Guangzhou Sex Culture Festival will be opening its legs to the city this month, inviting in a whole bevy of visitors and exhibitors, from gawkers and singletons to sexologists and sex toy manufacturers. With the domestic market for sex aids expected to grow to RMB40 billion by 2014, it’s fair to say the people of China are gagging for it. We spoke to Professor Zhu Jiaming, one of the organizers behind the event, about what marvels will greet attendees of the 11th edition.
Can you describe for those that don’t know what the Guangzhou Sexpo is and what they can expect to see?
Guangzhou Sexpo is an annual exhibition which promotes all kinds of things related to sex. Here, you can see how sex culture has developed over the centuries, get to know about up-to-date sex-related products, discuss the hottest sex issues and hopefully enhance the way you feel towards sex.
Things people expect are photo exhibitions, exhibitions of ancient sex items, updated sex-product displays, an underwear fashion show and forums. Free medical checks are also offered on site.
Speaking of the fashion show, this year we’ve invited transsexual models in China to strut the catwalk. Although it is just a tiny part of the whole exhibition, it certainly will draw a lot of attention.
Can you tell us a little bit about this year’s theme?
The theme for this year is Healthy Sex, Happy Family, as we believe healthy sex is one element for a happy family. Each exhibition has an in-built educational agenda. Last year it was raising awareness about sperm and donation banks. We want more people to learn more sex-related knowledge, which helps to protect them when it comes to having sex. Learning is nothing to be ashamed of.
What sorts of people usually attend?
Normally, we see mostly middle-aged men attending the exhibition. But in recent years, an increasing number of young women aged between 25 and 35 have been attending.
Why do you think that on average more men than women show up?
The traditional Chinese education has always required women to be reserved and conservative. We think that’s the main reason why on average less women attend this type of exhibition. But attitudes are changing. Especially after the government carried out the policy of reform and opening up, people have become more open-minded.
Can you describe the types of exhibitors that we can expect to see?
Sex toy exhibitors always constitute the largest part of the whole exhibitors. This year, the highlight of all the sex toys is the inflatable doll produced by Guangzhou Xinzhongyi Technology Company, which will be displayed on a yacht. The doll is popular amongst those who have lost their loved ones or have an insatiable crush on someone else. Customers will be able to take along a picture of their loved one or whoever and have their face shaped onto the doll.
Besides sex toys exhibitors, there are also exhibitors of condoms, underwear and performance-enhancing products.
Do you think China is becoming more and more comfortable talking openly about sex?
Yes, definitely. Just look at the number of people coming to this exhibition. As China further opens up to the world, Chinese have greater access to find out more about sex, and they want to know more.
Finally, do you ever get people attending expecting to meet someone?
We don’t know. We don’t check peoples’ purposes at the door!
// This year's Sex Culture Festival takes place November 8-10. Nanfung International Convention & Exhibition Center, 630-638 Xingang Dong Lu, Haizhu District, Guangzhou 广州市海珠区新港东路630-638号