tagReviews & EssaysLive Sex Show!

Live Sex Show!


When people think of Amsterdam, they often think of two things; marijuana and sex. I hate to look like a tourist, so I'd like to say that I visited Amsterdam for Anne Frank and the Van Gough museum, but that wouldn't be entirely true. I mean, I did visit the city for history and art. But I also visited it for marijuana and sex.

On my second night there, my traveling partner Becca and I decided it was time to check out one of the most infamous areas of Amsterdam. We probably would have gone our first night, but both of us were too embarrassed to admit how much we were looking forward to witnessing the beacon of sexuality that is the Red Light District.

The pair of us looked pretty ridiculous walking around at 10pm, maps in hand, searching for any sign of sex we could locate. I had just made a comment about how we were never going to find it when we turned a corner and a flood of red lights hit our eyes.

There are no words to describe the Red Light District. It is a festival of sexual freedom and expression. Sex workers rent booths, often through a third party (I hate to use this word, but basically "third party" refers to a pimp). The booths are full-length windows lined with neon red lights that run the length of the main street, as well as several side alleys that come off the primary canal.

The peak times for the district are 10pm to about 1am. During that period, there is a sex worker in nearly every window. Most wear bikinis. Some tease potential customers, attempting to coax them in with a wink and a smile, while others sit on a stool, talking on their cell phones or filing their nails. Many of the workers simply lean against their windows, wiggling their hips, tapping their fingers on the door frame, and staring off into space.

Through the windows, you can often see a small room with a twin cot, a sink, and a telephone. I saw one man, probably in his mid-20s, entering one of the rooms with a coy smile. There were four or five men behind him, egging him on as his sex worker pulled the curtain over the window.

Other than prostitutes, there are also several sex shops on the road. I have to admit, however, that the most interesting things about the Red Light District were the live sex theatres. I think the sheer novelty of it all is what I found fascinating. Becca and I passed several theatres, and each time we were bombarded with fliers advertising what we could find inside for a "mere" twenty euros (about $30 US dollars at the time). Each time we walked by, we stole a quick glance at one another before moving on.

After wandering up and down the street for a good hour, taking in the sights and shopping a little, we decided it was time for a drink. We stopped in the nearest bar, a quiet pub around the corner from the last of the windows. We were silent for awhile, until I finally asked Becca if she wanted to see what the live sex shows had to offer. She smiled, finished her beer, and we headed back down the road.

It was a little awkward to approach the haggard man in the ticket booth, but we handed over our twenties and walked inside nonetheless.

The sex shows, we would soon learn, work on a revolving schedule, showing the same series of scenes in a continuous loop. This allows patrons to enter at any point in the evening, preventing lines from forming outside. I am pretty sure that we arrived at the first show in the loop, because it was pretty mild compared to the one before it.

We took a seat about four rows from the front of the stage. The first act involved a woman in a tropical bikini top with a grass skirt. She was dancing with a person (no telling whether it was male or female) dressed in a ridiculous gorilla costume with a dildo protruding from the front. The gorilla was eating a banana, and the woman danced around him in strange circles. The finale of the act was the woman taking the banana out of the gorilla's hand, peeling it, and laying on the floor spread-eagle, legs high in the air. She inserted the banana into herself, and the gorilla came over and took a bite. The woman pulled the banana out and took a bite herself before waving at the audience as the curtain closed.

The second scene was a standard stripper scene. Madonna's "Hung Up" was popular in Europe at the time, so that was the song chosen by the dancers. There were two poles on either side of the stage, and the women danced on them in a basic stripper act similar to one you could see in a night club in the US (or, presumably, anywhere else).

As the dancers retreated and the curtain closed, I took a look around the theatre. I think there might have been a Japanese tour group visiting, because the audience was predominantly Asian males. There was one woman sitting next to a man, and she looked very uncomfortable. The customers were kind enough to leave a few seats between each other. It didn't look like anyone was masturbating or anything. In fact, most people seemed to be sitting in disbelief, similar to Becca and me, shocked at the strangeness of it all.

When the curtains opened again, we were greeted by a lesbian scene. A mattress had been placed in the center of the stage. One blonde woman lay spread-eagle on the floor, genitals pointing toward the audience. Another woman, African-American, did a little dance around her before lowering herself to the ground and attacking the woman with her tongue. The woman receiving the cunnilingus played with her breasts and occasionally ran her hair through her partner's hair. This scene, to be honest, was a bit boring. It lasted for about eight minutes and did not end in a climax, or even a fake orgasm. This was kind of disappointing for me, considering that my second favorite part of sex is the sounds (my first being, of course, the sensations).

The next scene was much more interesting. It involved the woman from the first act (the one with the dancing gorilla), performing oral sex on a man, followed by actual intercourse. The intercourse transitioned in a wide variety of positions, though the actors were extremely robotic about their movements between positions. My favorite part was the end, where the woman faced the audience, her breasts bouncing in the air as she fucked the man in the reverse cowgirl pose. This scene, like the other, did not end in climax, though these actors were much more vocal than the last.

The finale of the show was unlike anything I have ever seen. In the beginning, I was a little disappointed. A lone woman came onstage and performed a strip tease. The quality of the dancing was horrific and completely unsexy. But an incredible thing happened when the actress removed her panties. She lit a cigar and took a few puffs. Then, she lay on the floor, legs pointed toward the ceiling, and inserted the cigar into her vagina. I watched, amazed, as smoke rings rose to the sky. It shocked me that this woman was not only capable of blowing smoke out of herself, but also of forming them into rings. This part alone was most definitely worth the money we paid to get in. I even included a description of it in the monthly emails I was sending home to let my friends and family know what I was up to, though I did leave my grandmother out of that particular newsletter. After the smoke ring bit, the show started all over again with the performance of the woman and the person in the gorilla suit.

All in all, the live sex show was a bit disappointing. It was in no way erotic for me, and I didn't get the impression that it did much for anyone else in the theatre. But if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, the Red Light District is most definitely a must-see, and if you have some extra cash on hand I would recommend a visit to one of the many theatres along the way, if only for the novelty of it all.

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