CES 2019: Sex tech is everywhere and nowhere
19:34

CES 2019: Sex tech is everywhere and nowhere

Tech Industry
Hello, humans, friends, enemies, we're back for CS 2019, coming to you live from our CNET stage at the Sands Expo Center. I'm Ashley Skeva, and next to me is Caitlin [UNKNOWN]. We are very excited because when you think of sex, guys and girls, most people don't immediately go to technology. But Every single year at CES we see a bunch of sex tech gadgets. And so joining Caitlin and I on stage today Alexander Fine The co-founder and CEO of Dame Products. I have Suki Dunham, the co-founder of OhMiBod. And Liz Klinger the co-founder of Lioness. Hello, ladies. Hello. Hello. How are you doing? It is very refreshing to see a whole panel of women. Empowered, brilliant women on this stage, and I am very proud to be a part of this panel. So there's actually a little controversy. Controversey in the sex tech industry that a lot of folks might not have heard about. But I think we should definitely discuss. So Caitlin, break it down for us and then we'll talk a little bit about it. News came out yesterday that a company called Lora DiCarlo had been awarded a CES Innovation Award and then had it revoked. And it made a lot of headlines yesterday. I know that each of you have had different experiences here at CES. Liz, I know you have similarly run into Or butted heads with. So real quick, it was her vote because did they just suddenly realize that it was a sex product and said, ooh, yikes, that's maybe not for us to give out awards for. It definitely sounds like that's what happened. Okay. The CTA cited it being a obscene- Obscene, I think was the word, yeah, that I have read. Yeah, among other words, that was one of them that called it, which I think is- Obscene. Inherent of sex tech, people calling it that, people making that assumption, but that's not always the case. Like I said, Liz, I know you had issues last year. Can you- Mm-hm, a little bit. [LAUGH] Can you explain a little bit? What happened? What was the reasoning, what your issues were presenting at CES last year. Yeah, so basically, we applied to Eureka Park. And we phoned it in, because it's always best to reach out to people and build a relationship with the events programs. And we went on this back and forth sort of email, call exchange. And basically, first they said, we're reviewing the pleasure category for this year. We're reviewing the sxual wellness category. We're gonna get back to you. And this during 2017 for 2018 CES And, about a month or so later, they got back, and they're like, we're not going to have any new adult products. So I ended up going, anyway, not with a booth or anything, at CES. And I ended up actually kind of sneaking into the official show floor because, through a couple of good friends, and Basically, it was a really weird experience because what happened was, I'd go there. And first I saw Naughty America with a giant, pretty prominent floor space on the show floor. For VR right? Yeah. And then they're also in the directory, too, where you can find them. And then also I got into dolphin tank while I was there which is sort of like shark tank for women, it's supposed to be a space where women founded businesses are showing their products, and talking about them, and you're meeting different investors and press. And That last minute got revoked. Because some sponsors that they refuse to name were not okay with our marketing. And if your familiar with Lioness at all we're a very women's help centric company. So we do a lot of research and use, well we do a lot of research on sexual health. We do biofeedback and sensors to help Women see their own arousal and orgasm. And it's not just some sort of plaything, it's also about data and about learning about yourself and helping partners communicate better during sex. And helping. [UNKNOWN] That's a huge list. Yeah, fun and informational, if you will, fun and informational. It's inherently tech. Yeah. Alexander, you have also mentioned running into issues where there were sort of a little bit of a hipocracy there between running certain ads, and then You just see- [CROSSTALK] A lot of things that are kinda, are, hey, what's this about? Right, and it's kind of like, where do we draw the line for obscene. So we have a somewhat similar story that just happened to us, where we were approved to run a ds on the New York City subway system. And we made the a ds, and we sent them in So, we had a similar experience of really, really high hopes, really excited to do this ad campaign. It's a lot of money, a lot of work. We submitted the ads, and they just didn't respond to us, and then changed their policy and said that they don't work with any companies of a