• Germany edition
 
Berlin sex trade fair titillates the masses
Photo: DPA

Berlin sex trade fair titillates the masses

Published: 26 Oct 2008 17:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Oct 2008 17:59 GMT+01:00

Germans are famous for their relaxed attitudes toward nudity and sexuality, but they also have two lesser-known passions: healthy organic products and trade fairs.

“Bio” – as Germans label naturally organic items – seems to get slapped on everything these days from beer to blue jeans. The Teutonic fascination with trade fairs is harder to explain, however, if you look long enough you’ll find even the most obscure pastime or industry has a mass gathering of some sort in Germany.

So it should probably be little surprise the German sex industry has its own get-together – Berlin’s annual Venus tradeshow – and that this year there was a noticeable increase in organic erotic products on offer.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Venus.

On a blustery October weekend in Berlin plenty of average folks streamed towards what has become the largest sex trade fair in the world. Nearly 400 exhibitors from 36 different countries came to pimp their skin flicks and hawk their fetish gear.

Sex goddesses in high heels and fishnet stockings prowled the exhibition hall, as men from all walks of life snapped pictures and held video cameras glued to their faces.

But alongside the horny masses and sprinkling of porn starlets, there were serious vendors hoping to combine the growing demand for organic products with various erotic items that have long since become mainstream.

“We believe that sex is good for your health,” said Peter Ackerfeldt, Marketing Manager for the Swedish firm Viamax.

His company, founded in 2001, produces a range of aphrodisiacs made from naturally grown herbs. It’s just one of several businesses at this year’s Venus that have cornered the “nature-based” segment of the erotic market – one with particularly high mainstream potential.

“We take the step from porn to health. Most of our products have been used since ancient times to promote sexual health, and we combine that knowledge with modern processing technology in order to get the best effect out of them,” said Ackerfeldt.

He explained that he thinks perceptions are changing, not just about the value of organic products in society, but also about the role of sex.

“It's a new era, new companies, new people coming to the business and a wider acceptance among mainstream people,” he said. “We see that specifically in Sweden where we sell sex toys in the pharmacies nowadays, which was something unheard of a couple of years ago.”

Rebecca Powley from Intimate Organics, a firm based in Tallahassee, Florida, agreed that the time for all-natural erotic products had come.

Her company’s mind-boggling assortment of lotions and gels are all produced according to strict natural standards.

"Everything is made with certified organic extracts,” she said. “They're glycerin free, DEA free, they're pure vegan, paraffin free. So they're pretty much as healthy as you can get in terms of using something healthy on your body.”

She also said Venus was by far the most expansive sex industry trade fair she’d ever attended: “I do maybe six other shows during the year – Los Angeles, Las Vegas, what have you, and it's just so on a whole other level.”

The growing number of visitors coming to Venus each year would appear to be a sure sign of its mainstream success. “This is my first time at a fair like this,” said a woman named Sally. “It’s definitely very explicit, but on the other hand … I think (it’s good) when people live more open, honest lives, or when fantasies can be played out.”

Of course, not everyone was at the Venus looking for certified vegan edible panties. Two young male visitors, who only identified themselves as Prex and Tire, said they came for the live sex shows. But they saw nothing odd combining hedonistic pleasures with the commercial aspect of the event.

“There are people in every part of the world taking off their clothes,” said Prex. “So, why not have a trade fair?”

Shannon Smith (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn
Photo: DPA

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact. READ  

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,524
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd