While sexual freedoms around the world are in a state of flux, Vancouver is often seen as a place of liberation and for good reason.
That's according to German magazine Lust; they've released a study looking at the most sexually liberal cities in the world. And Vancouver made the top 25.
Just barely though. It finished in 25th place.
"With Vancouver’s inclusion in the list it quickly becomes clear that just because a city is 'at the bottom' of the ranking does not mean that it is not sexually liberal, just that the competition is tough!" state the report's authors.
While Vancouver excelled in some areas, it fell well behind in other metrics.
"The city is internationally known for its liberalism and modern thinking and sexual freedom is very important in Vancouver," state the authors.
They note the city's LGTBQI+ culture is well developed, with gay bars and events supporting the community and laws protecting sexual and gender diversity. Vancouver and Montreal also tied in first for use of contraception, which is seen as a sign of society's views on sex by the authors.
"As the feminist movements of the 20th century have shown, the emancipation of genders or minority orientations is always connected with the acceptance of sexual permissiveness," note the authors.
The laws around sex work are what let Vancouver (and the other Canadian cities) down.
"It’s approach to prostitution is what sees Vancouver appear at the end of our rankings," state the authors. "Prostitution is officially not allowed in Vancouver. As in Montreal and Toronto, the Neo-Abolitionist principle is applied, with the city trying to achieve extensive containment of prostitution by incorporating a ban on the purchase of sex."
Montreal and Toronto both feature on the list, ranking ninth and 14th, respectively.
Topping the list was New York, with its huge variety of bars, stores and events mixed with relatively progressive (compared to other places) state and federal laws. Following behind are a pair of German cities: Cologne and Berlin. Rounding out the top five are Madrid and Los Angeles.
The top 25 are almost all in Europe or North America, with the United States hosting 10 of the most sexually permissive cities (including the expected, like San Francisco, and the unexpected, like Houston). Canada has the second most. Nine of the ranked cities are in Europe, with two each in Germany and Spain - the only European nations to have more than one city on the list.
The southern hemisphere did poorly with only three cities making the top 25; Australian cities Melbourne and Sydney did well, along with Chile's Santiago. The two largest and most populated continents didn't see any cities make the list.
Researchers based their metrics on 10 categories ranging from the legality of gay marriage to the number of sex shops to the number and size of Pride events.
"We hope that our ranking can be a decision-making aid for all those who are looking for a place to live, where they can find their happiness and live as free from discrimination as possible," the authors explain.