LOS ANGELES — The Sexual Health Expo kicked off yesterday with curious patrons lining up at the door of the penthouse floor of the California Market Center, and spilling out into the ground level lobby of the Fashion District showroom and events space.
Sexpert Reid Mihalko hyped up the crowd as exhibitors participated in the grand opening. “Let us in!” the attendees chanted before Sarah Tomchesson from The Pleasure Chest and Tristan Weedmark from We-Vibe took hold of the giant scissors and the sea of people made their way in.
“I don’t have an official title but I’ll be here to provide levity throughout the show,” Mihalko said. “I’ll be hosting contests and giveaways, introducing Dr. Ruth and presenting my Negotiating Successful Threesomes workshop.”
Mihalko noted that the workshop is popular for its ability to educate attendees on more than just negotiating a threesome. “It’s also great for twosomes because it’s focused on developing communication skills.”
With rows of booths in the front and two stages set up on one end, attendees occupied all spaces at all times either picking up goodies from the vendors or taking in education led by sexperts that were handpicked by Sex-Ed Sponsor The Pleasure Chest, as well as the Intimate Talks series of speakers.
In addition to several enlightening talks from prominent speakers such as Jessica Drake, Elle Chase, Hernando Chaves and Dr. Ava Cadell and of course, the legendary Dr. Ruth Westheimer — who drew hundreds to her keynote speech, the Intimate Talks lineup also drew crowds.
Magic Gel caused a commotion with a live demonstration of a nuru massage. Mihalko gave a play by play of the experience as attendees gawked and giggled at the action.
“We always get an amazing response to our live demos,” Magic Gel’s Orit Benzaquen said. “When we did it at SHE Phoenix, we had to open the show floor after hours to cater to the people that wanted to buy. The live demo is so important for people to see how it works and how simple it is to use — it’s almost like a Slide n’ Slide game of Twister.”
Raffles and contests generated the most enthusiasm from attendees that crowded around Mihalko for the chance to win giveaways such as the Rechargeable Magic Wand and We-Vibe’s Sync and Nova vibes. Contests included trivia and mimicking a screaming orgasm.
Attendees didn’t need to compete for all the prizes at SHE. In addition to the free goodie bags given to attendees upon entering, several exhibitors handed out their own gift bags and freebies.
Bad Dragon’s goodie bag featured its lifelike Cum Lube and their Teeny Weeny miniature dildo.
“We first made them as a gag gift but then we started hearing about other things people were using them for,” Bad Dragon’s Steven Vest. “People use them as mantle pieces but also for sounding [urethral play] and gauging [ear piercings.]”
Doc Johnson also returned as a SHE exhibitor, showcasing Buzz liquid vibrator front and center and giving away products and swag with the spin of a prize wheel. The company also showed off the wide range of product categories that Doc Johnson fulfills.
“When it comes to sexual health, Doc Johnson places a lot of focus on body-safe, hygienic materials and empowering consumers with education,” Doc Johnson’s Krystal Silva said.
Still beaming about her XBIZ Award win for Sensual Bath and Body Product of the Year, It’s the Bomb’s Dirty Dianna said she was excited about participating in SHE L.A. to connect with consumers and was particularly looking forward to seeing Dr. Ruth and Jessica Drake speak. It’s the Bomb showcased its array of fragrant soaps alongside its new Pet Cock.
“I want it to be the new traveling gnome,” Dirty Dianna said. “It’s already been seen with Ron Jeremy and we want to see everyone taking photos with their Pet Cock.”
Kay Brandt, who directed the Adam & Eve movie “Adventures with the Baumgartners,” showcased the book and DVD versions of her award-winning erotic story, and is speaking today as part of SHE L.A.’s Intimate Talks.
“I think SHE is awesome,” she said. “It’s important for people to learn about porn — it’s not all geared towards men. I actually think even men prefer porn that isn’t geared towards men.”
b-Vibe showcased its high-end anal play products and raffled off its new Triplet Anal Beads and the “Guide to Anal Play” booklet. “We’re here to share sexual health concepts surrounding anal play,” b-Vibe founder Alicia Sinclair said. In addition to approaching the anal toys category with a education-focused, sex-positive mission, b-Vibe’s claim to fame is its flagship product, the Rimming Plug. “We incorporated the technology of rabbit vibrators into the Rimming Plug to provide dual stimulation through penetration and stimulation of the nerve endings located on the opening of the anus.”
Tantriss launched its UMIE app-controlled warming vibe at SHE L.A. Suzie Michelle, brand strategist for Tantriss, said that UMIE represents a modern adaptation of the ancient art of Tantra. The company plans to launch a social media component this spring that would allow users to connect with others in the community.
“The response has been really great at the show,” Michelle said. “Everyone loves how interactive it is and how it helps people stay more connected.”
Justin Sayne Leather’s booth showcased its designer BDSM gear and handed out roses to female attendees with Sayne wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day. The company showcased an array of colorful high-quality fetish attire as well as whips, floggers, paddles, slappers, restraints and other BDSM toys. Sayne uses materials that range from alligator and crocodile to cowhide.
The LosAngelesKink.com booth offered a peek into the world of kink with a live spanking demo that took place all day long. Delivering the spankings was Jennifer Masri, a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in alternative lifestyles including BDSM.
A spokesperson for LosAngelesKink.com said the website is an events listing for the BDSM community. “If you’re familiar with FetLife you know it’s hard to find events in your area. We saw that this was missing and we decided to just do it ourselves and create an events calendar. We’re also expanding to include new sex-positive classes and events.”
Bedroom Kandi returned as a SHE exhibitor to showcase the pleasure products line made famous by Grammy award winning artist, entrepreneur & television personality Kandi Burruss. “You might have heard of the Bedrom Kandi line because Kandi is always talking about it on ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’” Ryan, aka “Pink,” a Bedroom Kandi consultant said. “Bedroom Kandi is empowering women not just sexually but through business [as a Bedroom Kandi consultant.]”
With a TV crew in tow, the cast of “Little Women L.A.” contributed to the excitement on day one as the women filmed an episode of their Lifetime reality show at the lively sex-positive event.
SHE L.A. continues through today at the California Market Center in downtown L.A.