A Sleazy 'Sexual Culture Festival' in Guangzhou, China [Viewer Discretion Advised]

Every year China hosts a 'Sexual Culture Festival' in one of it's main cities.

This year was Guangzhou's turn to host the '7th Annual Sexual Culture Festival'. Ostensibly, the expo is supposed to be about sex education, but somehow over the years it has degenerated into a perv fest. The biggest draw for most fair-goers seemed to be the 'lingerie show', where middle-aged men appear to be the main demographic.

Middle-aged men, who, strangely enough, came equipped with a wide variety of cameras, hand-held mobile devices and camera phones.

I arrived at 4pm on the final day of the three day show. The room smelled of stale sweat. A trash can had been upturned scattering filth all over the floor. I stood on it to take these shots.

The official government sex education exhibition was an eye opener too. Bizarrely, a video that shows people the correct way to have sex was being shown on a big plasma screen out of the back of a white van. I can just see the headline now, 'Man In A Van Brings Porn To The Masses'.

As one progressed through the sex education area the items on display got stranger still. Large posters of naked women's bodies, cropped at the head and the knee. The whole series was on display. Photos of human females. All in a state of undress. From the cradle to the grave. Each snapshot of a human female taken at one decade intervals from birth, the saggy boob poster above being the last in the series. The full series, not seen here, includes large framed posters of material which could be construed, in some circles, (Interpol?), as child porn. Now I'm a huge advocate of press/internet freedom, but I have to draw the line somewhere. I will most definitely not be posting photos of people looking at large photos of naked children here. Then the exhibition got even wierder, as if that was possible.

On display were various malformed foetuses, preserved in jars of formaldehyde. I have no idea how they related to the main message of the exhibition, 'safe sex'.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this little guy(s) with two heads.

Back to the nuts of the show. Like anywhere in the world, sex in China means big business.

As you would expect at a sex show, vendors were busy selling porn DVDs and VCDs.

And stock sold fast, as prices had been heavily discounted during the final hours of the last day of the show. I guess the vendors didn't fancy schlepping heavy boxes all the way back home.

Also on sale were various aphrodisiacs used in Chinese medicine. Deer horn, ginseng, that sort of thing. Not wishing to speculate, but I would not have been the slightest bit surprised if someone had offered me tiger penis 'under the counter'. The domestic sale of tiger penis is prohibited in China under the CITES agreement.

In contrast to those positively ancient Chinese aphrodisiacs, a more recently invented western pharmaceutical was on sale too. Fake viagra anyone? [NB: I really hope this blog post will not open me up to an army of Russian spambots!]

On appearance, it seems as if a show that is supposed to be about sex education has morphed into a gathering of wholesalers that supply sex shops in China, and horny men online the world over.

Lending the show a badly needed air of respectabilty were a collection of Mao-era cultural revolution posters.

On the way out, visitors could pose by a large virility totem placed near the exit doors. Outside the venue the air smelled clean and fresh. And that's saying something in Guangzhou.


All images and text © Alex Hofford / Image Solutions Ltd. 2011 | Web design in Hong Kong by Ugli © 2011