This weekend, Sexpo came to Melbourne for the first time since 2019, promising performance, shopping, and the chance to meet your idols, whether they be the girls of Kittens strip club, Australia’s OnlyFans stars, or the world’s most awarded porn star, Angela White. It definitely bore the promise of excellent sightseeing.
Numerous people asked what I was doing there. The easy answer was that Sexpo had reached out to VICE, and asked us if we’d like to attend [yes]. But the hard answer was more nebulous… sinister, even. Frankly, I wanted answers. Answers to questions I knew not how to ask. Existential questions that keep me up, searching the stars on cold nights. What happens when we die? What is the worst star sign? If I was gonna die tomorrow… what would I do today?
And I knew that Australia’s leading sexuality and lifestyle expo would be the best place to explore those queries.
It was dark, loud and hot inside. Suffused in horny ultraviolet light, Sexpo was a circus of sluts, salespeople, sex workers, curious adults and horny little pervs. I found myself immediately at home.
This Sexpo, numerous people told me, was different. Sexpos in the past had been much more retail-forward. Like a giant sex shop. And what else would you expect from an event run by Club X, the most famous sex shop of them all?
But this Sexpo had a rolling bill of performances, workshops and talks. There were three stages, and there was constantly something going on. On Friday night we witnessed an amateur stripping contest. Ten people, one pole, the viewer’s eye struggling to make sense of the undulating mess of limbs as each contestant fought for their chance to work the pole. On Sunday afternoon, we witnessed the final session of Babylon, a sultry group performance involving extreme high-flying acrobatics. It was all extremely camp.
I chased down a hot, shirtless cowboy, in the hope of finding some answers. It was Dom, from Men of Dreams, just clocking off after a performance.
“If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do?” I asked.
“I would do all of the extreme sports that I love [highlining, skydiving, freediving] and I would get all of my friends, fly them out to an island somewhere and have a really big party. Probably on mushrooms,” he said.
“Would you consider yourself an adrenaline junky?”
“Interestingly enough, for me, it isn’t about adrenaline. It’s when you work through it, and you can find the silent in between. Like when you’re skydiving, it’s all scary, then everything goes quiet. That is insane.”
“Do you have anything you’d like to tell the world?”
“Just live the wildest, craziest life for yourself. You’ll never regret that.”
Melbourne’s Kittens had a makeshift 24/7 strip club set up in an exuberant corner of the expo. From afar, it was an absurd tableaux: dancers twirled on two pole stages, surrounded by a ring of onlookers seated on fold-out chairs, passive, anonymous faces, hands clasped in their laps, expressions deadpan as they watched the dancers in silence, not one of them throwing money, just staring.
Bouncers rushed around the watching crowd making sure no one was filming – it may be a makeshift strip club, but the eternal rule stays: no photography, you dogs. The most beautiful women in the world walked around the outskirts, laughing amongst themselves, in their own untouchable world. I stole a moment with Sukie, who appeared to me as an angel, clothed in glittering, strappy white.
“If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do?” I asked her.
“Maybe go on a bender, you know, one last time. With a celebrity. Make money like there’s no tomorrow. Go to museums, get high….” she said.
“What do you think is the worst star sign?”
“Scorpio. My partner is a scorpio, they’re lovely, but they’re the worst. Sorry!”
“Was there anything else you’d like to add?”
“No! Not at all. Make money, come to Kittens, see me naked!”
The Vulva Wall
Strolling the stalls aimlessly, my eyes were suddenly graced with the visage of varying vulvas. Above a grid of around 50 polaroids were emblazoned the words “VULVA WALL”, next to a call to action:
“HELP US TO CELEBRATE VULVA DIVERSITY:
Have your vulva photographed to feature in upcoming coffee table book, ‘Flip Through My Flaps’ – $50, includes glass wand dildo”
On another wall there was a similar display, this time featuring dicks. Dicks of every size and shape. A third wall hosted a titty grid. Incredible. I located the stallholder, an angel named Ellie, who had been conducting the Vulva/Penis/Breast Wall project for four years.
