For such a liberal country, the Copenhagen gay (commercial venue) scene is suprisingly small. Only a few bars and saunas, and a lot of them are not in the same area. No gay ghetto here! We checked out the Jailhouse, a small jail-themed (if non-SM) bar and restaurant, but horribly overpriced at NZ$10 for a beer. We quickly legged it to the Men's Bar, a much friendlier (and cheaper) neighbourhood pub aimed at leather guys but without a dress code to get in. Here I got talking to a Norwegian who had recently married his Danish boyfriend, and asked him about the lack of backrooms in gay venues (apparently you need to be a private club to be allowed a backroom) and his aversion to Catholic Poles and Muslim Turks, who, it turned out, are great ideological bedfellows in the fight against gay rights, so well-beloved in Denmark.
Later that evening we got to the only SM club in Copenhagen, SLM
(Scandinavian Leather Men), a basement bar and cruise club with all the
accoutrements and accessories on the genre catering for all sexual
tastes. We happened to strike their annual "photo night", when they
allow guys to bring along photographers to do photo shoots for their
online profiles so they can be staged in the appropriate setting. We
happily obliged to be extras in their particular scenarios - so maybe
the evidence will appear soon on a leather profile near you. It was
great fun and it felt like being on a real porn photo shoot stage (a lot
of porn is produced in Denmark!). A special thanks to Erik the
Norseman, who would happily sail up your fjord. Needless to say great
fun was had by all - even though the management had apologized to us
earlier that not many punters would be turning up on the night. They
shouldn't have bothered: in my book fun is a function of the quality of
men, not their quantity.
A few winks later the next day it was time
to explore the venue that has featured in some conversations we have had
with the locals: Ørstedsparken,
a city park which has been a cruising ground for over a century. Some
say it's unsafe but, on the other hand, the council provides lubes and
condoms, handily placed in a bird's nest box, for easy use in the
undergrowth. Since it was daytime we could only attest to the bird box's
existence and the evidence of activity by the detritus left. Someone
should teach those bush queens to clean up after themselves. Condoms do
take a long time to ecologically break down.
In Århus we found two gay venues. One, Gay Club Århus
(Paradisgade 11) is a cruising club hidden behind a video sex shop. The
video shop has a dizzying array of porn DVDs, large sections of which
would be highly illegal in New Zealand (apparently Denmark is a major
producer of bestiality porn). The actual cruise club is a separate
two-storey house reached through the shop and a court yard. At first we
thought it was a sauna because the attendant lady gave us towels but
after inspection of the premises it turned out it's a practical way of
cruising when you have chucked your clothes beforehand. There were three
video rooms, two playing gay porn, the third straight porn. I guess it
makes closeted Danes more at home when watching familiar sex moves.
Comfortable seating couches make for a cosy communal experience. Free
coffee and net access and smoking is disturbingly permitted everywhere.
There are a few cubicles for horizontal activities and it was
suprisingly busy for a Monday afternoon.
The second venue is A
Center Video (Rosenkrantzgade), a sex shop/DVD rental place with private
viewing booths and two video cinemas. The cinemas show either straight
or gay porn but punters switch between often. The gay cinema has a small
backroom with a sling. The straight version didn't have that but it did
have a second screen showing lesbian porn. The place was also attended
by a pleasantly large number of men. There were no straight guys present
as far as we could make out and we were speculating whether any would
go there since the gay guys would always be willing to assist their
viewing pleasure - perhaps some might not appreciate that.
The Danes are, I must say, enthusiastic cocksuckers, and even very pleasant afterwards. So I can recommend them heartily!