Gals On Top In Sex Game
NZ Truth and TV Extra - 3 August 2001 / Lee Davis
Fiona Gibb stands at one end of a big purple desk at the headquarters of her company, Erotica.
The desktop looks like a massive erect penis.
This smart, intelligent and attractive 40-year-old woman is literally at the head of New Zealand's sex business.
And she's part of a growing number of powerful women in the sex industry.
The sex and porno industry has traditionally been run by big strong blokes, usually gangsters and pimps.
A lot of heads have been turned by the meteoric rise in recent years of European companies like Ann Summers, which started girls-only party nights selling sex toys and naughty lingerie.
Gibb heads the Auckland Company that is dragging sex toys and pornography out from under the mattress and into the living rooms of ordinary Kiwis gagging for a shagging.
She loves purple.
Her company logo, the uniforms of the girls and her MG Roadster with the personalized plate EROTCA, are all purple.
She got into the sex business six years ago.
Partner Steve Crow runs a company that imports the Private line of European porno films.
Private is the supplier of the latest adult erotica from Sweden and Germany.
The pair went to the Aussie Sexpo and Fiona thought: "Why can't this work in New Zealand?"
Last year, she made the Erotica Expo work against massive opposition and endless criticism.
Two years on, she is staggered at the demand for a second Erotica later this year.
Fiona attributes much of her success to being a woman but she's not comfortable with the fact.
"That makes me really sad because people discriminate. But hey, it's certainly worked for us," she says.
"The company being fronted by a woman makes a huge difference when we front up for TV interviews for Erotica.
"People see it as softer.
"If you're articulate, reasonably intelligent and a woman in this industry, you're accepted in a different way."
But it hasn't always been easy.
She has come up against some prejudices for being in the adult industry.
Fiona says she had an account with plenty of money closed by a major bank which didn't want to be associated with porn.
But she reckons her new job beats her old one hands down.
"In the car industry, I had a corporate position in a big company. I was the only female in a team of 15 males on the management team and I was treated like s**t.
"There was total sexual discrimination - lots of sexual remarks and comments on the way I looked.
"I've never had that in the adult industry."
She says many people are too scare3d to ask about sexual subjects which arouse their curiosity.
"Erotica helps break down the barriers and social stigma."
Erotica now enjoys a high profile and is a proud sponsor of the K-1 kickboxing tournament, a Western Springs midget car racing team and this season's fastest Formula Ford driver Fabian Coulthard, a relative of Formula One contender David Coulthard.
The Erotica exhibition was attended by 16,000 people last year and that figure is expected to double in November.
Fiona says the only person who complained to her was an 87-year-old lady who insisted there was not enough eye candy for the women.
Erotica copped a lot of flak from some Christians but Fiona says that's not all bad news.
"Erotica is entertaining and fun, it's not sleazy or degrading.
"Criticism is good because it encourages debate."
So what turns on a woman who is constantly surrounded by porno images and sex toys?"
"I don't like to talk about that," she says with a cheeky smile.
"It's amazing that as soon as people find out what I do, they immediately want to talk about sex.
"People are fascinated about what we do."
People are also mesmerized by girls taking their clothes off and 26-year-old Rachael Kirk has been satisfying that demand for the last two years.
Her business is booming, something which she also attributes to being a woman.
"I think I get treated better than the men in the industry," she says.
"I have a lot of respect for the girls who work for me.
"I also get a different reaction from customers, because they are not looking at me as a sleazy old man.
"I'm a girl with a group of girls. It's a more professional image, not like a pimp.
"We're dealing with other women a lot of the time and women these days are more powerful than ever and open about their sexuality."
Like Fiona, Rachael was inspired by an Aussie company.
"I thought I'd love to set up one the same in New Zealand but make it more wholesome.
"The girls have said I'm the only person who makes them feel that stripping is wholesome.
"I make them feel there's nothing wrong with stripping - it's entertainment.
"People are so much more open to it these days."
Rachael's company Smooth Exposure supply a range of strippers, from those who only strip down to their underwear to red-hot girl-on-girl action with fruit and vegetables that leaves nothing to the imagination.
They get into 69 positions, do jelly wrestling, use candles, toys, vibrators, even strings of pearls.
Rachael insists the shows are always conducted in a classy manner, that it's not grubby and only a "little bit sleazy."
"The girls are always dressed in matching outfits, they sit on the guys' knees and have fun.
"The girls touch each other and kiss each other and the boys pay lots and lots of money to see it, which is great," she says.
Not all the new breed of sexy ladies are into exhibitionism.
Ema Lyon, Nick Mercer and Wendy Lee chose to make their mark with dildos. They formed a company to make them.
They now own and run the D.Vice sex toy shop in Wellington and also organize sex toy parties that have become known as F**kaware parties.
"Being a woman in the business has absolutely helped us," says Ema.
"We're something different from the mainstream sex industry.
"And there's a real need for that. When there's a choice, people will come to us.
"The difference is that we're women doing it."
Ema says she loves seeing sex toys inspire other people who want to be turned on by something different.
"Personally, I'm into living life to the fullest. I don't drink, don't take drugs, I fun a sex toy business," she laughs.
"Take the Serpentine, our G-spot vibrator."
It's an S-shaped clear acrylic dildo specifically designed for G-spot stimulation.
Ema says the Serpentine is their best product.
"I designed it, so I should know."