Unveiling the Layers of Sexual Exploration: My Journey in Berlin

Have you ever paused to ponder what defines sex?

Annika Tara

3/22/20243 min read

It's a question that, for many of us, goes unchallenged until someone or something prompts us to reevaluate our assumptions. In her podcast “Where should we begin?” Esther Perel challenged the male partner in the episode "He wants it everyday, she wants it never” about the “mono-lingual” nature of his idea of sex that was crushing his intimate life. I found myself unchallenged at the beginning of this introspective journey in my early thirties, spurred by a simple yet profound inquiry from a friend: "How do you define sex?" The answer I initially offered - a mere mechanical act confined to penis-in-vagina intercourse - was suddenly thrown into question.

“Oh okay, so lesbians don’t have sex, what about gay men?” She challenged me… and my world imploded.

My friend's question shattered my narrow understanding of sexuality, revealing a world of possibilities beyond the confines of traditional norms. Suddenly, the door to sexual exploration swung wide open, and I eagerly stepped through, embarking on a quest to unravel the layers of my own desires and boundaries.

I put myself to the tasks first with google of course; play parties, sex clubs, events about sexuality in Europe, intimacy workshops in Europe, intimacy retreats in Europe, sexuality retreats in Europe… and then I realized I didn’t need to look that far a foot- I was in Berlin of all places in Europe they would definitely have something…. So back to Google; play parties in Berlin, sex clubs in Berlin, events about sexuality in Berlin, intimacy workshops in Berlin, intimacy retreats in Berlin, sexuality retreats in Berlin…

You get the picture.

I got the surface results first, not until after I truly began to immerse myself in the exploration, did I get the real juice, the under ground, lesser known, and SEO un-aware sensual events, sex workshops, retreats about sexuality, and sex-positive spaces.

From play parties to intimacy workshops, I sampled a smorgasbord of experiences, each one offering insights into my likes, dislikes, and unexplored territories. Kink, in particular, piqued my interest, but I found the structured approach of many venues to be somewhat stifling. It was the open communication and negotiation of desires and boundaries that truly resonated with me, paving the way for a newfound journey of consent and autonomy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the open communication surrounding desires and boundaries in those spaces. (If you haven't guessed already, I'm quite the conversationalist ;) ) It dawned on me that I was developing a fascination with exploring boundaries, consent, and desires – almost like a personal kink. Surprisingly, I felt super liberated and safe in those spaces- to be wearing basically nothing, to be gawked and stared at and drooled at… and I could just walk away if I wanted to, shake my ass if I wanted to or engage if that was right for me in the moment.

In these sex-positive spaces, I discovered a sense of liberation and safety that had eluded me in conventional dating scenarios. No longer bound by societal expectations or the pressure to adhere to a predetermined script, I reveled in the freedom to explore my desires at my own pace.

Reflecting on my journey, I've come to realize that true sexual empowerment lies in the acknowledgment of boundaries and the embrace of consent. In shedding the constraints of a monolingual and heteronormative view of sex, I've found a deeper understanding of my own desires and a newfound sense of agency over my sexual experiences.

As I continue to navigate the intricate landscape of sexual exploration, I'm reminded that the path to self-discovery is as diverse and multifaceted as the individuals who tread it. In Berlin, a city renowned for its openness and acceptance, I found a welcomed beginning to my sexual exploration, a community that celebrates diversity and champions personal autonomy. And it's within this vibrant tapestry of experiences that I continue to uncover new layers of myself, one exploration at a time.

Written by: Annika Tara, Co-facilitator of the Intimate Playground Temple Retreats and team member of Sensuality Arts Annikatara.com