The Unsexy Side of Sexpo
A robot strip tease was not the sexiest notion one could imagine. Unless you are half made of steel and have a poster of R2D2 on your wall. It would be a fair assumption to believe that by the end of the robotic metal-filled electronic strip, the robot would transform and a half-naked handsome hunk would be left standing in the middle of the stage. No. The robot never left its cage of wires, and the crowd was left in confusion. Not everything at a sex convention is overtly sexy – there is also an unsexy side of Sexpo!
Interview with a Porn Star
Talking to a topless female can be daunting at first, but then Samm Rose has a seductive confidence and a friendly openness that quickly allays any embarrassment. Behind her fabulous appearance, *Samm Rose (her stage name) has to spend hours to prepare. She disclosed that being a porn star is not always as glamorous as the job description suggests. In terms of dietary and physical requirements, her job is demanding. “I have to train at the gym and prepare 3-5 days a week,” she said. It is the porn star’s second Sexpo appearance but she couldn’t wait to return. “The chance to be able to meet my fans is worthwhile,” she said. But most surprising is the reaction from the crowd. “Not once have I ever had anyone try to cause trouble. The crowd is better behaved here than at most art galleries,” she said.
Promo Girls & Guys
The promotional side of the event was at times overwhelming, with every type of raunchy sex toy and aid on display. The average attendee is calculated to spend $150 per head, and promoters did everything they could to pocket some of it. Guys walking around demonstrating items such as vibrating gloves were amusing at first, but there were far too many of them, which left you feeling harassed and annoyed by their constant attention. Not to mention the man selling ‘sexual liquorice’ in flavors such as ‘bisexual blueberry’ and ‘wanking watermelon.’ Products like these were too artificial and commercialized to be appealing, sexually or otherwise.
Down to Business
Despite the sensitivity of talking about the nature of sex, it is clear that selling it can be a different business. Sexpo aims to enable people to be comfortable with sex and discussing their sexuality in a commercial environment. Stall Manager of ‘Love and Play’, Joey Hunt, was there with her Uncle on the day selling show products. “My Uncle is running the stall opposite mine, working here is not an uncomfortable topic to discuss in my family, I even talk to my Mum openly,” she said. It is the first year that Miss Hunt has been involved in Sexpo, after encouragement from her Uncle who helped out the previous year. “Some people are slightly shocked when they find out what the family business is, but most people take it well and are accepting” she said.
Craig Dennis, Business Owner of ‘Wick It Wax It’, also found a niche in the market for sex products, with a range of candles that don’t burn skin when melted. “One day a stripper walked into my candle shop. She said that normal candles burnt her, and so my business began” he said. His candles, provocatively shaped, attract both serious consumers and people looking for a joke gift. “It helps to make the topic less serious by putting it into a fun form” he said.
The anti-sex trafficking stall set up by the Salvation Army bought a dark seriousness to the light heartedness of the day. Salvation Army Volunteer, Telitha Hagger, commented on the controversial nature of Sexpo and the charity’s reason for being in attendance. “Some people do think it is strange that we are advertising human trafficking prevention at a convention where sex is entertainment” she said. However considering the large focus on entertainment, it is an appropriate opportunity to remind people that sex is not always sexy. Sex trafficking is the truly grim, tragic and hidden aspect of a glamorized industry. This was the most confronting and unsexiest aspect of Sexpo.
With now thirteen Sexpo’s under her belt, General Manager Tracey Browning has witnessed a lot of entertaining moments. “I’ve seen some sights as you can imagine in a job like this – perhaps the funniest and quirkiest was when a group of young boys rugby tackled our 10 feet tall Penisauraus costume and he fell to the ground. The costume was so heavy he couldn’t get up!” she said. Whether it is dealing with falling penis costumes, or managing a huge team of staff backstage, the positives of the event outweigh the unsexy moments for Tracey. In order to define a successful event, Tracey said that there are many factors. “Everyone is in business to make money of course – but we believe that we show the Adult Industry in a positive light, and that sex really is all about having fun!”
Judging by the amount of smiles walking out the door after only a few hours, Sexpo 2013 was a clear success. You would think at a sex convention there would be a lot of sexy things on display. And there was! Noticeably, many advertisements on the day were promoting the hugely successful ’50 Shades of Grey’ book series, creating further interest in the event this year. But there is no denying everything on the day is intended to be sexy – robot dancing and all.