I was recently thinking about the two times that I’d spent time in Amsterdam. The first time was when I was studying abroad for a summer in London in 2007 and the second was on a Contiki tour the following summer of 2008.
During both of these trips, I saw some live sex.
In 2007, my friend Emily and I, whom I’d met four days prior to taking off with on a plane, walked into a peep show. We both squeezed into a booth and put our Euros in the slots (insert sex joke) and watched as a man and a woman performed on a spinning turntable for us. They even broke the fourth wall once and gave us a come-hither finger wag, which we declined because well, there was that sheet of glass between us and, yeah, we weren’t there for that experience.
But only on one of these trips did I see an official live sex show at Casa Rosso.
In 2008, I was unaware that Casa Rosso is a huge tourist attraction. (Probably filled with sexually suppressed tourists from Middle America but that’s another topic entirely.) However, back then I thought it was completely edgy to go to Casa Rosso and I was SO excited.
Instagram didn’t exist so there was no way to know that every traveler with an Instagram account was taking photos of the exact same sex show palace. Those were the days.
Our tickets had been purchased for us by our tour guide (bless her heart) and after dinner somewhere in the Red Light District (probably a doner kebab because they were cheap), we qued up and eventually we were admitted entrance.
I hate to burst your bubble, but the show was kind of sad.
Keep in mind this was an evening show so these performers were running on fumes (and lube) and looked bored as hell up onstage. I’ve seen performers on Broadway get bored-looking onstage when they’d been in the same show for too long so I think it’s reasonable to assume the same thing happens when a performer is in the same sex show for too long, right?
I hadn’t known what to expect from a live sex show in the land of tulips, but I’d hoped for something a little bit more exciting. Or at least authentic (and authentic was not a word I used in 2008). I think there was a tiny bit of audience participation too, (not audience penetration, but participation). What I was seeing on stage was not dissimilar to what I’d seen in porn in the past. It was just in my face this time, and I could smell it.
A few of the guys from my tour – including a large conservative guy from Texas – felt the need to excuse themselves when a muscular (and naked, duh) black gentleman came out to penetrate another person with a banana anally. Puritanical Americans, I’m sure the talent thought.
Whatever. Live sex shows might not be for everyone.
The show lasted about an hour and then I had my first story from this trip abroad cemented in the books. We exited the Casa Rosso in the same fashion that we’d entered but we’d seen some things. And a lot of penis.
I don’t know if the shows have changed at all since 2008, but I’d caution anyone going to lower their expectations and maybe decide to go to an earlier show so the performers won’t look as tired and depressed.
Amsterdam is amazing, but I think live sex shows leave a lot to be desired. However, another blogger wrote a guide for how to “survive” them which, personally, I think is a tad overdramatic. I’d love to know about your experience if you’ve visited Casa Rosso and what you thought. Let me know in the comments!
(Need a guide to the sex shows in Amsterdam? Check out this list by Thrillist!)
the Red Light District in 2007