All photos by Lisa Ludwig

We Went to Germany's Largest Sex Convention with Two Beloved Porn Stars

We played with futuristic dildos and custom sex dolls at Venus Fair with Schnuggie91 and Bibixxx to find out what it's like when celebrities from the adult industry meet their most devoted fans.

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Nov 2 2016, 7:45pm

All photos by Lisa Ludwig

"Sometimes I get the feeling around all these sex toys that I don't even know how they're supposed to work," says Schnuggie, sorting pensively through a plastic penis bargain bin. It's a surprising admission from an amateur actress who has a whole drawer full of dildos and vibrators at home. Her colleague, Bibi, pops up from behind, giggling as she displays a wobbly rubber cock. "This, for example," Schnuggie says, "this is way too soft. I have no idea how you're supposed to get it in."

We're at Venus, Germany's largest erotic fair. It's a mixture of a trade fair, industry summit, and a networking space with the opportunity to meet your favorite porn actors and actresses in person. The latter is especially important for representatives of the German amateur porn industry, which offers private cam sessions and homemade sex videos on platforms like MyDirtyHobby.de. Users are prepared to pay for content, even though there are plenty of free porn sites online. In return, devoted fans get the feeling of having a personal connection to the actresses. Hugs, selfies, and personal inscriptions in autograph books are included. I think of them as "adult" YouTube stars.

Schnuggie91 and Bibixxx from Hamburg are some of the most famous amateurs on MyDirtyHobby. Last year, they had a stand at the fair; this year, they decided to attend out of personal curiosity. I'm accompanying them to find out what it's like when celebrities from the adult industry meet their most devoted fans.

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"The outfit for the fair is definitely important," Bibi explains, who decided to show a little less skin this year. "Obviously it has to be sexy, but you should also feel comfortable in what you're wearing." We order something to drink and then continue to study all there is to offer.

"Proper Star Wars cocks," Schnuggie grins, as Bibi marvels at the inner workings of a transparent rabbit vibrator. My fear of spending the day with two totally informed women, who have seen and lived everything before, subsides from the outset. Penises are somehow still funny. Even for porn stars.

I start to understand the true advantages of accompanying big shots in the scene when we arrive at a stand for experiencing porn in virtual reality. "You can come right in," an employee says, waving us through a door, behind which you can try out the "future of pornography," cordoned off from the public. "After all, you're in the business." A bit flattered, I wonder if he thinks I'm an actress too. Now we're squished into a cubbyhole washed in a sensual, blue light. There's a box of tissues sitting on a small side table.

We don't have anything from a woman's perspective here, but many women find it really thrilling to have a penis for once

"Wow, hot!" Schnuggie slides deeper into the chair and spreads her legs. Through the virtual reality headset, she's put into the body of a man being serviced by two young, red-headed girls. One is on top of him, the other is beside him. "We don't have anything from a woman's perspective here, but many women find it really thrilling to have a penis for once," the employee explains. Shortly thereafter, I slip on the cumbersome headset. And I'm also impressed. If you arrange yourself into a similar position as the man whose body you're thrown into—half sitting, half lying down—it actually does feel almost authentic.

There are several VR porn stands here at Venus. However, if this is the future of pornography, then we're still pretty far off. Not only because the majority of visitors would rather crowd around the stands with scantily-dressed women, but because the technology as such is still immensely expensive. "The headset we're using here cost 500 euros," the employee explains. Additionally, you need a high-performance computer. I ask whether you can use already existing technology like the Playstation VR. "Sony's Mr. Clean image is important to them," is the answer.

Have you ever heard of pegging?

By now we've reached the hall where the products presented are clearly more upscale. This appears to mean that the functions of the sex toys need to remain cryptic. There are no semi-real rubber penises to be seen. Instead, the three of us stare for minutes, in awkward concentration, at an oblong, flexible object in bright purple, which could also function as a futuristic kitchen utensil.

"Have you ever heard of pegging?" the representative in charge of this stand says while explaining, with the help of many gestures, how many body cavities said product can fill at the same time—in a man, in a woman, in two men, in two women, or both sexes at the same time. I abandon trying to use my imagination and ask myself why sexual pleasure has to be so complicated sometimes. How many futuristic latex sausages does the market really need?

But it also appears that I'm not the only one who has wondered about this. Aside from the realistically designed penetration vegetables, several stands at Venus offer dildos and vibrators made of wood. "That's bullshit," my entourage agrees.

"Wood is unrelenting," Schnuggie explains. "I inserted the heel of a stiletto once and it was totally unpleasant. And it wasn't even that big or thick."

We walk over to a stand offering custom designed sex dolls. An IKEA shelf piled with individual heads, arms, and wigs offers a rare glimpse into what could be in the basement of a serial killer.

