Netherlands says sex shows not art

The beholder’s eye just lost some of its decision-making power. A court in the Netherlands has ruled that private sex shows, among the major draws for Americans looking to let loose in a permissive culture ready to exploit repressed visitors, are not art. This is a departure from a 2008 ruling that called the gyrating in private booths cultural. Of course, the upshot of the change in direction is not any form of prohibition. After all, that would be counterproductive. Instead, the government is looking to maximize revenues. As “culture,” the sex show fees were taxed at 6%, but having lost this status, a 19% rate will apply.

The case was Belgian but has implications for the Netherlands. According to the ruling, the lower tax rate only applies to art forms in which people participate together. One-on-one performances don’t apply … do don’t try to rationalize your lap dances as an alternative to MoMA.

The finance ministry hasn’t wasted any time, with a spokesman saying that sex biz bosses need to start shelling out at the higher rate.