My Bed was
ready. My crew was adjusting their camera levels as my guests
were adjusting their stocking tops. Some thumbed through copies
of Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin by my featured
University of California at Berkeley Theater Professor Mel Gordon,
its stunning vintage images of a lost world of free expression
thriving in Germany on the cusp of the Nazi terror inciting our
imaginations. Another Weimar prop, a "Female Self-Gratifier,"
having made its way through time and space from the Dr. Magnus
Hirschfeld Institute to the Dr. Susan Block Institute, awaited
its moment of glory.
It was the
night of December 23, 2000; 11 days after the U.S. Supreme Court
had declared George Bush, Jr. to be President of the United States,
nine months before 9/11, one year after "The Apocalypse" (our
all-too-prescient turn-of-the-millennium erotic art exhibit),
the eve before Christmas Eve and the third night of Hannukkah.
Did we realize, as we assembled ourselves around an antique Sex
Machine in our red and black velvet and lace, that we were winding
up an American fin-de-siècle period of (relatively) peaceful
pleasures and entering an Era of Perma-War? Not exactly.
We did know
that we were momentarily stepping out of our everyday world, and
into a very special, wildly sexual time and place in erotic human
history: Weimar Berlin, right after the First World War and the
collapse of the crotchety old Kaiser's Germany, starting around
1919 when the Weimar Republic signed the Treaty of Versailles,
and right before the Nazis stormed in and demolished it all. But
in those zany years between the Kaiser and der Fuehrer, there
blossomed in the City of Berlin a kind of Adult Disneyland poised
like a tightrope walker between the extremes of pleasure and danger.
before America's Dr. Alfred
Kinsey started hunting gall wasps,
Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld was researching
human sexuality via questionnaires,
among other techniques. He was also
a political activist, practically inventing
the idea of Gay Rights, and a pioneer
in public sex education.
world of madcap debauchery, kinky cabarets, potent aphrodisiacs,
fresh and naughty Girl-Culture, prostitution at every economic
and esthetic level of the game, and urbane gay and lesbian clubs
catering to a veritable dictionary of desires, Weimar Berlin featured
something for every desire, dominas of every sadistic style, transvestites
of every fashion, multiple nudist societies for every political
party, sex-themed restaurants for every gawking tourist, as well
as serious sexological research and compassionate treatment for
all sex-related ills.
Sex in the
City was never so varied and so unfettered -- unless you happened
to have a fetish for fettering. Not all of the sex was good, of
course (sex is never always good), what with the poverty-stricken
child-prostitutes, the desperate hookers, the coke addicts and
lust-murderers. Some of it was downright disgusting. But when
Adolf and the Nazi boys kicked in the doors in 1933, burning the
books, shutting down the clubs, closing the institutes, shooting
the dissidents, segregating the Jews (who seem to have been the
savviest cabaret owners, if not the classiest call girls) and
packing them off to the concentration camps, exterminating the
"undesirables". Well, that made the street crime of Weimar look
like the small potato latkes that it was.
As for the
SEX life of wicked Weimar, while it lasted, if you knew where
to go to get what you wanted, it was fantastic, glorious, diversified,
voluptuous. Life was a Cabaret. Every form of pleasure was explored,
expressed and exploited at every level of taste and class -- from
vibrant night life to nudist retreats to love-for-sale to the
amazing Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Institute of Sexology.
of the most actively engaged icons of Weimar Berlin, Dr. Hirschfeld
(1868-1935), "the Einstein of Sex," presided over an unprecedented
center of multi-disciplinary knowledge, compassion and research,
an elaborate erotic museum and a haven for sexual minorities and
women. Years before America's Dr. Alfred Kinsey started hunting
gall wasps, Hirschfeld was researching human sexuality via questionnaires,
among other techniques. He was also a political activist, practically
inventing the idea of Gay Rights, and a pioneer in public sex
education. Some of his more famous visitors included Cole Porter,
the Gershwin Brothers, Christopher Isherwood and Alfred Döblin,
of whom incorporated Hirschfeld's progressive ideas about sex
and psychology into their masterworks.
