SHE L.A. Ends on High Note

SHE L.A. Ends on High Note
Melissa Santana

LOS ANGELES — Come one, come all… and let the curiosity of sexual health and pleasure guide you through day two of SHE L.A, where attendees were free to wander amongst the upscale flea market set-up or sit back and listen to sexperts drop words of wisdom and sensual encouragement.

Upon arriving to the penthouse floor of the California Market Center in DTLA, guests were welcomed with goodie bags featuring little teasers from the event’s exhibitors ranging from organic lubricants, to Doc Johnson bullet vibrators, to Pleasure Chest massage products — which came up to a whopping grab of freebies worth $50!

Smack-dab in the center of the entrance, where booths fulfilling every sexual fantasy seemed endless in the background, was the schedule for the day indicating the event’s line-up of sexpert workshops and intimate speakers.

Loretta McDonald was scheduled to speak first, followed by sexperts Kathy Hoyt, Koko & Michelle, Reid Mihalko, Allison Moon, Tristan Taormino and last — but certainly not least — Victor Tobar. Each workshop ran from roughly 45 minutes to an hour, with each sexpert claiming the event’s main stage as their own with props or varying levels of audience participation.

Additionally, attendees could wander through the expo and visit smaller, more intimate “workshops” hosted by several different vendors at their booths. That line-up included Kim Airs, Mukee Okan, Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce, Wendy Miller, Susanna Brisk, Alison Leigh Siegel, Kay Brandt, Laurie Bennett-Cook, Scarlett Black and Brooke Christian.

To the immediate right of the entrance, JOPEN’s slick, boutique style presentation featured upon glass shelves its newest products like the Callie, its Vanity VS series which includes massagers that vibrate and rotate at extreme speeds and its rechargeable glass vibrator, Opal.

In the spirit of the expo, JOPEN pledged to donate a portion of its SHE proceeds to the AIDS Project LA. The company said that it is their mission to help achieve health care equity, while simultaneously promoting the wellbeing of the LGBT community, as well as the other underserved communities and those who are affected by HIV.

By venturing down the aisle, attendees were seen surrounding Okan’s booth, whose display turned heads with tastefully explicit pictures of vaginas and penises plastered on the walls behind her. The intimate talk titled ‘9 Different Genital Anatomy Types of Women and 9 Basic Types of Men’ focused on removing the stigma of women’s sexual anatomy and diminishing the encouragement of cosmetic surgery to achieve "perfect" labia.

“Usually we’re ashamed,” she fanned her hands over her “private parts” and laughed. “This is the cut off point of our bodies. So, it’s become my mission in the world [to destigmatize talk about 'pussy' and 'cock'].”

Standing right next door was Miller with a simple, straight to the point display including sample DVDs and t-shirts emblazoned with Playboy’s signature bunny and the words, “I Posed Today” — a playful tribute to the brand.

When asked what brought her to SHE L.A. she said, “I’ve been to SHE L.A. since the start, but this is my first time speaking. I’m here to talk about creating sex positive TV. Playboy TV brought me on seven years ago to create programs for couples, and a lot of people are surprised that it was a woman who started that particular section. My goals are to create shows that couples can watch together that will keep the spark going between them.”

Some of the shows already out and available for Playboy TV are “Triple Play,” which follows couples in their journey of adding a third to their sexual escapades and “Toy Ride,” that features a couple as they venture into the world of sex toys and bringing them into the bedroom.

Additionally, XBIZ-Award winning Perfect Fit Brand caught the attention of many with its all-black showcase of their newest offerings. Holding up their expanded line-up of Zoro strap-ons, Kelly Shibari called it “more of a step-in rather than a strap-on.”

“We actually had the 2017 XBIZ Trophy here yesterday, we were showing it off!” Shibari said in reference to the trophy their product, Buck-Off, received for winning the 2017 XBIZ Award for Specialty Product of the Year.

Next, if attendees navigated through crowds of a thousand or so sexually curious individuals and headed towards the back end of the room, they would find themselves face-to-face with the main stage — a sleek black and white base in front of a huge white backdrop with the SHE logo proudly on display.

