This weekend, a sex industry conference called Exxxotica will take over the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for three days of performances, lectures and meet-and-greets with some of the most prominent names, faces and body parts in adult entertainment.
The idea has, no doubt, ruffled a few feathers in the Dallas community, but it's likely enticed as many, if not more. Exxxotica, now in its ninth year, attracted roughly 20,000 people to the Chicago event in June, and organizers say if Dallas' pre-sale ticket numbers are any indication, the local edition could outsell that.
So what exactly makes North Texas a prime destination for the porn industry?
"We've done the show in six different cities all over the country 25 times over, and what's we've really found is it's a pretty simple calculation of population," said Exxxotica director J. Handy. "Obviously Dallas-Fort Worth is a ginormous area."
Handy and his team also take into account where sponsors, exhibitors and the adult performers say they have a market. "Dallas has no shortage of strip clubs. Pretty obviously they do well there," he said.
Exxxotica will likely attract fans of the famous porn stars who will be there, but several people involved with the fest said you don't have to a sexpert to enjoy the show. I recently spoke with Shawn Gentry, director of operations for Stockroom, which is curating the dungeon experience (more on that in a minute), and porn star/producer Joanna Angel about sex convention etiquette and what to expect once inside the door.
Rule No. 1: Act like a civilized human being.
It's not brain surgery, folks. Handy's rule of thumb was even more explicit: "If you wouldn't do it in the street, you wouldn't do it at Exxxotica," he said.
Angel, who's known as the Punk Rock Princess of Porn, said men shouldn't get any funny ideas either -- she's not going home with you. And it's inappropriate for you to ask her to do so.
"People ask how much a DVD is and then they ask, 'How much for you?' That seems to happen a lot and it's not a funny joke and it never works," she said.
Gentry said the Exxxotica environment is much more respectful and polite than most people expect, due in part to the fact that many attendees attend with a significant other. But regardless of whom you're with, he advises generally keeping your hands to yourself.
"Don't touch anybody that you haven't literally looked in the face and asked for permission to touch," Gentry said.
That's not to say audience participation is discouraged.
There are several ways Exxxoctica attendees can get involved in the action. Angel, for one, will be looking for male volunteers on which to test some of her signature floggers, handcuffs, collars and ball gags during the Stockroom's Super Sexy Kinky Cabaret show each day.
Then there's the 4,800-square-foot bondage jungle gym known as the dungeon area, where patrons can test out a wealth of spanking benches, suspension rigs and sex toys, Gentry said. And yes, dominatrices will be on hand to help out if you're unfamiliar with the equipment.
To be clear, this doesn't mean you'll see people getting busy in the dungeon. Full nudity isn't permitted (more on that in a minute) and neither is sex. It's simply a judgment-free zone for attendees to try new things.
Be sure to take in some knowledge while you're there.
While there's plenty of fun to be had, Exxxotica also focuses on education through a lineup of lectures about the adult industry.
Want to know what life is like for a married couple in the porn industry? There's a talk for that. Interested in hearing from a sociologist how Hollywood portrays sex? Yep, there's a panel for that too. Have an adventurous spark, but no roadmap? Seminars like Strike Play 101, Bedroom BDSM and Bondage 101 sound right up your alley. Want to hear from a legend? Ron Jeremy will be there.
Open to anything? Check out Central Track's list of recommended lectures.
Let's talk attire, shall we?
Patrons can attend in whatever clothing they want, but Gentry said to expect a lot of skin. No overt nudity is allowed, he said, but that only requires genitals and nipples to be covered.
"You can walk around at this convention in a g-string and little black X's over your nipples and you're not nude," he said.
Does that mean you can't take pictures? Absolutely not, according to all sources. In fact, the stars want you to snap a few.
Advice for Exxxotica first-timers...
Angel described Exxxotica as an overall comfortable environment and suggested first-timers just remember to relax. No one is going to force you to do anything, she said.
"Me and the performers and the go-go dancers, it's our job to be the sex objects. It's the fans' job to be the spectators, to come in and just enjoy," Angel said. "It's really nothing to be scared of."