BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Though gray clouds, cold weather and the looming fear of New York rain threatened to damper Sex Expo NY's mood, attendees who had lined up at 7:30 a.m. had nothing but cheerful smiles plastered on their faces as they waited for the grand opening.
Last weekend, Sex Expo NY welcomed thousands of attendees, completely covering Noble Street’s sidewalk with enthusiastic and eager participants. Whether they were sat cross-legged on the ground or bumping music with their friends to pass the time, the excitement was palpable.
At 11 a.m. sharp, Chaturbate’s CFO Shirley Lara, along with April Lampert of Hot Octopuss, had the honor of cutting the red ribbon, thus officially opening the doors to the wondrous world of Sex Expo NY.
As the crowd poured in, attendees flocked to the many, many vendor booths spread across Sex Expo NY's show floor, as well as the workshop room, where 10 sexperts were slated to speak.
To start the series of enriching and educational Sexpert Workshops, Bex of “The Dildorks” podcast talked about power dynamics in a workshop sponsored by Babeland.
“We’re going to talk a little bit about power dynamics, and getting set up with submission and dominance," Bex said. “We live in a culture embedded in power dynamics,” Bex told the audience, which listened intently. “They’re all over the place! A lot of reasons why people enjoy incorporating power dynamics into their sex life is because they can control what that looks like. Then, they can take power over these structures that are implicit in our culture, whether we want them to be or not.
“It can be really fun playing with taking power, or kind of relinquishing power and letting someone else run the show for a little bit,” the audience nodded in approval. “So, OK. You want to do the kink thing, but you don’t know where to start. I’m going to give you the best homework you’re ever going to get. Go home today … and watch a lot of porn.”
The audience cheered. Bex then explained that one should not use porn as an educational piece on kink, but rather something that can give you and your partner an idea on what turns you on.
“Find these things that you like in porn, and bring them up to your partner,” he said. “But, make sure that all parties consent. I like to create a distinction between ‘Yes, I want to do it, and yes I’m willing, because I want see how turned on you get!’ Make a yes/no/maybe list, and go from there!”
Up after Bex was Ashley Manta, the cannasexual who talked about incorporating weed during sex in the workshop “Enhancing Your Pleasure,” sponsored by Sybian.
Manta explained that the key to “enhancing your pleasure” started with you, and bringing intimacy back into the relationship.
“Let it be known that your sex life does not need to look like anyone else’s in the planet,” she said. “Can we talk about how make out sessions get lost after a few months into the relationship? Like, can anyone remember the last time you just made out with someone?”
She let the crowd think for a second; mostly everyone in the room shook their head.
“That’s what I thought,” Manta said. “We forget to connect, right? I want us to do a little exercise."
Manta then instructed attendees to stare into each other's eyes. There were many awkward laughs and giggles, as people tried to decide whether or not they would do it. Surprisingly, the majority of the audience shuffled around and sat next to someone they did not know, and actually looked into their eyes! They held that stance for 30 seconds, until Manta told everyone to look forward again.
“How was it?” she asked. A woman in the audience spoke up, “I was super nervous! All I could do was grin and laugh. I was trying not to smile ... but, in a good way … if that makes sense!”
The audience hummed in agreement. It made complete sense.
“It’s important for us to slow down,” Manta said as she wrapped up her workshop. “With sex … we’re so focused on the end ‘goal,’ we forget the intimacy. If I have to leave you guys with some final tips: use lube! Lots of lube. And remember, you are exactly who you are supposed to be today, and you are fucking awesome!”
Right after Manta, August from the Pleasure Chest hosted “Libido Liberation,” which delved into “which toys and techniques work with or without an erection, how to have great sex without penetration and how to increase and sustain your sex drive as we demystify hormones and supplements.”
The question “Why libido liberation?” was poised on the screen next to August. And the next slide said, “50 Shades of Hypersexualization.”
August explained that in society, there is a belief that “we should always be ready.” Following up, August asked the audience “to focus on the body and in the body,” and explained several reasons why someone’s libido might have “left.” Among those reasons was depression, medication and more pressing medical conditions.
August offered tips such as using lots of lube, being patient and incorporating sex toys into your bedroom to ease the pressure and slow down the pace.
The next speaker had an outfit to match his personality. Dressed in a light grey jumpsuit and wearing a headband that had a unicorn horn, Brandon Bartling talked about “Booty Play Basics” in a workshop sponsored by b-Vibe.
