Warsaw's mayor battles sex industry over "World sex championships"
Fri Oct 8, 1:14 PM ET Offbeat - AFP
WARSAW (AFP) - Warsaw's right-wing mayor has become embroiled in another battle with the flourishing sex industry in deeply Catholic Poland by attempting to ban a highly-publicized "world sex championships."
The organisers of an erotic fair in the Polish capital said Thursday they would defy an order from the mayor's office and go ahead and stage a "test" for the woman who can carry out a sex act with as many men as possible.
The hosts of the four-day "Eroticon" festival, taking place for the fifth year running, would not reveal time or place for the competition, but promised to beat the world sex record.
"The contest will take place," said Krzysztof Garwatowski, a spokesman for the adult magazine publisher holding the event, who appears to be counting on the publicity stunt to draw in the crowds.
"Last year, the fair attracted more than 11,000 visitors. With all this publicity the mayor has generated for us, we hope to do even better this year," Garwatowski told AFP.
For days, large advertising posters for the erotic fair with photographs of two scantily-clad women have been plastered around the streets of Warsaw.
The sex contest will be filmed for a pornographic film by Pink Press, a pornography empire which sells 60 percent of adult magazines and makes 80 percent of erotic films in Poland.
But Mayor Lech Kaczynski's office Wednesday contacted the Warsaw public prosecutor's office accusing the event's organisers of procuring women, a crime carrying up to a three-year jail term.
They fought back, saying they would sue Kaczynski for defamation.
"We are not breaking the law. We don't see any reason why we should leave Warsaw just because a municipal official doesn't like what we do," insisted Garwatowski.
"We have nothing to do with prostitution," he said.
Held in an exhibition centre near the centre of Warsaw, the Eroticon festival includes some 20 stands offering adult films, books and slinky feminine lingerie in red and black.
A plastic surgeon's practice offers men the chance to extend their penises. The more shy can obtain information in privacy on their site, www.penis.com.pl, and discover a "novelty in Poland": an instrument to lengthen the penis.
At the end of the glass and aluminium exhibition hall, rousing music accompanies erotic shows.
Poland, where more than 90 percent of the population is Catholic, is a conservative society but pornography and sexual services are openly on sale.
"Everyone has the right to act as they choose. We are in a free country. Happily, the mayor of Warsaw does not have the power to stop us," a man in his forties who said he was visiting the fair "out of curiosity" told AFP.
The mayor's office has already waged a war against brothels which function as massage parlours or escort agencies.
It has also tried to crack down on the fliers promoting these services which Warsaw residents find under their windscreen-wipers every day.
But the high-profile campaign by Kaczynski, seen as a potential presidential contender, does not seem to have borne much fruit, car owners say.
"The erotic industry in Poland is nothing like that in France," Garwatowski regretted, but added hopefully: "We are progressing, we just have to wait for our society to become richer."