Hirschfeld Institute (1919-1933) was also one of the first places
that the Nazis destroyed, shortly after the notorious burning
of the Reichstag, attributed to a terrorist's bomb. In their moral
crusade against sex, decadence, homeland terrorists, communists,
gays and Jews, Hitler Youth burned all the books in the Hirschfeld
Institute, except a few they kept for themselves, and thus for
history. Usually, when we see newsreels of Nazis burning books,
we are watching them torch Hirschfeld's great library on Berlin's
Opernplatz, eerily foreshadowing the burning of bodies in the
the books, they also threw Hirschfeld's voluminous files, priceless
art and innovative sex toys on the sacrificial bonfire. The original
Female Self-Gratifier was one of those sex toys. Preceding the
modern Intruder, Predator, Drildo and Probe by several decades,
Hirschfeld's original "Fucking Machine," or Sex Machine, was developed
in 1926 by Russian-Jewish engineers in Leipzig before finding
its home with Hirschfeld. Professor Mel's Machine was a prototype
of the original. I'm not sure what they did with it over at the
Hirschfeld Institute, but being women of action here at the Block
Institute, we weren't satisfied with simple observation of The
Machine. We had to give it a test-drive.
their moral crusade against sex,
decadence, homeland terrorists,
communists, gays and Jews,
Hitler Youth burned all the books
in the Hirschfeld Institute, except a
few they kept for themselves,
and thus for history.
Female Self-Gratifier Guinea Pig was Porn Superstar Teri Weigel
decked out in a red lace slip, red heels and nothing else. With
her German last name, athletic physique, Heidi-blonde curls and
independent attitude, Teri was more than ready to be a Weimar
a revolutionary idea," Professor Mel continued with mounting excitement
as Teri mounted The Machine, "and it was the thing that most upset
the nationalists and the Nazis, the idea of this liberated woman,
the Weimar Girl, a woman who could choose her own sexuality."
on The Machine like a Valkyrie ascending her stallion, and you
could see how the Nazis might have been concerned; after all,
how can a Female Self-Gratifier help the Fatherland? Professor
Mel explained how the pulley system allowed the foot pedal to
push the dildo in and out of the vagina, kind of like a sex bike,
but with just one pedal. We had to admit it was quite energy-efficient;
no need to plug it in or gas it up, just put your pedal to the
metal and go, go go! The problem was that with just the one pedal,
it got a little rough on the right leg.
for the Fucking
after a few minor bloopers, Teri rode that pony to a rip-roaring
orgasm, inspiring her husband to step out of the audience and
into the Weimar World. Murrill Maglio, known to Jenna Jameson
fans as Teri's "suitcase pimp," deftly proceeded to remove his
pants, announcing to one and all that it was their 14th wedding
anniversary, whereupon he made passionate vigorous love to this
Weimar Girl, his wife. Whether Murrill and Teri were pumped by
the idea of that amphetamine-laden Berliner Luft to which Berliners
attributed their high sex drives, or the appreciative Speakeasy
crowd, they rocked. Professor Mel was impressed. "Instead of just
talking about sex," he observed professorially, "you put it in
an environment where we can be entertained by it, learn from it
and be aroused."
Next up on
my Bed were two 21st Century Weimar Girls: Porn Starlets Monique
deMoan, slinkily attired in a little black dress, heels and nothing
else, and spunky, saucy Mika Tan, a U.S. Navy brat outfitted in
a red velvet and white marabou Frederick's of Hollywood version
of a Christmas elf. A bit more coy than Teri about tackling The
Machine, Mika and Monique engaged in a little Weimar-inspired
femme-femme foreplay, known as "tribadism" in the Jazz Age, which
consisted of Ms. Tan using her considerable oral skills (no doubt
learnt out at sea) to help Ms. deMoan live up to her name.
we required any further stimulation at this point, but Professor
Mel offered everyone a bit of a mysterious Chinese "Aphrodisiac"
called Tzepao Sanpien which he claimed was a vital key to unlocking
Weimar Love. He explained that the Hirschfeld Institute often
tested the effects of aphrodisiacs like these on volunteer subjects.
That was reason enough for us here at the Block Institute to test
Tzepao Sanpien, even though it tasted like a chocolaty ball of
The box said
the stuff contained "Herbal Extractives" including honey, angelica
root, ginseng root, rehmannia root and cypress root. But the Professor
insisted it had other special ingredients that could not legally
be listed on the box. He paused pregnantly before listing these
ingredients (if you're disturbed by references to mutilated animal
genitalia, skip this part): ground-up penises of deer, dog and
antelope. I couldn't bear to believe him, though that might have
accounted for the taste.
Magnus Hirschfeld's original
"Fucking Machine," or Sex Machine,
was developed in 1926 by Russian-Jewish engineers in Leipzig...
I'm not sure
what they did with it over at the
Hirschfeld Institute, but being women
of action here at the Block Institute,
we weren't satisfied with simple
observation of The Machine.
