The third day of a porn festival is unique in its own way. Your sensitivity to be shocked or even pay detailed attention to anything has gone way down by then, but at the same time your desire for all things sexual is sort of more than satisfied and you start looking for something else that grounds you and shows you that the world is more than just tits and ass.
Of course, when this realization happens while you’re holding a camera over your head, watching and recording a little person fucking a heavy girl on stage, you start thinking maybe it’s time to talk to some people and give the voyeuristic journalism a little rest for an hour or two.
On Saturday I headed over the gay stage of the Salon Erotico de Barcelona 2014, without a doubt one of the busiest and most celebrated of the whole weekend, and talked to Carlos Resa, organizer of the acts on that stage.
I’ve been pretty impressed with people’s responses. In an industry where you might think there’s still some glaring homophobia, everyone seemed very welcoming and interested in the gay stage. Men, women, trans, gay, straight or bi, everyone seemed to be enjoying the gay performers quite a bit. As a straight guy myself, I must say in terms of passion and sexual authenticity, it was probably the one of the most compelling shows.
Resa was also very pleased with the performances throughout the weekend. “A lot of gay kids are coming over, compared to last year and the previous one,” he told me. But it’s not just the gay ones; the stage was always surrounded with all kinds of people, including the vast majority of straight dudes that come to the Salon Erotico.
“I think straight guys come over for two reasons,” Resa continued. “One, for curiosity; and two, because after you pay for your ticket you just see everything!”
Considering the festival is being held in Spain, they look to give priority to Spanish porn actors, but they do like to have the presence of international porn producers. “In the last few years we’ve brought actors from the porn studio Bel Ami, a very well known European company.” Resa says proudly, “We’ve been very happy with the audience’s response with these guys, because many of them come to meet the actors. In the future we’ll try to bring talent from other international companies.”
It’s also not all strictly gay in that stage: “This year I’ve included two new shows. One is the threesome of two male actors and an actress, and also the fisting. And the truth is people seem to like those a lot.
“The fisting, it’s true that it’s a little… beastly,” Resa admitted, “but done with good taste it doesn’t bother anyone very much. It’s had a lot of acceptance. People just stay there staring like cows to a train. And the bisexual threesome of two guys and a girl is having great reviews.”
But just like in the other stages, the number of milder, suggestive striptease and erotic content decreased throughout the weekend, in favor of the more sought-after live sex shows. “By now we’re practically only having porn numbers,” Resa said. “The strippers and all of that, we’ve taken them out, because we’ve noticed that what people really like here is to watch live sex on stage.”
They do indeed. In general all the stages got a considerable amount of attention, but the more extreme live sex acts were unsurprisingly more appealing for many.
Bigger mobs also get you more exhausted, especially if you go everyday. So Sunday I took it easier. I wanted to see the parts of the festival I hadn’t been able to see; the less flashy things, the less porn star name-oriented and more niche-based stuff. Also, I kinda wanted to sit down and not have to hold a camera up, watching a girl fucked with a baseball bat while being surrounded by hundreds of screaming dudes with boners.
I ended up at the BDSM room, and to my surprise, it was one of the most fun shows of the festival. It was isolated from where all the stages were, so a lot less people would come and it was quiet enough for the performers to talk, joke and walk you through what they were doing.
A guy that went by the name ‘Lady Iela’ was naked on a stretcher, with pins stuck all over his thighs. Two women pinched him with needles and tried different electric things to give him little shocks all over his body; his dick and balls, his feet, his chest and even the tip of his tongue (a suggestion made by Lady Iela himself, that he seemed to regret right after).
One of the women, Ama Monika, with a k, (Mistress Monika, in English) is the organizer of the BDSM section of the festival. She’s been a dominatrix for about 12 years and describes their area as “the more hidden, obscure and less conventional of the festival.”
Monika and her crew usually perform at the Salon Erotico, but this was the first time they do their show in a private room, as in previous years they’ve had their own stage outside and have had a lot of success. “Our performances get a lot of attention, because they’re very diverse.” Monika confidently assured me, “I don’t have anything bad to say about porn, but over here there’s all kinds of games; we have ropes, wax, plastic, balloons, we put needles on them, we wear costumes… It’s a show.”
Indeed it was. Sadly I only got to see their show on the last day, because it was one of the most fun parts. Regardless of whether you’re into BDSM or not, it’s still pretty enjoyable as a spectator. For most people, there’s always some kind of enjoyment out of seeing others endure — and like — playful pain. They interacted with the audience often and always kept it fun.
“We had to go look for people outside, because they were afraid to come in! It causes respect,” she warned with a certain pride, “but after that, people would spend up to two hours in here.”
Monika’s favorite part of the festival was new for them: They covered a man with 10 kilograms of wax — from the 50 they brought for the weekend. “The wax layer was almost half a finger thick,” she claimed. “He was in a coffin, and the idea was to keep breaking that record and bury him in more wax. The problem is that it burns, and it’s a very long process!” But that’s not the end of it, as that is followed by a mummification of the waxed guy. “It’s very beautiful. I like combining art with BDSM.”
After that, I went to the area of the Salon where they held sex talks. Webcammers, sex toy sales people, sexology experts and more, come to this little room and talk about their thing to whoever’s there. It’s obviously not the most visited part of the festival, but still a nice change of pace for the — by that point — porn-saturated like me.
I sat for the last 10 minutes of a mostly boring tuppersex talk, while I waited for a “Sexual Kung Fu” one that seemed intriguing but got cancelled last minute. While I was sitting there, though, I met Ruth, a 37-year old Mexican woman who’s been living in Barcelona for many years and is a regular of the Salon Erotico. We hung out for a couple of scenes in the main area outside.
“I come here every year, but this one doesn’t compare to other editions.” Ruth said a little disappointed, “In every respect: the organization, the venue, the amount of stands…”
“The live shows used to be different; there was more eroticism.” she claimed in a fully old school stance, and continued in a more whispered tone as to not hurt anyone’s feelings, “Now a lot of the stands have raunchier sex.”
I smiled as she said that, right as we passed a messy impromptu threesome on the floor, and kept strolling around. When we walked by the gay stage, Ruth suddenly cut her ‘there’s nothing like the old days’ speech short and just stood there, pleasantly watching two young men 69ing each other for their last scene of the festival.
Sunday was coming to an end and people were starting to leave, as the weekend was over and the reality of a work weekday broke the porn bubble we had all been all living in. I said goodbye and came out of the Salon Erotico, feeling a bit dirty, considerably exhausted, visually satisfied and thinking I only know one thing for sure: I’m not watching porn for at least another week.
Of course, that promise sounds a lot like the one you make during that first hangover you have as a teenager and swear never to drink again. But hey, at least I won’t be puking my guts out the next time I watch porn.