Sex History of Warsaw
A brief history of the sex industry in Poland
Because of its nature as a gateway between Eastern and Western Europe, prostitution in Poland has always been rife. From the eleventh century travelling girls of the tenth century, through the ‘unclean maidens’ of the Renaissance and the sex tourists of today, Warsaw, especially, has been an epicenter for both sexual revolution and recession. Poland was one of the first countries in the world to establish specialist hospitals for venereal disease (back in the early 1500s) and in the 19th century, Warsaw prostitutes were even required to sign registers to make sure they could be tracked. Medical aid for venereal disease was free and women were even encouraged to demand a certificate of health from a potential client, before accepting them. Poland’s fractious military history has run hand in hand with the sex industry, because soldiers needed sex. For centuries, garrisons and prisons housed legal brothels so men could have ready access to women. The sex industry was so successful during Polish Partition (1795-1918) that the government made prostitutes start paying tax, which, ironically, forced 90% of them to start working ‘underground,’ outside the government’s protection, and sent Warsaw’s sex industry back to the dark ages.
During the Holocaust, women in labor camps were forced into prostitution under threat of death. Of course, death for many was inevitable anyway, but some women recognized the terrible truth that, by submitting, they would be more likely to be kept alive. They were promised ‘sentence reductions’, better treatment and more food; promises which were rarely kept. There were even jealousies from other female prisoners, who would beat up ‘selected’ girls so they would no longer be taken to the brothels and thus ‘enjoy’ the privileges which came with the role. The existence of brothels in camps like Auschwitz and Dachau was denied by the Nazis for many years, until female writers and camp survivors began telling their stories in the 1970s.
Attitudes towards prostitution changed dramatically after the war. The registers, medical care and organized brothels all disappeared as the government sought to rid the country of this ‘moral evil.’ But with the mass migration of men into Poland in the 1950s and 1960s, the sex industry flourished. In the 1980s, Warsaw had around 1500 illegal brothels and was a favorite destination of the ‘dirty mac’ brigade. The city’s seedy reputation was a magnet for sex traffickers and pimps and the sex industry was not a safe place for either punters or workers. The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, however, enhanced opportunities for Polish prostitutes as Western trade brought Western clients with Western money. Newspapers were allowed to advertise escort services and a reduction in censorship meant marketing sexual services was easier than ever before.
Prostitution in Post-Modern Warsaw
Today, prostitution is legal as long as the girls operate independently and there are no pimps involved. Whilst the red light district around the train station is rife with unauthorized street prostitutes (approach with caution – see below,) the legal stuff takes place in ‘massage parlors’ or via escort agencies. Prostitutes are no longer taxed, but nor are they eligible for any state help, so the girls sometimes have to prove what they do for a living to both avoid tax, but also to stop them claiming fraudulent benefits. Despite the relatively organized attitude to prostitution in Poland, sexual health remains a serious issue as the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church still prevents the overt promotion of safe sex. For sex tourists to Warsaw, high class prostitutes can be found in clubs and restaurants along Nowy Swiat (New World Street) and Chmielna. Other, back street ‘nightclubs’ are often just brothels in disguise while the plethora of fliers which get handed out manually or stuck to car windscreens, lamposts and bus shelters, are happy to direct you to a guaranteed happy ending.
Beware the honey trap – a cautionary tale
If you’re looking for some sexy foreign fun, it’s important to keep your wits about you in Warsaw. Although prostitution in Poland is legal, many girls are controlled by pimps (which is illegal) who make them lure guys into a sophisticated honey trap. Whether you’re actively looking for some action or simply admiring the sights, it’s common for Western men to be approached by a couple of gorgeous girls (they usually work in pairs) who’ll flatter and flirt with you like crazy. What guy isn’t going to be tempted by that attention? But the girls will then take you to a local bar where the drinks begin flowing and the flirting gets more intense…and then you’re presented with a hefty bill for several hundred zloty, plus the appearance of a few meathead ‘bouncers’ who are going to do you some harm if you don’t pay up. And, if you don’t have the money on you, they’ll be more than happy to escort you to the nearest ATM. So just be sensible and, if you want to indulge in some Polish passion, go to a recommended ‘massage parlor’ or call a trusted escort service and avoid picking girls off the street.
Naughty Guide To Warsaw
Warsaw, like most Eastern European capital cities, is a city of sin and adventure. A vast medieval metropolis in central Poland, it’s a beautiful place with many castles, churches, palaces and lots of places to entertain you. Walking the cobbled streets of the Old Town or exploring the large, vibrant squares and parks will excite all of your senses, especially with so many romantic, sexy hotels, bars and restaurants right on your doorstep. Come night time, the city comes alive with music, eating, drinking and, of course, sex. Check out my naughty guide to wild Warsaw and plan your own wicked weekend away.
