This article originally appeared on VICE Canada. “Stallion?” the guy behind the check-in desk says in a thick German accent.
I nod and he hands me a garbage bag for my clothes. I don’t have to be naked. But I don’t want cum and shit all over my jeans, so I strip to my underwear. And since the mares will be au naturel, being fully dressed would feel weird, even though they won’t even see me.
After collecting my garbage bag, the Stablemaster leads me to the basement. It’s a typical cruise bar—black walls, low lighting, deep house playing in the background, and jars of condoms on the bar. About 50 guys are standing around, mostly naked, a few in underwear or jocks. Roughly half are bent over, hands on the wall, ass in the air, a bag tied over their head. Welcome to the Fickstutenmarkt.
Also known as the Horse Fair, it’s a concept sex party where attendees enter as either a stallion (top) or mare (bottom). Mares arrive 30 minutes early, check their clothes and are led to the “stable” after being blindfolded. Stallions then arrive and have their pick of available holes. Originating in Germany a decade ago, (because only Germans could invent something like this, sorry Germany) parties have been popping up around Europe with increasing frequency.
I’ve been curious about going for a while. A mare I know who attended in Munich gleefully told me about the bruises he still had a week later. Another friend, who’d been to the London edition said one particularly ravenous bottom had a sharpie for stallions to leave tally marks on his back after fucking him. By the end of the night, he’d accrued 47.
Most sex parties have a dress code (jocks, leather, naked) or a theme (watersports, fisting, spanking). Beyond that though, you can kind of do whatever you want. But here, the rules are more numerous. Beyond the strict entry times and dress code (for the mares at least), you’re limited to certain partners (no stallion/stallion or mare/mare coupling) and you can only have sex a specific way (no kissing, no sucking, definitely no cuddling).
I have no idea what’s about to unfold, but right now it’s just a bunch of mostly naked guys looking bored sipping beer from plastic cups. Ten minutes in, my feeling is closer to ambivalence than arousal. I decide to walk around to see if I can get in the mood.
There are three slings next to the stairs, all of which are occupied; one inhabitant is getting pounded by a short, stocky top, the other two lying back with their legs in the air. I start pulling at my dick, trying to get hard.
After a few minutes, the top pulls out, steps back, and gives me a little nod as if to say, “He’s all yours.” I slide a condom on and enter him easily, his ass is already wide open. I have had plenty of anonymous sex but even in a dingy basement like this, I’ll usually give prospective partners a once over to decide if I’m into them (at least based on available light). Right now though, I’ve just stuck my dick inside someone without even really looking at him.
The hood combined with the low lighting means I can’t really tell how old he is, but he’s slim and probably medium height with a patch of dark hair on his chest. As we start to fuck, he grabs my rib cage, pulling me closer and presses his face into my neck; It's an oddly intimate gesture given the enforced anonymity of the environment. It’s nice, but it’s not hot.
After a few minutes, I can feel myself going soft inside him. I pull out, grab a handful of paper towel from the dispenser on the wall, pull the condom off and give my dick a wipe. He does a hit of poppers and adjusts himself in the sling, waiting for the next one.
Back in the main room, the action is picking up. A bottom with a particularly luscious ass is perched on a bench at the edge of the room, a cluster of guys around him standing by for a kick at his can. I sidle up to the group and whip it out, waiting for my turn.
Sex is always kind of about the bottom. Here that’s clearer than ever. We’re all waiting to get our dicks wet. But the person who’s really getting what he wants is on his knees. Since five of us are taking turns it quickly gets boring, so I back out of the circle to explore other options.
On the opposite wall, a young guy with milky-white skin and a star-shaped tramp stamp kneels on a bench, a few strands of blonde hair poking out from his hood. I walk up behind him and rub my crotch against his ass. He arches his back and presses into me. I bring him to his feet and guide him to the row of cubicles opposite the sling room. I’m probably two minutes into fucking him, when a flashlight shines over my shoulder, illuminating my dick.
I pause thrusting to give the Stablemaster a look. Satisfied, he continues on. Since the mares can’t see whether you’re using a condom, the staff walk around to check you’ve wrapped up.
It’s a practical measure to ensure consent. But it also makes the party feel like a junior high dance, with safe sex guardians checking for latex like teachers holding rulers to see whether you’re far enough apart.
It’s not a strictly safer sex party though. Mares have the option to flag themselves for barebacking. In most cases, that means a different colored hood (red for bare, white for safe). For this edition, “bare mares” sport a red armband, though there are only a handful, which is surprising.
With the advent of PrEP, condomless sex is increasingly the norm in these kinds of spaces. Usually sold under the brand name Truvada, it’s a combination of two drugs in a single pill taken daily to prevent HIV infection. As it’s become more widely available, barebacking in on the rise. Ten years ago, you had to say something if you didn’t want a condom. Now you have to specify if you do. But here, anyway, most attendees aren’t looking to exchange fluids, though maybe they’re more concerned about other STI’s, which PrEP doesn’t guard against.
After a few more minutes of fucking my faceless bottom, I depart with a playful slap to his ass and continue my journey through the bar. I fuck three more guys—two suspended adjacent to each other in the sling room and a third back in the cabin area.
Back in the main room, most of the bottoms are leaning against the walls getting pounded from behind. Moans echo around the space, occasionally drowning out the music. At the same time, the whole thing seems a bit more civilized than I’d imagined. No holes dripping cum. No visible bruises. No prolapsed rectums.
The clock above the bar indicates there are more than 30 minutes left. But sex fatigue is kicking in so I decide to throw in the towel and head home. Even I have a limit on the amount of ass I can take in one night.
Like every sex party, Fickstutenmarkt has rules that set it apart. While the anonymity is a unique twist, the event didn’t live up to its debaucherous promise. What was supposed to be a balls-out festival of fucking, was just a regular old sex party with a set of weird restrictions. I’d thought the rules would be a turn on. But eventually, I just got bored. It turns out that I don’t like a third party dictating who I can do and how I can do them.
Maybe that’s because the party is really all about the bottoms. Even though they give it up without seeing who’s getting it, they’re still ultimately the ones in charge. Maybe it’s fun for them. But as a top, it gradually started to feel like a retail sales job—constantly surveying the floor to see who you can service next. I guess I want more control than that. Maybe next time I should come as a mare.
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