Tongue clucking over Exxxotica conference is sexual repression masquerading as something else


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Screen shot 2015-08-06 at 5.19.32 PMI’m hoping to get to walk through my first picket line this weekend. Exxxotica is coming to Dallas, and so many people have their panties in a wad about it, I can hardly believe it. We have homeless people melting in 100-plus-degree heat. We have hungry people who can’t feed their children. We have people who have been out of work for months on end. We have young people killing themselves because of bullying.

And Dallas is upset because porn stars and sex toys purveyors are going to be descending on our fair city and (gasp!) helping people to improve their sex lives.

Conservatives are, as usual, using their favorite weapon of choice: Distraction. Instead of saying what they really mean — “We’re prudes and we want to control what consenting adults can have access to because we want everyone to follow our religious agenda” — they start shouting hot-button issues that they know will incite liberals and conservatives alike. This round’s distracting issue of choice: sex trafficking.

Very few social issues horrify me more than sex trafficking. It’s a despicable practice of the lowest degree, degrading, humiliating and dehumanizing to women and children. Those involved in it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and those victimized by it should be rescued and sheltered and supported in every way to help them recover and resume a normal life.

But sex trafficking is not the same as sex between consenting adults or even pornography. This is not a conference about how to sign up to be sex-trafficked. It’s a conference about sex and having sex and what it’s like to be in the adult industry — to choose to be a part of the adult industry.

It’s like saying fast food is disgusting so I can’t go to any kind of restaurant any more.

Personally, I can’t wait to go. I’ll have a booth there where I’ll be signing my new book about how to have killer orgasms. I’ll be doing three seminars. One about my new book O Wow: Discovering Your Ultim-ate Orgasm, one about my old book, Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, and one about — go figure — sex positivity in the media.

As a lesbian and outspoken feminist, you might expect me to be opposed to pornography. But I see what happens at events like Exxxotica differently. Everything I will be doing and talking about will be about sex positivity and consenting adults. In a way, it’s designed to help avoid things like trafficking by bringing sexuality out of the darkness and into the light where it belongs. If we supported people’s natural urges instead of shaming them, there would be less of a need for prostitution and trafficking in the first place.

I hear so many people say that they go to prostitutes or even strip clubs or — if nothing else — cheat on their partners because they are unable to be their whole sexual selves because they are ashamed to talk to their partner about what they want. The goal of expos like these is to educate people and empower them to be able to communicate and play with their partners. Sure, there are going to be porn stars of nearly every variety and genre and some extreme stuff that not all of everyone will be interested in. But who cares? Take in what interests you and leave the rest and, for God sake, stop taking it all so damn seriously. It’s sex.

And if you don’t like the expo, here’s a solution: Don’t go. Problem solved.

It’s basically going to be a perfectly innocent weekend of dirty fun. Contests where you have to name as many sex positions as you can in 15 seconds to win a trip. A twerking contest. A little kink and fetish and bondage. A little fun. Exactly what sex is supposed to be.

Newsflash! Sex is not just for making babies. It’s supposed to be enjoyable. It’s supposed to be wet and noisy and silly and raucous and romantic and thrilling and any combination of all of those things. What it is not is lurid and disgusting and something to be ashamed of. It’s a healthy, natural behavior that is being attached to appalling criminal behavior in order for conservatives to continue to push their Bible banging agenda and, honestly, I can’t take anymore.

I find nothing more boring and exhausting than hypocrisy.

Conservatives want to tote their guns and shoot our lions and control what women can do with their bodies. They want to teach their creation fantasies in our schools and not pay taxes. But they don’t want people to use their brains and live authentic lives and have hot sex that just might include a little porn and more than a few batteries.

So, I’m going to go something every political this weekend. I’m going to attend Exxxotica. I’m going to speak at Exxxotica. And I’m going to promote healthy sexuality at Exxxotica and not be distracted by noise being create to serve other people’s personal political agenda.

Oh, and I’m going to get my photo taken with Jesse Jane. I just love her, don’t you?

Jenny Block is an author and Dallas Voice contributor who will be attending Exxotica at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 500 N. Griffin St. Aug. 7–9. Block will appear Aug. 7 at 7:15 p.m., Aug. 8 at 4:30 p.m. and Aug. 9 at 5:15 p.m. You can learn more about her at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 7, 2015.