Adult movie theater

An adult movie theatre is a euphemistic term for a movie theatre specifically designed for the exhibition of pornographic films.

Adult movie theatres show pornographic films primarily for either a respectively heterosexual or homosexual audience. For the patrons, rules are generally less strict regarding partial- or full-nudity and public masturbation or sex, and such behavior may be condoned explicitly or otherwise by the management.[1] Such behavior may or may not be legal, and if not, may or may not be overlooked by local law enforcement.[1][2] Certain theaters may also include a stripshow or sex show between films, or other sex industry services.

Before the VCR and, later, the Internet, a movie theatre or cinema house was often the only location where people could see hardcore erotic films. The spread of home videos has led to a drastic reduction in the number of adult theatres.[3]

By region

Adult movie theatres and peep shows on Montreal's St. Laurent Street

United States

The earliest erotic theatres in the U.S. were in California, and showed 35-millimetre low-production-quality independently produced films. In 1960 there existed about twenty theatres in the U.S. that showed erotic movies exclusively. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, they spread to the rest of the country. Small "storefront" theatres with only a lot dozen seats sprang up, and by 1970, 750 pornographic theatres existed in the U.S.[4] In the 1970s, theatres shifted from showing 35-millimetre sexploitation films to more explicit 16-millimetre "beaver" films.[5] In the 1980s, some theatre owners began forming chains to cut their costs,[6] and, by 1989, the number of U.S erotic theatres had fallen below 250.[7]

Restrictions on adult theatres vary by region, and may be restricted by local and state regulations. Local governments commonly prohibit adult theatres from operating within a certain distance of residential areas, parks, churches and/or schools. Often, erotic theatres have been forced to move to the outskirts of cities in order to protect real estate prices in city centers.[8] Renton, Washington was involved in a 1986 Supreme Court case regarding this issue. In its decision on City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc., the Court upheld Renton's statute that no adult theatre be located within 1,000 feet of a school, park, church, or residential zone; the Court rejected the theatre owners' argument that the statute violated the First Amendment, because the statute did not seek to ban the existence of adult theaters outright.[9]

The O'Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, one of America's oldest and best known adult-entertainment establishments, opened as an adult movie theatre in 1969.

Before Rudolph Giuliani became mayor, Times Square was New York City's largest district of its "adult" businesses.[10]

The Bijou Theater in Chicago is the longest running gay adult theater and sex club in the United States.[11]

The Pussycat Theater chain operated thirty pornographic theatres at its height.

Something Weird Video sells DVDs of many of the movies that were previously played at pornographic theatres in the 1970s in the U.S.


There are approximately sixty adult movie theaters in the Netherlands.[12]

In 2010, a law on sex companies was under consideration. In addition to municipal rules a national rule was introduced, requiring adult movie theatres to have a pornography display license. An advertisement of the company should contain its license number. The theater must have a sign outside showing the company is licensed, whilst inside, a copy of the license must be displayed.

Non-commercial sexual activities by and amongst clients would not require an additional license, but prostitution on-premises would require an additional prostitution company license.


Nob Hill theater advertising video arcade

Adult video arcades are pornographic movie viewing areas where masturbation is tolerated and expected (and sometimes openly encouraged). They are almost always attached to a sex shop or an adult book store, where magazines, movies, and sexual aids are sold. An arcade, which is a type of peep show, consists of typically a dozen or more private (or sometimes semi-private) viewing booths, containing a video monitor, a panel of controls, and a seat. Sometimes the booths have paper towels and a wastebasket. Sometimes these booths are arranged in a maze-like fashion. Often the lighting will be dim, perhaps only red or green lights near each booth, indicating their availability. In their origin they were exclusively male.[13]

In their origin, they operated under the fiction that videos were being previewed before buying. It was one film per booth, no choice after entering. While a few existed in the age of the 8mm movie, the relative simplicity of the VCR caused them to multiply. The source was now racks of self-rewinding VCR tape players, instead of the cumbersome projectors. Still, a system required a certain amount of maintenance – breakdowns needed to be repaired, and there were a lot of things to break – which implied good management.