Krakowskie Przedmiescie 42/44
This is a large, luxury hotel right next to the Presidential Palace, a few blocks from the Vistula River in the heart of Warsaw. It’s perfect for romance as it was founded by the famous pianist, Jan Paderewski; a huge Neo-Classical building which screams opulence, glamor and grandness. Inside, it’s full of gold, chrome and white marble with impressive chandeliers at every turn. Rooms are a mix of modern and classic design, but all have large bathrooms and great views. Check out the junior and double suites or, if you want something special, book the Paderewski Suite itself with its antique bed, gilt mirrors, stucco moldings and cozy fireplace. The Art Nouveau-designed Column wine bar is a sensual place to enjoy cocktails and piano music, while the elegant Cafe Bristol has a refined Viennese ambiance. There’s a gorgeous heated, indoor pool, too.
This Art Deco boutique hotel is all about the detail. It’s impressive enough on first glance, with lots of chrome and mahogany windows and doors, plus beautiful stained glass lamps and paneling, but if you look even closer, you’ll see intricately-patterned door handles, seat backs, stair rails and mirrors. Every inch is something beautiful and sexy to admire, which extends to the rooms and suites, too. Beds are large and square and the bathrooms have deep Victorian baths you could easily spend all day in. Treat yourself to champagne in the intimate bar, dine in the exclusive Salto Restaurant, or indulge in a steamy hot tub session in the boutique spa. Look out for the feast of erotic artwork lining the walls, too – guaranteed to put you in a naughty mood.
Polish Burlesque Festival
Warsaw hosted Poland’s first ever Burlesque Festival in 2015 and is set to continue for years to come. There are shows and workshops across the second weekend of September (check the website,) hosted by the Kino Iluzjon, a beautiful old cinema, and the Cafe Iluzja inside. Get booking for 2016.
Podwale Bar And Books
The White House
Waski Dunaj 20
This is a super-sexy little bar in the Old Town, just a few yards from the beautiful old market place. It’s built in the British Old Colonial Style, on two floors. Downstairs is an intimate bar seating around 25 people, while upstairs is an upscale, cozy Cigar Bar, full of smoky temptation. On Ladies Nights, girls get a free cigar to enjoy with their drink. There are weekly “Strictly Burlesque” shows with music, chat and comedy and it really is the perfect venue to just sit back and be entertained by some of Warsaw’s most sassy, sultry dancers. In summer you can people-watch on the outside patio.
Lady Mousellyca is a Czech burlesque star who frequently visits Warsaw with her amazing show. Part of the Prague Burlesque troupe, she does solo shows and workshops at Studio Tanca dance club on various dates throughout the year, so check the Studio website or Mousellyca’s events page for more information – it’s definitely worth arranging your trip for next time she’s in town!
Wedel Cafe @ Hotel Intercontinental
Emil II Plater 49
Named after the 19th century chocolatier who opened Warsaw’s first chocolate cafe in 1851, the Wedel Cafe chain is a Polish institution, with 18 cafes across the country. This is one of the most luxurious, located inside the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel, just across the road from the Palace of Culture. Whether you want to indulge your sweet tooth or just enjoy a coffee in sexy-smelling surroundings, this chocolate cafe is full of temptation. The red walls and small, intimate tables add to the coziness and the hot chocolate here is made to a very secret recipe. Choose from dark, milk, white and bitter chocolate, in every form imaginable.
La Maison Gourmand
La Maison brings a little Mediterranean elegance to the middle of Warsaw, with a delicious lunch and dinner menu of refined French & Italian classics like onion soup, ossobucco and ratatouille. It’s a feminine, stylish place, very bright and airy, so it’s perfect for long, lazy lunches or romantic candlelit dinners. The French pastries are to die for and, for a cafe/restaurant, the cocktail list is impressive. Get a double helping of Calypso ice cream to share with your lover and take things from there.
Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44
Located inside the beautiful Hotel Bristol, this cafe has been open since 1901. Inside it’s a traditional early 20th century Polish dining room, with parquet tiling, mahogany furniture and high ceilings. Cakes sit upon delicate tiered stands and everything just looks too good to eat. The attention to detail in all of their food, from the homemade pastas and gourmet sandwiches to the signature Rabbit Ravioli, is breathtaking. The tartlets and mousses are a specialty so, if it’s a nice day, try and get a table on the terrace which overlooks the grand grounds of the Presidential Palace. It’s traditional for all first-time visitors in Warsaw to have tea here, so make it one of the first things you do once you land.
Yes, there’s even an Agent Provocateur in Warsaw, so there’s no excuse for leaving your favorite lingerie behind, just go out and buy some more! All the classic Agent lines are here, from the corsets, bras and panties, to evening wear, slips, babydolls and even sexy swimwear.
