The licensing or closing of unlicensed sex shops, along with cultural changes such as the substantial relaxation of general censorship and the ready availability of non-commercial sex, have reduced the red-light district of Soho to just a small area. The borough has fifteen licensed sex shops and several remaining unlicensed ones. Islington and Camden each have multiple sex shops; the former also has three pornographic cinemas.
The first sex shop on the continent of North America was called The Garden. It was opened in October 1971 by Ivor Sargent on Crescent Street in downtown Montreal, Quebec. The Garden combined the basic concept of Beate Uhse (Germany) and Ann Summers (U.K.). The store's opening attracted long lines of curious shoppers. The Palm Beach Post commented: "Like the chicken or the egg controversy, no one is really sure which came first-the sex boutique or the so-called sexual revolution". Vibrators Waterproof
By the 1980s, purges of the police force along with new and tighter licensing controls by the City of Westminster led to a crackdown on illegal premises in Soho. In the early 1990s, London's Hackney council sought to shut down Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium, because they did not have a licence. Sh! took the council to court and consequently won the right to remain open as there were no sufficient reasons for the closure. In 2003 the Ann Summers chain of lingerie and sex toy shops won the right to advertise for shop assistants in Job Centres, which was originally banned under restrictions on what advertising could be carried out by the sex industry. In 2007, a Northern Ireland sex shop was denied a licence by the Belfast City Council. The shop appealed and won, but this was overturned by the House of Lords. Sexshop