überlin

Berlintercourse: The GIF Guide to Sex Party Etiquette

by Guest Blogger

My first trip to a sex club was about five years ago. I had come to spend yet another weekend visiting a dear high school friend living in Berlin and, on a whim, we decided to go to KitKat. The bouncers let us in after first telling us to remove some of our clothes, and my friend happily obliged, keeping nothing but her panties on. I took off my dress and entered the club wearing just a jacket and my underwear.

The rest of the evening is kind of a blur, but I vividly remember enjoying the fact that we were able to dance wearing close to nothing without any creeps following us around. Which brings us to the first – and maybe most important – lesson:

Sex clubs are meant to be safe spaces, so if you visit one, please make sure you help it stay that way.

Having been a guest at several sex parties now, some at pretty tame yet fun nights like GEGEN and some more adventurous ones where almost everyone ended up getting some, I have come to realise that there are a few things you should know before getting involved. To help out my fellow sexplorers, here is what I have learned so far:

1. RESPECT THE RULES

“Alles kann, nichts muss”, as the Germans say. What this means is that the fact you are attending a sex party does not necessarily mean that you’ll end up having wild group sex on the dancefloor. Only if you feel like it and only if the party allows it. While many people probably assume that sex clubs are places where everything is allowed, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

During the sex party I attended a few months back, a significant portion of the evening was dedicated to reciting the event’s rules, and it was made very clear that whoever ignored them would be shown to the door in no time. At this particular party, voyeurism was not welcome – but this isn’t always the case, so make sure you know about the event’s specifics before you misbehave. You will usually find that information on the club’s website but don’t hesitate to reach out to the organisers via email if you have any doubts.

2. SPEAK UP

If you are attending a sex event, know that there is no place for politeness. What I mean is that if a situation is bothering you, you should not say so. I have been hesitant myself, but being straightforward is a must, so if you are afraid of making your move, ask someone to do the dirty work for you.

Once in the dark rooms of Ficken 3000, I realised that someone was watching in a very creepy way that I did not feel comfortable with. I ended up asking a friend to tell him, and the lurker was gone within a couple of seconds. As with most things in life, problems are usually solved more quickly if you deal with them directly instead of allowing them to linger on.

3. BE CONSIDERATE

Every time I engaged in or witnessed threesomes or group sex, I remember being amazed at the level of consideration couples gave to each other. Much to my surprise, I found that couples that engage in this kind of activity seem to have more balanced and healthier relationships, at least from the outside. They’re the kind of people who will outright say when they are not comfortable with a situation instead of sulking or making a scene. And the other person will take the criticism just fine.

What I learned is that, while you should obviously focus on enjoying yourself, you should always keep an eye on other people’s wellbeing. This is especially true if you decide to engage in sexual endeavours with your significant other: the experience will only be truly rewarding for you both if you make sure you are not being selfish or making your partner uncomfortable.

4. DRESS APPROPRIATELY

On a more shallow note, don’t forget that there is nothing worse than attending an event and feeling like your outfit isn’t quite right. In fact, dressing up is a great part of the fun.

Find out whether there is a dress code beforehand, don’t keep all of your clothes on if nobody else is doing so, and don’t stare at people whose sartorial choices are more daring than yours.

When in doubt, remember that this is Berlin and wear black. My go-to outfit is a black bra and black thong, but you could just wear nothing and make Germany proud.

5. DON’T JUDGE

Brace yourself for the fact that you will probably witness a few situations you never expected to. I have seen things that would normally qualify as crazy, such as grown men wearing diapers or a girl holding a knife ridiculously close to a guy’s penis and occasionally poking it.

I did a double take because I was curious, but in the end remembered that everyone has their own dark side and that other people’s should be, at most, considered with a shrug. Try to remember that sex has a lot to do with people allowing themselves to be vulnerable and allowing others into their personal space.

6. BE BOLD

Embrace the fact that this is your chance to try out new things. Most people who attend sex parties on the reg are ready to be your guide if you need them to.

Asking for advice will never be frowned upon and, just as with any regular party, people are usually open to taking new playmates under their wing. If you’re feeling unsure, just look at the way others are behaving and adjust – be emotionally intelligent and empathetic and people will welcome you with open arms.

Don’t believe me? The day after the sex party I went to, I was invited to have dinner with some of the organisers, before heading to a BDSM play party in the evening. That was the night I tried suspension bondage for the very first time, and it was quite the experience. I was incredibly glad to have more seasoned BDSMers around, as they took care of me and shared their precious advice along the way.

7. DON’T GET TOO WASTED

While it’s totally fine to be buzzed at “entry level” parties where most sexual acts happen in dark rooms or other dedicated areas, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself while other people are trying to get busy.

I did get pretty, ahem, tipsy during the first sex party I attended, and even though I mostly just ended up dancing and chatting everyone up, I regretted being that person when I woke up the next day. Oh well, it wasn’t my idea to bring all that vodka!

8. USE CONDOMS

Bring condoms with you (even if you are a girl), but also know that you will always be able to get some for free at the bar – this also applies to Berghain, by the way.

While it can be cute to wake up with a few misplaced love bites the next day because they make for good stories, you don’t want to spend it running from the pharmacy to the STD clinic. Also, nothing says “I don’t respect you” like not caring about this kind of thing. Try to remember what queen Aretha was demanding back in the sixties.