sexually oriented nature. Have you been on the subway? [LAUGH] I mean, one, I mean, we definitely use sex, often, to sell all of these other products. Everything. Everything- Literally everything. So we're gonna put that aside. They literally do have a ds For erectile dysfunction. Something called Addyi, which is also a very interesting conversation. I'm sure Trojan condoms show up all the time. Yeah. That would be, you know. I mean, for Addyi, it's basically an antidepressant that is packaged as a libido product for women. Interesting. And [UNKNOWN] vibrators are fantastic for libido. So if the MTA is gonna, Draw a line and say that libido, the ability to be able to have sex or desire it is health. But that vibrators are somehow pleasure and therefore not harmful to society. What we're doing then is promoting more sex and not promoting that sex to be good sex. And I'm pretty sure I know who's gonna lose out on that situation. Yeah, I mean, I think it's really unfortunate and I think that in some ways, I find that this feels a little bit like a backlash from the Me Too movement. I don't know if that resonates for anybody else, but I find that a lot of corporations and institutions They, instead of being like, harassment is bad. We shouldn't harass people. They're just kind of like, we can't talk about sex at all. Anything, cuz it's scary. It's cuz it's scary, and they don't understand it, and I think that's really unfortunate. I know that also, we've had conversations about boot babes. Yes. Yeah. Which are, which I think is a really another interesting thing that happens here and feels a little impractical. A constant conversation amongst any woman who comes to any convention that involves technology in some way, shape or form, I'm sure. I think yo can talk about this in terms of the MTA but in terms of at least for CES It was like, in our experience, like if there was an all out ban on adult products or anything related to adult as a category, that'd be one thing- Right. Where it's like, okay, I may not personally agree with that, because everybody has sex and it's kinda, you know, it's kind of need there I think. Sure. You know, By- How we got here. It was, yeah exactly. [LAUGH] We all got here that way. But like, on the other hand, we got pulled from being able to be at Eureka Park. Laura. Laura wasn't pulled from the award and they weren't able to show on the show floor at all. There have been other companies that are in our category that have tried to get to CES and be on the official show floor in recent years, and they haven't been able to be there, and they've been there in unofficial capacities like New Orleans fair, where they were in the side shoe area. The show stoppers. Yeah. Like the official unofficial CEO [UNKNOWN] Yeah, sort of happens. Yeah, sure. Yeah, and then at the same time you see a naughty America, like right there, and then, you're there, and I'm like this doesn't make sense. [CROSSTALK] Well, let's talk a little bit about what each of the companies are bringing, two CESs here, because honestly, I I think a lot of folks think again. You think of CES and people think robots, televisions, refrigerators! But nobody's going well- I wonder what delightful lady. What delightful lady products might, might be just waiting there for me to discover. So, let's talk about what each of your companies has happening this year at CES. So that our lovely studio audience can go visit. Well, that would be Suki's booth. [LAUGH] Yeah. Yeah. I guess I'm the lucky one. Ohmibod's actually been exhibiting at CES for nine years. [APPLAUSE] That was a great [CROSSTALK] So when we started- That's great. When we started, we actually had to advocate for ourselves. Well, and you started when the adult Film Convention was here, too, right? No. Was it just after they had left at the same time? No, they were separate, yeah. We have never exhibited here when AVN was part of this show. So we were in after that. But we submitted our application to be an exhibitor, and There was a lot of back and forth like you talked about. And we were advocating for ourselves and saying we know how to, we're a legitimate company, and we have legitimate tech products. Our very first [UNKNOWN] was a product that connected to an iPod and vibrated to the music. So, during the advent of iPods and iPhones and all that great stuff, we were kind of at the forefront of connected sex toys. And so, we advocated for ourselves and the CTA nodded their head and let us in the door and We've been committed to this show ever since. We've been doing it every year. And I mean, you guys, obviously, have had different experiences than we have here, but our experience has been rather positive. I mean, when we first came to the show, I