Li Parie Lingerie
Easy to find lingerie store in the center of Warsaw, stocking everything from standard feminine, sensual lines to the more provocative, edgy, leather and BDSM gear. There’s plenty to satisfy burlesque lovers and role-playing aficionados and they also do massage oils and scented candles if you’re after some mood-setting.
Lily Erotic Store
Jana Pawla II 36
This is quite hard to find as it’s behind some stores on a busy commercial road but it’s worth the search as it has a great range of sex toys, clothing, masks, electro-toys and anal toys, in case there’s anything you left behind at home. They like jewels, here, so if you love your sex toys to have a bit of bling, this is the place for you.
Guns & Strippers
King of Shooting
If you’re planning a trip to Warsaw with your guy friends, or you and your lover just want some sexy-high octane action, you can go on a shooting expedition complete with strippers. Choose from a limousine strip party or lesbian limo strip party, and enjoy a day of shooting real guns followed by a very naughty after party in your own private limo. The ultimate in adrenaline-fueled high-jinks.
New Orleans is a professional, upscale gentlemen’s club in the heart of Warsaw’s clubland. It’s three floors, catering for a range of clientele. On the ground floor is a sultry little bar where you can see all the dancers perform on the pole stage. First floor has a champagne bar (and the biggest champagne menu in Poland) plus VIP rooms, then on the third floor are the exclusive private hire rooms for parties or for private dances from the girls. They do a full dinner menu, too, including Kobe steak, so this is no cheap strip joint. Girls are high class and fully trained, and all guests are welcome, from stag & hen parties to couples wanting to spice up a romantic evening.
Sultry strip club with some of Warsaw’s most athletic pole dancers. It’s a comfortable place with lots of red leather seating and a couple of semi-private rooms for groups and stag parties. The bar is right next to the stage so it’s easy to just relax with a drink and watch the show. There are smoking and non-smoking areas inside and a total of 80 different girls to enjoy, so worth a return trip. There are nightly shows at 8pm onwards (except Sundays.)
This place oozes sex appeal, thanks to the pure white interior and expensive atmosphere. Everything shines, from the crystal wine glasses to the gleaming cutlery, and the food is out of this world. It’s mainly fish and seafood, so it’s the perfect place for aphrodisiacs like oysters (when in season.) Your money goes a long way in Poland so it’s definitely worth booking the best table here and splashing out on the many gastronomic treats on offer. Three courses, with wine, will cost around US$65 per person.
If you want a totally luxurious dining experience, then it has to be The Belvedere. Located in the middle of Royal Lazienki Park in a huge converted orangery, you can see peacocks strutting around outside on the lawns as you feast on contemporary Polish and international cuisine. The menu is deliberately limited and focuses on whatever’s in season – pheasant, lobster, venison, even catfish and crayfish. This is Michelin-standard food served in a Royal-standard dining room complete with exotic plants, spectacular chandeliers and even a clear perspex grand piano. There’s al fresco dining in the garden when weather permits. Truly gorgeous.
Panorama Bar & Lounge
Aleje Jerozolimskie 65/79
Situated in the Marriott Hotel, 40 floors high above central Warsaw, you get superb city views in the Panorama Bar. Come at night for that wow factor as you sip on Cosmos and Martinis, or take in the sights during the day. It’s a spectacle inside, too, with glass walls and impressive drinks displays that stretch all the way to the ceiling. Sit at the long red bar or secrete yourself in a corner on one of the large comfortable sofas. If you want to feel extra special, hire the VIP room for personal service.
Aleje Jerozolimskie 33
This bright, vibrant bar/club is a Middle Eastern hotspot with lots of wooden furniture, warm exposed brickwork, Arabian hanging pendant lights and belly dancing on weekends. There are three floors – two bars and a dancefloor – plus a VIP area if you want some privacy. It’s fun to smoke the hookah here – Arabic tobacco with or without alcohol. It’s lively, friendly and attracts a diverse cross section of Warsaw’s hip and happening arts crowd. Food is served all day, too – a mix of Syrian, Indian and Polish cuisine.
This is a sexy little bar located inside a cinema complex and is a gorgeous space of purple and silver. It’s got a nightclub/strip club vibe to it, but that’s just the old-style cinema theme going all out to impress. Music videos and, sometimes, movies, play on the the TVs which line the walls, and they serve a decent lunch and dinner menu of pastas, quesadillas and chili. It’s the cute, naughty surroundings that you come for – there’s something about purple velvet which is so erotic.
Aleksandra Fredry 6
A trendy club in central Warsaw where all the beautiful people go, Platinium is known for its rocking weekend dance parties which hold up to 1,000 people. There are three main sections, each with their own bar and DJ booth, so you can choose to either join the main fray or go somewhere a little more private with white leather booths and sexy pink lighting. Different themes within the club include the R&B Room, Mirror Hall, Red Hall, Column Hall and the Mezzanine. There’s a full restaurant, too, so make a night of it and get the full Platinium experience.