Public Sex: The Hottest Tourist Attraction in Barcelona
Tourists have traditionally flocked to the Spanish city Barcelona for the architecture, the food, the nightlife, and the weather, but these days it seems that more and more people are coming for the sex. And the sex is happening out in the open on Barcelona's most famous street, La Rambla. Aggressive sex workers, mostly illegal immigrants from Africa, put the hard sell on tourists passing by, offering immediate service at low prices. During the day, La Rambla appears to be a normal city thoroughfare, shared by throngs of tourists, street vendors, and, of course, petty criminals, but once the sun begins to set, prostitutes, pimps, and drunken tourists looking for a little fun fill the stalls of the food market and lurk in the shadows of buildings.
While Barcelona has always enjoyed a somewhat liberated and randy reputation, many residents and business people have had enough of the sexual spectacles. “When I was young, the Rambla was a place of flowers and birds.” “The Rambla of today is not my Rambla. It is time I was able to go back and walk along it peacefully, with tranquillity and pride,” says renowned Spanish writer Joan de Sagarra. Local restauranteur Xefo Guasch adds, “There are more prostitutes than ever. They don’t wait for their clients, they go looking for them and hassle them. The police are never around." But police are limited in what they can do. While they can issue fines for lewd behavior and help patrol the streets to deter theft and other criminal activities, prostitution is legal in Spain.
So, if you're heading off to see the sights of Barcelona, bring your camera and some condoms. It's probably a pretty good idea to hold on tight to both.