When J. Handy first thought of Exxxotica prior to its debut in Miami Beach in 2006, he thought he stumbled upon a great idea. Adult film stars and adult-themed companies would gather several times a year in various cities to celebrate “love and sex” with fans and consumers.
Now, more than a decade and 35 shows later, Handy’s expo returns to Miami this weekend with his concept proven successful.
“We thought we were going to be the biggest adult event in the country,” Handy said of his initial expectations. “We were just young and dumb enough to think that was actually what was going to happen. We never had a doubt to start about it. After a year or two or three, you start to realize that it’s something. You have this awesome base of fans of the event. You have these vendors who are actually doing well within your event.”
Handy discovered an avid fan base who sought personal connections with the adult stars they followed. More importantly, Exxxotica served as a way for different adult oriented businesses to get “mainstream advertising.”
“When we started this thing, the only thought in my head was we were going to be the biggest adult consumer event in the country,” Handy said. “Our event, certainly being an event about love and sex, puts it on the outside of normal event. We still have billboards on 95. We have ads running in the newspaper and online and everywhere else. A lot of times, for our vendors, our event is one of the only opportunities they get to get in front of that mainstream audience.”
Longtime adult film star Tera Patrick attended the first Exxxotica in 2006 and is one of the 150-plus stars slated to appear this weekend.
“Exxxotica Expo has always been a safe, fun, controlled way for adult stars to interact with our fans,” she said. “We are a friendly show and, with time, Exxxotica has proved this. This is the only adult trade show that has consistently traveled throughout the USA, brought in the best talent and had huge turnouts, not to mention given local adult business an outlet to sell.”
Patrick, who is in the Hall of Fame of both the Adult Video News and X-Rated Critics Association, believes the expo also helped to clean up public’s murky perception of the adult industry.
“It’s funny because in some ways ‘porn’ is so mainstream now,” Patrick said. “I miss the days when porn was ‘taboo’, and we were considered outsiders. The stigma will still always be there in ways, but Exxxotica has helped huge with giving the adult industry a nice look.”
With each passing event, Handy and his team refine the approach for upcoming Exxxotica expos. This weekend’s event will feature 40 individual seminar topics, the “biggest educational seminar portion in the history of the show” according to Handy.
“It’s become more and more educational over the years,” he said. “The event over the years has really morphed into an open conversation about sex. Yes, we have our adult stars there. There is ‘pornography.’ It really is an open discussion.”
Patrick added: “This is a great way to learn more about sexual health [and] the adult industry behind the scenes. There’s just so much to see and do. It’s way more than just T&A, but it certainly revolves around it.”
The convention, which will hold four events this year in various cities across the United States, returns to south Florida for the first time since 2014. It ran in Miami from 2006-12 before a two-year run in Fort Lauderdale.
“It’s amazing to be back in Miami where Exxxotica started,” Patrick said.
IF YOU GO
What: Exxxotica 2018
When: Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, 1-10 p.m; Sunday, 1-7 p.m.
Where: Miami Airport Convention Center, Exhibit Hall, 711 NW 72nd Ave., Miami, FL 33126.
Cost: $39.99-49.99 for General Admission; $69.99 for VIP Admission; $139.99 for a three-day VIP Admission. Ladies are granted free general admission free on Friday nights and are recommended to pre-register at www.exxxotica.com.
What to expect: Exxxotica is billed as “the nation’s largest event dedicated to love and sex.” Stage shows and seminars will be held all weekend. Many of the world’s top adult film stars will be on hand to meet their fans, including: Abella Danger, Adriana Chechik, Alexis Texas, Christy Canyon, Jenna Haze, Katie Morgan, Lexi Belle, Tera Patrick, Tori Black and Veronica Rodriguez. A rundown of events is listed on the website.