We had to give it a test-drive.
aphrodisiac was a lot easier going down. Whereas the first was
heavy on "male sexual energy" (what with all those penises), this
one was more "female." Naturally, it came in liquid form: Agavero
Tequila Liqueur with damiana flower, a traditional aphrodisiac.
If that didn't work, it contained enough tequila (64 proof) to
do the trick. Also known as the Wild Bride Drink, Mexican grandmothers
give Agavero to their granddaughters on their wedding night. "The
reason is to get them wet," explained Professor Mel, trying not
to wet himself as Monique opened her legs to reveal her own high
level of lubrication in response to the Agavero. Or was it the
antelope dick? Or was it Euro Porn Pioneer Lasse Braun's expert
manipulation of her large and chipper nipples?
It's all in Weimar Love: The Movie.
was motivating her? Mexican liqueur, Chinese penis parts, Weimar
imagery or playful exhibitionism? Monique mounted The Machine
(after, of course, cleaning and putting a fresh condom on it).
Based on foot power, even an energy crisis couldn't stop our Weimar
Girls from using the Masturbation Machine, "Do you feel in control
of The Machine?" my Butler Max intoned. "Is it like a Hewlett-Packard?
Mika Tan was
locked in passionate embrace with Slave Gary (self-appointed Block
Institute "wetness tester") and the Duchess du Sade, formidable
and kinky in her authentic SS cap and leathers. Thrashing, moaning
and experiencing what she and the Duchess later described as a
"big orgasm, very big," Mika rolled her big brown eyes to the
back of her very pretty head and threatened several times to "pass
out" (another common pastime in Weimar Berlin). Somehow she managed
to compose herself enough to mount The Machine, riding it into
another delicious climax. "They destroyed these Machines during
that Holocaust," Max mused. "They destroyed a lot of knowledge
during that Holocaust. They destroyed a lot of people during that
on foot power, even an
energy crisis couldn't stop our
Weimar Girls from using the
Masturbation Machine, "Do you feel in
control of The Machine?"
my Butler Max intoned. "Is it like a
Hewlett-Packard? A Sony?"
Institute Curator Kim Mendoza got on (and off on) The Machine,
with a suitably artistic flourish. Finally, it was my turn. "Go
for it," Max encouraged, "It's like a German gun bombing Paris."
I've always loved sex toys, but this one was a little different,
especially with Lasse and Axel Braun whipping me like crazed camp
guards. I made them stop (something actual prisoners and detainees
can't do, of course), then pumped on and found my stride. "This
machine is so happy," declared Professor Mel, "I always told it,
'One day you will be loved and used.' And today is that day,"
he proclaimed as I pedaled off into orgasmic history.
of Hirschfeld was here tonight," he summed up, "in that things
went slightly over the top, which is a good thing." Indeed, on
this heady holiday eve, we could all feel the Spirit of that Big
Old Semitic Father Christmas of Sexual Compassion, smiling, twirling
his moustache, wearing a dress and stockings, beaming goodness,
wisdom and horniness upon us.
We danced, whipped, played, and Mika Tan performed a little netherlips
cigar-smoking trick she'd picked up in a Filipino bar. Lots of
people smoke after sex, but with this orifice? They must have
done it in the racier cabarets of Weimar (after all, they did
it in the White House), and surely Hirschfeld had a category for
it (smoked salmon?). As his contemporary, Dr. Sigmund Freud (who
despised Hirschfeld for being so liberal, commercial and open
about his own homosexuality and transvestitism), famously said,
"sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." But sometimes it's a dildo.
But the real
question is: Does smoking a cigar? with any orifice? lead to burning
books and/or fellow humans? The conventional Puritan interpretation
is yes, the decadence of Weimar led inexorably to the horror of
the Nazis. Professor Mel vehemently refuted this idea, between
aphrodisiacs, reminding us of the multiple forces, economic turns
and political twists that led to Hitler's ascendance. No, pleasure
is not an automatic gateway to evil.
do swing. And a dip into Weimar history reminds us ethical hedonists,
evolutionist pagans, secular humanists and everyone else Pat Robertson
and Bill O'Reilly blame for everything, that even if our libertine
liberal ways don't directly cause fascism, fascist forces -- nationalist,
corporate or religious -- are always with us, always ready to
take advantage of our tolerant, democratic, Weimarian ways.
