A Case for the Sex Club: From Berlin to London

Words by S.X.Cole
Art by Alain Gacha

My most vivid memory of KitKatClub, Berlin, is walking into the pool room and seeing 4 men completely naked, and hard, lounging around limbs intertwined. It may have been the drugs but it was honestly the most decadent and hedonistic image – in the morning light they could have been gods. Naturally, they had just had sex.

Almost everybody has sex and understandably so. It feels good, is (generally) really fun and it helps us make emotional connections. Why then, if we all have it, is sex such a taboo that it should be limited to our homes and bedrooms?

Spending some time in Berlin this year I have come to realise the liberating power of just being able to hook-up with whoever you want on the dance floor in the club, where most of us probably get on the pull. KitKatClub has a certain notoriety and respect amongst clubs in Berlin and indeed the world; it was opened in 1994 by a porn producer and caters to straight and gay people alike. Like most people, I am sometimes extremely self-conscious, and no more so than when I am at a gay club full of often really attractive (read: toned, tall and generally physically good looking) men, but at clubs in Berlin, I have found this self-consciousness dissipates. There exists a mutual appreciation of sexual pleasure between gay men in these clubs and the subsequent the feeling of sexual liberation makes you feel, and everyone else seem, much more attractive.

To paint a picture, many clubs (including straight ones) in Berlin have “dark rooms”, literally rooms with low lighting, attached to the dance floor where you can take someone you’ve met to have sex, to have sex with someone you meet in the dark room, or simply to have a look around. They sound, and are admittedly, pretty seedy but as a Berlin club-staple, they are hard to ignore. My first few clubbing experiences did not involve my participation in the dark room, but it was interesting to see just how open people could be in regards to their sexuality.

It is almost as if in the gay clubs in London (largely without dark rooms), there exists a competition between people to find and pull the most attractive person as quickly as possible. This is a frustration I have had often with my gay friends in London – the night becomes less about having fun and more of a desperation to have sex. As slutty as this article must sound, there is something really liberating in fully understanding and expressing your sexuality, and being unafraid to do what you want in a dark room. Sex clubs, or rather, clubs with sexual opportunities, alleviate self-consciousness and break taboos against sexual promiscuity.

As shallow as it is to base your self-worth on your attractiveness to other people, whether you like it or not, this is a big part of personal esteem especially for gay men. The sheer force of sexuality exuded in gay dark rooms I feel reduces this pressure, and allows deeper appreciation of the self. The UK is at the front of push for universal equality for gay people, and as one of the more liberal countries in Europe, it surprises me that these kind of clubs are few and far between, in particular in London. The British are reputably prudish, but no more so than the German reputation for rigidity and sternness. Interacting with others from around the world in these clubs has highlighted the need for us Brits to let loose in more ways than one – fucking in a club is a hell of a lot naughtier and freeing than running in a field of wheat.

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