Australia’s Sexpo® founder David Ross, like all successful entrepreneurs, has spent the past 20 years turning the world on by tapping into what they really want. 3 million such people, to be exact!


That’s the number of bodies who’ve been teased and titillated by one of our most primal curiosities, sex! Celebrating its 20th Australian and South Africa’s 10th anniversary, this year’s annual feast of the senses is hosted at Johannesburg’s

Expo Centre at Nasrec. David, along with an entire cast of impressive international and local guests intend taking the global phenomenon that is Sexpo® to new heights from Thursday, 27 October to Sunday, 30 October 2016.

When the Sexpo® founder was forced into a major career change after a debilitating motor accident, it was a “Madam” who came to his rescue. After a short while, David moved into PR and marketing, which was where he realised ladies love hardware, but were not inclined to shop alongside complete strangers picking out quality adult entertainment.

“I was doing a story with a freelance journalist for a client, a chain of adult shops, Club X,” he recalls, “and we went to an adult product trade-day lunch. There was a woman standing at a lectern giving a really professional presentation to industry representatives about products and equipment. “I looked around at the wine, the white tablecloths, and audience – largely women – and the products, which were laid out on the table for people to pick up and play with, and I thought, ‘You know, this is what we have to do, showcase our products in a relaxed environment’.”

“My intention has always been, and remains, to bring all things sex-related out of adult stores and present them in a welcoming, comfortable, educational, entirely entertaining, safe and fun way and including health information has always been a big part of the plan,” David reveals.

From a paltry 20 stands at his inaugural “touch and feel” expo in a hotel conference room 20 years ago, to a global success story, David’s well-timed smarts took him from an impressive (approx.) 5,000 curious visitors, to a current-rolling total, worldwide, of just on three million passion seekers. “To this day, I don’t know whether we lost money or made money from the first event in 1996, I didn’t even draw a budget,” he jokes of his foray. “In the early days writing press releases, folding invites and running every aspect of marketing Sexpo® Australia fell to David alone. “Still, the level of interest was sufficient to convince us that we were onto something,” he adds. Two decades later and the world’s clearly up for more of the same.

Ambitious, brave, and just the right amount of cheeky, very quickly took Sexpo® from its humble 1996 beginnings in Melbourne onto Sydney Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth before all the way to South Africa and beyond, all within a few short years. “There is a very clear and growing demand from the public, in every market we play in currently,” he adds. Sexpo® UK launched in 2015, with South Africa coming in second in visitor numbers behind our home based show in Melbourne, Australia.

“The true catalyst to our success has been to know who to appeal to first,” David explains of his brand’s truly global appeal and core strategy. “Sexpo® is female-focused. They bring their men along, but the former are the braver of the sexes when it comes to confronting curiosity and embracing it in the way we do.”

“From the beginning, it was important for everything to be carefully worded, free from anything remotely graphic or gratuitous,” he recalls. “For men, all we’d need to say would be ‘bare breasts inside’ and we’d be inundated, but for women the marketing had to be smarter.”

With a fun-first related atmosphere, Sexpo® visitors can expect to be spoilt for choice. Between its solid mix of local and international performers, from all aspects of the adult entertainment industry (including burlesque, male and female exotic dancing), Sexpo® is lauded for colliding the best of all worlds into one extra-special experience for serious shoppers and the oddly curious too.

“Expect to see a lot of 20-to-40-year-olds, along with your neighbour and possibly your family too,” David alerts, all the while smiling warmly, by way of conclusion. “What we don’t do is present a big sex show. Sexpo® success and longevity is in us keeping our ear to the ground and listening to our market’s ever-evolving appetite for more of the same, just bigger and better. That and remaining humble to the guilty pleasure that makes us all whole, of course?”

Dates: Thursday, 27 October to Sunday, 30 October 2016
Times: Thursday 11am to 10pm; Friday 11am to 11pm; Saturday 10am to 11pm;
Sunday 10am to 6pm.
Venue: Hall 6, Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec, corner Nasrec and Rand Show roads, Johannesburg

Restrictions: Strictly over 18-years only

Pricing: Thursday R100 (Silver), R250 (Gold); Friday-Sunday R150 (Silver) and R250 (Gold)

Tickets: Computicket

Web: www.sexpo.co.za

About the author

Francois van Rooyen

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