To begin the workshops, BDSM sexpert and educator Tobar proclaimed SHE L.A. as “the Super Bowl of sex,” which received whopping cheers of agreement from the crowd. They then introduced McDonald, whose talk weighed in on the health and sexual benefits of Kangen water in her “How Wet Can You Get?” presentation.  

“Your body is thirsty,” McDonald said from center of the stage, decked in all black with a splash of color from her beige blazer. She ended her presentation by handing out samples of kangen water to the crowd.

Up next, Hoyt entertained spectators by pulling all those listening into an active conversation. “Juicy Thinking for Juicy Sex,” explored the extensive usage of imagination, and turning that into “juicy thinking.”

“Most of us are shamed into not exploring our body,” she said before asking the crowd to use their imagination, and create a story from three simple words. After much audience participation, Hoyt ended her workshop by letting everyone know that “sex isn't about buying ecstasy, [referring to pleasure products] it's about making it [the excitement] yourself."

The next workshop, "Spank Someone Happy," was hosted by Koko & Michelle. The duo decorated the stage with varying BDSM items available for purchase at the Pleasure Chest booth including floggers, paddles and the demonstrative center-piece, a spanking bench for bending over. Koko donned a cheerleader outfit with the word "DADDY" slapped across the front, while Michelle kept to their Super Bowl theme dressed in the Patriot's Tom Brady jersey.

Starting slow, Koko taught the audience the first rule of spanking: a warm-up is always necessary!

“Skin is our largest sex organ,” Michelle said, then later referred to the rules of spanking as something akin to ordering a pizza and getting fries. “Spanking can start off awkward, but if you look at spanking like you’re ordering a pizza, then it’s simple. I like sausage on my pizza, and I know you don’t, but we can go half and half. So, for example, I’m okay with paddle spanking if I get to spank you, but not if you spank me.”

As for the fries analogy, she joked that consent is a lot like fries: f for freely given, r for reversible, i for informed, e for enthusiastic and s for specific.

They ended their presentation by pulling on stage a female member of the audience, who was spanked by Koko, and then a male audience member that got to spank Michelle.

Mihalko, who attracted a large crowd, had members sitting on the floor to hear his “Negotiating Successful Threesomes.” He started by asking everyone to take a deep breath, then joyfully added, “If you showed up on Super Bowl Sunday to SHE L.A., then you’re my kind of people!”

With the mic pressed to his lips, he managed to convince the crowd to loudly chant "threesome," a feat that had the entire crowd in hysterics. Once the uproar had calmed down, he explained that threesomes tend to start off awkward, but the key to success was simply breaking the ice by asking “for what you want.”

Immediately after Mihalko, sexpert Moon took the stage and continued the audience’s new found love for chanting. Only this time, the crowd gleefully yelled out “vulva!” Moon’s workshop, titled “How to Drive a Vulva” focused on genital anatomy, communication, positions and how to build a “road map” of your partner’s pleasure.

The penultimate performer was introduced by Tobar, who deemed Taormino as the “yoda of anal sex.” In “Anal Sex 101,” Taormino dished about the introductory steps needed for anal sex, and the differences between adult movie anal and “real-life” anal. Ending her set, Taormino hosted a giveaway that included introductory anal toys and an anal sex guide.

To close the show, The Pleasure Chest’s Tobar brought back Koko & Michelle’s spanking bench to the center stage. Lighting candles to set the ambience, Tobar’s partner Harold came onto the stage dressed in plaid boxers and a white wifebeater. For Tobar’s “Awaken Your Senses,” workshop, Harold was subjected to a variety of different bondage techniques that correlated with each of the five senses.

When the workshop was over, Tobar thanked Harold and the crowd for making SHE L.A. a memorable experience.

As quickly as it had started, SHE L.A. wrapped up with the sun setting behind center stage, attendees heading to the exits and vendors saying their goodbyes to fellow peers.

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