The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a giant annual trade show held in Las Vegas, NV that showcases new products, gadgets and various technologies to the public.
In spite of being *the place* to find new, innovative and sometimes downright outlandish products, CES has a fairly tense relationship with “sex tech.” CES even once revoked an award originally granted to pleasure product startup Lora DiCarlo, maker of the Osé sex toy.
If you read just one thing about CES this January, however, it might have been some sort of adulation regarding the show’s decision to welcome sex tech to the event.
This year, Lora DiCarlo debuted two new products at CES – and thankfully, there were no headlines about the company having an award statue wrenched away before they could even get their hands on the thing.
To me though, the story here isn’t so much about the successful return of Lora DiCarlo to CES, or even the idea that CES seems to be getting more sex-tech-friendly in the wake of last year’s public relations debacle. It’s about what this all hopefully says about the future. I’m not talking about the future of CES, but the future of sex tech itself.
What I hope is that greater acceptance of and respect for sex tech on the part of the powers that be at CES is a harbinger of the same from the broader tech and media worlds. With what seems like a foot in the door, maybe the sex tech sector will be taken more seriously. And along with the tech being taken more seriously, maybe the voices of those of us who use it will be better heard, as well.
We live in an age when privacy and security are harder to maintain than ever before, a time when your refrigerator – or your vibrator – can be a point of vulnerability. Ideally, more attention being paid to sex tech products will mean more competition for consumers of the technology, more care taken in tightening up the security and privacy aspects of the devices and better technology all around.
That’s the path I hope we see in the years ahead at least, as sex tech moves out of the shadowy fringe of events like CES and into the spotlight.
Btw, it’s probably worth mentioning that, once upon a time, CES was home to the biggest (by a mile) annual adult industry trade show. Back then, CES was effectively divided into two sections – one adults-only where all the porn was and the other for a more general consumer audience. The porn presence at CES was so huge, in fact, that the “adult section” eventually grew to be almost as large as the non-adult.
What happened and why did that change?
Well, as the adult section began to garner more and more attention, including much of the unwanted kind, CES began to get nervous about what those of us in the adult section were doing. So, they began enacting and enforcing increasingly strict rules about what could and couldn’t be shown on monitors, displayed within booths or shown to the eager photographers among the assembled porn fans.
I don’t foresee a time when the adult industry becomes nearly half of CES again. The adult industry has moved on and established perfectly viable January shows of its own, thank you very much. I can however see sex tech continuing to become more prominent at the event.
Hopefully, along with more profile will come more acceptance, more respect – and, arguably best of all if you’re a sex-gadget-nerd, even cooler stuff.
Arizona denizen Mila Ryan loves all things internet tech — almost as much as she loves her two rescue kitties, Jordan and Emmett.
Image by Eugene Capon via Pexels.