Thoughts on the Perth Sexpo

In a veritable flood of posts, Beth and I hit up the Perth Sexpo this weekend previous. I wrote a blog on my experiences for Tune In Not Out, which I’m reposting here! Mine is a lot more link-heavy because TINO wasn’t able to post a lot of them due to inappropriate images etc., so take note, this blog has adult themes.

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Today I attended the Perth Sexpo, the annual sexuality and lifestyle exposition held at the Perth Convention Centre. I wasn’t really sure why I wanted to go – I’ve always liked the idea of embracing the idea of humans as sexual beings, and I liked the idea of being okay to explore my own sexuality a little further in a public convention. What did I mean by “explore my own sexuality”? Honestly, I didn’t know. But I liked the sound of it, so I talked to my partner Bethwyn about it and we bought two tickets.

Despite having a good look around the website, I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I knew that there would be porn stars there, people dressed as humongous penises, and probably people walking around in various states of undress. I feared the whole thing might be an excuse for people to be blatantly pornographic, disrespectful and derogatory to women, and treating sex as a way to buy popularity. On the other hand, I was hoping it would be a place where people could come together to collaboratively celebrate and explore their sexualities in a respectful and safe forum. I anticipated it would be somewhere in the middle.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was that there were an awful lot of flashing lights and loud noises in a confined area. When we walked through the door was a man holding a fleshlight walked up to us and invited us to touch it, telling me about how it could improve my sexual stamina. We disengaged the conversation as politely as possible and moved on, only to see “Pricasso“, a man who painted (admittedly impressive) drawings using his penis in lieu of a brush. Not knowing where to look, we staggered away down the corridor only to be surrounded by stalls and stalls (and stalls) of sex toys and lingerie. They were almost exclusively variations on dildos, and while Beth and I weren’t closed to the existence of sex toys, there were literally thousands of them. I had no idea so many adult stores existed in Perth, each of them trying to attract us (some by literally reaching out and touching us with vibrating gloves). Poor unsuspecting Beth and I were pretty overwhelmed.

Picture 1

We found enough time to check the program and realised that Tamra Mercieca was about to run a workshop on Sexual Kung Fu. As a martial artist, I was keen to see what her interpretation of “kung fu” would mean. I’m heartened to say it wasn’t a seminar on sexual positions, but likened to the true definition of gong fu – an achievement or skill acquired through diligent effort. Tamra normally facilitates a lot of discussions about healthy sexuality, mentally as well as physically, and all the hurt and pain and stuff that stops us from enjoy our sexuality. This particular session focussed mainly on how to achieve stronger control of the pelvic floor muscles in order to promote healthy sexual energy and genital health, with the bonuses of increasing orgasm length, frequency and strength. I found the exercises fascinating (including the use of jade eggs, and I really love the work she does for promoting the joys of sexual health.

After that, things went much more smoothly. Back when I studied sexology, the first thing we did at the start of semester was spend an hour and a half watching a desensitisation video. It was basically a series of movie clips of people having sex – men masturbating, women masturbating, multiple partners, bi-racial couples, gays, lesbians, elderly couples, partners with disabilities and so on. Once we got over the “omg sexuality is exciting and taboo and not something to be expressed in public ever” phase, we all opened up and had some really great conversations. We’d been exposed to all kinds of sex for long enough to feel comfortable talking about it.

And the same thing happened as the Sexpo, and after being exposed to it for a while, it became less overwhelming. At one point I ran into a friend (Beth also ran into someone she knew. We got “Perthed”, as the saying goes) and glanced up to see naked cowgirls strutting around on stage with comedian Russell Gilbert. (I could tell they were cowgirls from the hats and boots, the only articles of clothing they were wearing.)

All kinds of people were in attendance – couples, groups, individuals, older people (maybe 55+?), young people and different ethnicities of all descriptions. It made me smile to realise how diverse we all are, and how each and every one of us is a sexual being worthy of acknowledgement. There were also a surprising number of people in wheelchairs about, and it was great to see them being represented as important sexual beings. For those who don’t know, even people who are paralysed from the waist down still enjoy sex, even if they are limited in what they can feel or what positions they can be in. But it doesn’t stop them from enjoying sexual stimulation with their partners. Remember, sex isn’t just penile-vaginal intercourse, it’s any action of a sexual nature, and so it’s constructed differently by everybody.

Picture 2

As well as the huge number of adult toy stores, there was a surprising variety of groups represented. I saw stalls for paintballing, tea, massages, psychics, some truly spectacular body painting and even Information Technology. I stumbled across the Australian Sex Party (whose quite brilliant policies aren’t entirely about the right to have sex all the time, as I initially thought when I heard of them). Beth and I also found the Western Australian Sexology Society, an organisation dedicated to the study, understanding, education, enhancement and acceptance of the diversity of human sexuality. I’m definitely considering getting a membership! They also introduced me to this great app for learning more about women’s sexuality, including how to turn them on – check it out at www.brightfire.com.au!

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There were other attractions and events on at the expo, but Beth was feeling pretty overwhelmed so we left soon after. But early on a Friday afternoon probably isn’t the best representation of what the Sexpo is actually like, but I suspect things get a bit busier at night for things like the amateur strip contest and the laporium. Other things we stayed away from (but I’m glad other people can enjoy) include suspension bondage, bloodplay and “deep massages”. All in all, a great experience, and perhaps something I’ll try again some time. If you somehow manage to read this before the end of the weekend, it’s on until 8pm, Sunday 16th June. Check it out if you get the chance, otherwise, there’s always next year!

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