Movie time is purchased either by coin or cash activation within the booth, or by purchasing tokens or a block of time in advance.[14] Generally a selection of 15 to 50 movies running in DVD players is available for viewing, sometimes diverse (straight, gay, fetish), other times monotonously similar. On some systems four videos may be viewed simultaneously in quadrants of the screen. New video systems operate with computers and provide a selection of several thousand movies.


It is possible for arcades in Europe to have two-person booths, where the seating accommodates a pair sitting together. But this is unusual, and outside Europe unknown.

In the U.S., in some adult book stores, the arcades will have "buddy booths." These booths are adjacent, and allow for interplay between occupants. They may have windows so "buddies" may watch each other masturbate. Between other booths there may be glory holes for oral sex, tolerated by the management (which otherwise would seal the holes).[14][15][16]

If a glory hole is to be found between two booths in a video booth at an adult bookstore, the person who wishes to perform oral sex will normally be seated in her or his booth.[17] Although not a hard and fast rule, that seated (and sometimes kneeling) position commonly signals to others that they are there in order to perform oral sex – which allows those who wish to receive oral sex to take the adjoining booth. That second person, who wishes to have oral sex performed on them will take the adjoining booth and normally remain standing.[18] Most adult book stores require and enforce that movies be operating at all times while arcade booths are occupied.

See also


  1. ^ a b Phillip Brian Harper (1999). Private affairs: critical ventures in the culture of social relations. NYU Press. pp. 77–82. ISBN 0-8147-3594-0.
  2. ^ David Steinberg (September 8, 2004). "Lap Victory". SF Weekly. Archived from the original on August 16, 2013.
  3. ^ Slade, p. 1067
  4. ^ "Pussycat_Theaters". Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  5. ^ Linda Williams (2004). Porn studies. Duke University Press. pp. 370–400. ISBN 0-8223-3312-0.
  6. ^ Slade, p. 1097
  7. ^ Slade, p. 1098
  8. ^ Slade, p. 752
  9. ^ Thomas C. Mackey (2002). Pornography on trial: a handbook with cases, laws, and documents. ABC-CLIO. p. 95. ISBN 1-57607-275-4.
  10. ^ Samuel R. Delany (1999). Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. New York University Press.
  11. ^ U.S. v. Toushin, 714 F.Supp. 1452 at 1454 (M.D.Tenn. April 21, 1989).
  12. ^ See Seksbioscoop in Tabel 1 in [1]. This number includes adult movie theatres with a TV-sized screen, see e.g. [2].
  13. ^ Zeeland, Steven (1999). Military Trade. Haworth Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-7890-0402-X.
  14. ^ a b Simpson, Mark (2002). Sex terror: erotic misadventures in pop culture. Haworth Press. pp. 58, 103, 142. ISBN 1-56023-376-1.
  15. ^ Adams, Nicholas (2004). My Black Book. iUniverse. pp. 124–130. ISBN 0-595-30781-7. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
  16. ^ O'Hara, Scott (1999). Rarely Pure and Never Simple: Selected Essays of Scott O'Hara. Haworth Press. pp. 45–49. ISBN 0-7890-0573-5. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
  17. ^ The Gloryhole FAQ by Lilfuzzyg (1999)
  18. ^ Adams, Nicholas (2004). My Black Book. iUniverse. pp. 116–117. ISBN 0-595-30781-7. Retrieved 2007-12-31.


External links

AVN Adult Entertainment Expo

The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) is an adult entertainment convention and trade show held each January in Las Vegas, Nevada and is sponsored by AVN magazine. AEE is the largest pornography industry trade show in the United States. The 2007 AVN Expo had over 30,000 attendees, which included 355 exhibiting companies.

