When the Everything to do With Sex Show asked me to participate in social outreach for their event on November 2-4, I can’t lie, I was hesitant. Just one week after theirs, I am pouring my heart and soul into my own sexuality conference happening November 9-11, Playground 2012. It seemed strange to be promoting an event that really seems to be looking at sex very differently than I am.
Then I thought about it a little more. Playground is all about being inclusive; it’s in my freaking tagline. I can’t hold this inclusive, sex-positive event without being open myself to other viewpoints on sexuality. I’ve only been to the Sex Show once and I remember it being one overwhelming big adult store. The overall vibe that I’ve always gotten from it has been kind of a cheesy one; sex for the surburbanites if you will. I say that because the Sex Show radio announcements make jokes about men confusing their wife’s wishes to “go downtown” with wanting to actually take that out on the town … which they’re obviously out of, right?
But really, while it might be intimidating in its hugeness (that’s what she said), the Sex Show is really a safe haven for a lot of people to go and feel comfortable in a sexy environment without judgement. It’s a place to see your favorite mainstream porn star and perhaps buy your first rabbit vibrator – which I did, 6 years ago. It’s a place where all forms of sex can be found around you. It’s a weekend all about letting sex be fun and not too serious; I mean, let’s face it. There’s a hypnotist on the main stage.
There’s burlesque, there’s male dancers, there’s a dungeon, there’s TONS of exhibitors. It’s 360 degrees of sex. And yes, while the overall *feel* of the show isn’t so focused on being queer and sex-positive friendly (at least in the way that I would use that expression), it’s not fair to dismiss it for being more mainstream. Lots of people out there enjoy mainstream sex and I don’t ever want to be a sex elitist and judge others for enjoying more traditional excitement, just like I don’t ever want to judge people for choosing monogamy. Lots of people would love the wooden scented red rose that I received as part of my Tickle Trunk from the show, while I just found myself reminded of the sex scenes in The Room where Tommy Wiseau is surrounded by roses and I wanted to vomit. Lots of people would find the lovely leather cuffs from Aslan Leather (booth #357), that came as part of the package, intimidating or exciting simply because they’d read about something similar in 50 Shades, while I immediately had scenarios in my head based on the doms I’m seeing who I like being tied up by.
There is a place for the Everything to do with Sex Show to bring sex and sexy entertainment to the masses and a place for Playground to bring more focused conversation around sexuality and relationships to a smaller, more intimate crowd. Not everyone wants to dive deep into discussions on compersion or sexual fluidity; they just want to get their freak on. If there’s one thing I support above pretty much most other things, it’s people being able to get their freak on in whichever way makes them happy.
Mainstream or not, the Sex Show does offer something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fun, relaxed. and spicy way to spend an afternoon this gloomy November, I recommend you check it out. Maybe it’ll inspire you to join us at Playground the weekend after to learn more about what to do with all the goodies you end up buying there and how to talk about them with your partner(s).
Visit the Everything to do with Sex Show from November 2-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. You can even check out three of Playground‘s speakers during their seminar sessions; Carlyle Jansen, Dr. Jessica O’Reilly and Carrie Gray.
(And of course, check out Playground at the Holiday Inn Downtown Centre, November 9-11!)