We spoke to BERLINABLE’S Giada Armani about the unique sexual character of our beloved city, taboos, and sex as the key to inner peace and social change. Oh, and whether or not there will be a frenzied sex free-for-all post-lockdown (I vote yes).
Berlin’s predilection for hedonism has never been a secret. Alongside art, music, beer and fringes, Berlin is known for celebrating all things erotic. The fact that the pandemic has left us poignantly aroused and alone comes as no surprise.
Cue BERLINABLE, the erotic project and publishing house aiming to free our minds while getting us off.
BERLINABLE was begun in 2019 by Giada Armani and PORNCEPTUAL’s Chris Phillips and Raquel Fedato. It gives creatives a platform for their erotic content and encourages discussion and education through sharing sexual experiences.
BLY: Hi Giada! Please introduce yourself.
I’m Giada and I come from Italy. I didn’t fit into Italian society because I could never accept the established roles. That’s why I moved to Berlin when I was 20. I didn’t have to fit in. And I’ve had a lot of success here.
BERLINABLE is the third company I’ve built. Everything I have done, I have done only because I enjoyed it – because it made sense.
BLY: Are you an investor? Artist? Entrepreneur?
No, I’m a freedom fighter. The only thing that can change this world and make it better is love, everyone loving themselves and each other. Sex is the key to that.
BLY: Why did you start BERLINABLE?
Our sexuality is our most important thing. What else is there in life? Other than eating? Sex is one of our strongest needs. If you know what you want, who you really are, then you’re a happier person. A better person.
But most people don’t really deal with their own sexuality, because of shame or society.
And then they have a problem with others acting out their sexuality because they are their mirror. That scares them.
That’s why Chris and Raquel from PORNCEPTUAL and I started BERLINABLE in 2019.
BERLINABLE brings the topic of sex to the people. It’s a way to learn, to exchange ideas. Or to educate: to write your thoughts and experiences – as a book or story – and let others look into your life and learn.
BERLINABLE is a collection of people’s experiences: experiences we might not’ve dared to have ourselves. But other people have had them, and they had them for us: to tell us about them. That’s how we learn who we are ourselves. And then we can have inner peace.
BLY: That’s why you said you’re not an entrepreneur, but a…?
A fighter for freedom, yes! And love. When you fight for something, you have to be organised and build a system. So I organise my life and then the lives of the people around me. I have to somehow order the chaos in my life, in the minds of the people around me. I work with a lot of creative people, creativity is always chaos. And energy.
Therefore, BERLINABLE is not like a typical startup. It’s a collection of artists: We’re over 70 writers and 30 photographers. They’re all fantastic people with incredibly inspiring energy.
My job is to make sure this incredible conglomerate of energy forms in such a way that it gets out there to the people.
Therefore, if I want to make a difference, I have to put that energy into the form of an enterprise. So by necessity, I’m an entrepreneur. I’m an artist organising chaos. Like most Berliners.
BLY: What does art have to do with sex?
Sex without art would just be a position. It would be one sound. Just La. Or Sol. Just one experience. We need inspiration. That’s why we bring together people who are passionate and ambitious about what they do.
Our covers are art, our stories are art. Just because it’s sex doesn’t mean it’s porn. It’s erotica, it’s art. The art of writing, the art of photography, the art of making movies, and the art of loving. They belong together.
BLY: Your platform seems to reflect the unique sexual character of Berlin as a city. Do you agree?
First of all: many people who come to Berlin don’t come for economic reasons, but because they want to find and express themselves. That’s why Berlin is a city of artists: „Lebenskünstler“. That’s why in Berlin people are less afraid and dare to lead their own lives and exchange ideas.
The party culture of Berlin is (or was, until Corona) a permanent exchange of ideas and experiences. People in Berlin dare to talk more about sex and desires. However, many people in Berlin are also very lonely. There are so many opportunities and everyone is so busy with themselves. Like everywhere else in the world.
That’s why Berliners are connected to themselves and the world at the same time. They understand big issues. Berlin is colourful. And open: Anyone who wants to can be a Berliner, whether they come from Afghanistan or New York. Berlin is a philosophy of life. Thus the name BERLINABLE: Everyone is able to be Berlin. You just have to free yourself in your mind.
BLY: I can tell that sex, kink and body positivity are central to your platform. As well as breaking taboos! Can you tell me more?
Yes, that’s also a funny thing: I know there are taboos, but I don’t feel them that way.
Current taboos are pegging or male submission, for example. To me, these are not taboos. These are adult people wanting to do things with other adult people that are fun for them both. Where’s the problem?
Everyone should be able to talk openly without being… looked at funny. If we talk more about taboo subjects, people with these desires will dare to open up. In this way, we can learn from each other and about each other, and all live happily together.
BLY: As a platform centred around sex and intimacy, how has the pandemic impacted BERLINABLE?
Actually, Corona showed us how vulnerable our culture is. The usual Berlin lifestyle left us last March and hasn’t come back. Times are hard, especially for artists. Artists depend on interaction. And since last year, the most important platform for interaction is missing: events.
What’s left is the internet – a very unfair territory for artists. A few big platforms control and filter the way we experience culture. BERLINABLE is a work of art created by about 100 artists. Most of them saw an impressive increase in censorship over the last months.
It has become increasingly difficult, especially for artists creating erotica, to reach people.
That’s why it’s very important that people come directly to our site, not to our social media channels. Because that’s where all of our authors and artists are, where we can show uncensored works. These are the people we want to draw attention to.
It’s important that creative people, especially if they create erotic art, get a fair chance out there. That’s not the case right now because of growing censorship. Our society is still afraid: of feelings, of desires, of sex. And of love.
BLY: You must have an insight into how the pandemic has impacted the sex lives of Berliners… care to share?
This is a question we asked ourselves, too! Since we are physically separated but mentally together, we asked our community to write stories about sex experiences during Corona.
We were flooded with stories, not only from Berlin but from all over the world. We have published a free selection of 25 in the book „LOVE IN TIMES OF CORONA“ (read free here: https://berlinable.com/love-in-times-of-corona).
BLY: Are you expecting a wave of sex parties and hooking up post-lockdown?
Actually, I’m a little happy about the dry spell right now, because when life starts in Berlin again, the whole city will turn into a mega party. We will enjoy the opportunity for togetherness even more – I think it will be a really big love party.
We’ll meet at PORNCEPTUAL again. And WHOLE FESTIVAL. And there, we won’t only party. We have the responsibility to show others how great life can be when we have values in common, like here in Berlin: Freedom, love, respect – even for people who are different from us.
Because we are all different, that’s what makes life beautiful. And that’s what Berlin radiates: that we shouldn’t live in separate bubbles. It’s important that we talk a lot more about our differences because that’s the only way we can learn from each other.
BLY: So, how can I get involved with BERLINABLE?
There are three possibilities:
1. You can write books. You can tell your stories so that other people can experience them.
2. You can read the stories, get inspired and put them into practice. Or read them to others.
3. If a social issue (that has to do with sex) is important to you, you can write an article for Sex&Society, our online magazine that is really close to my heart. I believe that education is the most important thing in society. This includes education about sexual things in our everyday life.
BLY: What’s in BERLINABLE’S future?
Mentally: The world.