After last year’s edition of the Consumer Electronics Show was heavily criticized for its prudish and reactionary approach to sex and fem-tech, this year’s rendition of the show has a completely different approach: Smart sex toys are the secret stars of this year’s fair.
In addition to the latest mobile phones, TV screens and VR powered game consoles, this year there are also a remarkable number of smart sex toys that have been exhibited for years in a rather lackluster and embarrassed manner. The reversal of the tech fair and the opening towards the developments in the field of digitalization of human sexuality is due to a large extent to a PR gaffe around the hip sextoy startup Lora DiCarlo.
Last year, DiCarlo was first granted an award for several technical innovations, only to be stripped of it due to flimsy reasons, before it was finally awarded to the company after worldwide protests. Lora DiCarlo had massively resisted the unfair treatment and exposed the sex-phobic and misogynous attitude of the Tech Fair. Unintentionally, the fair may have created not only a model entrepreneur for Women in Sex Tech but possibly an international sextoy brand.
In any case, the incident made the trade fair executives realize that the world had shifted so that this year they were allowing smart sex toys on a grand scale at the fair – albeit with an extensive set of rules and certain advertising and behavioral rules for the stand staff. As before, no sex robots may be exhibited and no anatomically correct toys may be demonstrated.
Nevertheless, the relaxation and opening for sex-tech led to a massive turn out of start-ups such as Dame and established industry giants such as the German sex-toy manufacturer Satisfyer. The technologies used by the manufacturers are known to be really advanced – adult entertainment companies have always been considered early adopters and technology drivers in manufacturing, retail and online distribution of adult entertainment. At last, the fair is acknowledging this fact.
This can be seen, among other things, in the cooperation between sextoy manufacturers and other tech companies. For example, Dame Products is also represented at the booth of Formlabs, a manufacturer of 3D printers. The Sextoy-Startup used a Formlabs printer for product development and for the production of prototypes – a process that previously cost enormous sums of money. Thanks to the inexpensive model development, numerous forms can be tried out.
Lora DiCarlo hyped and wooed, also had a booth at this year’s CES, this time with two new products. Of course, founder Laura Haddock is delighted with the response after last year’s affair. Besides the interest of an international audience, the more than convincing figures of the start-up company should also contribute to the good mood of the entrepreneur. The advance orders for the Osé alone have generated sales of over 3 million dollars in 2019. More than 10,000 of the units were sold last December alone – still on advance sale.
A representative of the company said at the booth: »We are particularly excited about continuing to shape the public debate and bringing [masturbation] into the mainstream. Sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s part of our physical health and well-being.«
The German manufacturer Satisfyer, a sister company of the VENUS exhibitor Eis.de, also came to CES to present its latest products. Among other things, the new app for operating the latest generation of Satisfyer products was the focus of attention at the Tech Fair. It reacts to acoustic signals. Megwyn White from Satisfyer explains the sophisticated function: »[It also has] the Ambiente button. It’s really great. It allows you to be stimulated by the sounds around you. You know, the sounds of the room or the sound of my voice.«
Users can choose between different settings and also let their partners control it by remote control. This way the pulse rhythm of the device can be regulated. The presets have names such as Big Fun, Spark, Good Fun, Hammer, Rumble and Wave, but users can also set their own vibration patterns or make the toy react to their own voice or self-selected songs.
The opening of the CES for smart sex toys also revives the media interest in the former flagship fair. In numerous reports on this year’s edition, the sextoy manufacturers are the focus of attention. A clear plus for all involved.