Venus 2010 was our second visit to Berlin to take in what is undoubtedly Europe’s biggest sex themed event. In 2009 our first visit to Berlin provided a thrilling insight into what is possible when you gather together a swathe of the continent’s erotic performers, adult retailers and sex toy manufacturers in one place. The draw of Venus was so compelling that businesses from the US, China and Korea set out their stalls alongside the European contingent in what was undoubtedly an impressive event.
Venus 2010 was an altogether different matter. Due in part to a new trade only show reducing the B2B halls and the effects of the recession the Venus event has shrunk considerably. If you want to read about the new trade show “eroFame” and how it has been a game changer in terms of adult B2B in Europe then keep an eye on our sister site, A-Rouse.com for our eroFame report. For our impressions of the public shows at Venus read on …
In comparison to the myriad of vendors and attractions at last year’s show Venus 2010 looked rather pale and insipid. The crowds of European (predominantly German) youth were still there, but even on the Saturday (one of the busiest days) the crowds were not as dense as last year.
Last year’s fetish hall was interesting and well populated with specialist vendors of sex toys and other products. Shows demonstrating spanking, bondage and other paraphillic activities occurred at regular intervals and made for a lively atmosphere. We were informed by Venus veterans that last year’s show was about 15% down in terms of vendor numbers from 2008 in the fetish area. That was disappointing but still made for an interesting and stimulating experience. This year’s hall was almost empty by comparison and would have felt even more sparsely populated if it hadn’t been for the addition of a new bar at one end which compressed the small number of booths in to a smaller space.
There were some items of interest in the fetish hall and we’ll cover these on A-Rouse.com but there was no vibrancy in the place and unless the Venus organisers come up with a compelling reason for exhibitors to attend next year Venus 2011 may not even need a specialist fetish hall to house them.
The public halls lacked the sex toys vendors of last year too. We can only speculate that the recession has made toy retailers less willing to take what can be a significant financial risk and book space for a stand when an online store can give them access to customers at a fraction of the price. You may be getting less of a bargain than you think at a show too as the seller has to recoup their costs, either by selling cheap sex toys at inflated prices or just charging way too much. An online vendor of sex toys can be far less hassle.
What retailers did appear at the show were pretty random and apart from a few exceptions what can only be described as “low rent”.
The stands that did predominate were those with porn performers from the unknown to recognisable stars, the former predominating. That’s great if you want an autograph or a look but don’t touch erotic dance but not very fulfilling or sophisticated erotica. This feeling of a slightly cheapened event was compounded by the addition of a small booth offering “private dances”.
Another aspect of Venus 2010 that disappointed us was the lack of peripatetic performers wandering about the place putting on impromptu shows. Particularly notable by its absence was last year’s pony taxi, an event in itself. In addition to the taxi we saw latex clad girls bound in rope, young twinks in their underwear and a number of strippers performing in the middle of the crowds at random locations. It made the place feel quite hedonistic. All that had gone this year and the show felt poorer because of it.
That said, do you really want to visit a sex show that’s just for the boys? If you do then Venus is the biggest and most explicit you can visit. America and the UK can’t compete on the amount of naked flesh (due to obscenity laws) and the shear size of the show. The US might have bigger but the content has to be tamer. If you want a little more than pole dancing where cameras are allowed and no membership is required then Venus 2010 would have left you feeling a little let down.