Sexapalooza is back in Ottawa for the fifth consecutive year, and just in time for Valentine’s Day. Word on the streets is that business is booming. I didn’t attend this time around, but I would like to share my 2008 experience.
There were over ten thousand attendees. It felt like more. Who knew so many horny people could squeeze under one roof–and in staid, conservative Ottawa of all places?
“Sex is in the air,” I said, nudging a fellow romance writer and pointing toward the ceiling. Together, we stared in wonder at the giant pink penis cleverly suspended above our booth. After half an hour or so of gawking, we resumed spreading out our romance novels on the table directly beneath the business end of Mr. Happy.
Business was brisk. We sold some books too.
After a while, curiosity got the better of me. It’s important to embrace new experiences, I told myself as I elbowed my way through the excited crowd to check out other booths. The air positively hummed with folks of all ages discussing alternative lifestyles—the etiquette of juggling multiple partners, the nuances of bisexuality, the joys of bondage, domination, sado-masochism (BDSM), and the like. Booths overflowed with sex toys, scented oils and candles, fet-wear and boots, leather whips and restraints, lingerie, and, in my case, romance novels.
A dungeon provided a taste of BDSM for those so inclined. I’m not (in case you were wondering), but I wanted to learn more, all in the name of research. Hey, a writer’s job is never done. In front of a crowd of fifty interested onlookers, a lycra-clad dominatrix lashed a submissive who was stretched out, arms shackled above his head, on a St. Andrew’s cross. This was a real lashing. I could tell because the whip raised red welts on the poor sucker’s naked back. But not to worry. He was hugely, and I mean HUGELY, turned on. In another corner, a metal cage confined a masked woman, who was fending off another joker’s prodding with a few well-placed blows from her heavy leather boots.
During the proceedings, I conducted a quick interview with the owner of a local adult emporium about some of the activities. She was kind enough to explain the purpose of the various pieces of bondage equipment and to reassure me that the submissive undergoing the lash was enjoying himself as much as the dominatrix. She explained that if the torment starts gently, the brain releases enough endorphins to protect the body from pain. A skilled dominatrix increases the whipping in tiny increments, and before long, the submissive will hit the pinnacle of ecstasy. Please note I beat a hasty retreat before the big moment occurred.
I missed the topless young lady, who, rumor had it, galloped through the hall, clad in bridle, bit, mask, boots, G-string, and not much else. I did, however, catch a live demo of the bondage bed in action.
As you can well imagine, these ideas stimulated my imagination and other things. If any of you are a tiny bit curious (and even if you’re not), please download FUR BALL FEVER to learn how Sexapalooza inspired my writing. Hint: The chase for the bad guys leads my intrepid heroine, followed by my long-suffering hero and an aging hippie aunt with a hankering for excitement, to a Jersey Shore fetish club. Stuff happens. Much of it entertaining. I hope.