Apart from the many regular nights of sex in backrooms and basements of the clubs, one special night needs highlightling.
FickstutenMarkt takes place irregularly in Berlin, Hamburg, Mannheim, Leipzig and Brussels. In Berlin this private "Horsefair" takes place at KitKat Club, at Koepenicker Strasse 76. Participants choose to be mares or stallions (no changing roles once the party begins). Mares are bound and blindfolded naked, then the stallions have their way with them - in succession. KitKat is an "exquisite blend of techno club & fetish events, with sophisticated, worldly-cultivated perversion as their purpose and sole objective!" See their website for details on four remaining dates in 2010.
Check out our events listings above for links to Perverts and PIG, two more nights on the annual calendar of Berlin kink.
As bookstores continue to fold in North America, it's good to see Berlin still has gay bookshops.
Between Schöneberg's bars Wittenbergplatz, Prinz Eisenherz (Lietzenburger Strasse 9a) is a large gay-and-lesbian bookstore. Friendly, English-speaking employees here are helpful guides, and they have all the local gay press and maps. A large assortment of gay books of every kind, magazines, videos, postcards, and photography are on sale from around the world, including a good English section. Sit and relax awhile in their pleasant garden patio.
Galerie Janssen (Pariser Strasse 45) is a men's gallery of imagery offering a large assortment of gay video DVDs, photo books, magazines, and cards spanning a wider and deeper range of male erotic themes than can be found most anywhere else -- from art to raunch, of several eras, for many tastes.
By the Manometer community and information center, at Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn station, Brunos (Bulowstrasse 106) giant block-long store is one of several in Germany. In Prenzlauer Berg (Schönhauser Allee 131) there's another Berlin store from the folks who publish Spartacus gay travel guides and the Bruno Gmunder photo books, magazines, and calendars. They also carry a wide assortment of porn DVDs, books, and magazines, German and international.
Verzaubert, the international queer film festival that moves between Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne and Berlin is one of the most important gay festivals in the world.
Yorck is a website that lists of all interesting films around town, including those for Mongay, the gay Monday night cult movie screening at Kino International (Karl-Marx-Allee 33) -- the former GDR's classiest cinema.
Berlin's Gay/Lesbian cinema Xenon Kino (Kolonnenstrasse 5-6, Schöneberg) is like a year-round gay film-fest with new films weekly from around the world.
The CineStar IMAX, at the Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz, screens mainstream films in their original languages -- which usually means English.
Arsenal (Potsdamer Strasse 2) has a focus on independent and experimental films, with screenings, lectures, workshops, plus a gallery and archives.
The city is blessed with many beautiful parks, not least the Tiergarten, where people can enjoy summer sunshine without a stitch on, raising nary an eyebrow. The area around the Siegessäule is traditionally cruisy. There's also action around the Lowenbrucke (Lion Bridge). Biking is easy here as well, with designated paths to most everywhere. There's outdoor cruising at Friedrichshain's Volkspark around the Marchenbrunnen (water-fountain area), both day and night, but be cautious after dark.
The city has a network of public swimming pools with saunas, water cascades, and wave makers. In winter they provide a warm and cozy indoor retreat from the chill. In summer, open-air pools and lakes offer relief from hot weather. For pool info see Berlinerbaederbetriebe.de. For those interested in nudist-friendly spots, look for an "FKK" designation.
Badeschiff (Eichenstrasse 4), a floating pool on the Spree River in Treptow, is a gay-favorite on hot summer days, with bankside sauna, local bands and club nights form time to time.
Teufelssee, ‘Devil Lake’ in Grunewald forest, is easily reached on foot or by bike from Grunewald S-Bahn station, with clear waters for nude swimmers and lush lawns for sunbathers. The woods behind the parking lot are a popular men's cruising area. The nearby Teufelsberg offers great panoramic views of Berlin from a hill created with rubble from buildings destroyed in World War II. The heights are topped by a now ruined and deserted futuristic white dome - a US army radar installation during the Cold War.
The terminal of Templehof Airport was constructed in 1927 and enlarged by the Nazis in the mid-1930s - one of Europe's three iconic pre-war airports. During the Cold War closure of land and water access to the city by the Soviets, US and British aircraft of the Berlin Airlift flew supplies into the airport to sustain over two million residents for almost a year - among the greatest feats in aviation history. Operations ceased in 2008 and in 2010 the area became Berlin's largest city park. The terminal and the long tarmac runways remain open to visitors who walk, skate and bicycle the wide-open spaces. Numerous fairs and events also take place here. Platz der Luftbrücke U-Bahn station provides access to the site, named for the square, with a memorial to those who died during the Berlin Airlift.
From U-bahn Hallesches Tor, across the River Spree, this area once straddled the Berlin wall. It was known for the anarchists, pacifists and other dissidents who lived here in the 1930s, and then again in the post-war divided city. Kreuzberg is full of Berlin´s trademark sexual liveliness - gay, straight, bi – all mixed together, and it's the most ethnically diverse, with Turks, Romanians, Poles, Arabs among others. There are many gay bars, clubs and cafes, including the complex at the Schwulesmuseum (Mehringdamm 61), with café, bookstore and Schwuz, one of the hottest homosex clubs in town. But the whole ´bezirk´ is kinky, sexual and gritty, including stretches of Urbanstrasse, Kreuzberg´s main street, as well as the local Stadtbad (swimming pool), and parks alongside it.
From Wittenbergplatz or Nollendorfplatz stations in the west, the U2 U-bahn will take you to Eberswalder Strasse and Schoenhauser Allee in the east. Around and between these latter stations, the Prenzlauer Berg area of East Berlin is full of interesting sights. East German gay society emerged from, and was a part of, an alternative art and political milieu which came of age under the old regime behind the wall. The district retains, almost a generation later, an appearance and atmosphere apart from that of what was West Berlin. There are gay sex shops, saunas, restaurants, and bars here, but gay sensibilities and perspectives owe less to American and Western European models than to their own history.
In the western part of the city, Schöneberg is the most densely packed area for gay bars, hotels, and shops, and home to Christopher Street Day and Folsom Europe street events. Motzsrasse and Fuggerstrasse, and streets crossing them, are at the epicenter. Here you'll see same-sex affection and leathermen in full regalia alongside families and kids on bikes. As in other German cities, the straight folks blend right in.
Just to the north is the Kurfurstendamm lined with shops. In nearby Wittenbergplatz is the vast and elegant department store KaDeWe, with a gourmet shop, cafes, and restaurant on the top floors to be experienced. Nollenbergplatz anchors the district at its eastern edge with many sidewalk cafes and restaurants along Maasenstrasse, south of the U-Bahnhof.
To trace Berlin's gay history visit the Schwules Museum (Mehringdamm 61) with archives and a library that "present the wide diversity and individuality of homosexuals and their lifestyles." Their 15,000 volumes include books of photographic art, film, theater, music and ballet, and their fiction section, while focused on German literature, has a growing collection of English and other language novels and short stories.