When did you last watch your lover undress before you? Was she aware you were watching her? When she caught your gaze she responded with her cheekiest smile. A total show-off because she knew how the all-revealing sight of her aroused you.


   I am cramped into a tiny cabin. The darkly painted wooden walls are closing in around me and I begin to wonder if the plate carrying the copulating couple is indeed revolving or if instead the ring of cabins is revolving around its centre. My gaze wanders to the naked man, to his eyes and down the line of his back. My mind, however, strays to three Chinese businessmen on the opposite side. How did all three of them fit into one cabin?! Standing shoulder to shoulder they stare. I am reminded of the Grady twins in The Shining. Try to scrunch down out of sight but my knees only bend so far before they hit the wall in front of me.


Sex is sensual. Erotic. Filled with laughs and tears sometimes. It is how some of us make new humans. That calls for celebration! And when the goal is less (r)evolutionary, the act itself can be the most rewarding and fun physical expression of uncontrolled positive emotion ever. Whether sex derives from mere attraction, lust or love is first of all inconsequential. When it is honest.


   The plate is turning on its middle axis. The naked woman looks at me. Her face is so deprived of all feeling. I blink to catch a glimpse of her and conclude that she is wearing a mask. Or isn't she. I feel pity. I don't want to, but I do. She is too young to be using Botox. Or maybe she isn't. Maybe she is counting down to finish line. Maybe she is writing a mental grocery list.


The Dutch sex industry has a proud tradition. Rightly so, I believe, as there is a truthfulness in selling and buying sex as a service. It drapes the act with rules which it cannot naturally provide itself. It opens a channel through which not only lust and love may pass. Hate, anger, violence, possessive behaviour - to name but a few - are flushed through. These emotions need channels, too, or else they might quite literally explode in our faces.


   Red numbers on a little black box to my right are starting to blink. My 2 Euros are almost spent, 2 minutes are almost over. With a click the light comes on in my cozy cabin shutting me out of the action. The glass pane looses its see-through sensation and instead bears a milky shimmer. There is no peep show punchline for me today. I wonder if the man and the woman will climax. When the end is near the revolving plate may simply lower the hard-working couple down into the ground, the floor closing above them, never revealing even to the most attentive of peeping toms the outcome of their efforts.


Peep shows, as cheap as they come, are only a tiny piece of the overwhelmingly large sex industry. They are not representative and yet they point right at the industry's core. They are part of its tradition which is why I refuse to brush them off as insignificant. Sadly commodities such as these affect the male gaze. Sadly they affect how women see themselves.


To me the peep show experience was downright disturbing. I had hoped that my pronounced fascination with the human form at least would let me enjoy the show. I was curious - this would be research I had convinced myself. And maybe, just maybe, it would appeal to the untrained voyeur inside of me. I applaud voyeurism when it is done with an open heart. There might be a voyeur in each and every one of us. But there seems to be a point when watching hurts the watched.


When her clothes fell to the floor a surge of joy pulsed through me. She offered me her cheekiest smile. Not for sale.


Wishing you a loving -