Topless beaches, the constant and pretty much ignored affairs of heads-of-state, Red Light districts; it seems Europe certainly has the U.S. beat as far as permissive sexual mores. It could be our relatively young age, the fact that we had those damn sexual repressed Puritans ruling things in our early stages, or that with such excesses readily available here (illegal in most cases as they are) we have conversely birthed a very prudish nature. But modern day America can’t get close to what’s happening sexually ‘over there’…and won’t anytime soon, even with a Hillary, Donald or a Bernie possibly taking over.
London, a teaming city on the order of a New York or L.A., still rises high on the list of good-natured naughtiness. ‘The English Vice,’ that time-honored tradition of beating one another round the bum for a sexual thrill, was born and still thrives in the U.K….as the just released London Fetish Map exposes. Latex wardrobe wearing is alive and well in stores like Liberation (where one can as much grab a pair of latex leggings as that 2016 London Fetish Map) and the Victoria and Albert Museum currently hosts the “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” exhibit, until March of 2017. This sprawling 2-floor feature of lingerie (even some male pieces are included) reveals accessories from the 18th century to present, as well as exploring the relationship between underwear and fashion.
Truly in Amsterdam one can be treated to quite an eyeful, but given the acceptance of what would otherwise be viewed as vices, the city’s infamous Red Light District is a safe area to visit. The purple and pink glow from prostitutes’ windows make a pretty color splash on the canal that fronts these rooms of ill repute, but for the most part the streets are lined with gawkers and partiers, seemingly more interested in pouring out of bars or just walking by. Yes, one knows well what might be happening here but the potency of titillation is lessened lots by the legality of things. Live sex theatres line the canal as well as the sex museum there…part of the World Erotic Museum Consortium, we here at the EHM are part of.
A hide in plain sight, give-the-people-what-they-will-get-anyway, most-vices-are legal mindset pervades London and Amsterdam, as it does in lots of places other than the U.S. As we titter like teens or fake interest, the world gets on with getting on in quite a natural way.