It must’ve been just after 3, maybe 4am. It wasn’t very dark out, but that’s typical for a summer night in Berlin. Out of the U-Bahn station, we made our way up to the entrance of the Kit Kat Club, Berlin’s most famous sex club. We were a group of two guys and two girls, and only at a 50 percent queer ratio. The party, Gegen, takes place every two months and is generally regarded as Kit Kat’s queerest sex party — though, admittedly, the night is far less sexual than other club nights at Kit Kat. (Go on a Saturday and you can see for yourself!)
Two guys ahead of us in the short queue were turned away. I wasn’t worried; I was still running on that high you can only get from a night out dancing with friends. We’d come from the indie club night at SchwuZ where I’d successfully scored a young guy’s number. We were drunk and horny, ready to continue our night of debauchery. Before we’d even gotten to the door, I had my shirt off—ready to strip further as needed. The way the door policy at Kit Kat works is, if they don’t let you in, just remove more clothing until they say “okay.” My other friends were stripping, too—her boobs popping out of her bra and enough tattoos between the four of us to claim a bit of that Berlin authenticity.
Walking inside, we skipped the coat check (where even more people were stripping and/or changing into harnesses or other light fetish gear). We made our way past the crowds huddled around the toilets (you know what that means) and into a room with a throbbing crowd moving to a pulsing beat. I was almost naked at this point, and as we got deeper into the crowd and to the front of the stage, we’d all stripped ourselves of as many layers as we could — down to our underwear, dancing and touching and moving. And sweating. So, so, so much sweat.
Gegen’s theme centres around the German translation for the word — it can mean both “against” and “around.” The party’s premise: “We do not wish to design a party just to give you a safe space and protection. We are not selling you the possibility to be ‘queer’ for one night. We want to expose you to your own fears and pleasures by pushing you to understand how your own power mechanisms are produced. This is why we invite you to be Gegen by performing your psychosis, by being the enemy of yourself, by thinking and being out of b/order and by destroying every rational thought.”
The party embodies everything that’s wonderful about Berlin’s nightlife. It’s a queer party, but not everyone’s gay. Some people are naked, others are wearing fetish gear. Young or old, skinny or fat, gay, queer, straight — it just doesn’t matter. And no one cares. There’s no clear definition on what you should be wearing or what you should be doing. You’re there for you. It’s an empowering feeling — to be so open and free and trusting with strangers.
Of course there’s a dark room in the club, too. And a basemen, where you’ll inevitably find some group action — guys with guys with girls with girls with guys. The party’s sexual only if you want it to be, but that’s what makes it so special. It’s a fun club night, whether for sex, for the music or for the crowds. Pick your flavor.
Perhaps predictably, I ran into more than a few familiar faces at the club: that Grindr hookup from the week before, someone who recognized me from the café I’m always working at, a friend of a friend. There was the guy I went on a date with four years earlier. With the constant flux of people moving between the rooms and each other, the space is quite conducive to meeting people (whether you want to or not). And the music, it’s some of the best. The Gegen DJs attract their own crowds as much as the Kit Kat spectacle.
Kit Kat is a strange club, with a maze of rooms and curtains hiding dirty deeds, some parts indoors, others outdoors. The bathrooms get a lot of in-and-out action with groups in the stalls. But perhaps its most iconic feature is the decent-sized swimming pool in an outdoor courtyard. While the music went on all night, we eventually made our way to the edge of the pool, drinking cheap beers and making new friends.
Once 8am rolled around, and the summer sunshine started burning down on our half-naked bodies, we left the club for a make-shift breakfast at a grocery store. Turning down a secret rave in a nearby forest with a group of French students, I jumped in a taxi and headed home, already anxious for the next party.
Gegen Berlin takes place on a Friday, usually at the very start of the month, every two months. Find more nightlife tips in my guide to Berlin. Header photo courtesy of Gegen Berlin. An earlier version of this article first appeared on DailyXtra—one of Canada’s largest queer publication.