If Planet Earth had a sex capital, it would be San Francisco/ Oakland. These two bayside cities are separated by a massive and beautiful body of water, but for our purposes, we’re conflating them because when it comes to vibrant, world-renowned sex-positive culture, they’re essentially neck and neck. While San Francisco is better known as the American epicenter of free love, LGBTQ+ culture and kink, Oakland supports its flashier sister’s liberated and progressive sex culture with its own communities of explorative, open-minded folks.
One of the best things about San Francisco and Oakland is how education-centered they both are. Pleasure and consent-based sexual education are alive and well in the Bay Area, and some of the best forms of it take place in the city’s many high-quality sex shops and adult toy stores. It’s not uncommon to find the sex industry’s leading professionals teaching classes at workshops at these venues, but you can also find them presenting, lecturing and performing at many of the area’s dungeons, swinger’s clubs, strip clubs and private parties. Additionally, the Bay Area is home to some of the world’s best academic programs for the study of human sexuality.
For many folks who live in San Francisco and Oakland, sexuality isn’t just an incidental facet of life; it’s a lifestyle and an identity. The Castro neighborhood may be the best example — this historic area was one of the country’s first, largest and most open gay neighborhoods, and is where many of the gay rights movements we know of today originated. The Castro is renowned for having its own unique breed of sex toy shops and adult stores. Specializing in leather, kink accessories and gay men’s goodies, it’s one of the best places to find queer-friendly products and culture.
No matter who you are and what you’re into, we can almost guarantee you can find it in San Francisco and Oakland. And if you can’t, there’s a 99.9 percent chance there’s a community of out-and-proud, like-minded individuals willing to help you out.