CES 2020: Sex tech makes a splash at tech show

Less stress more sex sign

There are no more than half a dozen stands, and most are tucked away in a far corner of one of Las Vegas’s vast conference halls.

They are being hosted under the umbrella of the Health and Wellness zone.

Several feature innovative sex toys, while one – called Pulse – is demoing a dispenser that heats oils and gels.

But while the booths are well away from those of the big brands that dominate the room, their presence still represents a significant shift.

Pulse

Show organiser the Consumer Technology Association stumbled awkwardly into a storm of sex tech controversy last year.

It first gave an award to, then took it back from the women’s sex toy start-up Lora DiCarlo.

By the time the CTA had executed a further U-Turn and given back the prize, it was months after the show had ended.

Following a “healthy dialogue” with the CTA committee, Lora DiCarlo has returned this year.

And this time it has a working product, the Ose, which moves and uses suction but does not vibrate.

Its booth is not in the sex tech corner but instead has a more prime location deeper within the show floor, where it is a beacon of bright yellow.

Ohmibod

It has been at the expo every year since.

Founder Suki Dunham recalls with amusement one year when it had described its product as being wireless, and found itself placed in the connectivity section of the show as a result, sandwiched awkwardly between Verizon and Yahoo.

She remembers that sex at the show was once more about erotica than gadgets.

“AVN [Adult Video News] used to have a section that was part of CES,” she recalls.

“A lot of tech that came about then was because of the sex industry and in particular porn.

“It’s [now] on a different level. It’s about sexual health and wellness with a real understanding about female pleasure.”

Back in the sex tech corner is Crave, whose jewellery doubles up as small

Sex tech area

But is health and wellness the right place for sex tech?

“We should be able to talk about sex and its impact on our wellbeing,” says Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Creative Strategies.

“These products now have a lot of tech in them.”

Ms Dunham and Ms DiCarlo think so too, but Mr Topolovac isn’t so sure.

“We certainly think there’s a health and wellness element to it, but it’s much bigger than that.”

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