12,000 defy Ottawa’s staid rep at city sex show



Tracey Tong/metro ottawa


Exotic dancer ‘Isabella’ and demonstrator Bryan Loamis show Sexapalooza attendees how to use an apparatus called the ‘sex swing’ over the weekend at Lansdowne Park.

From full-out exhibitionists to those on the shy side, curiosity got the best of thousands of Ottawans who attended Sexapalooza over the weekend.

Ottawa’s buttoned-up, government town reputation took a beating as people flooded the city’s first-ever trade show all about sex, bumping attendance over the 12,000 mark.

Sophie St-Gelais was surprised at Ottawans’ open-mindedness. “Nobody was embarrassed. They figure that if they met someone here that they knew, that they were at the show too,” said the exhibitor at the Fantasia booth.

Chesterville resident Andrew Guertin was so blasé about sex that he let Kitty’s Boutique exhibitor Jonathan Dickenson demonstrate the use of bondage straps on him. “You can learn about the extras you can add,” he said.

Dickenson said the show’s appeal is clear: “Straight sex is the same old thing all the time. People come to the show to spice up their sex life. The key to keeping your sex life active and different is finding new things to do.”

Dozens of exhibitors and demonstrations helped Ottawans do just that. While retailers sold sex toys, videos, clothing and specialized accessories, Sexapalooza also featured cabaret shows, seminars and discussions with sex therapists and writers.

“The show takes some of the embarrassment out of sex,” said Ottawa resident Erika Tar, who attended the show with a friend.

Purchases were as diverse as the people, said Roger Leger, general manager of Ottawa-based Classixxx. “We had a young lady who said she was buying her first vibrator.”

“If people are shy, Sexapalooza is the wrong place to be,” said Ottawa resident Bryan Loamis, who was shown the finer points of a ‘sex swing’ apparatus by exotic dancer, Isabella, during the show. “You can’t be walking around where an 18-inch … dildo is going to be and be shy.”