City of eroticism

© Antonio Lajusticia
Photomosaic mural by photographer Joan Fontcuberta titled El mundo nace en cada beso [The world begins with every kiss], in Plaça d‘Isidre Nonell in the district of Ciutat Vella.

If Paris is known as the city of love, the city of eroticism had to be Barcelona at the beginning of the 20th century, and it may well be recovering that trend now.

Stable relationships are old hat and applications such as Tinder or Grindr are helpful for sporadic hook-ups, especially in what may be the West’s only city where people do not talk to each other in bars. Here and here alone, a woman can sit by herself or with a friend at the bar and nobody will chat her up, let alone look at her.

Barcelona is small. When all’s said and done, someone always knows someone else, and there’s a certain widespread fear of what people will say and of making a fool of oneself. Therefore, while it does have reputed swingers clubs, you’ve never been to one, because imagine if you ran into someone you’d rather not.

It is not about prudishness or shame. People take sex naturally here. BDSM has become popular, the Palosanto restaurant serves up porn-cuisine and Happ Barcelona has organised tuppersex debates with drinks. The Gestalt therapy centre in Gràcia puts on Tantra workshops for men and the Aprosex prostitutes’ group gives a course to teach their trade, since the profession is on the up. Perhaps the rise of this profession has been prompted by a certain type of tourism, which, to the mind of many Barcelonians, perverts the city, making it pornographic, like a money-grabbing funfair bereft of personality. Dealing in this kind of tourism might rake in the cash and promote business, but Barcelona’s veritable wealth is ultimately generated by the people who live in it and for it.

Llúcia Ramis


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