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“I hear from a lot of people that hygienics is a huge issue, and they’re afraid of the pain.” There were a few awkward laughs in the audience, and some nodding in agreement. “I’m here to tell you that … if you’re experiencing pain, then you’re not doing anal right. Another reason is people are afraid that anal sex might make them gay! Having anal sex doesn’t make you gay."
He then delved into what he called a “cute little anagram” about the basics of anal sex: CLEAR.
The C stood for consent. He talked briefly about his favorite Nina Hartley quote, “Consent is not the removal of no, but rather the addition of yes.” The L stood for lubrication, which he emphasized to use a lot of. The E was for “elaborate,” and Bartling encouraged the usage of a yes/no/maybe sheet for partners. The A was for “Ask and Announce” — one should ask and “specifically state what kind of anal sex you want to have.”
And finally, the R was for relaxation.
“Breathing is important,” he concluded. “And if I have to leave you guys with any more tips about anal it’s to just use a lot, a lot of lube! What you would normally use … double it.”
The nex workshop saw a jam-packed room, with people even sitting on the floor and standing in the hallway for a chance to listen.
“Slap the word blowjob on anything,” a Babeland representative said, “and you’ll get a full room!”
Sponsored by Babeland, “The Art of the Blowjob” was led by the spunky Fancy Feast. She began her workshop by asking the crowd to immediately yell out what they wanted to talk about.
There were a few murmurs from the crowd, until someone finally got the nerve and yelled, “Deepthroating!” That shifted the tension, and soon enough people were shouting out, “Teeth! Gagging! Bring out a real dick!”
At that, Fancy laughed and shook her head. “That’s above my paygrade! Totally way above my paygrade. Let’s get started. I have to be honest, I can’t speak much about deepthroating because I’m actually a representative of ‘team gags a lot!’”
“But, I’ll tell you that the problem with deepthroating is that people don’t realize their throats are shaped like an ‘L.’” Fancy explained first. “To really deepthroat correctly, you have to, y’know, straighten out your neck. Hang your head over the side of the bed, let the person with the dick do a little bit of the work! And, use some flavored lube so your throat relaxes.”
Pulling out a dildo, Fancy then gave some real-life tips on how to give a blowjob by actually sucking on the toy. The crowd loved it. People pulled out their phones, and hooted whenever she would do a particularly seductive move.
Though Fancy was a hard act to follow, Michelle Marcus from Sliquid captured the audience’s attention by laying down some facts about lube in “Lube 101 and Q&A Session With the Pros.”
“For anybody who says they don’t need lube … Okay, you might not technically need it, but it’s going to feel fucking amazing," Marcus said. "Before we start, let’s give a thanks to the founder’s wife of Sliquid, she encouraged him to make this brand!”
She began the workshop by explaining Sliquid uses all original formula, organic ingredients and does not use glycerin — a sugar. To hit home the fact that Sliquid was dedicated to customer care, Marcus proudly said Sliquid was also the official medical lubricant used at the main hospital in Cleveland.
“Sugar derivatives is what causes yeast infections in a lot of women,” she explained. “And that’s some things you should look out for when you’re buying lube. Make sure there's no glycerin."
Once she had finished explaining a few key components of Sliquid’s organic formula, she opened the floor to questions. The most pressing question, and the audience agreed, was whether or not warming lube was OK for the body.
Marcus stated that, while she cannot speak for other lube companies, Sliquid uses a food-grade menthol.
Following Marcus was “Mindful Masturbation,” sponsored by Pleasure Chest, which featured Matan, who talked about “mindfulness stress reduction” and “somatic sex education.”
They explained somatic sex education as the way in which the energy inside of us relates to our body.
“Why should we masturbate?” Matan asked. “Why do we masturbate?”
The answers, Matan said, were to “feel good, to heal and to understand.” And to achieve such things, Matan recommended meditation, routine and breathing.
“Breath is indeed life sustaining,” Matan told those in attendance. “We don’t think about it enough. We don’t connect with our breath, especially during masturbation. Breathe. Build a routine. Every night or morning, dedicate time to yourself and to masturbation. Look at yourself in the mirror and say: ‘I am beautiful. I am worthy of this touch. I know my power. There is no doing this right. But make a mantra, do an exercise and find what works for you.”
