Erotic USA

The following is a reprint of an article written in the April 20, 1999 edition of Salon.com. The article has been edited for relevent information.

Rough Trade Show

Despite Cyberdildonics and tantric sex swings, the sex biz trade show Erotica USA is a decidedly unsexy event.

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By Albert Mobilio

 Soft lights, soft music. A glass of champagne, a spiked dog collar and an enema. If this sounds like a sexy combination to you, keep a voyeuristic eye out for Erotica USA, a sex biz trade show coming soon to a town near you. The Erotica show just closed in New York, where it sparked complaints from expected sources like New York's hall-monitor mayor and the Christian Coalition. Both denounced the use of the Jacob Javits Center, a government-owned convention hall, as a site for the propagation of, well, propagation. Or at least the urge behind it...

...Aside from these tepid carnal visitations, this trade show -- which will be moving on to South Beach in Miami and Las Vegas -- was mostly about trade. Jay Servidio runs Teleteria, a porn Web design and programming company that really wants you to profit from the Internet boom. Jay and the gang at Teleteria will set you up with a dripping wet Web site, provide you with "live video streaming of girls, Asians, guys, transsexuals, amateurs and dungeon," and ensure you direct billing of "100% of the commission." When I asked Jay how many porn sites the Web could support, he launched into his spiel with a button-holer's gusto. "Do the math," he says. "There are 150 million people on the Internet and only 30,000 adult sites. Every day another 20,000 people sign up. Every 500 hits yields a membership, Christmas, Chanukah, every day of the year." As if offering his own ringing reply to the big question, "What Is Sexy?" Jay bore down close on me and declared, "Making money is simple." ...

...Erotica USA very much wants to go mainstream. Even with videos and magazines catering to female wrestler buffs ("Steel Kittens"), submissives ("Bitch Mistress Magazine," "Trampled"), foot fetishists ("Sole Desire"), enema enthusiasts ("Flash Floods"), voyeurs ("Peeping Toms Get Spanked") and traditionalists ("Bald Beavers," "Ass Blaster" and "Goo Guzzlers"), the message, says Kimberly Chigi, one of the New York show's organizers, "is that sex is healthy and there's nothing dirty here." And she's right, unless you think lucre is filthy. The overheard talk all around the convention hall was about franchises, turnkey sites, distribution networks, synergy and "the power and profit of sell-through." In the booth of the self-proclaimed "Baroness" you found tourniquet-tight rubber clothes, but whatever lubricity they began to cook up in your autonomic nervous system was quickly short-circuited by her poster announcing how we could learn how to clean, shine and take care of our latex garments from the Regal One. What is sexy? Well, money can be, but cleaning up definitely isn't. How those latex briefs and bras might get dirty is what you want to explore at something called Erotica USA. 

salon.com > Entertainment April 20, 1999
URL: http://www.salon.com/ent/feature

 

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