"Can someone open my pants for me?" 63-year-old Harald (name changed) asks me, standing next to me, as I watch his protruding gut and his large hands touch the tender buttocks of porn star Lara Jolie. Around the corner, I meet the nude model Mikaela Schäfer. She says she would like to have a "threesome" with her boyfriend who has not proposed marriage to her yet, but whom she so desperately longs for. What drives the many, predominantly German men of advancing age to Venus, Europe's largest erotic fair? I have asked myself this question over and over again. Porn stars can be touched there, Venus promises them. But why would they run to the show stage in droves, to get as close to the action as possible, to film with their cell phones and digital cameras the woman who masturbates in front of them? Harald is a typical German. He wears glasses, a clean ironed shirt, sandals, and dark brown wool socks. He is overweight. A cloth bag hangs around his shoulder filled with autographs collected from his favorite porn stars. His biggest dream ever is to finally take Lara Jolie from behind. To finally see her vagina “for real,” as he puts is, and to feel, as her fan, what is otherwise only allowed for the few male porn actors in the business. Finally, to see a woman naked at all. Jason Steele, a male porno star, likes to take time for his female fans as well. And, yes, they exist here too: Women who show up at Venus to watch other women having sex or to take selfies with big names such as Rocco Siffredi. He starred in at least 1800 porn films and slept with over 5000 women. "He has to be good in bed," says Gabriele (46), who absolutely wanted to take part in the performance of his new “masturbator.” This toy supposedly is for the man who seeks the best orgasm. Actually, one can find everything one’s heart desires at Venus. From sex toys to private striptease shows you can buy for cash. Are there really as many sexually frustrated people in Germany? Has sex in Germany become so boring that you have to take part in such a spectacle? Apparently yes. I cannot shake the impression that Venus is all about a great body cult. When Mikaela Schäfer was asked how she envisions herself in front of the altar, she answers "naked," of course.
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