The next speaker, Satisfyer’s Megwyn White, sought to answer the questions: “Why is the voice such a powerful activator of orgasmic experience? Why do we often feel inhibited to express ourselves more fully? How can I utilize my voice and breath to get more out of masturbation and sex?”
Swaying her body left and right, White dreamily spoke into the mic, “I’m going to be using my body a lot … so be prepared!”
“No two orgasms are the same,” she said to the audience. “And, that’s a beautiful thing, but there are ways of getting more out of your orgasm. We’re going to be exploring the six gears of sexuality,” she added, “The six gears are the breath, the voice, movement, emotion, awareness and intention.”
To continue, she spoke about how orgasms could be heightened by intimacy, and to show this she invited the audience into “her orgasm” by bringing her partner, Richard, up.
“What are you going to do?” she asked him.
“Touch your heart, baby!” He replied, making the audience chortle and whistle. She explained that he would touch her belly, to show the six gears of pleasure. The crowd listened and watched intently as Richard rubbed her belly sensually, slowly, then quickly.
Once White wrapped her session, Lovehoney brought a change of pace to Sex Expo by showing the audience the way they incorporated science to the development of their sex toys.
Using visual charts that mapped brain waves and galvanic skin response of the study’s participants, Dr. Prause explained the results between masturbating with the hand or a Lovehoney Happy Rabbit vibe.
19 women with an average age of 31 and a wide range of racial and age diversity, were tested, Dr. Prause explained. Each of the women visited the lab twice under strict lab conditions — once to use a happy rabbit vibrator, and the other to masturbate using their hands.
“Our results were interesting,” Dr. Prause said. “We found that it took longer for women to orgasm with our vibrator, which of course was like ‘No! That’s not what we wanted to find out.’ It turned out to be efficiency. Women that were given the Lovehoney vibrator took longer to orgasm, because they were playing around with themselves! They were putting the vibrator on their nipples, and sort of just exploring the toy!”
Other interesting findings, Dr. Prause happily recorded, was that when the women used the Happy Rabbit vibrator, they had longer lasting orgasms than when they used their hand.
Using a Happy Rabbit really does give you longer-lasting orgasms! This was tested on 19 women. On average, women experienced a 23.3 second orgasm using the Happy Rabbit compared to only 19.9 seconds when using their hand. #SexFactSundayhttps://t.co/l7ukP4rGkG ???? pic.twitter.com/X5HGuE3bmJ— Lovehoney (@Lovehoney) September 23, 2018
Once Dr. Prause finished showcasing her results, British sexpert Annabelle Knight talked about Lovehoney’s new line and the different types of orgasm women could achieve with the varying functions.
To wrap the show up, Dr. Jess — sponsored by Astroglide — taught the crowd how to “drive their partner wild."
Speaking to a packed house with vivid sexual imagery on a big screen, she played snippets from her popular “How to Drive Your Lover Wild” instructional series. Onlookers loved the way models in the instructional video licked a peach that was precariously vagina-shaped. Up front, Dr. Jess had a plushie vulva to help the audience get a clearer, in-person picture.
“The vulva is everything on the outside, the vagina is everything on the inside!” She pointed to her plushie vulva. “The clit is not a magic button, it’s not an elevator button … it’s not a doorbell. You just don’t ring the clit like a doorbell, okay! Everybody put your right hand up and repeat after me, ‘I will not treat the clitoris like a doorbell!”
The excited audience all quickly rose their hands, and repeated after Dr. Jess.
“And while I’m at it … I will not treat the body like an oven,” she made the crowd repeat. “We are not just turning the knobs or sliding something in … no! We’re going to go over some moves!”
Her moves included all types of intensity levels — from feather light breath kisses, where the partner would simply breathe air against the partner’s sensitive areas, to more hardcore twisting and turning “finishing moves.” The common demoninator of all her moves was the usage of lube.
As Dr. Jess continued giving pointers, people pulled out their phones to record the on-screen demos, as well as write notes on Dr. Jess's sensually seductive moves.
"The most important part of the seminar," Dr. Jess laughed, "is that you're going home to practice. Correct?"
The crowd broke out into applause.
"And when I say home ... I mean like all the way home," she instructed fiercely. "Not what I saw happening earlier in the bathroom. OK, you don't have to go home, but you gotta get the hell out of here!"
Whether or not those in attendance got "the hell out of there," it was clear Dr. Jess and the other sexperts on day one drove the thousands of attendees wild with fun and educational workshops.