Sexpo takes over Perth
Last weekend 35,000 people attended Sexpo at the Perth Convention Centre. I was fortunate to take a peek behind the curtain (literally) and sit down for five minutes with organiser David Ross, who gave me with a totally new perspective on the event. Here’s my attempt at explaining what happened while using as few double-entendres as possible.
Behind the doors of the World’s Largest Adult Health, Sexuality, and Lifestyle show, my initial challenge was where to start. To my immediate left I could watch live adult entertainment and burlesque shows on stage every 45 minutes. The seats in the grandstand looked pretty tempting. Nearby I could have my portrait painted by Mr Pricaso, yes you guessed right.
Or I could go ‘Directly past Go’ and get lost in some retail therapy, the risqué produce safely secured away inside a nondescript bag instead of on display. A neat idea to reduce the embarrassment of walking around all night with said purchase poking out of your handbag, or dropping it on the floor when you accidentally bump into your boss.
Further down the room I could have indulged in a Peep Show, a Male Revue, the Voodoo Lounge, Club Freek or go on The Shafer at the amusement park. After all that excitement I could have recovered listening to an educational seminar. But I had to be back in time for the interview.
While I waited in the Organisers Office I met burlesque dancer soxiliqueur’e and her brave friend John who’d been roped in at the last minute. Now that’s what I call brave.
My chat with Ross revealed several surprises, including that the audience was made up of 52% females, and 60% couples. Did 50 Shades of Grey have anything to do with that I pondered?
‘Females are overrepresented, 52%,. The figure for all other expos, food, housing, combined is 40% female … they feel comfortable here,’ said Ross.
It was interesting to hear him explain why people came (to the show). Firstly he said it had to do with the environment they’d created, and I’d have to agree with that.
‘We try to convince people that Sexpo is a nonthreatening environment, its couple friendly and includes light entertainment.
Secondly he said the show enabled people to feel part of a community and that it gave them permission to be whoever they wanted to be.
‘When people come here they see other people who are into the same thing as them. They think I’m not the only one … We give them permission to leave their inhabitations behind at the door … We invite people who think its just a sex show to come have a look and they’re surprised.
After our chat Ross guided me through an area full of sea containers that housed the myriad of equipment needed to put the show on. Passing through another door I thought I was going back into the arena, but instead I came face to face with a half-naked policeman. I froze taking a moment to realise that I hadn’t stumbled into the middle of a police ‘situation’. Thank goodness considering the size of his truncheon (sorry).
It was fascinating to watch the work that went on backstage. The smoke machines, music deck, cameras, discarded clothing and most importantly performers going through their preparations before hitting the stage. It’s easy to forget the hours that go into perfecting the routines and bodies before succumbing to the lights.
Sexpo was a fantastic, fun, nonthreatening night of adult entertainment. It was an added bonus to get a look behind the curtain and has left me pondering the significance of events such as these. Who’d have thought a naked man/woman (that’s man or woman, not man/woman, not that there’s anything wrong with that), a mountain of rubber devices or an oversized penis rocket could help foster community engagement and self-acceptance? Congrats to all involved.