This past weekend, I went to the Sexual Health Expo (SHE) in Brooklyn, New York. Reading fellow bloggers’ tweets, I’ve been super jealous of all the events that folks attend. I’ve been to workshops and a convention in the past, but never something that let me get up close and personal with new products and manufacturers. Though small compared to other shows, SHE was a great introductory expo for me. I want to tell you about the things that really stood out to me, so here goes:
Three Things That Impressed Me
… brought a book of upcoming body jewelry designs, the Unbound Collection.
There are three lines, each inspired by a different “unbound” woman; Twiggy, Amelia Earhart, and Cleopatra. They already have gold bangle cuffs for sale on their website. The yet-to-be-released (EDIT: It’s been released!) jewelry includes items like lube vials, whips, and nipple clamps all in gorgeous necklace form. The Crave Vesper is really the item that started making luxury sex products in the form of body decoration, and Unbound’s upcoming 3 lines of new products means there will be more on the market for different folks’ styles. My favorite is the Amelia Earhart inspired pinwheel necklace, though I also love Cleopatra lube vials and nipple clamps.
…had their Trio and Rimming Butt Plug at SHE, so I got to interact with them! Not only does the Rimming plug have small rolly beads in the neck – these spin around just like the classic rabbit style vibes – it ALSO vibrates, so if you decide the rimming sensation isn’t one you like, you still have a rumbly butt plug. I’m hesitant about the size of the plug – at 1.5” wide, it probably needs to be worked up to, though B-Vibe plans to come out with a smaller version.
B-Vibe also brought the Trio, their smaller remote controlled1You don’t think about remote controls with vibrating butt plugs until you can’t reach the buttons hiding between your cheeks. vibrating butt plug which has not one but THREE motors. I feel super lucky to have taken one home, and I’m especially excited for the function that moves back and forth between the motors. Oh, also their website is great with tons of butt stuff advice and their packaging was very diverse for your typical sex-toy packaging.
Imtoy [no longer available]
I’d previously only heard of/read a review of Imtoy’sPiu – which is a penis vibrator – and interacting with it confirmed how rumbly the vibration is. Imtoy apparently has a zoo themed (mostly) vaginal line (pastel pink toys with names like Gazelle, Rhino, and Giraffe), as well as a vibrating kegel ball called Candy. 2A yeast-infection inducing name for something meant to be held in a vagina It comes with an app and training program, though I didn’t get to see this in action at SHE. The coolest aspects of the Candy are oddly all contained in the charging station. Imtoy uses wireless charging (YES) and the charger has a bacteria-killing/sanitizing UV light built in to it.
Three Things that Disappointed Me
…overthrew the Womanizer for many reviewers, especially considering its price-point. At SHE, the company brought their newest product which I believe is currently called “Partner.” It’s a dual-stim toy in a design very similar to the We-Vibe, with one side for g-zone vibration and the other side for clitoral stimulation. There were two designs, but I don’t remember much about either one because frankly they were unremarkable. The vibration was more buzzy than rumbly and not nearly as powerful as the We-Vibe. Plus, where the We-Vibe is pretty grippy, this new toy’s silicone seemed really floppy and I can’t imagine it staying inside a person unless they were wearing underwear over it. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it doesn’t come with an app or remote control, so it wouldn’t be especially effective as a panty-vibe. The Satisfyer Pro 2 is really impressive and definitely gives the Womanizer a run for it’s money, but I don’t think it will prove much competition against We-Vibe.