In short, have fun, be open-minded, pay attention to what is happening around you, and you will have a blast! I will soon dedicate another column to my favourite sex parties to help you choose the one on which to try out all these tips – watch this space 🙂

GIFs sourced by @p_a_p_i_

Berlintercourse: The ins and outs of dating in Berlin

by Guest Blogger

Dating in Berlin can be weird. I’d been warned before I moved here: “In Berlin findet man mehr Sex als Liebe”; “Everyone is single in Berlin”, etc. But I still had hopes that I would work it out – I even decided to make a challenge out of it. I mean, how could a young, fairly attractive and relatively intelligent girl like me stay single in a city full of hot, interesting and like-minded people? Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long to realise that things weren’t going to go as smoothly as I had expected.

I turned to my smartphone as soon as I arrived in Berlin, to make sure I wouldn’t lose too much time out of the game. I figured Tinder would be my best bet, as I didn’t have enough acquaintances or work colleagues to allow me to meet boys through friends. Little did I know that I was entering a world made almost exclusively of dates serving as both first and last encounter, plenty of shattered hopes and – here comes the silver lining – pretty awesome sex. It’s been over six months now and I still haven’t won the game. I have, however, learned some of the rules. And here’s tip number 1: don’t get indignant if you hear that the Berlin dating scene is insane. Just thank whoever was kind enough to warn you.

If you haven’t been greeted by a guy opening his apartment door with his balls hanging out, and a cock ring dangling between them, then how can you be sure that you’ve really lived?

Before you ask, yes, that did happen to me. But I’ll save that story for another time! Anyway, I’ve learned a lot over the past few months. I’ve gone from almost falling in love upon first meeting a guy to having blind sex dates with people I met through OkCupid and knew nothing about. Not necessarily because of Berlin, but because I had just got out of a four year relationship which had repressed what I would describe as mild nymphomaniac tendencies. And what’s wrong with that? I always make the guys wear condoms, I haven’t got pregnant yet and I’ve experienced my fair share of crazy stories.

My dating spree has introduced me to the good, the bad and the ugly of the Berlin dating scene. And no man that I’ve encountered has behaved in a way that could be described as remotely normal. I blamed online dating for this, until I stopped using dating apps for a month. To my horror, I realised that the men I met in the standard, pre-21st century fashion ended up behaving in an even more absurd way.

To give you an idea – I got dumped by this one guy I wasn’t even dating, by receiving a Whatsapp message at 7am on a Monday, as I lay in bed with a boy I’d met at Berghain.

We’d been to KitKatClub the Saturday before, and, after telling me we were absolutely going home together and convincing me to leave some of my clothes at his place, he got off his face on ecstasy and suddenly decided he wanted nothing more to do with me. In the meantime, he had actually introduced me as his girlfriend and asked what our rules were for the evening. We agreed that kissing strangers was fine, and that we would ask first if we wanted to actually sleep with anyone else. I guess it took him 24 hours to decide that the sensible thing to do would be to break up with me and dare to include the words “let’s stay friends” in his message – because why not, right?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to sharing all these fabulous encounters in even more excruciating detail. Stay tuned for a journey in the life of a desperately single Berliner trying to figure out the in and outs of this sex-obsessed city, one or two insane boys at a time.

Sorry Sunday Times, Berlin’s clubs aren’t “satanic”

by James Glazebrook

A week before our last visit to Berghain, Zoë’s parents read something that gave them cause for concern. According to a hysterical article in The Sunday Times, the UK’s most popular weekly newspaper, inside the (in)famous Berlin club the “smell of sex is overpowering”. I’ve never smelt anything like that inside the club, but I did get a whiff of something when I opened the copy of the Times my in-laws mailed to us. Bullshit.

Berlin's "return to decadence" by The Sunday Times

I can’t link to the article, because the News International dinosaurs have hidden it behind a paywall – which is either unfortunate or lucky for you, depending on how much you like to be angered by sensationalism and lies. (As you’re about to find out, I love it.) You can however, see the “trailer” for the article (click through on the image above), and read a pretty decisive dismantling of it over on skruff.com. Quoted there, former Bar 25 resident DJ Beaner is the voice of reason:

it’s just the basic London journalism. You know, it’s using vague second hand non-facts to prove a story that you set out to write already… That kind of stuff [writer Christopher Goodwin] described does exist in a few places in Berlin though I honestly think Berlin was wilder and more hedonistic a few years back.

The point is not that sex and drugs aren’t common features of certain Berlin nightspots, just that they aren’t everywhere, in every club – as Goodwin suggests. His assertion that “the Berlin scene is driven by such blatant sexual licentiousness and ubiquitous drug-taking that it would make the denizens of the decadent Weimar clubs of 1920s Berlin blush in their velvet coffins”, is based 75% on a visit to the KitKatKlub, and 20% on a trip to Berghain. If you go to a fetish club, you are going to see sex, and if you go to a gay club, you are going to see gay stuff.

To “report” such goings-on so pornographically (“a model-beautiful blonde woman in her early twenties is being taken from behind by an athletic young guy as she orally gratifies another man while stimulating a third with her hand”) and to imply that they take place in every Berlin club is far more irresponsible than any of the participants’ actions. Labelling an article “not suitable for children” is the worst kind of tabloid journalism, as is the use of homophobic and demonising language (“minces”, “as satanic as the club he owns”) and the outrageous, downright racist suggestion that “many fear [Berlin] will degenerate into a crisis as serious as that which gave rise to Nazism.”

Count yourself lucky you can’t read this shit. But be prepared for questions from concerned relatives back home who have been conned into believing that everyone in Berlin is fucking and drugging themselves silly, out in the open. Just be straight with them: drug-taking is more open here, but probably no more prevalent than clubs in London or anywhere else; the sex is consensual and takes place in designated fetish clubs (which also exist everywhere); and you’ve seen far fewer casualties of substance abuse or violence here than anywhere else you’ve ever lived. Stick that in your bigoted, fear-mongering pipe and smoke it, Sunday Times.