Erotic Vienna

Erotisches wien

Vienna was the world capital of erotic lust and prostitution around 1900. Which places remind you of it? Where can you encounter erotic Vienna these days? What did the Habsburgs think of marital fidelity?

Prostitution is called the oldest trade in the world , purely historically incorrect, because the production of stone tools and ceramic pots dates back even longer. Vienna had a pioneering role in matters of sexuality around 1900. Just think of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis , or Arthur Schnitzler with his most provocative work “Der Reigen”.

Sexuality became the subject of science in Vienna.

People flocked to Vienna, the imperial capital, from all parts of the monarchy. Vienna had more inhabitants around 1900 than it does today. Many young girls ended up in prostitution . The most famous prostitute was Josefine “Pepi” Mutzenbacher. She came from Ottakring and always warmed up in the then Café Griensteidl on Michaelerplatz .

Her presumably fictitious erotic experiences were published as a
“Story of a Viennese Harlot. Told by herself”
Presumably Felix Salten was the author who had also written Bambi. To circumvent the censorship of the time, the book was published on a subscription basis. In the 1970s, the life of Mutzenbacher was filmed with Christine Schubert .

The first brothel in Vienna was located on Michaelerplatz. For this we go back to Roman times , so Vienna was a military camp and was called Vindobona . The Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry for 20 years, lived in the suburb (Cannabae) in concubinage (wild marriage) with several ladies and prostitution flourished . In the course of archaeological excavations in the 1990s , evidence was discovered(green vine painting) , which reminds of a wine tavern .

This also meant prostitution, which was nothing reprehensible in Roman times. Lust was fulfilled outside of marriage, because marriage was for the sole purpose of procreating offspring.

The Michaeler passage was also called “Hüstelstrich” , because here the connection was made with a so-called “Hüsteln”. Why did the girls become prostitutes? They were poor and did not have much choice. An alternative was to become a maid, but this was often worse, as the master of the house, including sons, often took advantage of the poor girls and made them the

“Practice” for the sons were taken here. They could become prostitutes right then and there.

So which were the most sinful places in Vienna? The Prater was wicked since it opened in 1766, if you wanted to have fun, you went there. Vienna’s inner city with Michaelerplatz, Kohlmarkt, Graben, Singerstraße and many other side streets was another den of iniquity. Things were also wild in the Mariahilf area around today’s Naschmarkt . The Spittelberg was known as a disreputable area of the city.

How was that now with the marital fidelity among the Habsburgs? Maria-Theresia was fidelity personified, which could be said less of her French spouse Francis Stephen of Lorraine . Even the prospect of having to permanently share a bedroom in Vienna was unfamiliar to him and caused him discomfort. In France, one officially had a mistress; in Vienna, it was unofficial.


Maria-Theresa was known for the chastity commission in the 18th century. She sent out her commissioners, who knocked on many doors. If there were people in a bed who were not married to each other, there were heavy penalties.

Her son Josef II. had long-term bad luck with women. His first wife, Isabella of Bourbon-Parma, was lovely and he was very much in love with her. With her, we don’t really know, because there was also the sister-in-law – Marie Christine – with whom she exchanged tender love letters and possibly more tenderness. When Isabella died at the birth of the second child, along with the child, Joseph was inconsolable. When his first-born daughter died at a young age, he gave up trying to be happy with a woman again.

At his mother’s insistence, he married a second time, this time to Maria Josepha of Bavaria, a cousin. Joseph paid little attention to his wife and she soon died of smallpox . No children resulted from the short marriage. Another time Joseph did not want to marry. Instead, he satisfied his cravings with prostitutes on Spittelberg. At the widow Bolte ‘s pub you can still find an inscription that confirms this. Emperor Joseph II is also said to have said in response to the suggestion to introduce brothels in Vienna: “What brothels? All I need to do is have a big roof made over the whole of Vienna, and the brothel would be ready.

As is well known, Emperor Franz Joseph I was no stranger to food and had several illegitimate children. He adored his beloved Sisi and had four children with her. But since she was never present at the Viennese court , one knew about some friends (Anna Nahowski) and later Katharina Schratt . One assumes about five illegitimate children.

What is it like in Vienna today with the temples of lust? The Hotel Orient immediately comes to mind.

Orient’s homepage says, “Orient is a place where longings are satiated and rekindled, time after time.” The Orient is certainly THE Viennese hour hotel and an institution in itself.

Why is it called Orient? This is due to the fact that at the Tiefen Graben, about 300 years ago, a branch of the Danube still reached there. The merchants brought their goods, especially spices, fabrics, jewelry from the Orient, to the former tap house.


Since 1896 it has been run as Hotel Orient. Emperor Franz Joseph is said to have been a guest here, as was Orson Welles, who liked to stay here longer after filming the “Third Man”.


Nowadays, discretion is paramount and the owner is none other than the son of the already deceased Viennese nightclub boss Heinz Werner Schimanko.


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