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2nd Feb 2013 2:07pm | By Helen Elfer
TNT gets daring and switches love hearts and roses for sheer lust, embracing the filth in some of Europe’s seediest corner
Teddies holding heart cushions make you want to vom? Does the sight of smug people clutching bunches of roses mean you might end up clawing your own eyes out?
Perhaps just the thought of spending the weekend all snuggled up in a cosy cottage with a loved one makes your heart pound with horror.
Then boy, have we got an alternative for you. Get your kicks this Valentine’s Day by diving face-first (ahem) into one of Europe’s horniest cities.
From goggling at Berlin’s burlesque shows, to shamelessly slobbering over the nudie ladies in the windows of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, throw romance out the window this year, and head for the continent to dig out some dirt.
Why: Parisians might be fond of walking hand in hand along the Champs-Elysees and whispering sweet nothings to each other in the language of love – but they also know how to crank up the raunch factor.
Find out how it’s done a la Francais at the Museum of Eroticism, a sex museum which showcases everything from erotic art (a vagina served up on a dinner plate, Peruvian phallic pottery and a statue of a woman with water pumping out of her nipples all feature), to a permanent exhibition devoted entirely to the legal brothels of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
There are seven floors of kink altogether – think you’ve got the stamina?
By night, head to the infamously saucy Moulin Rouge for some more retro raunch – world-renowned showgirls in feathers, rhinestones and sequins and little else doing the French Cancan.
This venue might be full of wide-eyed tourists getting their kicks these days, but in the late 19th century, the Moulin Rouge dance hall was where people from all strata of Parisian society – loaded businessmen and boho artistic types – would come to let their hair down.
It was nicknamed ‘The First Palace of Women’ because courtesans would use the seductive Cancan dance to attract business. Ooh la la!
More: Tickets start from £81.50pp for a show at the Moulin Rouge.
Entrance to the Museum of Eroticism is £8pp musee-erotisme.com .
Lust Factor: Sophisticated sleaze: 6/10.GO: Fly London Luton to Paris for £61 return with easyJet.
Why: Let’s cut to the chase – hands up if you’d like to while away a few hours checking out penises.
OK, OK, this might not be a particularly erotic experience as such, but at the jaw-dropping Icelandic Phallological Museum, there are more than 215 phallic specimens taken from mammals native to Iceland.
These include polar bears, walrus and sperm whales – gents can take the opportunity to see how they measure up to the 67-incher belonging to the latter.
There’s also the carefully preserved organ of an elderly Icelandic chap who generously donated his piece to the museum.
For more genital-related giggles, head upstairs to view the “artistic oddments and other practical utensils related to the museum’s chosen theme”, as the museum’s website puts it – a cock-shaped lampshade is among this collection. Like what you see?
Then become an ‘honourary member’ (tee hee).
Lust rating: More hilarious than horny: 1/10.
More: Entrance fee costs £5pp (phallus.is).
Go: Fly from London Heathrow to Reykjavik return from £311pp with Icelandair.
Now you’re really in the capital of vice. Glance in any window in the Red Light District or around Rembrandtplein and you’ll be greeted with the sight of enormous dildos, rubber butts, and real ladies in their underwear touting for business.
For those who just want to dip a toe into the world of sleaze, start off with a guided tour of the infamous Red Light District, which includes a stop at The Condomerie, which is the world’s first specialised condom shop (no harm in stocking up while you’re here), a walk down Warmoesstraat, the hardcore leather neighbourhood, and a visit to an S&M specialist.
That’s as far as we’re willing to take you with recommendations for kinky Amsterdam – from here on you’ll have to seek out your own filth.
Lust Rating: Whatever murky desires you’re looking to have fulfilled, Amsterdam’s the place: 9/10.
More: Take a Red Light District Tour for £10pp with Sandemans (newamsterdamtours.com) .
Go: Fly from London Heathrow to Amsterdam return from £130 with Royal Dutch Airlines (klm.com).
Life is a cabaret in Berlin, and if it’s not a cabaret, it’s a kinky clubbing extravaganza.
Start off a suitably sleazy evening at the KitKatClub.
The first thing you need to know about this venue is that it was launched by an Austrian porn filmmaker.
The second is that there is a strict dress code of fetish, latex, and leather.
The third, and most significant, is that patrons are allowed to have sex inside, just, like, all over the place (you should mind where you sit down).
This makes for an appallingly sleazy free-for-all which you’ll either love or loathe.
If you prefer watching the bad behaviour rather than taking part, revert to Berlin’s cabaret tradition instead. Bassy Cowboy Club is ever-popular and features a regular party night called Pinky’s Peepshow.
This long-running show is described as “deathly romantic burlesque, vaudeville, and cabaret to die for”. Just what the doctor ordered.
Lust Rating: Titillating or terrifying? You decide: 7/10.
More: Pinky’s Peepshow takes place on Wednesdays (bassy-club.de). Entrance is £8.60pp.
Go: Fly from London Gatwick to Berlin for £61 return with easyJet.
Want a bit of of the action closer to home? The UK isn’t without its sleazy cities.
It’s old-fashioned sauce down south or or full-on fetish up north – take your pick.
Got to applaud a city that regularly defaces the street signs of Canal Street, the central road in the gay village, so that they read ‘anal treet’. Ho ho ho.
Some of the clubs on this stretch welcome a mixed crowd, others have a gay-only policy, so check before you visit. Elsewhere in the city, fetish clubs are springing up like, well, use your imagination.
Club Lash, a notorious fetish/S&M club held on the second Friday of every month, “welcomes all polite perverts” and suits all manner of quirky tastes.
Be prepared to dress to the nines for a night here as you’ll be refused entry otherwise.
The entrance fee costs £15 for non-members. clublash.com
Glasgow’s famed Club Noir is officially the Guinness World Record holder for being the biggest burlesque club in the world.
It’s hosted burlesque performances watched by 2000 people, all dressed to kill in anything from military uniform to zoot suits for the gents and Moulin Rouge or showgirl outfits for the ladies.
The shows feature striptease, fetish acts, live music and circus performers. clubnoir.co.uk
Brighton has got its fair share of seedy clubs too, naturally, but for a bit of gentle titillation, embrace the world of old-fashioned seaside cheekiness.
B&B Snooze, a retro hotel, offers its guests a night in their themed saucy suites.
Each room in the collection is different, with one featuring luxe red curtains and vintage photographs of scantily clad ladies on the wall, while another is devoted to the swinging Sixties. snoozebrighton.com
Photos: Getty, Thinkstock, Phallus.is