"It's not just about sex! Older people buy the dolls if they don't want to sit alone at the coffee table," a representative says, unconvinced. He seems acutely aware of the doubt many onlookers express.

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"Why don't these people just get a cat?" Bibi mumbles as she gropes a half-naked puppet. She's just as irritated as I am that the dolls all have the waist and face of a child but the breasts of a 55-year-old bordello queen.

As Bibi slides her finger along the penis of the only male doll around, it begins to rotate. Perhaps handy when you can't find a spoon to stir your tea with? "I can see you're a real professional!" the salesman says, after spending the last five minutes awkwardly preventing visitors with long nails from approaching the "deceivingly real" body cavities.

"Sometimes I think women have no idea what men really want. Or they think they know, because they read something somewhere once, but they just don't question that," says Schnuggie a few minutes later, as she and Bibi dig through several boxes stuffed with sexy lingerie, pantyhose, and fetishwear. The items cost between two and five euros a piece, displayed in a fashion comparable to a flea market. It's an offer that many visitors—including many couples among them—approach enthusiastically.

Hours of cam sessions and direct interactions with fans have given Bibi and Schnuggie rare insight into the straight male psyche. They share with me their top three realization, including: the idea that men are imperatively into big breasts is a lie, being genuine is always sexy, and no one really cares that much about lingerie.

"Sometimes I get in front of the camera in my pajamas because I don't feel particularly saucy," Bibi explains. "People think it's totally cute." But right now she's looking for a police uniform. "I have a lot of things like this already, but they're all pink."

"Is selling used underwear still a thing?" I ask absent-mindedly as I pull a sexy nun costume out of the bin. Yes, Bibi and Schnuggie say. They can get around 50 euros for a pair of panties, so long as they include photo proof that they've actually worn them. Schnuggie also sends certain users socks and shoes she doesn't wear anymore. "One is especially into open shoes. If I have a pair of flip flops that I don't want anymore, I set them aside for him," she says.

By mid-afternoon the halls are full. We stop every few feet so Schnuggie and Bibi can pose for photos with fans. Some are more friendly and less prone to groping than others.

Either way, the constant stream of smiles, photos, and small talk—which ranges from "How do you like it here?" to "I love it when people cum all over you. It's so hot!"—is draining. We decide to make our way to the only part of the convention explicitly for women: the "Ladies' Area," which promises male strippers. This area is blocked off from the rest of the convention by a black curtain. But, unlike the half-naked women throughout the rest of the fair, here there are no lingering scantily-clad men in the area—only a note displaying the show times.

There's a long line in front of the entrance for the male strip show, even though the show doesn't start for twenty minutes. When the doors finally open, the crowd rushes in. If you manage to get a spot on the right side of the little stage, you get a free glass of prosecco—giving the room the feeling of a giant bachelorette party. The glowing displays of the phones already outstretched in expectation illuminate the faces of the increasingly impatient mob. At last, the first of three dancers comes on stage: Sven Steel. He delivers his routine, followed by his colleagues; no one reveals any more of their tan, toned skin than absolutely necessary.

Nevertheless, the mob hoots louder and louder as the final dancer performs his sexually-charged breakdance moves on a volunteer who is lying down on an American flag on the floor. It's probably supposed to be arousing, but I feel chills down my back, as the whole thing reminds me of the "Kimnotyze" music video by DJ Tomekk and Trooper Da Don.

Luckily, Bibi brings me back to reality. She's indignant. "We shove dildos up our asses and they don't even show their dicks. This is totally unfair!"

In recent years, many men and women in the porn industry have been increasingly vocal about the myth that porn is only made for men. But even if there's a large number of young women making their way to conventions like Venus and sex toys catering to women's pleasure are omnipresent in these spaces, the porn industry is still a man's world.

As we head for the exit, Schnuggie is forced to put down her long-awaited hotdog while fans continue to approach her. Bibi and I wait in the main hall until we can finally leave. "You know," she says, standing in front of a poster featuring Micaela Schäfer, the longtime face of Venus fair, "I think it's pretty cool that she never did porn." Bibi's unsure of how long she'll get in front of the camera; she doesn't want to get old in the adult industry, even if she's having fun at the moment.

"I would never want to be the face of Venus," Schnuggie says as she rejoins our group. "Maybe that's alright if it's the only job you want to do, but I'm actually a banker too."

We venture out into the cool autumnal evening. As we past the waiting masses in front of the entrance, no one asks for a photo. Covered in hoodies and coats, the actresses are invisible to their fans, and I think about the sentiment on fame they both share: They enjoy only feeling like celebrities in certain circles, at certain times. "If I want to go back to my old job, I can just make my hair a bit darker, wear less makeup, and nobody will recognize me anymore," Schnuggie explains. "If you get too well-known, that doesn't work anymore."

This article was originally published by Broadly Germany.