S’pore’s tame Sexpo

SINGAPORE: No nudity. No whips and handcuffs. No penis rings. No inflatable sex dolls.

Those were just some of the sex toys barred from display as strait-laced Singapore opened its first sex exhibition under the watchful eyes of the police. Instead the three-day Sexpo 2005 offered pole dancers, condoms, vibrators, sexy lingerie and sexual health seminars to titillate crowds and excite the libido of a country consistently ranked bottom in a global survey of sexually active nations.

Barred to anyone under 21, the exhibition is far from racy yet it is seen as a milestone for the tightly controlled city-state that bans pornography and has tight censorship laws that routinely snip nudity and sex scenes from movies. Curious crowds, mostly male retirees in their 50s, converged on booths demonstrating use of a condom that comes complete with a vibrating ring. Many whipped out mobile phones to snap pictures as erotic dancers — clad in midriff-baring tops, mini-skirts and three-inch-heels — gyrated to pumping music. Sexpo 2005 included exhibits from the Chinese Ancient Sex Culture Museum in Tongli, China. Visitors peered at erotic paintings of love-making scenes, pored over scripts on sexuality in ancient China and gawked at a curious 5,000-year-old artefact called the ‘Donkey’s Saddle’ — a torture device used to punish adulterous women.