Surviving A Berlin Sex Party

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Surviving A Berlin Sex Party

“You know what’s going on here?” the bouncer asked as he looked me up and down. Clearly, “flannel shirt” and “Michael Cera demeanor” didn’t meet the party’s dress code.

“Yes.”

I unbuttoned.

He begrudgingly let me enter the House of the Red Doors, a “sex/artistic/immersive theater/mayhem” event ($15 entrance fee) held every other month in a shabby apartment complex, “Salon zur wilden Renate”—just steps from the Spree in Berlin’s Friedrichshain.

From the homosexual emancipation in the Weimar Republic to 1970s West Berlin hedonism, scatological pornography, and the fetish-charged, Molly-warped parties at Berghain, Berlin has a reputation steeped in the weird, the transgressive, the bizarre, the anti-authoritarian perversions and freak shows—just Google “German Porn” or reminisce that scene from Super Troopers. Meaning, the most “Berlin” experience you can have isn’t checking out Brandenburg Gate or Checkpoint Charlie. It isn’t even snorting Ecstasy at some techno club or drunkenly pissing on the Berlin Wall. It’s venturing into the bowels of KitKat or one of the city’s numerous underground sex clubs, which is why this buttoned-to-the-top long-sleeve-wearing guy living in Berlin had to experience one.

And now, that guy is going to teach all you other timid-but-curious travelers how to survive.

Dress Appropriately Inappropriate

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Berlin’s notorious for strict door policies, so notorious even The New York Times profiled Berghain’s doorman. Needless to say, at these parties, you need to take a full-assed approach—literally.

Some women dress entirely in bondage rope. Some men don chain-link thongs. At the party I went to, there was a 60-something David Lynch lookalike—not necessarily sex party etiquette, but interesting nonetheless.

This particular party’s organizers, “Bad Bruises,” describe the dress code by saying, “Embrace escapism, find your fetish, seek out your styles, and dress up to the max,” which pretty much means don’t look like a college frat-boy, and if you want to look like the gimp from Pulp Fiction, that’s totally OK and encouraged.

But Don’t Act Too Inappropriately.

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Much like a museum or encountering a celebrity in person, look but don’t touch … unless they say it’s OK, in that case, definitely touch.

Sure, this is a free and open environment where a 40-year-old woman dressed in checkered body paint is free to bang a 24-year-old Canadian in a room accurately dubbed “the fuck room,” and, yes, it’s OK for you to momentarily peep like a Tom and, for a second, enjoy the show, but it’s not an invitation to join the show. Consent, consent, consent. Consent is necessary when it comes to everything at these events—be it sex or even dancing.

Most of the attendees—the copulating couples, bondage babes, or those three men in diapers—mind their own business and embrace the judgment-free hysteria that entices so many alt-minded Berliners, so don’t ruin their getaway by over-intruding.

It’ll Get Weird. Really Weird. All You Can Do is Embrace It

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I’ll start by listing all of the conventionally “weird” costumes I saw: A woman dressed like a porcelain doll eerily swinging (on a swing) above a crowded bar, a lanky man wearing a pelican mask and gagging on a ball, a nun in lingerie (actually, if you frequent Pornhub, you’ve probably seen this), two girls smearing white paint onto each other, the David Lynch figure I mentioned earlier.

And none of this even dives into the thematically bizarre ongoings like something called “The Womb Room,” that looked, sounded, and, based on the scent, smelled like a womb. Then there was the Bordello Room, which mimicked something likely out of Mohammed’s fantasies, and there was even a “Chapel” with “nuns.”

All of this makes the Sex room, Spanking room, and the absinthe bar seem pretty tame. Well, that is until you see a furry whipped by a nun—and no, that’s not the absinthe talking.

Definitely Dive In

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You’re at a sex party, surrounded by 1,200 (the official attendance count at the Bad Bruises fiesta I attended) sexually-liberated individuals at your disposal. So have some sex … or at the very least explore a new kink.

If you’re single, mingle. If you’re in a relationship, bring your partner. This isn’t some drug-fueled sex craze—though it is for some—where everybody’s swapping partners, and, suddenly, you look over and see your girlfriend getting naughty with an overweight clown. No, not at all. These parties revolve around exploring fantasies and fetishes and experiencing a hyper-sexualized world you’d never see on Warschauer Straße, let alone in your own bedroom. But if you’d rather reserve a club-bed for some semi-vanilla sex, that’s cool, too.

You Can Always Say “No”

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At these events, a lot of people feel pressured to partake in the lechery and transform into some sexual Casanova willing to experience everything from spankings to sexual electrocution. But, remember, you don’t have to participate in anything if you don’t want to. And nobody will judge you for that. If you’d rather sip merlot and casually observe an elderly man beg for “handprints” on his ass, then do that, and don’t give in to his wishes.

These parties are as much about respect as they are liberation. But, for many, it’s nice to throw away the self-respect and lose inhibitions for a night, even if it means somebody else sees your doughy physique.

Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.

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