Everyone's got a fetish, but they don't always have someone to share it with.
We've created the ultimate users guide to find the gathering of like-minded individuals you've been too nervous to Google at work. Whether you fantasize about people dressed like ponies (International Pony Play Championships) or want nothing more than to mix with real live porn stars (Adult Entertainment Expo) there are new friends just waiting to be made.
Here's everything you need to know about America's best sex conventions—plus a plausible alibi to give your cube mate after coming back from toe-sucking (Sweet Feet Retreat) in Miami with a tan.
Shibaricon: May 28–31; Chicago
It's dominatrix–meets–Boy Scouts at this Japanese rope-bondage exhibition, where BDSM newbies and aficionados learn everything they've always wanted to know about Shibari but were afraid to ask . . . without a safe word. A team of international instructors will lead four days of classes and presentations, ranging from the history and psychology of rope bondage to techniques in knot-tying and suspension. All classes are BYOR, but there's plenty available at the vendor mall (in addition to chain mail and other goodies), and a play space will be open to those who want to test their new skills. But just like after the rope climb in junior–high gym, prepare to have rope burns in awkward places.
Alibi: Chicago Antique Market's Garden Party Opener (May 29–30; Chicago)
International Pony Play Championships: August 27–29; Fort Lauderdale
Giddyap! Humans who wear horse gear and the handlers who love them come together at the International Pony Play Championships, the only place a man can have sex with a creature that looks like a horse and not end up in jail (or the hospital). The erotic equestrian role–playing event takes place on a secluded horse farm—complete with a barn and a hot tub, so pony players can soothe their tired hooves in the Jacuzzi between saddle changes. This year's workshops and special presenters haven't been determined yet, but past classes have included The Art of the Hurty Sticks and Knife Play and the Spirit of Pony. All of that is just foreplay leading up to the crown jewel of the event, the pony show and championships, where contestants are judged on costume, style, technique, and the handler's ability to lead the blindfolded pony through an obstacle course. Just like the beauty pageants on Toddlers & Tiaras.
Alibi: Fort Lauderdale Gift Show (August 28–31; Fort Lauderdale)
Sweet Feet Retreat: August 9–11; Las Vegas
Foot models will be pulling overtime as the first–ever international foot–fetish convention wisely piggybacks onto the World Shoe & Accessories Show. In fact, it might be hard to distinguish one event from the other, unless you're monitoring the engorgement of the male attendees. Both cons will have shoe fashion shows, parties, fund–raisers, and a plethora of pretty feet in sexy high heels, but only at the Sweet Feet Retreat will you be able to take photos with your favorite tootsies and then enroll in a reflexology class with foot models as your subjects. Let's hope no one's there for bunion treatment.
Alibi: World Shoe & Accessories Show (August 9–11; Las Vegas)
SwingStock: July 14–18; Sandstone, MN
Celebrating its 21st year of group porking, SwingStock anticipates between 400 and 600 horny folks heading to a campground in Bumfuck, Minnesota, with the promise of games, BBQ, and lots of doin' it alfresco. When attendees aren't engaged in daisy chains around the campfire, they can hit one of the nightly dances, cheer on the contestants in the Ms. SwingStock pageant, or pray to the gluteus gods they win "best buns" over the wholly unsexy "best campsite" award. This year's theme is "Swinging Seas—A Tribute to the Love Boat," so brace yourself for a barrage of "cum aboard" quips and sex positions named after Captain Stubing.
Alibi: Sonshine Music Festival (July 14–17; Willmar, MN)
Sex 2.0 Con: May 22–23: Seattle
Although Sex 2.0 sounds like what happens when humans and cyborgs get intimate, it's a conference focusing on social media, sexuality, and feminism. Meaning, it's a hotbed of sex-positive grrl geeks debating and discussing everything from sex workers' rights to revenge porn. Authors, bloggers, and activists wax erotic on sessions and panels like "Craigslist Red, Craigslist Blue: Why We Should Dismantle the Internet Red Light District" and "Starting an Adult Novelty Business: How I Went From Handbag Designer to Adult Toycase Designer." We're not saying you have to give up your dream of designing purses, fellas, but maybe just open your minds a little . . .
Alibi: Seattle International Film Festival (May 20–June 13; Seattle)
Adult Entertainment Expo: January 6–9, 2011; Las Vegas
Porn stars and perverts travel from far and wide to attend the world's largest adult trade show, but the pilgrimage is well worth it if you're curious about the future of masturbation. This year, the first–ever talking sex robot made its debut at the expo, so if innovation continues, perhaps next year they'll unveil a tablet computer that you can make sweet love to while paging through dirty photos on its 9.7–inch LED–backlit multitouch screen. Attendees also have the rare opportunity to see adult–film stars up close—careful, they'll bite!—both on the trade floor hawking their DVDs and at the coinciding Oscars of porn, the Adult Video News Awards Show. It's just as long and self–congratulatory as regular entertainment awards, but when a starlet accepts the award for "Best Squirting Release" and thanks God for giving her a gift, you kind of have to agree with her.
Alibi: Consumer Electronics Show (January 6–9; Las Vegas)
Nudes A–Poppin' Festival: July 18; Roselawn, IN
If you like naked ladies or crusty old celebrities, this fest's for you! The longest–running outdoor nude beauty pageant has multiple titles, so strippers of all classes will have a chance to be crowned. The highest honors are Miss Nude Galaxy and Miss Nude North American, which differ not by the girls' intergalactic motherlands but rather whether the nudie is a traveling exotic entertainer (Miss North American) or works in one specific club (Miss Galaxy). Other noteworthy sashes to lay betwixt their breasts are Miss Nude Go–Go, Miss Nude Rising Star, Miss Crowd Pleaser, and Miss Petite Nude Galaxy, whose boobs must be B–cup size or smaller. If nudity isn't enough of a lure, there will also be appearances by loosely defined celebrities. Famous faces of Nudes A–Poppin' have included Gilbert Gottfried, Kid Rock (duh), David Faustino (a.k.a. Bud Bundy, double duh), and Grandpa Munster himself, Al Lewis.
Alibi: Central Indiana Gunshow (July 17–18; Evansville, IN)
Exxxotica: May 14–16; Miami
Here's how you know something's sexy: It's spelled with multiple Xs. Exxxample: Exxxotica. Held in already sexually charged Miami Beach, the three–day erotic event features porny stage shows, dildo exhibits, and seminars like "Swinging for Newbies: A Panel Discussion of Popping Your Swinger Cherry." Pheromones and vanilla musk waft through the VIP lounge as strippers dance around poles and pretend like they're listening to your sad–sack stories. The event climaxes with the Ms. Exxxotica competition, which last year included a MILF contest hosted by Amy "Long Island Lolita" Fisher. The prize involved a trip to Jamaica—and not getting shot in the face.
Alibi: The Infusion Nurses Society Annual Meeting and Industrial Exhibition (May 15–20; Fort Lauderdale, FL)