Blue Dreams Global Inc. [no longer in business]
…brought a “couples’ vibe” that is currently for sale in Europe which will begin selling in the US soon, named the Lovers’ Dream. Apparently internal/external couples vibes are “the new thing” and the Lovers’ Dream is another one. This one features a pretty large internal arm which is totally phallic, though its base is concave which allows someone with a penis to penetrate the partner who is wearing the Lovers’ Dream. The indent in the phallic arm is apparently designed so the penised-partner can “hit the g-spot every time!”3Though all their illustrations except doggy-style have the toy’s arm hitting the g-spot and not the penis. The external arm can be used on the clitoris or anally (outside the opening or within) and is shaped like an upside-down heart because “lovers” I guess. The vibration was nothing to write home about. This toy concerns me because it involves having not only your partner’s girth but additionally the girth of the toy inside a vagina. For size queens, this is awesome; for others not so much. The website doesn’t list the specs for the size, I would estimate it’s about 2 fingers width. The silicone is nice and smooth and the arms are really flexible. But ugh, the marketing for this toy is SO gendered. It is definitely a couples toy for hetero-cis couples and ‘women’ (aka only women who have vaginas). This actually brings me to the last thing that didn’t impress me at SHE…
The Heteronormativity of it All
Since I surround myself with sex-positive individuals and folks who understand that what you like and what’s in your pants don’t necessarily define you, I forgot that a significant portion of sex toy manufacturers are stuck in the idea that “couple = cis man + cis woman” (gay and lesbian couples have to be specified with those adjectives and are also only ever cis folks). Listening to product pitches at some of the booths I was really disappointed to hear about cisdude+cisgirl penis-in-vagina sex repeatedly described as ‘normal sex’ and couples being limited to the categories above. Not all of the booths took this stance, but it was a stark reminder that the sex industry isn’t as forward thinking as I would hope.
Other disappointing things: the free vibrator that came with the goody bags (I forgot that companies still made vibes that weak/buzzy), most of the free lube samples contained glycerin and/or propylene glycol, bird poop all over the floor of the warehouse, and the lack of water bottles ANYWHERE.
Three Things I Want to Learn More About
…makes boxes that use UV lights to sterilize toys and kill any remaining bacteria. There were two different sized boxes at SHE and both include charging ports and are lockable. In theory, if your toys are made from body safe materials and you clean them with soap and water (or boil them if they have no electrics), they shouldn’t need UV sterilizing. Further, without very specific materials and tests, your average consumer can’t really test the effectiveness of UVee boxes. I’d like to learn more about them, and hear what other reviewers have to say, but it’s not a product I see myself wanting or needing.
Cu in Bed [no longer exists]
…is the first toy (as far as I know) made out of copper. It looks a lot like stainless steel, though it can get a patina over time. 4Which could be cool or icky. Spraying water on it and leaving it would give it spots like a leopard, and running electrical current through it would make it rainbow tinted. Copper actually kills surface bacteria, so it provides a backup even if you already cleaned the toy. 5There are two problems I forsee here: folks who have any kind of metal sensitivity will not like this toy, and it’s not a toy that can be used near sperm if you’re trying to get pregnant, since it kills them on contact. It doesn’t leave lasting residue, so in theory it shouldn’t harm anything inside your body. Like the UVee, if you’re already using body safe materials, anti-bacterial products aren’t a concern. That being said, the Cu is a nice shape and I am all about the potential for a rainbow metal fuck toy.6#Aesthetic
…makes body-safe vibes in a few styles; at SHE, they had the Egg, the Sync. The power and shape of the Sync, a remote control wand style vibe, intrigued me, but I didn’t get a lot of info from their booth. Reading about it, I learned that it’s submergible. At $170, I’m not quite sold on it as far as wands go (the rechargeable Magic Wand retails around $140). I’d like to play around with it to get a better feel for Sync’s capabilitites.
The Sola Egg was crowdfunded on IndieGogo and is kind of a palm-sized wand. It reminds me of Minna products where the pressure you put into it dictates the power of the vibrations. It’s really cute and the attachments make it somewhat versatile. Again, it’s something I’m not sold on and I would like to fidget with it more before I would pay $170.
I wish Doc Johnson had brought their new American Pop line, especially since it’s listed as made from pure silicone (mostly) with awesome bright colors; we also received an ad for the Crescendo in our goodie bags, and I wish I could have seen that at SHE.
Closing: everyone loved my pins, the Tina Horn panel was great and she signed my vest. I saw some really cool shit and even more stuff that I want to explore. Next year, I want to go to even more things and discover everything that SHE has to offer!
|↑1||You don’t think about remote controls with vibrating butt plugs until you can’t reach the buttons hiding between your cheeks.|
|↑2||A yeast-infection inducing name for something meant to be held in a vagina|
|↑3||Though all their illustrations except doggy-style have the toy’s arm hitting the g-spot and not the penis.|
|↑4||Which could be cool or icky. Spraying water on it and leaving it would give it spots like a leopard, and running electrical current through it would make it rainbow tinted.|
|↑5||There are two problems I forsee here: folks who have any kind of metal sensitivity will not like this toy, and it’s not a toy that can be used near sperm if you’re trying to get pregnant, since it kills them on contact.|