Mayor of Dallas Texas to Ban Exxxotica
It turns out the Mayor of the Big D wasn’t so keen on having Exxxotica inside of it.
Exxxotica rode hard into Texas. From August 7th through 9th of 2015, the “sexpo” held their first event in Dallas, Texas among protests from citizens and the mayor. Exxxotica is an annual convention “dedicated to love and sex,” according to their website. Porn stars Lexie Belle, Tera Patrick, Tori Black, Alexis Texas, Tanya Tate, Lendra Lust and many others were in attendance so people were able to meet the actresses they’ve watched over and over again. The convention also held educational seminars including bedroom BDSM, discovering your ultimate orgasm, and general information about the porn industry as well as Q&A sessions with porn stars. Close to a thousand open-minded people who attended the convention had a great time although the city tried to ban Exxxotica from ever happening. However, this is expected from a state that once had a ban on sex toys, which was only overturned in 2008 by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Considering sex toys have been legal in the state for only 7 years, it makes sense that Dallas would fight against having a convention focused on sex and the porn industry, even aiming to ban Exxxotica from the city all together.
Exxxotica is neither the first nor the last sex convention to appear in the United States, although it might be the most fun. Conventions like Adultcon have been hopping from city to city since the 1990s. The point of a sex convention is not to oogle barely clothed women (although you can certainly do that); the point is to educate people about sex and make the act a little less of a taboo subject. Most recently, sex conventions all over the country have added a BDSM seminar to their roster in hopes of changing the view of this lifestyle from the way it is depicted in 50 Shades of Grey. Instead of perpetuating this idea that BDSM is about abuse, sex conventions are educating people about the consent, love, and respect that the culture truly promotes. But of course, this is all too much for conservative Texas.
The reason why sex is such a taboo subject in Texas is because the state—along with Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina—is part of the Bible belt. This is a region in the US where conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in society and politics and the attendance at Christian churches are much higher than anywhere else in the nation. Author Robert Wuthnow dubbed Texas as “America’s most powerful Bible-Belt state.” In his 2014 book called Rough Country, Wuthnow traces religion, race, and power in Texas from the Reconstruction era through the rise of the Religious Right and the failed presidential bid of Governor Rick Perry. He also shows how the lasting imprint of slavery, public executions, Jim Crow segregation, sexual repression, and resentment against the federal government all stem from Texas’ part in the Bible belt.
When Exxxotica announced it was going to appear in Dallas, there was much contention. The Dallas Women’s Foundation said it was against the expo because the sponsors included online escort services, which they believe would have increased sex trafficking in the city. “If we were to change the course of history, we would not be having this conference here in Dallas in a public facility within a community that made such a strong commitment to end violence and trafficking against women,” said women’s rights advocate Roslyn Dawson Thompson. “There is a huge correlation between pornography, sex trade, violence against women, and trafficking. How can you not reconcile that, and realize that this is not a good thing for our city to be doing?” Of course, this “educated” advocate was confusing sex work with sex trafficking. The big difference between the two is that sex workers—including prostitutes and phone sex workers— do their work voluntarily.
Unfortunately Dallas’ mayor is on the same page as Thompson when it comes to ignorance. Mayor Mike Rawlings agreed with her statements, saying, “I am particularly worried about the message that our playing host to this convention might send regarding our city’s position on the sexual exploitation of women.” However, he also said the city attorney’s office told him that Dallas could not deny use of the convention center, which is a publicly owned facility, based solely on the content of a planned event. Rawlings said “the only thing worse” than hosting the expo would be getting sued by the organizers and having to pay them. These two officials are the reason why sex conventions exist in the first place. Exxxotica aims to enlighten people like this and it seems to have worked for those who attended the convention.
Texas Isn’t A Fan Of Exxxotica In The State
Brenda Torrescano of Arlington was the first person inside of Exxxotica in Dallas. “I’m just curious about a porn convention,” she told news outlets as she entered the convention. Torrescano, along with the couple hundred visitors of Exxxotica, were able to buy adult DVDs, genital candy, and sex toys of any and every kind. They were also able to meet their favorite porn stars and visit booths titled “Candie Store,” “Kinky Kollege,” and “The Dungeon Experience.” Contrary to the mayor’s belief, the people who attended the event were people you could find anywhere on the streets; they weren’t creepers or pervs trying to get off in public. Instead, it was a group of people who wanted to explore the pop culturing of the Adult Industry. From weed to sex, views of taboo lifestyles are evolving. Progressive attitudes are replacing puritanical values, and sex and drugs may finally be taking their right full place as a legitimate partner to rock and roll. Remember that rock and roll was once considered the music of the devil. Today it is something my mom and dad listen to in the car on the way to church. Maybe one day someone will make Family Guy into a porn film or have baking shows that specialize in marijuana recipes. Wait a minute, those already exist…
However, before Exxxotica even opened their doors there were protestors from Bulldog Ministries standing outside of the building with signs that read “YOU DESERVE RAPE” and “GOD HATES PORN STARS.” Bulldog Ministries is a half-assed version of Westboro Baptist Church with all the bark but half the bite. Led by evangelist David Stokes, the group is based in Houston but travels all over the state as a “street-preaching ministry,” going anywhere to protest events they believe are sinful. They condemn the Westboro Baptist Church yet they continue to act in the same fashion, even at Exxxotica. Uproxx reported that the protesters had attacked Tanya Tate and one of them punched her in the face as she left the convention center. She told the news outlet, “I walked over to the protestors outside of our hotel on night two [August 8, 2015]. Words were exchanged, a punch thrown [at Tate], a drink thrown, and cops that seemed to be blind to everything but me throwing a drink [were called/arrived]. I was made into the criminal and told if I didn’t remove myself, I was going to jail. So I left.”
While Texas and the rest of the Bible belt prides themselves on their religious values, there are people such as Bulldog Ministries that preach the good word but don’t live by it. One such person was 1970s and 80s religious figure Jimmy Swaggart. As a televangelist, Swaggart was broadcast to over 3,000 stations and cable systems each week. For a man who constantly preached the good word of God and condemned sex for pleasure, he was found to have had an affair in 1988 with prostitute Debra Murphee. “My sin was done in secret,” Swaggart told his television audience of millions in February of 1988, “but God has said to me, ‘I will do what I do before the whole world.’” Doesn’t that sound similar to what Josh Duggar said after his molestation scandal was revealed? Either way, Swaggart was suspended, and ultimately defrocked by the Assemblies of God, but his programs Jimmy Swaggart Telecast and A Study in the Word are still broadcasted around the world today.
Despite all the controvery, the Exxxotica expo performed well in Dallas. Corey Boyd, a 37-year-old Dallas barber with a three-day VIP pass, said of the event, “Everybody’s cool. It’s a very diverse crowd. That’s what we need for the city, man. Anything to bring Dallas together. We need it, and if it takes porn to do it, man, then so be it.” While Exxxotica was able to open its doors this year, it is unknown whether or not the convention will be able to return. Mayor Rawlings expressed in writing that he intended to do what he could to prevent Exxxotica’s return to the city. It brought people together in August but the message of the convention needs to grow in order for it to come back again. Ultimately, sex brings people together in more ways than you could imagine.