Skip to main content

Sex establishments

Sex establishments are defined by schedule 2 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

Types of sex establishments

There are four categories of sex establishments: sex shops, sex cinemas, sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars. 

Sex shops can sell, hire, exchange, lend display or demonstrate sex articles or other things that are intended for use in connection with, or for the purpose of stimulating or encouraging sexual activity or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity.

Sex cinemas can show films that are primarily for the portrayal of sexual activity or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity with the intention of sexually stimulating customers.

Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEVs) can provide sexual entertainment (eg lap dancing, peep show, live sex show, strip show, etc) to a live audience for financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer.

Hostess Bars provide companionship for customers and premises that give the impression that a sexual performance, service, etc is available.

There are certain exemptions, restrictions and limitations relating to the general sex establishment category criteria above.


The power to licence sex establishments is conferred in schedule 3 of the 1982 Act.  This schedule sets out the meaning of sex shops and sex articles and also defines the licensing and compliance requirements.

There have been some additional legislation that has amended the 1982 Act to add further categories of sex establishments or amend provisions of the original Act; these are listed below.

Apply for or renew licences

You can apply or renew licences for:

Published: 20 January 2021

Last updated: 27 January 2021