Bat Pussy

Bat Pussy is an American pornographic film, believed to have been produced and possibly released in the early 1970s. Ostensibly a spoof of the 1966–1968 Batman television series, it has been cited as the earliest example of a pornographic parody film and more infamously considered to be the worst pornographic film ever made.Released in relative obscurity and near-anonymity, Bat Pussy was discovered in the storeroom of a Memphis, Tennessee Adult movie theater in the mid-1990s and subsequently issued on home video by exploitation film distributor Something Weird Video. Since its video release, it has attracted a cult following among exploitation and pornography fans for its notoriously poor quality, with most reviews criticizing its technical flaws, bizarre dialogue, and the sexual ineptitude and physical unattractiveness of its lead actors.

Boulevard Theater (Miami)

The Boulevard Theater is a former movie theater located at 7770 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, Florida. It is owned by theater and nightclub proprietor and former Broadway theater producer Leroy Griffith.

The theater has variously served as a night club and adult movie theater. It is currently an adult entertainment club, Gold Rush Cabaret.

Churchmen's Committee for Decent Publications

The Churchmen's Committee for Decent Publications was a Protestant pro-censorship, anti-pornography advocacy group in the United States. It was a contemporary of the Roman Catholic National Organization for Decent Literature and the National Legion of Decency.

Forrest Block

The Forrest Block is an historic building located in downtown Davenport, Iowa, United States. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

List of pornographic film studios

The following is a list of pornographic film studios.

List of pornography companies

This list includes companies which produce, distribute or promote pornography.

Market Warriors

Market Warriors was an American reality television series that follows four professional antiquers as they buy assigned items at flea markets and antique shows on a budget. The items are then sold at auction, where the antiquers compete for the highest profit, which is most often determined by the lowest loss.Market Warriors has a number of connections to Antiques Roadshow: both are produced by WGBH, Boston, hosted by Mark L. Walberg, and share the participation of appraisers Miller Gaffney, Kevin Bruneau, John Bruno, Bene Raia, and Bob Richter.

Fred Willard was the original host of the show; however, after his arrest for engaging in a lewd act at an adult movie theater, PBS dropped him as host and had Walberg re-voice the episodes Willard had already completed.On March 13, 2013, PBS announced it was ending production of Market Warriors, the series that premiered in July 2012 under Market Wars as a partner program to longtime ratings hit Antiques Roadshow, according to a March 14, 2013, WGBH, Boston, internal memo to employees. Marsha Bemko, executive producer of both programs, commented the decision was PBS's and declined further comment. The last of the show's 20 episodes aired on PBS stations on April 22, 2013.

Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre

The Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre is a strip club at 895 O'Farrell Street near San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. Having first opened as an X-rated movie theater by Jim and Artie Mitchell on July 4, 1969, the O'Farrell remains one of America's oldest and most notorious adult-entertainment establishments. By 1980, the nightspot had popularized close-contact lap dancing, which would become the norm in strip clubs nationwide. Journalist Hunter S. Thompson, a longtime friend of the Mitchells and frequent visitor at the club, went there frequently during the summer of 1985 as part of his research for a possible book on pornography. Thompson called the O'Farrell "the Carnegie Hall of public sex in America" and Playboy magazine praised it as "the place to go in San Francisco!"

Oregon Theatre

The Oregon Theatre, or Oregon Theater, is an adult movie theater in the Richmond neighborhood of southeast Portland, Oregon. The theater was completed in 1925 and originally housed a Wurlitzer pipe organ and vaudeville stage. It would later screen Hollywood, art-house, and Spanish-language films. The building was acquired by the Maizels family in 1967 and became an adult cinema in the 1970s. It continues to operate as the city's longest running pornographic cinema and remains owned by a member of the Maizels family.

The cinema has been described as "less creepy than most of its kind" and "out of place" along the newly developed Southeast Division Street. It has also been called "the last holdout of an era", referring to both the prominence of adult film screenings in the city during the 1970s and its status as the last property owned by the Maizels family. In 2004, the building was identified as an "Investment and Identity Site" and commended for having attributes valued by the community, such as quality architecture, local ownership, and orientation to the street.

