In Berlin, Europe's most decadent party city, techno and sex go hand–in-hand. THUMP's John Lucas penetrated the depths of Kit Kat Club, the German capital's most notorious nookie joint, to investigate.
"Fancy a foursome?"
Jess stares at me lasciviously. We are sitting by the outdoor swimming pool that forms part of Berlin's famed Kit Kat Club with Jess's girlfriend Tia and her friend Sylwia, who is over for the weekend from Warsaw. Jess has lived in LA and, apparently impressed by my "hawt" British accent, is keen to take things to the next level, Kit Kat-style. Tia, however, is less enthusiastic, and the proposed ménage a quatre unfortunately fails to materialise. But had it taken place in the middle of the dancefloor no-one would have batted an eyelid. While in the UK a cheeky snog and a fumbled finger bang is the most one would expect to see in a nightclub, in Germany's capital, "poor but sexy" Berliners routinely celebrate their love of house and techno with impromptu acts of lovemaking.
Kit Kat Club was opened in 1994 by Simon Thaur — an Austrian porn movie maker — and Kirsten Kruger, his partner, when Berghain was still merely a twinkle in the proprietors eyes and Sven Marquardt was still in short trousers.
Dave is a British ex-pat who's been living in Berlin since the late nineties. Standing by the back bar dressed in Doc Martins and a tiny PVC posing pouch, he pushes back his curly blonde hair from his face, keen to extol the virtues of public banging to banging house.
"I come 'ere every week," he says, wiping a bead of sweat from his forehead. "The birds are from all over the world, and they're up-for-it as fuck. There's hardly a week goes by that I'm not getting my nutsack drained in the dark room."
Kit Kat Club, which is opposite Tresor on Brückenstraße in Mitte, is a deceptively large venue arranged across several rooms. There's the main dancefloor, a second, slightly smaller space with a bondage swing and a hidden downstairs bar accessed by murky black tunnels. There's also a vestibule area where shagged-out punters sit around talking and smoking. It connects to the swimming pool where naked men and women sit caressing one another's genitals to Goa trance.
The decor is hippyish and reminiscent of 90's raves, all neon graffiti and acid-trip typography. The crowd is more varied than at any other European club I've been to. For a start, age is clearly no barrier to bumping uglies on the dance floor. I see a couple in their sixties dancing to Mori Kante's Yeke Yeke (the Hardfloor mix), he completely naked, she coquettishly removing the shirt she is wearing as a dress. But there are also younger clubbers. Because of the summer heat most of the men are in briefs of leather or PVC, while the girls wear underwear, or are topless, their breasts adorned with chunky nipple piercings. Tattoos are de rigueur, of course.
As with all parties where sex is on the menu, things start slowly before people get to know one another more vigorously. There is a small area for changing in the entrance hall where people slip out of their civvies. Even here the mood is sexually charged, with meaningful glances and sustained eye contact between the stripping Berliners. Once inside, guests throng around the bar area drinking and chatting.
"Loads of talent in here tonight," Dave observes, pushing back his hair with a shaky hand. "You don't have to be a member to get in – but I've definitely got a member I wanna get in, if you know what I mean."
Indeed. And given that Berlin is the most iconic clubbing destination in Europe after Ibiza what does he think of the music here?
"Music?" He looks momentarily bemused. "It's all that boom-boom-boom shit isn't it? A bit of sniff and I hardly notice it's on, to be honest."
I walk on into the gloom and head to the downstairs bar. In the darkness I encounter Manfred. He is famous at the club for spending between six and eight hours a night wanking furiously in the stairwell while clubbers push past him, thirsty for their next vodka and Club Mate. I ask him why he spends so much time self-pleasuring.
"You see bodies, such bodies here," he puffs, breathless, his hand pumping his manhood ferociously. "Do you see them — all these bodies?"
Sure. But it's a sex club — why not actually talk to someone? You might get lucky.
Manfred nods his head, motioning towards his engorged member and his rapid, shuffling hand.
"I don't have time," he says admonishingly.
Perhaps with his particular proclivities Manfred would enjoy another party across town, the charmingly-named "Saturday Night Fuck" at Insomnia in Alt Templehof. Here bizarre animated porn movies are beamed over the dancefloor: a woman taking a humongous alien boner into her mouth; two female aliens shagging a strange humanoid creature until he implodes, his ejaculate becoming volcanic fire. All of this is pretty much ignored by the punters on the huge double bed in the centre of the dancefloor, who seem more intent on licking and sucking one another than watching films.
From Berghain to Kit Kat Klub, and even in some of the darker corners Tresor, Berlin's bang-happy clubbers seem more than happy enjoy their techno by having public sex to it. Back in Kit Kat I catch up with Sandra, a drag queen with pink hair from Hamburg who is fresh from a sex session with Freida, her non-monogamous boyfriend and another drag queen to ask why.
"It's like this," says Sandra. "In Berlin we say that the techno's good and the fucking's good, so why not do them together?"
Why not indeed? And as the morning sun lights up the darker corners of the outdoor pool and weary clubbers collect themselves for the journey home, I observe a gay couple, their leather trousers lowered to their knees, shagging romantically by the bar to nosebleed techno. There is something heartening in the scene, and in the knowledge that in Berlin, Europe's most decadent city, a steadfast dedication to nightclub nookie still endures.
All names — except Simon and Sven's — have been changed.