German Erotica: The Land of Beer, Sausage and Sex Shops
Shopping in Germany is a pleasure. Souvenirs are plentiful and there are sex shops in every city, town and village. But be sure and leave your prudishness at home.
Super size it at the Beate Uhse sex shop.
Sex shops seem to be all over Germany -- and in the most mundane of places. In malls, on shopping streets, and even in the Frankfurt International Airport where the first site greeting international visitors once they clear customs are giant vibrators and cock-rings on prominent display in the window of a sex shop. And they say Germans don't know how to have a good time!
For Americans, of course, sex shops are the "dirty" stores that are located on the bad-side of town. It's a place you might go if you have any money left over after buying crack cocaine from the neighborhood drug dealer and are looking for some good old American porno. Here in Germany, it's a little different. Here, if you have any money left over from buying grandma a Hümmel figurine for her birthday, you may consider going to the shop next door for some good old German porno. In America, the sex shops are called "Adult Book Stores" and there are no outer displays of the shop’s wares. Here, though, sex shops are no exception to the window shopping extravaganza that is Germany. You can pick your perverted pleasure without every leaving the safety of the sidewalk.
In Germany sex shops are simply no big deal. They can be anywhere and nobody cares. Indeed, it's not unusual for Germans to use sex shops as points of references when giving instructions. "You are looking for the book store? It's right across from the store selling 30 centimeter long, battery operated vibrators; you can’t miss it." Quite a shock for someone from the United States, where, if a sex shop is located within an hour’s drive of a respectable institution -- such as a school or a church -- you can be sure that some prude will be keeping tabs on everyone unprincipled enough to wander inside.
If there is one thing lacking in the sex shop culture in family friendly Germany, it's the rather conservative opening hours. They tend to follow traditional opening times. Need a leather paddle and spiked collar fix after church on Sunday? Unless you're in a larger city, forget about it. In smaller towns, you'll have to wait until Monday.
Contributed by Michael Sean McGrath in Backnang, Germany.
Stay informed with our free news services:
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2006
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
MORE FROM SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL
German PoliticsMerkel's Moves: Power Struggles in Berlin
World War IITruth and Reconciliation: Why the War Still Haunts Europe
EnergyGreen Power: The Future of Energy
European UnionUnited Europe: A Continental Project
Climate ChangeGlobal Warming: Curbing Carbon Before It's Too Late