think a lot of attendees were kind of trying to figure us out like how are we here? [LAUGH] But as time went on and as Social, I mean, part of the goal for all of us here is to change the social conversation around this, or there not to be a conversation, right? It's about it being just normal and acceptable and part of daily life. [CROSSTALK] And so when we came on to the show floor People were trying to figure us out. Now, every year, we have people that come and visit our booth every year. What do you have that's new? My God, that's so creative, that's so awesome. So it's really fun. [LAUGH] Which is the same experience you would have at any booth. Any booth. At CES. And that's, I mean, look, I've been coming to see a robot fold laundry for like six years. [LAUGH] So [UNKNOWN]. This is the same. [CROSSTALK] One of these days, it's gonna make it. But yeah, it's the same type of experience. Like you said, to normalize it, to make it just another part of the show seems so important, that it And it's not like, wow, ooh, like [NOISE] It's not an outlier. It should be a conversation. Yeah. It should be a normal part of that tech. Right. Yeah, I would say that that's really hollistically important is that right now in the world, when we have conversations about sex, they're compartmentalized and they don't know how to integrate our sexualities and our sexual experiences as people to, like, our whole selves and our every day lives And I think that that's where we're having a lot of issues, a lot of really big problems in our society that we're all here fighting for. And I love that story because it resonates with me. Whenever we have been allowed on platforms No one complains. People are so excited about it. Yeah, it's almost like people want to know more about how to improve their own sexual health and wellness. Let's drop all this real quick, is there anyone out there who does not wish to improve their sex life? Because if you are there, then, We gotta have a talk after the show. [LAUGH] No one is raising their hand. We're all on board with this one. Everybody wants to improve their sex life, whether it is via their partner, whether it is via themselves, whether it is via. Like a million different ways to do it. Nobody Wants to exclude themselves from that conversation, [LAUGH] Like, on purpose. And so this always is like a, it's such a strange thing to me that we treat this so prudishly. Taboo. Yeah, it's so taboo, and the thing is like, [CROSSTALK] I think the funny thing too is like, in my unofficial official capacity last year, and even like being here this year, People are positive about it. I haven't had anyone be like, you should not be here. Except for last year, the two people who came up to me at my table who had the gold star CTA member who asked me why aren't you at ABN, and- We get that a lot. But it's only- [CROSSTALK] Why not both? Yeah, exactly, I'm like, why is [UNKNOWN] America here? Why are you here? Like, this doesn't make sense. It shouldn't be a question for a company that builds technology. Yeah. I think it's incorporated inside of that conversation, like you said. So [UNKNOWN] is heavily involved in Sort of data feedback. And so what is Dame Products doing in the realm of sex technology this year? Yeah, so we really make very simplified tools, and we use tech. My cofounder Janet worked at Maker Bot and was the lead engineer on some 3D printers there. So we Really use that skill set to a prototype in house. And make our own products right in Brooklyn and then we sent out hundreds of testers to people. And we wouldn't be able to do that like 10 years ago. Like the technology wouldn't have been there to help us create the toys we create And we also just kind of used materials, I think, in a really unique way. We just launched a product called Pom that's pretty flexible and doesn't have a plastic body inside of it? Which is. which is pretty unique for the space. Is this the video right here? This is... What is this, Katelyn? That's Eva II. Eva II. Okay. So, Eva Two. That product was one of our first products. It's called Eva. It's a hands-free clitoral vibrator that a person with a vulva can wear during penetrative sex. So those funny looking wings it has, it tucks underneath the labia majora and then pushes them out a little bit. It's like a vibrating ninja in your vulva. [LAUGH] Did everybody hear that, okay. And you can wear it while you're having sex. And we launched that on Indiegogo in 2014 and raised $575,000 in 45 days. which is about six thousand preorders, and I think that speaks to how- Wow. Yeah. There's something called the pleasure gap. People with vulvas don't have as much sexual pleasure as people with penises, and we wanted to address that problem, and