Paris Theatre (Portland, Oregon)

Paris Theatre, formerly Third Avenue Theatre and also known as Paris Theater or Ray's Paris Theatre, is an historic building in Portland, Oregon's Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, in the United States. The theatre was constructed in 1890 and opened as a burlesque house. It was later converted to a cinema, then a club and music venue, before serving as an adult movie theater until 2016. The building is now a live venue and nightclub.

Porn Sunday

Porn Sunday is an event organized by several hundred churches in the United States and around the world to feature the issues of pornography and sexual addiction. It was scheduled for February 6, 2011, in order to coincide with Super Bowl XLV.

Rialto Theatre (New York City)

The Rialto Theatre was a movie palace in New York City located at 1481 Broadway, at the corner of 42nd Street, within the city's Broadway Theater District.

The 1,960-seat theater opened on April 21, 1916, on the former site of Oscar Hammerstein's Vaudeville venue the Victoria Theatre. Together with Strand Theatre, they were the most important movie theatres on Broadway at the time. It exclusively played Triangle Film Corporation films but beginning in 1919, the Rialto Theatre premiered many releases by Paramount Pictures (then known as the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation) until being supplanted by the newly built Paramount Theatre in 1926 as the movie studio's flagship theater in New York City.

When Paramount sold the building in 1935, the Rialto Theatre was demolished and rebuilt on a smaller scale, with the rest of the building dedicated to shops and office space.

By the 1970s, the theater had become an adult movie theater. In February 1980, it abandoned adult films in lieu of legitimate theater, becoming host to live theatrical productions. The building also contained a TV studio called Times Square Studios (not related to the studio owned by ABC). It was once home to daytime talk shows hosted by Geraldo Rivera and Montel Williams.

The building was torn down in 2002 and a high-rise office building was erected in its place.

Rule 34 (Internet meme)

Rule 34 is an Internet meme that states that Internet pornography exists concerning every conceivable topic.

Sex shop

A sex shop (also called adult shop, erotic shop or adult book store) is a retailer that sells products related to adult sexual or erotic entertainment, such as vibrators, lingerie, clothing, pornography, and other related products. The world's first sex shop was opened in 1962 by Beate Uhse AG in Flensburg, West Germany, and sex shops can now be found in many countries and online. Sex shops are part of the sex industry. In most jurisdictions, sex shops are regulated by law, with access not legally permitted to minors, the age depending on local law. Some jurisdictions prohibit sex shops and the merchandise they sell. In some jurisdictions that permit it, they may also show pornographic movies in private video booths, or have private striptease or peep shows. Also an adult movie theater may be attached. There are also many online sex shops selling a variety of adult content such as sex toys, pornographic magazines, pornographic films and fetish wear etc. These types of shop are often favoured by the consumer as they have less overheads and can be perused within the comfort of the home. Their discreetness is also appealing to some.

Softcore pornography

Softcore pornography or softcore porn is commercial still photography or film that has a pornographic or erotic component but is less sexually graphic and intrusive than hardcore pornography, defined by a "lack of penetration" (such as stripteases, lingerie modeling, erotic masturbation, etc.) and emphasis the sensual appreciation of the female or male form. It typically contains nude or semi-nude actors involved in love scenes, and is intended to be sexually arousing and aesthetically beautiful.

Star Theater (Portland, Oregon)

The Star Theater, formerly known as Princess Theatre and several other names, is a historic former silent film theater in Portland, Oregon, United States. The address was originally 9 Northwest Sixth Avenue, but since 2001 has been 13 Northwest Sixth Avenue. The theater operated as a film theater as well as a burlesque theater and an adult movie theater.

The Ritz Ybor

The Ritz Ybor (originally the Rivoli Theatre) is an events venue located in the historic Ybor City, within Tampa, Florida. Opening in 1917, the theatre catered to the Afro-Cuban community in the emerging neighborhood. Throughout the years, the venue was served as a cinema, adult movie theater, nightclub and concert venue. The theatre was transformed into its current incarnation in 2008; becoming one of Tampa's premier live music and events venue.

Opposition to
See also


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