Denmark's Pioneering 'Sex 69' Expo Took Place 50 Years Ago Today

LOS ANGELES—Those who saw this season's opening episode of The Deuce might have the impression that the U.S. adult industry started with the 1984 Consumer Electronics Show—but they'd be wrong. Rather, today, October 21, is the 50th anniversary of what some are calling the birthday of the legal porn industry—at least in Europe. The event which launched Europe's adult industry? A pioneering 1969 trade show, Sex 69, in Denmark.

Shortly before the Expo, Denmark had become the first country in the world to actually legalize commercial adult material, and on October 21, the nascent industry came together for the first time without fear of arrest or censorship—and later that year, even the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the right of individuals to possess sexually explicit, even "obscene" sexual material in the privacy of their own homes. That trade show was the precursor to modern shows like AEE, Xbiz and Venus Berlin.

Thousands of people from across the world attended Sex 69 and the New York Times reported that "long lines stretched around the block tonight, and sales were suspended for fear of overcrowding."

To celebrate this "great porn awakening," the tube site xHamster has proclaimed October 21 "World Porn Pride Day," and launched an interactive "This Day in Sex History" calendar. (Coincidentally, the date is also the anniversary of the debut of Kim Kardashian's sex tape, and the release of Madonna's book Sex.).

"It might not be Stonewall," remarked xHamster VP Alex Hawkins, "but it's a tremendously important event in the history of world sexuality. Until Denmark legalized adult material, it was illegal, hidden and shameful. People could be arrested merely for possessing an explicit picture, let alone taking one. Anti-porners predicted disaster, but within a year of the expo, sex crimes had fallen 25% in Denmark, and countries across the world—including the US—began allowing the legal sale of adult material." [Editor's note: It's a bit more complicated than that, but 1969 was a start.]

Why not check it out: October 21, xHamster's Day in Sex History.

Pictured: Denmark 1969