|Mexico City's Annual Sex Expo Bigger than Ever|
Diego Cevallos - Inter Press Service
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February 25, 2010
Mexico City - For an entrance fee of 17 dollars, visitors to this year’s sex expo in the Mexican capital will be offered a range of products and entertainment options, including a zoo in which barely-clothed men and women pose as animals.
The Sex and Entertainment Expo, which opened Wednesday in a 27,500-square-metre mall in Mexico City and will run through Monday, is the fifth annual event of its kind. The 2007 edition brought in more than 1.4 million dollars in earnings, with 105,000 visitors, and this year the expo is expected to draw 110,000 people and earn 1.8 million dollars.
The expo is the largest of its kind in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. When the first edition drew 80,000 visitors in 2004, it prompted howls of outrage from the Catholic Church and conservative groups.
But today, the scandal has died down.
The expo’s success has to do with "the end of the silence surrounding sexual issues, which is a healthy process seen in Mexico in recent years," sexologist Eusebio Rubio, president since 2005 of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), told IPS.
Each year, the Mexican event attracts more and more businesses. In 2004, 80 companies set up stands in a total area of 4,500 square metres; today 300 firms are taking part in an area six times that size.
During the expo, women and men can audition for porn flicks. The finalists will produce a film in just eight hours, to be shown on the expo’s web site.
"From anonymity to fame in just one day," proclaims Alberto Kibrit, the young businessman and porn industry promoter who created the expo.
According to unofficial estimates, the porn industry in Mexico takes in around one billion dollars a year, despite a thriving pirate video industry.
The president of WAS said "it is scientifically proven that pornography and the commercialisation of sex do not cause damages. Exposure to pornography or the sex market won't hurt you.
"There are people who are compulsive consumers of pornography, but the problem in these cases is not the pornography itself, but internal problems within these individuals, which drives them to obsessively seek out such images," said Rubio.
The local and foreign businesses taking part in the fair offer a wide range of products like sex toys, lingerie, films and magazines. In addition, porn actors and actresses, mainly from the United States, put on different kinds of shows.
There are also special areas this year for women and gays, who in previous years had asked for spaces where they could avoid harassment or homophobia.
The expo includes corridors where scantily clothed men and women pretending to be animals are exhibited in cages.
There is also a contest in which competing teams have to overcome a series of sexually-themed challenges.
But live sex acts and anything to do with bestiality or sex with minors are banned at the event.
Kibrit said the market for porn in Mexico, especially sex toys and films downloaded from the Internet, is growing.
Until the early 1990s, just about everything related to pornography was officially prohibited in Mexico. Nevertheless, a black market functioned with a certain amount of tolerance from the authorities.
But the opening up of the Mexican market and the declining strength of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which was voted out of office in 2000 after seven decades in power, led to the loosening of restrictions and the creation of specific regulations.
The global porn industry is estimated to generate earnings of around 57 billion dollars a year.
An estimated 30 million people log on to porn web pages, which number at least 260 million, according to the Internet filtering firm, N2H2.