"sechs-sechs-sechs, seiben sechs, seiben sechs" says the female voice over for the phone sex service, the German pronounciation of "6" deliberately punning on the English word "sex". Late night television in Germany is full of these commericals for phone sex, complete with soft core video. Accordingly, they reflect the German standards of obscenity: nudity on TV is fine.
To an American this is weird, of course, as all manner of churches and parent groups would sooner slit the broadcasters throats than allow soft core on television. So an American might come to the conclusion that pornography, what Americans consider pornography, is alright in Germany.
So one night my German girlfriend and I are in bed in a hotel room. I'm flipping through the channels trying to find something in English that we'll both understand. I come across the hotel's pay porn channel playing a sample, hard core this time, and stop a moment to see what the German porn movies are like. She explodes. "What the hell are you doing? That's pornography!" Uh, um, uh, I quickly change the channel.
It took a few minutes for me to explain myself. I'm thinking "Germans are OK with porn on television" and figure that extends across the whole range of the genre. And Germans are thinking, "A little skin on television is fine, but anything beyond that is pornography!" They don't erase the line, they just move it a little further out.