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30,000 at Erotica Expo

New Zealand- Porn kills, Jesus saves” read a protest sign outside the Erotica Expo, but it didn’t deter some 30,000 people, ranging from the curious to the bizarre, from entering the gates over the weekend.

It was the fifth year of the three-day showcase of all things naughty – and chief among the attractions was the “great” jelly-wrestling competition.

Two bikini-clad women battled it out for three one-minute rounds, though the cheering crowd did not seem to care who won.

Other enticements on offer included various stripping shows and celebrity porn stars, as well as body-painting, tattooing, lingerie, and strangely, financial services.

“This whole thing is about taking the mystery out of sex, so we’re here to take the mystery out of finance,” said Charlie Nicholls, a broker from OPM Financial Solutions.

“Besides, people enjoy sex more when they are rich.”

His stall was perhaps the quietest of the 130-or-so exhibitors who filled the Auckland Showgrounds for the expo.

The strictly R18 show drew a variety of people, from first-timers to old-hands, and spot prizes for best fancy-dressed certainly brought out the weird and not-so-wonderful.

Many who took time to speak to the Herald were reluctant to give their full names. One couple, from Tauranga, had come because “the kids were away” so it was an excuse to try something different. They would definitely come back.

An Auckland couple thought it would “be a laugh” but had found it a little boring.

Expo patron “Rebecca” spent five hours of her day being painted from head to toe. “I’m now getting a bit stiff just standing here but thought it was something a bit different so why not?” said the 21-year-old.

Expo publicist Hayley Marie, who this year became the first New Zealander to grace the cover of Penthouse magazine, said the event was getting bigger and bigger each year. “Sex is getting more mainstream and this is all about having fun with it. It’s about consenting adults having their own choice … No one has to come through the doors, but everyone should be allowed to choose to if they want.”

Eighteen-year-old Ricky Keery, one of the few not worried about giving his name, had simpler reasons for wanting to be there. “This is the first year I’ve been old enough so woo-hoo.”



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