• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Berlin sex trade fair titillates the masses

Shannon Smith · 26 Oct 2008, 17:59

Published: 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.”

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)

Today's headlines
Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shocks across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Munich pharmacy’s nighttime porno show draws crowd
Photo: DPA

When a police patrol in Munich's Sendlinger Tor area noticed a crowd gathered outside a pharmacy window they went to investigate. But the onlookers weren't interested in a new line of flu medicine.

Small town mayor beaten up for plan to house refugees
File photo: DPA.

The mayor of the small northern town of Oersdorf, Schleswig-Holstein, was beaten up by an as yet unknown person, police reported on Friday, seemingly because of plans to provide a home for refugees.

Fire at major Ruhr area hospital kills at least two
The fire in Bochum. Photo: DPA

Tragedy struck the western German town of Bochum on Friday morning when a huge fire broke out in a hospital in Bochum, killing at least two people.

Merkel condemns 'barbarous' Russian strikes on Aleppo
Photo: DPA.

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned what they called "barbarous" Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes on Aleppo during a phone call Thursday, the White House said.

Self-driving Tesla car hits bus on Autobahn
A Tesla Model S on autopilot. Photo: DPA / obs / ADAC

Questions about Tesla’s self-driving cars are now being raised in Germany after an accident on Wednesday.

Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd