After kicking sexual wellness company Lora DiCarlo out of the show in 2019 AFTER it gave her massager an innovation award, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada is allowing “innovative” play sex toys at the show on a “one-year trial basis” this year under the health and wellness section, which really just means those rules can be changed again next year.
In an emailed statement, a CES spokesperson said, “After CES 2019, CTA started some important conversations internally and with external advisors. We decided to include tech based sexual technology products at CES 2020. As we do every year, we will follow our standard policies and procedures following this year’s show to determine next steps.”
Although adult sex toy vendor booths are now allowed, companies that promote adult products were relegated to a corner of the Sands Expo Convention Center, which is a secondary location that’s mostly filled with smaller companies. The main event is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Lora DiCarlo returned to CES show this year with Osé, a “robotic massager for blended orgasms”. 10 other sex technology startups, including Satsifyer, Crave, and Morari, also displayed a variety of pleasure inducing high-tech sex devices and remote apps. One exhibitor, Satisfyer, even gave out free adult products every hour and had potential future customers lined up around their booth.
Remote sex toy maker OhMiBod, whose products have been on sale in Target stores, was somehow allowed to display sex tech products at the CES show for a decade, despite the broader sex toy ban. The CTA has never explained why they granted OhMiBod that exception.
But some of the other event’s exhibitors weren’t allowed to demonstrate all of of their adult products, including Lovense, whose play toys can be controlled via Bluetooth using the Lovense mobile app. Lovense wasn’t even permitted to display its VR headsets and software at the show, which are key elements of its flagship sex toy.
Although sex companies like Lovense are already well known in the sex toy industry, the company said it’s important to show all the prepared materials to a broader audience to help people understand it. Gerard Escaler, Lovense marketing chief, told theverge.com, “Very few people know our product outside of the specific niche that we’re in, so we prepared by developing a lot of collateral and have been more educational in the conversations we’ve been having”. He said the most common question the company gets is what their product does.
The CTA has also updated its dress code policy to crack down on companies hiring models that wear revealing clothing as a way to bring visitors to their booths. New rules say companies will get in trouble for outfits that are “sexually revealing or that could be interpreted as undergarments”, and if clothing reveals “hugs genitalia” or “an excess of bare skin” it will be banned. CES said Pornography is still banned on the show floor, although sex tech companies like porn studio Naughty America are allowed to show their X-rated VR demos in private booths.
OhMiBod’s owner Suki Dunham said, “The sex tech world has always been taboo. There’s been a stigma around them. People talk about them quietly. By being here at CES, people start to see it’s not such a big deal. It helps to destigmatize the category in general.”
Lora DiCarlo herself said, “We’re reaching a market where people normally wouldn’t have access to these devices. They wouldn’t go in a sex shop. Here, they’re able to touch, to feel and see what the devices are like.”