“I shoot people’s bodies naked. Breasts, vulvas and penises, and it’s to normalise body diversity. So we get to see what’s under the clothes!” Ellie said.
“Everybody’s soooo keen to see, because I think it’s something we all worry about personally. I started it because I wanted labiaplasty, cosmetic surgery, and sometimes it feels like you have no one to talk to about it, but it’s something we all wanna talk about.”
“Do you have a favourite wall?” I asked.
“Vulva, absolutely. We love the pussy here!”
“If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do?”
“Oh, have a giant orgy with a whole lot of people at Sexpo,” Ellie laughed.
“Great answer. That’s the real afterparty.”
“That’s where we’re going tonight, actually.”
“Anything else you’d like to say?”
“Love your body. You only have one body for the rest of your life, so you may as well spend every single day enjoying it. It’s yours to touch, pleasure is important, and yeah, know your own anatomy!”
The Vagina Sucker
Browsing the toy stores, my eye caught something frightening. A woman posing seductively, legs spread, between them what appeared to be a vacuum hose with an enormous vagina attachment. In 70s-style text was written “Vagina Sucker / Der Schamlippen-Sauger” – the German translation instilling an ominous layer to the visual of a giant pussy-eating vacuum.
Zooming out, I realised the wall was filled with more bizarre toys from a long-forgotten era of experimentation and camp sexual extremism – a time when pleasure was apparently pushed to its limits. The salespeople at the store, two fantastic individuals named Tamar and Indigo, sidled up for a chat. I asked them for the meaning of life.
“Love, sex and passion,” Tamar said.
“I was thinking similar, I was also gonna say love. Intimacy, sunsets! Nature between your toes…” Indigo said, “Wait, I’ve got one. Being naked with the sun on your body.”
“Sunning your holes is very in right now. If you were gonna die tomorrow, what would you do today?”
“I would go to my family farm with my friends and family, and eat lunch. Lots of salads, pasta, champagne…” Indigo said.
“I’ve got it,” Tamar said, “I would contact everyone I know and make sure a documentary is made about my life. And turn my room into a museum. And just make sure that I’m remembered and that I have a legacy. So that people are like ‘holy shit, I can’t believe I didn’t know that person well on this Earth, while they were in this realm’ and they’ll be sad.”
As we were examining a display of buttplugs with long, fluffy, rainbow tails attached, a shirtless, backpacked man approached us, offering his business card. In the raucous din of the expo, I couldn’t make out what he was saying. Something about bathing. “What?” I asked.
“Do you girls have OnlyFans?” he repeated. “Oh, no, sorry!” we said.
“Well, you should both get OnlyFans and then sign up!” he walked off.
I looked down at the baby blue business card in my hand. All it read was “AquaTap”, with a contact email and web address below. I realised he’d said something about bathwater. I ran after him.
“Excuse me, what did you say your site was for?”
Oh my giddy god. He agreed to an interview, although not on camera.
“We’re called AquaTap, where girls can sell their bathwater online,” he said, “Similar to Amazon, but sellers can sign up and they can sell their bathwater through our website.”
“Is it a start-up?”
“Yes it is, I coded it all myself, I make it all myself, I do all the marketing myself, gotta do it all from scratch.
“How’s it going?”
“We’re still in our growth phase, we’re still only a couple of weeks old, so we’re still looking for new people.”
“Where did the idea come from?”
“So, it originated from Belle Delphine. And there’s already used underwear stores so I know that that can be extended to bathwater.”
“Do you think that this is the future?”
“Absolutely yes. I think that bathwater is a growing industry, and it’ll be a lot bigger in ten years’ time.”
The Sexiest People In the World
I think this one goes without saying.
@hotboiyo for Eagle Leather!!! STOP ITTTTT !!
All photos by Kallista Richards.
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