I think- People show up. They love the products. It turns out. Clearly, yeah. Clearly, they are showing up. Yeah. Clearly, they are showing up. So that's really exciting. So we only have a few minutes left, and I am very curious as to, and, actually, this is a question for you, too, Caitlyn, because you've been walking around CES, you've been seeing a bunch of stuff, and I've been trapped, here, at the stage. So I am very curious as to are there any announcements this year that you've seen in the way of maybe AI or or other products that make you guys really excited about the future of sex tech and maybe if you saw something that you said Hey. I really want to incorporate that into our business at some point or, you know, have some good ideas about this particular type of technology. Is there anything in particular that really excited you this year? I've seen some exciting stuff as it relates to haptic feedback and being able to basically touch people remotely. So, my God, does An app that allows you to connect remotely with your partner. So if you're here and your partner's in New York, you can connect from anywhere in New York. That's like half our team. [LAUGH] And so this idea of being able to be intimite with somebody remotely is pretty interesting, and when you think about actually being able to touch somebody remotely, that's That's very cool so I think that's a very cool technology and there's a lot of cool things that can be done around that. Yeah. Yeah I think for us we've been doing a lot of surveying of our current customers, we have several thousand at this point, and I actually, I brought the product here, I don't know if you two brought [LAUGH] I didn't bring. But one of the things, so we have two things that are coming up, Basically well, here's the box. But one, we are gonna have more artistic and musical visualizations on the Lioness app. So you can really make your partner sing? Yeah, exactly. It's pretty interesting because it was actually something that came out of someone who was visually impaired who has a Lioness. And she wanted to Be able to see her own data. Wow. And she can't see, visually see, but she can hear with a musical tune. So it's about enabling that data for all different types of people. Yeah. Many different ways, yeah. Yeah, we're watching this on video of it right now- Yeah, of the live [UNKNOWN]. Yeah, of the Linus. Yeah, the other thing that we're also working on too is basically a live view of the orgasm and the arousal as it's happening in real time. So basically, we do data and feedback. And we're able to basically show in real time what is happening. And I'm bringing this up here There we go. So, I have it, there we go. I have it on the camera here. Yeah. This one right here. So basically, this is us. So this is a live feedback. And as I squeeze the vibrator, you're seeing the circle changes. Wow. An actual visualization of what's happening. Yeah. And we have very, you can You can sense many different sort of movements and sort of like gestures from it. So you can actually see in real time what's going on. And now this isn't something you'd want to do all the time, probably, but it is, it does add an interesting layer of experience where you're able to see what's going on and be able to think about okay this works for me, this doesn't work for me. Or for a partner, too, where they want, it's an intimate way for you to be able to share your own pleasure experience. And not the Harry Met Sally way. [LAUGH] But, with what actually is going on. Yeah, and it's nice for a partner to actually have that information. Just to know everybody likes someone to know what they like, it's good. Exactly, yeah, it's another way to learn, basically. Yeah. I do think that there's a lot happening whenever there's new technolohy. The people who care about sex find a way to use that technology. [LAUGH] Yes. We're really great at that. But I do think it's up to us to use those technologies to really improve our intimacy and improve our human connection and relationships. And I think that We're really at a turning point in that, and we need to be vigilant. Yeah. Yeah definitely. I think on that note we are gonna wrap. But thank you so much ladies- Thank you. You got Dame Products, My Bot and Lioness do not miss out on these technologies. They're great companies. Thank you so much for joining us here on stage ladies. Thank you. I wish you all the best. All the success. Thanks for having us Yeah, thank you. [CROSSTALK] Okay, everybody's gonna clap too. They're great, they were so great. [APPLAUSE] See, it's all so good. That's the most applause I think anybody's gotten all day so you gotta [CROSSTALK] Yeah!

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