The intersection of Kaiserstraße and (I think) Moselstraße in Frankfurt, demonstrating the innovation of three sex shops at one intersection (within half a block of my hostel, incidentally): Dr. Müller at right, the Erotic Palace at left, and the America Peep Show a bit up the block. Ah, that last one makes me proud to be an American.
When you pose the words 'Germany' and 'sex' to travel agents or well-travelled friends, it's likely you'll be sent on your way to Hamburg. The north-western city's famous Reeperbahn is known as the biggest German port of call for businessmen and exploratory couples alike who are searching for all the tools and taunts of love outside of the bedroom (or Amsterdam).
What these accidental sexperts are not so likely to tell you is that there is a burgeoning erotic centre a few dots on the map south of Hamburg - in otherwise staid Frankfurt. As one of the main ports of entry for travellers to Germany, as well as a major thoroughfare for other European destinations, the city - and its airport - has boomed in the last 10 years to become one of the country's leading destinations for fantasy-fulfilling shopping and commercial sex services.
The more hyped Hamburg is known for its gaudy, obvious ways. Not that Frankfurt doesn't glow with its inevitable proportion of tacky - most stores sport the ubiquitous flashing female figures and garish downward-pointing red arrows. But there is a user-friendly, everyday vibe to Frankfurt's red light district that makes spending beer money on vinyl corsets and attending a blue movie at noon on a sunny day just another thing to tick off the traveller's to-do list.
In fact, one need not even enter the city for the Frankfurt sexperience. Dr Mueller's Sex Shop (complete with a movie theatre) has three locations in the Departure and Arrivals terminals, and Beate Uhse - Dr Mueller's mother company - has two smallish but exhaustive stores as well. Frankfurt's airport was the first in Germany (and quite possibly the world) to incorporate sex into transit.
But if you have a few hours to spare, catch the S-Bahn into the Hauptbahnhof and you'll find yourself at the steps of the Bahnhofsviertel, the area surrounding the train station where the heart of the city's Eros lies. While the airport's emporium is impressive, the Dr Mueller's on Kaiserstrasse is bigger and bluer and has deals galore. The merchandise is your standard fare - lots of red and black and plastic - but the magazine racks stock international publications and there are bucket loads of DVDs in various world languages.
As is the case in most red light centres, the gay scene in Frankfurt is pumping, with gay and lesbian bars and 'services' as available and popular as the heterosexual outlets that often become dark hangouts for leering, lonely men. Gay guides tout Frankfurt as a lively and even sophisticated stopover and inside the city several gay publications ('Fritz' is a leading one) and call lines direct explorers to the hot spots.read more...>>
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