between real orgasms and fake fainting spells, Professor Mel told
us another smoky story: the mysterious 1933 Burning of the Reichstag
was said to have been set by a Jewish Communist Terrorist, though
later historians believe the Nazis themselves (probably Goering)
set the fire. This being nine months before the 9/11 attacks on
America's two biggest buildings of phallic power, we didn't fully
understand how the Burning of the Reichstag, a large important
edifice of German power, could have provided a symbolic excuse
for then German Chancellor Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party to
seize full control of the German government and suspend German
civil liberties; German invasions of foreign lands, the devastations
of World War II and the horror of the concentration camps followed.
being nine months before the
9/11 attacks on America's two biggest
buildings of phallic power, we didn't fully
understand how the Burning of the
Reichstag, a large important edifice
of German power, could have provided
a symbolic excuse for then German
Chancellor Adolph Hitler and the
Nazi Party to seize full control of the
German government and suspend
German civil liberties; German invasions
of foreign lands, the devastations of
World War II and the horror of the
concentration camps followed.
the German people let it happen? We couldn't fathom it that night
of Weimar Love. Now that we've been through 9/11 and the bizarre,
bloody *response" that is the invasion and occupation of Iraq,
maybe we can better understand how a shocking assault on a big
important building can set off a chain of events leading to loss
of liberty at home and war abroad.
Bush is not Hitler (Adolf was a war veteran). Karl Rove is not
Joseph Goebbels (Goebbels was a university graduate). The Bushies
aren't the Nazis (how could they be, with so many Jewish Neo-Cons?).
Abu Ghraib isn't Auschwitz (unless you're one of the innocent
detainees being tortured to death). Dick Cheney isn't Hermann
Goering, another war vet, who so famously observed in his last
days at Nuremberg, "Why of course the people don't want war. But
it is the leaders who determine policy, and it is always a simple
matter to drag the people along. All you have to do is tell them
they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack
of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the
same in any country."
So why do
Goering's words seem to *fit* America's Perma-War predicament
like a Luftwaffe leather glove? Because that awful castrating
assault on our great buildings (with all due respect to the innocent
people inside of them), created an opportunity for a peculiarly
American gang of phony saviors to take us into another Dark Age,
where Chickenhawk-Devised Perma-War, Big Lies, massive bombings,
murder, torture, detentions and disappearances are more and more
commonplace, where government officials warn citizens to "watch
what you say," where the chilling effect of such policies may
have an impact on the arts, the media, education, general culture
and our erotic world for years to come.
Emma Goldman, I don't want a revolution I can't dance to.
9/11 Attacks were a lot worse than the Burning of the Reichstag
(which didn't kill anyone and didn't even destroy the Reichstag),
and Perma-War America isn't nearly as bad as Nazi Germany (unless
you happen to be one of those innocents being killed in the Terror
War). Nor are we Rome before the Fall. Nor are we the British
in Iraq in the 1920s (not quite). But if we don't learn our lessons
from history, we are indeed "doomed..." I don't know about you,
but I find that history always goes down easier with a little
erotica. Like Emma Goldman, I don't want a revolution I can't
of Weimar Love is to dance, etc., but be vigilant (at least until
you pass out), especially to irrational calls to patriotism, prejudice
or God. The evidence that 9/11 was committed by extremely violent
religious fanatics very much like our own extremely violent religious
fanatics, but taking orders from a slightly different God, didn't
and doesn't stop our leaders from blaming and punishing the atheists,
abortionists, hedonists, Darwinists, socialists, gays, uppity
women, liberals, professors, pornographers, peaceniks and other
Weimar-types among us.
On the other
hand, you are free to choose from several hundred new, technologically
advanced kinds of Female Self-Gratifier (though it's debatable
as to who's being most gratified by some of these things) and
have them delivered to your home in a plain brown box with easy-to-assemble
instructions. Even Amazon carries vibrators now. World sexual
cyber-culture picks up where Weimar Berlin left off. And yet,
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, after giving the green light
to torture in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, is now busy busting pornographers
who make movies with and for consenting adults.
How easily it all goes up in smoke. Don't let 9/11 become another
Reichstag. And don't turn the other butt cheek when the fundie
fascist liars screw your sexual freedom. Because your freedom
of speech is next, your religious freedom is next, your freedom
of movement is next, and your life is next.
Susan Block is a sex educator, cultural commentator, host
of The Dr. Susan Block Show and author of The 10 Commandments
of Pleasure. Visit her website at http://www.drsusanblock.com
Send all comments, love letters, hate mail, questions, confessions,
endorsements, enticements and testimonials to her at [email protected].
Read other articles by Dr Susan Block (click on the balls)
Family Values Means Family First And Screw The Community
It Always Rains In California: All About Female Ejaculation
Springtime For Sex And God
The bigO Can Be Yours
Bush's P.O.W. Porn