I Celebrated My Honeymoon at Berghain's Notorious Gay Sex Club

Lab.Oratory is a place where gay sex knows few limits—a perfect metaphor for our marriage.

|
Aug 23 2016, 4:35pm

Illustration by Lili Emtiaz

Get the VICE App on iOS and Android.

We are told our entire lives that we are allowed to hate as many people as we want, but once we're married, we only get to love one person—to love and fuck them for the rest of our lives. Question that idea, and you're a threat to society.

I met my husband, Alex, four and a half years ago on Scruff, a gay dating app. He was supposed to be nothing more than a hot fuck; I had no idea we would end up married. But I ended up meeting my perfect partner, because we aren't afraid to allow each other the freedom to live the lives we want—to love without limits, which meant opening our relationship to others.

It took years of conversations and fights to finally find comfort in the arrangement. I have walked out of threesomes in a fit, pulling Alex out with me, because he kissed a guy too long or looked at him in a way I felt should be reserved only for me.

When we met our boyfriend, Jon, watching Alex fall in love with someone new challenged me in ways I never could have anticipated. Yet there was something beautiful to be found in the way they would hold hands or kiss. Watching them expanded something inside of me, and with time, I learned that I could fall in love with both of them, and that we could love each other, and others, without limit.

Alex and I got married this February, and we decided our honeymoon would be a five week trip to Europe. We wanted all the adventures we could handle; like our marriage, we decided our honeymoon didn't have to follow any rules. We could do what we wanted—our way.

That's why, when we found out about Lab.Oratory, a sex club in the basement of Berlin's internationally renowned Berghain nightclub, we knew we had to go—that taking part in a bacchanal 300-man orgy was the perfect way to celebrate our bond.

Berghain is part of an old power station in an industrial and remote neighborhood of East Berlin. To get there, our taxi drove us down a long, isolated boulevard. Once we approached the club, as if from nowhere, young, diverse hipsters in expensive club wear began to appear, walking down the middle of the street. Food kiosks shared curb space with limos and exotic sports cars; old ladies sold trinkets on the street.

While Berghain is famous for its hours-long line, Lab.Oratory has its own entrance, with its own door criteria. We learned that entrance came with a strict no perfume policy. If you were wearing deodorant or cologne, you were turned away in an instant, which makes sense, because the smell of men is part and parcel of the eroticism of gay sex.

The theme that night was simple: two drinks for the price of one, clothing optional. We were nervous—we'd been to sex parties and bathhouses in America, but nothing like this.

The space inside is cavernous and utilitarian, with cement walls and floors, punctuated by industrial steel beams. It felt like an orgy in an abandoned warehouse, dirty and dangerous. Men stood around in the main room bar in various degrees of undress, laughing and talking, while others fucked and sucked in the corners. But the real action goes down in smaller rooms throughout. Alex and I decided to get the lay of the land.

To say they fuck a lot at Lab.Oratory is an understatement. But it's not the fucking, or the rows upon rows of slings, or the tubs for piss play, or rooms for fisting, or the gangbangs you'll stumble into, or the casual way you can just drop to your knees and suck a guy off that make Lab transcendental. It's the camaraderie you'll feel while there.

One goes to Lab to fuck, above all, but it's a celebratory kind of fucking. You immediately sense that Lab is a place dedicated to the celebration of our bodies, our desires, our homosexuality, and our masculinity, a celebration of one another.

I had eyes for this big, beefy guy we saw at the bar. He was from South Africa, in Berlin for the weekend. Soon enough, Alex and I were passionately fucking him while others watched, touching and kissing us, the sound of sex everywhere. My whole mind soon shut off, lost in sensory overload.

Later, while Alex fucked a guy we met from Columbia, I knelt next to him, so he could watch me blow a tall redhead from London with an amazing dick. At one point, Alex broke away from his Colombian, and I blew them both, the two of them making out while I was on my knees servicing their cocks. Toward the end of the night, we met this thickly muscled Bulgarian man with a gray beard and salt-and-pepper hair. He and Alex fucked me together, whispering to each other behind me.

In those moments, I don't see Alex as my husband. I begin to see him as someone else. We spend so much of our lives on Earth navigating mortgages and bills, negotiating our personal needs against those of our families, friends, jobs, and larger lives. At Lab, I got to forget all of that. My husband became this sexy, big-dicked Dominican stud. I got to watch him fuck, seduce and flirt. I got to fuck alongside him and be shared by him with other guys. In those moments, we weren't complicated, and we weren't negotiating. Neither were they.

I don't believe marriage means shutting out my personhood or my sexuality. "I don't want to do this in the conventional way," Alex told me as we first discussed tying the knot. "I don't want a religious ceremony. I don't want to wear suits or to do anything that doesn't represent us." We didn't want to forget that we were still gay men—that our marriage didn't have to mimic a heteronormative lifestyle. It could mean whatever we wanted it to mean, because it was ours. Our rules. Our life.

After we left Lab, we took a long walk along a canal next to our apartment. It was cold, and the sky was turning pink. Alex held my hand. We stopped by a bridge, and he wrapped his arms around me, kissing me.

"I love you so much, baby," he said. "This is the best honeymoon ever."

Follow Jeff Leavell on Instagram.

More VICE
Vice Channels