"There has been a deep change in Spanish society since the Franco years, and sexual behavior is very different now," explained Juan Carlos Navarro, director of the Barcelona-based adult entertainment talent agency Milkyway Multimedia. "After 40 years of Catholic mentality and sexual repression, Spanish society lived a 'big bang' with erotica. Sexual freedom in Spain is bigger than anybody could have imagined 30 years ago; Spain is one of the countries with the most sexual freedom. This is different in the little towns, of course, but the big cities and tourist places are a paradise for sex with swingers clubs, discos with erotic shows, brothels and all kinds of adult entertainment. The more open places include Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and the Mediterranean Coast in general."
Spain: Big Supplier
Spain is not only the home of adult entertainment giant Private Media Group but also an abundance of smaller adult companies that, unlike Private, cater primarily to the Spanish-language market. Some Latin American countries also are providing their share of Spanish-language erotica, and Brazil, where the official language is Portuguese, has so many adult film companies that it is considered the San Fernando Valley of South America. But Spain is the place that has evolved into the world's biggest supplier of Spanish-language erotica.
Webmaster El Glorioso, whose Puerto Rico-based website SinRespeto.com covers the adult entertainment industry in Spanish, noted that a long list of important adult companies are based in Spain, among them the International Film Group, Xcanal, DeseoX, Thagson and Putalocura.com.
Spain's adult stars have included, among many others, Rebeca Linares, Alba Sanz, Salma de Nora, Nacho Vidal, Toni Ribas, Bibian Norai, Max Cortez, María de Sánchez and Anastasia Mayo. Spain also is where Sophie Evans became famous — although she is originally from Hungary — and Brazilian adult film favorite Dunia Montenegro now lives in Barcelona.
Navarro, who also goes by Xuancar, also pointed out Barcelona's strong porn shadow to the U.S. That isn't to say that Madrid (a hotbed of mainstream cinema and the home of famous mainstream director Pedro Almodóvar) is sexually inhibited — the Spanish capital has an abundance of adult bookstores, legal brothels, strip clubs, BDSM/fetish activity, transvestite/drag queen cabarets and gay bars, and Madrid's fashionable Chueca neighborhood just north of La Gran Via boasts a large annual gay pride celebration that rivals similar events in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
But Barcelona, Navarro stressed, is the Spanish city with the greatest supply of adult film companies, adult webmasters and adult film stars.
"Barcelona is the place where 80 percent of Spain's adult industry is based," Navarro told XBIZ. "Madrid is trying to wake up, but it is far from Barcelona. In other Spanish cities, there are some little adult companies, but they aren't very important. Barcelona is the place to be."
Illustrating his point, Navarro noted that Private Media, Milkyway, Thagson and Vendiocio are all based in Barcelona, where the Barcelona Erotic Film Festival is held annually. He added, however, that DeseoX is in Valencia City and Xcanal is in Madrid.
Navarro explained that if an American adult company is considering a move to another country, Spain would be an excellent choice for a variety of reasons, including the Spanish government's laissez-faire approach to adult entertainment, the sunny climate and the fact that Spain's mainstream television stations are not afraid to cover adult stars in a favorable way.
Porn Blends In
"The porn business in now considered cool in Spain," Navarro said. "Some local porn performers are popular because TV programs have made them into stars. But the adult business is still very young in Spain compared to the U.S. — maybe 15 years old. Spain's adult industry is still in its first steps."
One of the things that make Latin Americans and U.S.-based Latinos important to Spain's providers of Spanish-language erotica is the fact that, as El Glorioso pointed out, "Spain is the only Spanish-speaking country in Europe."
Most Europeans outside of Spain do not speak fluent Spanish, and the audience for Spanish-language erotica can be broken down into three main groups: Spaniards, residents of Latin American countries and bilingual Latinos who live in the U.S. A Spanish adult company can make a healthy profit catering to customers in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia City, Málaga and Toledo, but it can increase its audience if it also goes after the abundance of Spanish speakers in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Miami and other places across the Atlantic Ocean.
In part two, we'll continue our look at the Spanish market, gonzo productions and beyond.