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A sex show is a form of live performance that features one or more performers engaging in some form of sexual activity on stage for the entertainment or sexual gratification of spectators. Performers are paid either by the spectators or by the organisers of the show. A performance would involve an actual or simulated autoerotic performance or sexual activity with another performer. The performance can be on a theater style, or it can be in a peep show style. An increasingly popular form of sex show is a webcam performance in which the viewer is able to view and interact with webcam performers in real time.
Sex shows are distinguished from entertainment such as striptease, pole dancing or lap dance, which do not involve sexual activity other than undressing and dancing nude or semi-nude. Sexual activity at sex shows is distinguished from prostitution in that the performers usually engage in sex acts only with other performers and not with spectators. Sex shows can overlap with other sectors of the sex industry. For example, a strip club may also offer live sex performances, and a prostitute may offer to perform sex acts with another prostitute for the gratification of a patron.
Sex shows are subject varying laws such as licensing requirements and locations are subject to local zoning regulations. Some jurisdictions regard a sex show as prostitution. The content of a sex show may also be subject to national and local obscenity and other laws. Some areas allow striptease, but no sexual activity, others may allow only simulated sexual activity or autoerotic activity, while others allow anything that is legal in recorded pornography to be performed live. Generally, as of 2010, autoerotic activity is the most common legally-available kind of live sexual activity. In some cities and countries throughout the world, live sexual activity between multiple performers are legal, such as the State of Israel. Webcam performances are largely unregulated.
Sex shows in popular culture
Yukio Mishima wrote a short story published in 1966 called Three Million Yen where a sex show is a surprising part of the story. A young couple roams a department store, bickering about finances and trying to kill time until they meet with an unknown woman. They talk of children and saving enough to begin their adult lives. When the reader finally encounters the unknown woman, it transpires that the couple are being paid to have sex in front of upper-class clientele. The story provides a shocking contrast between the conservatism of the young couple and the way in which they make their living.
In the film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, the main character "Sweetback" performs in a sex show.
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- E.g., in the United Kingdom, sex establishments require a Sex Establishment Licence from the City Council under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, and a premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003.
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