photo: Bad Bruises
Out there in the world, Germany, and Berlin in particular, have a reputation of being sexually liberal places. Nudist beaches, sex parties, uncensored breasts on television, experimental sex practices, acceptance towards various sexual orientations and identities. You get the general idea. We Berliners are wild, excessive, and constantly horny – well, at least in the eyes of the rest of the world.
As a Berlin resident and German citizen I would never say that Germans are particularly naughty or more sex-crazy than other nations, nor did I have the impression that Berlin is sexually more open than other cities in Europe. Yes, maybe we have a few sex clubs more than other cities, but I doubt that there aren’t any places like that in the rest of the world. They might just be more behind closed doors and less publicly advertised. Here sex was always there: swingers clubs, dark rooms, fetish parties. But it was almost an alternative scene from my perspective, you could only see it if you knew where to look. It was the underground. But this is changing.
Now there is sex positivity, body positivity, feminist porn, and you could say a general awaking in the society from the bad dream that sex is something to be ashamed of and to keep in private. People are embracing sex more and with it, their own bodies and desires. Isn’t this something we should all strive for?
Sex and Nightlife
Sex is embedded in Berliner nightlife. In contrast to the misconception, that considers gay people exclusively as the ones who combine sex with clubbing, Berlin nightlife stands as the undeniable proof of the opposite. At the end, what one realizes is that human body and lust are being celebrated in parties with great ambiance regardless of the gender and the sexual orientation of the people involved. Think of the rise of parties such as Pornceptual, Gegen, The House of Red Doors, or the club of all clubs Berghain. Never has the sexually open part of Berlin’s nightlife been more in the center of attention as now.
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The State of Relationships
Much like the rapidly changing nature of today’s society, romantic relationships could not remain impervious to this development. The concept of marriage is being highly frowned upon nowadays leading to the constantly diminishing number of weddings in most countries all over the world, or to use Aziz Ansari’s words from his exceptional “Modern Romance”: “89% of the people nowadays live in countries, where weddings are on the decline.” Along with marriage, monogamy is also something a lot of couples are not willing to suck up, just because older generations were happy to do so. Open relationships are becoming even more popular among people, who do not believe that being a good partner equals tasting only your loved one’s genitalia through eternity.
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Along with celebrating human sexuality in its various manifestations, we have learned to embrace the human body with all its flaws and imperfections. Granted, you may as well use the gym as your second home, if you aspire to look like the next cover boy or girl, but if you simply do not want to, it is fine. It is totally fine with all your wrinkles, chubby thighs, beer belly and small boobs. It is perfectly OK, because sexy emanates from a place of inner confidence, not from your abs. Come on, go along: pierce and tattoo your body wherever you like, dye your hair turquoise if you want to. Nobody will stare or look at you in disgrace or make you feel in any way uncomfortable, not here.
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Few social groups have been so harshly criticized historically for embracing their sexual identity as women. Words like slut and whore, were used arbitrarily to describe pretty much any woman who did not comfort to societal norms. In several countries around the world, women are still considered to be humans of lower value compared to men. Contrastingly, female sexuality in Berlin is blossoming with women celebrating their body to their liking. There is a very clear distinction between what is honest and what is vulgar. In Berlin, naked is not a synonym to vulgar.
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Next Generation Porn
For those, who thought that porn movies center around the pizza guy or the plumber narrative, this generation’s work demonstrates that there can be creativity in combination with a more stylish – often Instagram-like – aesthetic, when it comes to filming porn. Nowadays, the themes are more emotional, the actors more natural, and the final result more cinematic. Gender roles are breaking, stereotypes dissolving and cliches are fading. There is a whole movement of pornography that goes against the stream of traditional porn, for example all the work that is being shown at the Pornfilmfestival Berlin in October. Take, for example, Erika Lust’s innovative project XConfessions which publishes beautifully filmed sex stories and fantasies of people from around the globe. The most inspiring ones are turned into highly erotic short films. Take a look at the trailer of the 6th volume that compiles the 10 best recent stories. Another great example for a new generation of porn are the cute and intimate films by Noel Alejandro that show a different kind of gay guy than the usual pumped-up muscle fairies.
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Sex and Art
Sex has evaded the territory of pornography and turns into a theme present in various forms of art, such as photography, painting and film. It has always been present, yet nowadays its depiction becomes more explicit and honest having shuttered away the vale of the forbidden that used to come along with it in the past.
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Whether it is publicly manifested through a recording artist like Conchita Wurst, a world-renowned reality show like RuPaul’s Drag Race or the critically acclaimed tv series Transparent – rigid gender roles are to be destroyed and sex-role stereotypes to be defied, if the gender-non-comforming person feels oppressed by them. Berlin has been hailing gender bending for years now with its parties, events, art exhibitions and multicultural identity welcoming every expression of people’s inner, most wildly creative and honest nature.
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The Fashion of Fetishes
Leather is probably the first word that comes to mind should they engage in a conversation about fetishes on an idle Sunday afternoon. Latex, foot fetish, smelling dirty underwear, golden shower, furries, crossdressing – these are only few of the many fetishes humanes like to indulge in. There was a certain stigma connected to the majority of them in the past century, as if there was something “mentally” wrong with the people who had them. But in this day and age the aesthetic of fetish gear has been elevated from the shadows of the underground into the limelight of the runways, and ultimately into the spotlight thanks to the current trends of club wear. And along the way came a certain acceptance towards the fetishes themselves.
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The Gluttony of Sex
Being sexually very active is something that society always had a double standard for. For a man it was something to be proud of and what other men admired him for. For women this is quite another story, because a woman that has an active sex life outside of a relationship will be called a slut. The unfairness of this is more than obvious. Well, life is bizarre and a lot of people are wildly sexist; or they just cannot embrace their small phallus. In any case, there is finally an open conversation about slut-shaming, the gluttony of sex and the right to enjoy it regardless of gender or age.
Text: Nikos & Frank