• Germany's news in English

Berlin sex trade fair titillates the masses

Shannon Smith · 26 Oct 2008, 17:59

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.”

Story continues below…

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?”

Related links:

Shannon Smith (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd