North America‘s Most Sexually Liberal Cities 2023

The acceptance of sexuality is inextricably linked with freedom and quality of life. In this study, we show which cities are considered to be the most sexually permissive and liberal in North America.


The demand for more sexual freedom may surprise residents of the world’s more liberal metropolises. Wasn’t there a sexual revolution way back in the 1960s? Didn’t sex shops spread across the world in the 1970s and hasn’t the BDSM and fetish scene been an established part of society since the 1980s? Isn’t the LGBTQI+ community more accepted these days than ever before? That may all be true to an extent, but there are still big differences from city to city and country to country when it comes to inclusivity. We are therefore introducing you to the 25 most sexually permissive cities in North America which have been ranked based on our in-depth research.

Our Approach

In order to achieve reliable results, we have incorporated extensive data from a range of categories into our list of the most sexually liberal cities in the world. We looked in detail at each city and their particular strengths and weaknesses regarding sexual permissiveness.

This includes the number of gay bars, the number of annual LGBTQI+ events such as gay pride parades, the access to abortion and PrEP medication, whether there are anti-discrimination and sex worker protection laws in place and whether sex work is legalised.

We awarded points for each parameter and the higher the value, the higher the placement in our ranking. As such, some interesting results have emerged. 

Why is sexual freedom so important?

In considering this study, of course, the question arises as to why sexual permissiveness is an important value to investigate. Quite simply: sexual permissiveness, also known as sex positivity, is a factor when it comes to how developed and inclusive the local populace may be. It says a lot about a society in general when minorities such as women, the LGBTQI community or a particular race of people are restricted in their day to day lives and opportunities. Such restrictions can be justified by others both with so-called traditional or religious values or with political arguments. As many of the feminist movements of the 20th century have shown, the emancipation of genders or minority orientations is often connected with the acceptance of sexual permissiveness.

Sexual freedom of movement is not a matter of course

Just by looking at recent history, it quickly becomes clear how beneficial a liberal attitude from both the state and society is to the sexual freedom of movement of an individual. If you look at the history of the legal recognition of homosexuality in the United States over the past few decades, it is noticeable that LGBTQI+ rights have evolved over time. Sexual acts between persons of the same sex have been legal nationwide in the US since 2003, although same-sex couples have only been allowed to marry in all fifty states since 2015. LGBTQI+ discrimination laws still vary on a state-by-state basis also.

The situation is similar when it comes to the sexual self-determination of women too. In the 1960s, inspired by the civil rights and antiwar movements, women organised a women’s liberation movement. Reproductive rights were among their highest priorities, but in some states abortion is still fundamentally illegal to this day. Particularly following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to officially overturn the Roe v. Wade constitutional right to abortion in June 2022. So, what can we conclude from this?

Freedom and sexual freedom are inseparable

Based on the developments we have seen in law and society, it is easy to see how closely sexual freedom and the general freedom of the individual are related. Only when consensual sexuality is not demonised or classed as illegal can the individual enjoy freedom in a society. Anyone who conforms to typical social norms – for example as a heterosexual, white man without unusual erotic desires – may not be particularly affected by restrictions on sexual freedom. However, this does not necessarily apply to the female population, which makes up 51% of the total population, nor the 3.8% of US citizens who are part of the LGBTQI+ community. At this point you can already clearly see that a majority of North America‘s population benefits from laws that guarantee a relatively high degree of sexual freedom and self-determination. We hope that our ranking can be a decision-making aid for anyone who is looking for a place to live where they can find their happiness and live as free from discrimination as possible.

The results

Our ranking proves it: San Francisco is the most sexually open city in North America! With a score of 73, the Golden Gate City clearly stands out from the competition, scoring top marks in five categories – especially for the number of local gay bars and sex work organisations. It can be concluded that “San Fran” is a particularly open place to live a sex-positive life.

A real surprise comes in second place though, namely Edmonton in Canada (receiving 58 points), which scores particularly well thanks to its 6 swingers clubs and 27 sex shops. Canada’s generally very liberal legislation also pushes the city up in our rankings. The same goes for Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, which all make the top 10. By the way: Ottawa, Canada’s political centre, is also North America’s swingers‘ club capital – a coincidence?!

In the United States, San Francisco is followed by Seattle (with 55 points) and Denver (54 points). Both cities achieve good to very good scores in almost all categories and can therefore establish themselves near the top of our list. 

Few will be surprised to see New York (with 51 points) in our top 10. Of course, the city that never sleeps has the strongest results in absolute terms – but as we relate all the results to the number of inhabitants, New York makes it to a still respectable 8th place in the list.

It is also noticeable that the West Coast of the USA performs particularly well. With San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego all allowing a sexually open life. By comparison, the more conservative southern states and cities of the USA fall significantly lower in our list and are almost without exception at the bottom of the ranking.

As mentioned above, Canadian cities perform particularly well in our rankings, with all of them in the top 10. Calgary, Montreal and Edmonton all make positive appearances alongside runner-up Edmonton. Overall, our ranking makes it clear that a sex-positive life is very possible in Canada.

And what about Mexico? Mexican cities are in the middle of the pack in our rankings, achieving average results in relation to their population size. At the national level, Guadalajara (with 42 points) comes out on top, followed by Puebla (41 points), Monterrey (41 points) and the capital, Ciudad de Mexico (41 points), who are all neck and neck. 

Would you have expected these results or do you feel that there is a city missing from the ranking? Then please let us know via https://twitter.com/LustMagOfficial


Curious as to how we calculated these results? Click here to see our full methodology.

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