From Berlin to Las Vegas: The world’s sexy side
It’s 5 a.m. Dancers are still swiveling to the beat set by whatever world-famous DJ is on duty that night at Pacha or Space or one of Ibiza’s other legendary clubs. Drenched with sweat or the remnants of foam, high on the music — or something else — they gaze absently at the go-go dancer, fire eater or other performer who’s enhancing the scene, their minds perhaps wandering to that afternoon’s all-nude yoga class or the yacht cruise they plan to take. In July and August, hedonism is the name of the game in Ibiza, which has earned its nickname: Gomorrah on the Med.
What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there, as Britain’s Prince Harry found when he got his freak on and his clothes off in a high-rise hotel room. It’s that illusion of privacy that gets many people into trouble here, with everything from quickie weddings regretted in the morning, to the city’s dozens of strip shows and clubs, to gambling binges that can leave players destitute. Those escapades seem tame compared with what goes on at Las Vegas’ swingers clubs — there are three major ones — and the legal brothels the next county over. There’s a reason it’s called Sin City.
Nightlife doesn’t get wilder than in Thailand’s capital, with its “soapy massage parlors” and go-go clubs. As the ’90s disco hit from the Broadway musical “Chess” says: “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble, not much between despair and ecstasy. One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble — can't be too careful with your company. I can feel the devil walking next to me.”
It’s not just Secret Service agents who get into trouble in Cartagena. Prostitution is legal here, and the city is as famous for its strip clubs and bars as it is for its UNESCO World Heritage colonial architecture (the old city is one of the most exquisite in Latin America). Apparently, the agents spent much of their notorious evening at the Pley Club, which The New York Times described as filled with “women who pole-dance naked on a stage to the rapid-fire beat of reggaetón.” But they could have easily whooped it up outdoors; street fests and beach parties are common in Cartagena.
Young women trading flashes for Mardi Gras beads and drunken revelers weaving their way down Bourbon Street — those images have come to define New Orleans in certain circles. It’s a shame, as the city also boasts superb museums, restaurants and architecture. But a good percentage of NOLA’s visitors ignore those elements, preferring to just let loose in the adult playground that is the French Quarter. Yes, the id takes center stage thanks to the city’s multitudinous bars, its infamous swingers clubs and its many strip joints. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Video: Throw a Mardi Gras party!
Here’s where the beautiful people come to get nasty. Beyond the city’s sizzling bar and club scene are such down-and-dirty attractions as the World Erotic Art Museum, the largest such collection in the United States, and the yearly EXXXotica Expo, where fans can get autographs — wherever they like — from their favorite porn stars. Head to nearby Bal Harbour for a clothing-optional beach, or to Miami Velvet or the Trapeze Club if you’re into the swinging lifestyle.
Rio de Janeiro
State officials gave away 3 million free condoms during Rio’s famous Carnival in 2012, an innovative campaign to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in a city that’s always been upfront about its sexuality. You’ll see what I mean if you visit; from the itty-bitty bathing suits on the beach to the streetwalkers who parade openly in Copacabana, this is a society that embraces the steamy side of life. It also is one that knows how to party. Take a “disco nap” so you can enjoy Rio’s famous music and dance clubs, most of which don’t come alive till well after midnight.
Welcome to the city of profi Ausgeher, or professional partiers. Drifting from beer gardens to pop-up clubs to techno temples set in former warehouses, these folks are seemingly able to dance till dawn and yet still hold down 9-to-5 jobs. When they sleep is a mystery, though why they party so hard isn’t: No city offers as great a variety of nightlife. Clubs, cabarets and bars abound in every possible sort of venue — from former power stations to spaces under railroad tracks — playing every kind of music and attracting a wide variety of sybarites.
Beach by day, dancing by night: That’s the formula that has kept Goa popular for decades. Once a hippie haven, then, in the ’90s, the incubator for so-called trance music and trance parties, Goa has long been an innovator in the area of hedonism. In 2013, look out for full-moon parties, the fabulous Sunburn Festival and raves, raves and more raves.
Iceland is hot, hot, hot when it comes to nightlife — so much so that thousands of visitors from mainland Europe hop over each year for long weekends of bar trolling and clubbing. Top spots include Lebowski Bar, a tribute to the “dude” lifestyle of the film “The Big Lebowski”; Faktory, known for its diverse music play; and Bakkus, now the city’s trendiest dance club. All in all, the city has more than 100 clubs and bars – impressive, because Reykjavik’s population is not much more than 120,000 souls.