Mike Photo

Erotica Expo

I saw a stranger's nipples early this morning - it was odd. Stranger's nipples are a night time thing. This is my first excursion to the Erotica Expo, now in its sixth year.

The atmosphere is very relaxed. Couples wander about as if they were at a boat show. Only the boats had breasts. Numerous models wander around wearing next to nothing, handing out flyers and shivering in the cold.

Shivering people are not sexy. They should be given mittens.

I meet my host Haley - The first 'Penthouse pet' from New Zealand. I'm not sure when she gets her face on a banknote. Hilary did and he didn't have to watch his weight. Haley tells me she wants to work in radio. This seems a tragic waste of preening, but I wish her luck.

Her eyes are very lovely.

She brings me three of the visiting porn stars to interview. They are all friendly but I can't help but feel like I'm listening to a North Korean PR guy. 'Everything's great behind the curtain!'. They all have stable relationships, work safe, love the job and save their money.

The books I have read suggest porn stars are all victims of sexual abuse. Drug addicts just waiting to suicide. I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in between.

Actors are required to have an AIDS test every month. That said, many would do fifteen to twenty sex scenes in that time. Could be a bit late for some. That happened recently. A porno was shot across the border using hookers right off the street. An actor caught the AIDS virus and promptly gave it to two actresses on his return to the US. Before his next test returned positive.

One of the performers speaks about the agonizing wait for test results to be returned after such a scare. I'm guessing the famous 'Six degrees of separation' is down to about two in this circle of actors. "Did I shag her AFTER she shagged him, AFTER he got it?" The first to chat with me was the very personable Evan Stone. This stage name was picked for him. The one he wanted was Shane 'Something clever'. He can't remember at the moment. Only that it was good.

I asked him if he could ever have casual sex with a partner now, or was there always pressure for a professional, dramatic performance. Mr. Stone confirmed both this and that he was not able to 'conclude' private lovemaking without throwing a voice saying "Pop in ten seconds". Director speak.

I ask if he has a replica of his penis on the market, like many other stars. No. Nobody offered him enough money yet. This must be the porn equivalent to having an action figure. No. I spoke too soon. I see that you can now get those as well...

But we agree that asking for 'plus 10%' is a good idea when releasing such a body part to the market.

I thank our visitors and wander off to interview the various businesses in attendance. Haley makes me return my media pass. I can only wear it when I am with her. When I wouldn't need it. She is 'Pretty sure' these were her instructions.

Damn. I wanted to keep this pass for two reasons. Firstly, to assure those I would interview that I was indeed legit.

But most importantly as a badge of dignity. To show the other deviant patrons that I was here on business. NOT a freak like them. Above such base desires... Oh well.

As you can imagine, there is a bewildering array of marital aids on show. A whirring comes from most tables as vibrators are demonstrated. Customers trading up from yesterday's technology. After a while the buzzing is strangely comforting. Like honey bees going about their work.

Many examples have penguins, dolphins and other creatures molded in helpful poses. I was told by as Asian friend that this then makes it a legitimate 'toy' as opposed to a sexual device. Thus legal for sale in their nation. Like a 'Hump me Elmo'.

Vicki from Midnight Exposure tells me that her stand sells 150 pairs of furry handcuffs over the course of the expo. The average punter spending just under two hundred dollars. Another vendor points out a pair of the crotchless undies she just sold to a couple in their sixties. Very tasteful in gold.

I visit the Dvice shop. They claim to make their own products. I have visions of lesbians whittling on the porch. But I'm sure it is done with moulds. They joined others in boycotting last year's event because of the promoter's efforts to film a live birth on the end of a porno.

I stroll on and now there is, for want of a better description, a 'Lap' looking at me. This square machine has working 'bits'. I entertain the thought of mounting it on the chassis my remote controlled monster truck and scaring people at beaches.

There is also a pair of feet. Just... Two severed feet. Molded from a porn star's actual feet. Someone called 'Serenity'. I have NO idea what they are for. They would be good to leave sticking out from under a curtain to frighten your flat mate. Also handy in a prison escape. Make the guards think you are still in bed? Otherwise… I have no clue.

There is a knee mounted dildo. But it's color would clash with your Santa outfit.

The stand from the Auckland Health Services is a sobering reminder among the color and flash. A dose of reality of what you can get a dose of.

I paused to watch the Jelly wrestling. I was assured that this was not rigged, but still swear that the tall girl threw the bout. One of the combatants recognizes me, I am hugged and covered in jelly. Her cheek was soft.

Condoms are being handed out. I'm guessing to inspire brand loyalty. In my experience the only brand awareness in a horny male is that their partner is a woman. Even that can disappear with enough alcohol.

I tend to just ask the chemist for 'A' pack of condoms and try not to go "Weeeeee" out loud and do the happy dance. This is not considered suave.

The White House set up a club within the expo and has strippers doing their thing from eleven in the morning. This does seem very early but apparently the girls are happy. As I talk to the owner he has a drill in his hand. I guess to ensure that all shiny poles are secured to OSH standards.

I'm told that the girls are 'Choreographed'. As opposed to just standing there naked. Personally, either would do. But the effort is appreciated.

There is a kiwi porn magazine and a kiwi porn video plays in the background. There is a Kiwiporn website. It is explained to me that there are hundreds of naked kiwi women on there. I brush aside a tear of pride. Kiwis having a go in all areas of the arts.

I can't help but feel the main attraction to such material is simply looking for someone that you went to school with. "I knew that Sarah was a tart".

Suddenly there is a stand selling swords, crystals and Buddha figures. I fail to see the link. Vibrator, porn DVD, Conan sword... No...

There was food available at the expo, but for some reason I didn't trust it. I went to a mall for lunch. It felt weird not to be surrounded by naked people. After an hour I had grown complacent and forgot to ogle. I regret this now.

All up, the expo is worth a look. If only to hear "Price check on nipple drops"? from someone using a straight face.

Mike Loder, 2007