Guide to Gay Sex and Cruising in Berlin

*You are reading the Needle’s Queer Guide to Berlin

With the Corona-lockdown and its after affects, sex outside has gained a new momentum. The Hasenheide (the wouth side of the small hill in the park’s centre) in particular is now very popular. An improvised gay scene happens on the adjacent, with plenty of nudity and hanging out. More farther down.

What’s the best gay sauna?

Der Boiler in Kreuzberg is the cleanest, biggest, most popular of sauna in Berlin. It’s probably one of the most modern and well-designed in Europe. They do traditional Aufgüsse (herbally-infused steam sessions), have a good café-bar, On the weekends it is open through the night. It’s busiest after work and on Sundays. Specific days have different publics, you can look at their site for more details.

Isn’t there a sex club in the basement of Berghain?

Yes, in the cellar of the former power plant is one of the busiest sex spaces in the city called Lab.oratory (men only), and certainly the one with the most action. Nights are themed: fetish, street clothes, office wear, scat, etc.. Thursday is naked, Friday is wear what you want (and 2 for 1). The latter is the most popular night of the week. But make sure you get there before close to midnight, as they shut the doors once everyone is inside.

‘Lab’ and Berghain join every once in a while for SNAX club, which turns into something resembling a Hieronymous Bosch painting.

 

What about other sex spaces?

A darkroom is more often the norm than the exception in most bars in Schoeneberg (Mutschmanns, Connection, etc.) and less often the norm in Mitte and Kreuzberg / Neukölln (Ficken 3000 is the exception). Many of the clubs (such as Berghain) have sex spaces and Kit Kat Club can be very sex-driven. One sex party at Kit Kat, called Fickstutenmarkt, involves very elaborate role-playing (it’s a horse-trading concept: passive ‘mares’ arrive early, are tied up and blindfolded, and then active ‘stallions’ come later and take their pick).  Berliners are very matter-of-fact about sex and so you will find sex spaces all over this city. Just check out on their websites if they have specific dress codes. Furtive messing around happens in many of the steam rooms of the city’s fitness clubs.

 

What is the etiquette of these places?

Darkrooms tend to be deeply serious places (!), so laughing and loud voices are not appreciated.

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to put your clothes in a plastic bag at the reception area of a sex club. They’ll keep your belongings safe while you wander around inside. The number they write on your arm with a felt pen allows you to pay for things inside and later retrieve your bag (this is the démarche at Lab.oratory for example; the number also allow you to identify cute men). Settle your bill before you leave (at Lab, for example, you pay at the bar then show your receipt to exit). A similar system exists at the saunas, but payments are made against the number of your locker key (don’t walk around inside with cash, and don’t lose your key!).

If you don’t have condoms and lube then ask at the bar in these places; these should be provided for free.

 

How about cruising?

There are many cruising parks in the city, especially––as just mentioned–– Hasenheide (the small hill in the park) and Tiergarten (near the location of the former Löwenbrücke, or Lion’s bridge). There’s been some violence against people cruising in Volkspark-Friedrichshain (AYOR).

If you like naked sunbathing, I might suggest the ‘Tuntenwiese’ or ‘Queen’s lawn’ in the Tiergaten, which is popular during the day with the men. Hasenheide has a similar lawn. If you’d like to visit a lake, then try the gay section at the Teufelssee.

 

PrEP

Is safe sex practiced in Berlin?

Probably not as much as one would hope, so be careful! Or as the Germans say: Ich weiss was ich tue. ‘I know what I do’. PrEP is covered by the German healthcare system and  available with prescription at discounted rates (40 EUR/month approximately), so condoms are no longer necessarily the first-line of defense here, but there are the other STDs to worry about. The city has a network of testing sites: if you have questions contact Mann-o-meter, for example, or Pluspunkt. Both provide anonymous testing and counselling. A newcomer (which provides also free PrEP to refugees, and testing/counselling to everyone) is Checkpoint BLN at Hermannplatz.

 

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