Amsterdam. The city of bicycles, tourist debauchery and tall, skinny buildings. I confess that when I went to Amsterdam I expected to see sex, drugs and maybe some rock ‘n’ roll. What I wasn’t expecting was to have my eyeballs seared out of my brain. What I wasn’t expecting was to be witness to a sex show. A sex show where my brother became the presenter’s favourite crowd participant.
Okay, let me just rewind a bit. I went to Amsterdam as part of a whirlwind two week trip through Eastern Europe with Top Deck. It was a great tour for my first time in Europe. On these tours you are presented with ‘optional extras’ which are activities you can sign up to do in each country. In Amsterdam your get two optional extras: a bike tour around the city and a sex show in the Red Light District. Seeing as I was only in Amsterdam for two nights, it seemed vital that I take every opportunity presented to me to make sure I got the best out of my time there. So naturally I signed up to go to the sex show.
Seeing as I went on this trip with my brother I jokingly said to my friends that I’ll be sitting on opposite ends of the venue from my brother and we’re going to avoid eye contact. My brother and I are close, but we aren’t that close! Que the laughter.
I wasn’t really concerned about being near him during the show, in my mind this was going to be like watching a sex scene in a film with your parents: awkward but bearable.
The show was held in the Red Light District and as a group we waited out the front for about 10 minutes before we could enter. Not having had heaps of experience at strip clubs I can’t be 100% sure what I was expecting, but what I saw was not it. There were two rows of seats along the back wall, a bar, then a long bench seat in front of the stage. I was told that I needed to walk down to the seat right at the front of the stage. I told the lady that I didn’t want to and would prefer to sit at the back but she told me that I didn’t have a choice. She actually pushed me towards the bench seat. I ended up sitting right next to a wall, meaning I didn’t have a great view but I was still closer to the action than I wanted to be. Then I saw my brother take a seat at the same bench as me. It’s all good, I thought to myself, we are still at opposite ends. Ha ha ha!
We were given our one free drink of the night then the show began. The show was structured in a very specific way. There were three shows where the women would ultimately strip and do something ‘sexy,’ broken up by two sex shows where a heterosexual couple would have sex on the stage.
My troubles started during the first act of the show. A woman came on stage and started pole dancing and stripping. Then, once she was completely naked, she left the stage and selected a male from my travel group to go on stage with her. Who did she select? I hear you ask. None other than my brother of course.
She dragged him up onto the stage and this is where I started to get weirded out and had to look away. Part of her act involved divesting my brother of his jumper and shirt, laying him on the ground, and in a display of amazing ambidextricity (is that what it’s called?) used her body builder worthy vaginal muscles to write on his chest with a texta. I am both amazed by this skill and grossed out that I had a clear view of it while she did it to my bro. The act ended with her sensually rubbing her hands over his chest and showing off her handiwork. I confess that I didn’t watch the vast majority of this performance. I just couldn’t. I like to think that I am rather sex positive and I can have a laugh at awkward situations, but I just was not prepared for this. Everyone in the group thought it was hilarious, we laughed, and then the next act started.
The next act was the first sex act and it sobered us all up pretty quickly. The show consisted of a woman, a man who looked like a wannabe Mr World Wide, lots of lube and zero passion. I think it made us all pretty uncomfortable because it was just so mechanical and they didn’t appear to be enjoying it. The whole thing just reeked of…I don’t, exploitation maybe? That word just doesn’t seem quite right. In any case, when it finally ended I breathed a sigh of relief. I’ll take weird sex tricks over this any day…or so I thought right up until the next act started and I saw my brother once again being pulled on stage.
I was flabbergasted. How could my bro be pulled into this AGAIN?! In his defense, he did try to direct the presenter to another guy sitting next to him but he just would not budge. This act turned out to be worse since it involved pulling string from a place where I don’t think that much, if any string, should really be stored.
So I was once again forced to suffer through the sexualisation of my baby brother and actually considered leaving. Quite frankly, the sex show wasn’t proving to be that great, the audience in the other section of the venue were calling out gross, vulgar things and I was actually still feeling quite dirty from the previous act. But seeing as I was on a bench seat, pushed right up against a wall, escape was near to impossible, so I stayed where I was, averted my eyes and told myself that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or at the very least, better able to watch sex scenes in films without feeling awkward around your family.
Once this act had concluded the final two acts took place. The last sex show was better than the first in the sense that the couple involved seemed to be enjoying it to some extent and it lacked most of the robotic-ness that dominated the first show. The final sex trick also wasn’t terrible to watch, though I actually felt sorry for the tree guys she pulled up on stage. The act involved a mini lap dance for each of the guys that actually looked rather violent since she was basically just slapping her breasts against their chests and faces before holding a peeled banana in place of a penis and having each of the guys take a bite. It was almost dominatrix in a sense, but I could see that they guys didn’t enjoy it.
Following the conclusion of the show I actually had a talk to my brother where we both shared our respective experiences. He shared that he didn’t want to go up either time but felt forced when the presenters started physically tugging on his arm. He also shared that the string performance was by far the grossest. We also both had the same feelings around the overall show, that there was something exploitative and dirty involved and agreed that attending a sex show was not on either of our future to do lists.
I am still trying to come to terms with my thoughts on the sex show and the Red Light District as a whole. I understand the arguments made to justify there on going existence but I’m just not sure if I actually agree. Having returned straight to work since my return I haven’t had the time to really dissect these thoughts, but perhaps once the dust has settled at work a more in depth reflection could take place. Is this something you would like to see? Let me know. In the meantime, just learn from my past mistakes: don’t attend a sex show with your brother.