Arts

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FOR THE FIFTH year in a row, Ottawans were ready to mingle with vendors, shop, and get dirty at this year’s Sexapalooza at the Ottawa Convention Centre, Feb. 10–12. While some may think of Ottawa as a conservative city, the attendance at the event told a different story with thousands looking to see what Sexapalooza had to offer.

Wanda Cotie, the owner of Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium, has been with the show since its early stages five years ago.

“The first year you could just see the blank faces on the people of Ottawa just looking for something vaguely interesting,” said Cotie, in an interview at Sexapalooza. “People were just looking for something beyond this boring presence.”

The event has grown since then, adding new vendors from across the province showcasing the best in sex toys, costumes, fetish supplies, and BDSM. The trade show also included demonstrations, fashion shows, and the best people watching one can imagine.

The event attracted people from all walks of life. Couples and singles of all ages, over 19 years of age, were out on Feb. 11to take in the atmosphere and learn something, too.

“People are hungry for information and hungry to stop feeling guilty,” said Cotie. “Yes—you’re allowed to feel horny!”

Those in search of sex toys found that there were many to choose from and vendors were prepared to show them off.

“People are also coming out for some shock,” said Cotie, while some may be looking for a little extra spice in their love life. “[People are] normal and looking for a juicier lifestyle.”

Samantha Woods, a geography and sociology student at the University of Ottawa had a chance to explore Sexapalooza Friday night with two other students.

“I went to Sexapalooza for a fun girl’s night out,” said Woods recounting her first experience at the trade show. “My favourite show was the one by the fantasia party girls. Their host was hilarious and she showed so many different toys. It was a blast.

“I enjoyed it a lot. I think I enjoyed it because there was something there for everyone,” added Woods. “I would definitely suggest it to any [U of O] student who is comfortable with it and looking for a really fun and informative time.”

If mixing sex toys and big crowds isn’t your thing, perhaps checking out Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium may be more your style.

“We work with polyamorous groups, we work with swingers, transsexuals, transvestites—we cover it all,” said Cotie.

Cotie also found herself working with a lot of women from religious backgrounds looking for answers and yearning to explore their sexual identity.

“My store embraces people and their differences and we help them find people with the same [sexual desires],” said Cotie as she described the thriving fetish community in Ottawa as an example.

Colin Sutherland