There’s no delicate way to put it: Ottawa is freaking cold. And with at least two more months of winter still to go, folks are starting to find creative ways of keeping warm. One tried-and-true method, of course, is huddling together to share body heat. If you’re going to spend a lot of time inside, you’re going to need supplies. And inspiration. Luckily, Sexapalooza is returning to Ottawa, bringing with it everything you could need to make the rest of the winter a lot more enjoyable.

Taking up residence at the Ottawa Convention Centre from Feb 7 to Feb 9, Sexapalooza’s winter edition brings a stimulating mix of live entertainment, educational seminars and vendors peddling everything from lingerie and toys to corsets and body art. Produced about five times a year in Ontario, Quebec and the United States, Sexapalooza is run by Black Kat Shows and has been growing and expanding over the last five years. The very first show happened in Ottawa in 2008 and was so well received that organizers decided to keep bringing it back. “There was no adult-themed sex show happening in the city, and there were in other cities across Canada,” says president and show manager Liz Lewis. “It’s a government town, income is high — everything aligned.

“I like to think that the show is entertaining, but it’s also educational,” she says. “We have a number of vendors that come in, selling anything from sex toys to shoes to lingerie to trips as well.” (Jamaica’s Hedonism II resort is one of the event’s sponsors.) There is also a main stage featuring adult entertainment, including pole dancing, burlesque and an amateur strip contest on Friday and Saturday nights where audience members are invited to tap into their exhibitionist sides. Rounding out the experience is an educational video room; this year’s topics include oral sex, G-spotting and using toys.

Lewis always makes a point of booking local acts when planning the entertainment for the main stage. Visitors to the Ottawa winter show can look forward to performances by Bourbon & Spice and Capital Tease burlesque troupes; a drag king show by Capital Kings; a fashion show by Da Boss Lady; and Shade Nyx’s Theatre of the Macabre. Another highlight is the bondage-bed demo, which will involve special participation by a lucky audience member. For more local representation, keep an eye out for Mr Leather Ottawa and Jer’s Vision among the booths.

If you’re intrigued but worried that Sexapalooza is exclusively the province of the young and limber, Lewis is quick to dispel that myth. “It’s such a mix,” she says. “We’re getting a lot of older people out in the last couple years, which I found kind of interesting, as Fifty Shades of Grey has kind of opened things up.”

There’s also a Sexy 65+ discount ticket available, which Lewis says has been popular and serves as proof that it’s never too late to explore your sensual side. For nervous first-timers, Lewis recommends a little bit of liquid courage followed by a leisurely exploration of the vendor booths. You can also check out the schedule online and plan ahead for what you’d most like to see. “Everybody in there is there to have a good time, so go in expecting to enjoy yourself.”

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