Erotic trade fair returns to Prague


Since the Velvet Revolution fifteen years ago Czechs have gradually gotten used to erotic trade fairs in the Czech capital, and this year is no exception. In a week's time Erotica Sex 2004, returns for the 10th year in a row, with Czech-born adult stars like Paula Wild and Jessica Fiorentino performing. Make no mistake: their work is for adults-only and leaves nothing to the imagination.

Pornography in the former-Czechoslovakia was a rare thing indeed, smuggled in from the west whenever possible but, more often than nought, confiscated by the authorities. Since the fall of communism, however, it has become widely available in the Czech Republic countless publications are available, the capital boasts a slew of sex shops, and even an annual trade-fair or two. In short, it's a booming business just like almost everywhere else.

But, after all this time are Czechs still interested? And do such trade fairs serve a public purpose?

Those were questions we put to sex therapist Jiri Weiss:

"I don't think that an erotic fair is something particularly special for the Czech population. But, as in other countries, this type of fair will find its customers."

Dr Weiss does say that since the fall of communism Czechs have become much more liberal and that that can only be a good thing. That is something also greeted by, Ivana Mattei, the director of Sex Erotica 2004, who says that the four-day fair offers more than just about "sex" but something of an aesthetic experience. She says most ordinary visitors have no idea what it takes to be able to perform with any kind of attractiveness or grace.

"An artist has to be physically able, has to train for hours to stay in shape, we think even erotic performance can be art. Sex is not something where we should say 'Oh, gross.' We all need sex, and it can be beautiful too!"

Meanwhile, 26-year-old Jessica Fiorentino is perhaps about the sweetest porn-star you could hope to meet. Again, don't look up her work unless you know what you're getting into. She described a bit of her act for Radio Prague, telling us Czech audiences were actually shy!

"I started attending classes in belly-dancing that I really like. For me it's erotic, I like it because when you dance, it's so relaxing, it's great."

What about the Czech public: are Czechs difficult to please?

"No, no, I don't think so. Czechs are so shy and don't need more!"

You may be faint-hearted and against erotic trade fairs, or the whole thing may quite simply leave you cold. Or,just the opposite. Either way, it's up to you, whether or not to go.