to go into pornographic stores
A caricature on "the great epidemic of pornography", 19th-century French illustration

This industry employs thousands of performers along with support and production staff.

Strip club

Strip club in Munich, Germany
1720 depiction of a striptease event from La Guerre D'Espagne.
Exterior of the Windmill Theatre in Westminster, London, England
Historical marker at the original Condor Club in San Francisco, California. Today, the club is owned by Deja Vu.
Performers backstage tending to their props away from the audience.
Exterior of Adelita Bar, in Tijuana, Mexico
Interior of Gentlemans Club in Punavuori, Helsinki, Finland
Performer on the main stage of Monty's Showroom Pub at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Customers seated by the tip rail at Club Live in Scheveningen, The Hague, Netherlands.
The main bar of Spearmint Rhino Van Nuys in Los Angeles, California, U.S. with built-in stage. Main stage in background.
A bikini bar at the Yyteri Beach in Pori, Finland.
Stripper performing on stage at Cabaret Kalesa in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A bouncer in front of Centrefolds Lounge Gentlemen's Club on King Street, Melbourne, Australia
Neon "Girls Girls Girls" sign on the front of club Burlesque with nude dancers in outline (North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.)
Street view of strip clubs on The Block in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.

A strip club is a venue where strippers provide adult entertainment, predominantly in the form of striptease or other erotic or exotic dances.

Red-light district

De Wallen, Amsterdam's red-light district, is internationally known and one of the main tourist attractions of the city. It offers legal prostitution and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana.
A statue in honor of sex workers in Amsterdam, Netherlands
An early reference to red-light districts on a January 1901 Judge cover
The Red Light district in Amsterdam
Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany
Soi Cowboy, Bangkok, Thailand
Rooms illuminated by red lights in De Wallen, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Rue d'Aerschot, Brussels, Belgium
Kabuki-chō Ichiban-gai gate and colorful neon street signs, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

A red-light district or pleasure district is a part of an urban area where a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, and adult theaters, are found.

Adult movie theater

Euphemistic term for a movie theater dedicated to the exhibition of pornographic films.

Adult movie theatres and peep shows on Montreal's St. Laurent Street
An adult movie theater in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Nob Hill theater advertising video arcade

Certain theaters may also include a stripshow or sex show between films, or other sex industry services.

Peep show

Presentation of a live sex show or pornographic film which is viewed through a viewing slot.

Exterior of a sex shop in New York City that also provides a peep show
The former Lusty Lady in San Francisco, California
The marquee for the Lusty Lady peep show in Seattle

Research on peep show establishments in California examined the hypothesis that neighborhoods surrounding sex businesses such as peep show establishments and X-rated movie stores have higher rates of crime.


Erotic or exotic dance in which the performer gradually undresses, either partly or completely, in a seductive and sexually suggestive manner.

American burlesque dancer Lola Bel Aire performing a traditional striptease.
Josephine Baker in her "girdle of bananas" outfit, first seen in the Folies Bergère show La Folie du Jour in 1926–27.
A 1720 depiction of a striptease
La Fontaine plate, 1896
Mata Hari. The most celebrated segment of her stage act was the progressive shedding of her clothing until she wore just a jeweled bra and some ornaments over her arms and head
The Windmill Theatre in 2009
A pole dancer
The Chippendales, a group of male strippers.
A neo-burlesque stripper at the Miss Exotic World Pageant in 2006, wearing pasties as required in some U.S. jurisdictions
Rita Hayworth begins her striptease in Gilda
Natalie Wood as Gypsy Rose Lee in the film version of the stage musical Gypsy
In Roger Vadim's 1968 film Barbarella, Jane Fonda as the title character did a striptease in zero-gravity out of her spacesuit. Fonda continually changed outfits in the film, most of which were skin-tight and designed for their erotic appeal.

In addition to providing adult entertainment, stripping can be a form of sexual play between partners.


Business or practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment.

Femmes de Maison, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, c. 1893–1895
Prostitute c. undefined 1890
The Procuress by Dirck van Baburen (1622)
Customer and a prostitute illustrated on an ancient Greek wine cup; an act of prostitution is indicated by the coin purse above the figures
Fresco from the Pompeii brothel
An oiran preparing herself for a client, ukiyo-e print by Suzuki Haronubu (1765)
Brothel scene; Brunswick Monogrammist, 1537; Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
Prostitutes on display in Yoshiwara during the Meiji Period, Japan
Women in an early San Francisco bordello in 1870
De Wallen red-light district in Amsterdam
Prostitute in Mexico, 2009
A detail from plate 1 of William Hogarth's (1697–1764) The Harlot's Progress, showing brothel-keeper Elizabeth Needham, on the right, procuring a young woman who has just arrived in London
Prostitution Information Centre in Amsterdam
Stickers affixed to a payphone in São Paulo, 2006
Kisaeng women from outcast or slave families.
The White Slave by Abastenia St. Leger Eberle
A street prostitute talking to a potential customer in Turin, Italy, 2005
A prostitute in Amsterdam's red-light district talks with a potential customer.
Pascha brothel in Cologne, Germany, the largest brothel in Europe. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the poster with the Saudi Arabian flag and Iranian flag blacked out after protests and threats.
Tart cards in a British phone box advertising the services of call girls
A political cartoon from 1787 jesting about the notion of taxation affecting prostitutes
Statue to honor the sex workers of the world. Installed March 2007 in Amsterdam, Oudekerksplein, in front of the Oude Kerk, in Amsterdam's red-light district De Wallen. Title is Belle, the inscription says "Respect sex workers all over the world."

It is one branch of the sex industry, along with pornography, stripping, and erotic dancing.

Sex work

Sex work is "the exchange of sexual services, performances, or products for material compensation. It includes activities of direct physical contact between buyers and sellers as well as indirect sexual stimulation".

The Red Light district in Amsterdam
Decriminalizing Sex Work
Sex workers demonstrating for better working conditions at the 2009 Marcha Gay in Mexico City
An Ancient Greek urn depicts a prostitute and her client.
A sex worker in Berlin in 2001

One result of this is the way that race relations impact the mobility of black people in the sex industry.


City in Thailand.

Pattaya skyline
Pattaya at night
Pattaya Beach Road
Pattaya Beach in June 2017
Ko Khram's shore and adjacent islets during a combined amphibious landing force exercise Cobra Gold.
Pattaya Beach sunset
Hotel overlooking Pattaya Bay
Shopping mall in Pattaya
Central Pattaya
Central Pattaya; Pattaya 2 Road on left
Pattaya Park Tower
Wat Khao Phra Bat temple
The Sanctuary of Truth.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
Wonderfruit festival in Pattaya
Pattaya fried rice, a local delicacy from Pattaya
Walking Street, Pattaya
Transsexual cabaret performers, Pattaya

Pattaya has derived part of its reputation as a tourist destination due to the sex industry and the resulting nightlife, and this notoriety has influenced the city's evolution in many ways.