BROOKYLN, N.Y. — The aisles in between Sex Expo exhibitor booths set up inside of the Brooklyn Expo Center were packed to the brim as attendees streamed in all day long on the opening day of the groundbreaking consumer show dedicated to all things sex.
For the third year in a row, attendees lined up as early as 7:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. opening of the show, which was presented by premier cam network Chaturbate. This year, several attendees opted for the newly offered Sex Expo VIP pass that ensured front-of-the-line entry into the highly in-demand event.
Members of the media also lined up for their exclusive pass to Sex Expo, which granted them entry into the Satisfyer-sponsored press lounge where they could mingle one-on-one with company owners and sexperts. Everyone eagerly picked up their free goodie bags that were filled with swag, samples and even full-size products. The approximately 100 vendors that were exhibiting at the show would hand out even more freebies to attendees throughout the weekend long event.
The energy was high right from the start of Sex Expo. The presentation of pleasure products ranging from sweet and mild to high-tech and edgy elicited audible “oohs” and “ahhs” throughout the venue as pop tunes pumped from the stage’s speakers. Cute #SexExpo cut-outs of popular Emojis and vendor photo booths also provided multiple photo opps for attendees.
Sybian, which was Sex Expo’s photo booth sponsor, had a sizable booth sandwiched in between Sex Expo's stage and the bar. Sybian’s Bunny Lampert said she was thrilled with the location of her booth, which was draped in the brand’s signature purple color that also served as the backdrop of their photo booth. Everyone that stopped by their booth was given purple mardi gras beads to don around their neck. “It’s a party,” Lampert said.
Sybian raffled off goodies on both days of Sex Expo, including branded water bottles to waterproof blankets, which one female winner said she’d be “going home tonight to use with my husband.”
From the stage, April Lampert, the head of global sales for Hot Octopuss and the co-host of the “Shameless Sex” podcast kept the audience engaged with witty banter with participants of the hourly contests and shout-outs to the cam girls at the Chaturbate booth and fellow exhibitors.
In-between her onstage antics, Lampert proved to be the hostess with the mostest, holding down the Hot Octopuss/ Shameless Sex booth that also showcased Uberlube with giveaway samples.
“I’m shocked at how many people are here — it’s jam-packed,” April said, noting that it was her first time participating in a consumer expo. “I’m excited to be hosting, there’s been nothing but good energy. We recorded a live podcast episode of ‘Shameless Sex’ on stage with Lorrae Jo of Slutty Girl Problems; I’ve been answering sex questions all day and selling a lot of Hot Octopuss and meeting a lot of fans of ‘Shameless Sex.’ It’s been great hosting the Sex Expo.”
Facing Sex Expo's stage was Chaturbate’s multi-booth set-up, which was flanked by cam girls lounging and posing on couches and a bed as they chatted up and entertained viewers online and in-person.
Pointing attendees toward the Chaturbate stage, April Lampert encouraged attendees to “become your own boss” by considering joining the largest XXX cam site. “I love working from home — that’s how I get a tan!” she joked.
Ramona Flour said that Chaturbate was returning to Sex Expo to sign up new models and promote its new Open Broadcasting Software that allows models and users to enjoy a higher quality stream. By the end of Sex Expo day one, Chaturbate would be giving away a Macbook.
“Last year, a couple won the Macbook,” Flour said with a smile on her face. “We’re always signing up new models.”
When it comes to be a sex-positive outlet, Flour says that camming is “the safest form of sex work. You’re not doing anything illegal, you don’t have to do anything in-person.”
Upon entering the Brooklyn Expo Center, attendees were greeted with the familiar sight of the Adam & Eve logo. The rapidly expanding adult retail chain returned as an exhibitor with an expansive booth that was easy to shop with a wide selection of beginner-friendly toys and a social media friendly display of “Moby,” XR Brands’ three-foot tall dildo that was dressed up in a tie and blindfold.
“We’ve got the [in-booth] store going,” Adam & Eve’s Chad Jenny said. “We’re showcasing a wide range of products and educating attendees about the products that they’ve never seen. We’ve got exclusive show prices and once again have our free franchise giveaway.”
In another front-and-center booth Doc Johnson returned again with a stylish booth of curated products targeting women and couples. Among the products showcased were a selection of new iVibe styles, as well as Deep Throat Spray. Standing out amongst the selection of products packaged in pink and purple was the black-and-red box of the Kink by Doc Johnson Pulse vibe.
“We’re showcasing the Pulse because it is so unique,” Doc Johnson’s Ryann Brooks said of the four-motor vibe that features a curved insertible shaft designed to stroke the G-spot with a separately-controlled set of three external prongs that spread the lips and make intense clit contact on all sides.
Babeland was also among the first booths that attendees saw upon entering the venue. Among the products showcased in their display was bondage rope and tape, Tenga eggs, and an assortment of vibrators, as well as fashionable accessories like clutch purses emblazoned with the word “Babe” and sexy pins featuring a thong-wearing butt in different skin tones.
“Our main goal is to offer products that cater to a wide range of people,” Jazmine, a Babeland representative, said, “Our store is for every- and anybody.”
Crave’s traveling Design Factory — which is housed in a 1961 vintage Airstream trailer, and is part showroom, part design studio where consumers can build a vibrator — made a stop at Sex Expo where it made an immediate impression on attendees with its sleek look and interactive set-up. The company also has begun filming a mini documentary featuring interviews with people from throughout the U.S. answering sex questions.
“The traffic has been heavy,” Chang said. “Everyone’s been highly engaged with our Build-A-Vibe Workshop and our #lovecrave protest signs that get people talking. Our Airstream is very interactive and approachable. In order to change the stigma surrounding sex, conversation is necessary.”
New York-based veteran sex toy brand Nasstoys returned to the Sex Expo with crowd favorites that the company had to re-stock before the start of day two of the event.
“It’s exciting to connect with consumers and hear their feedback,” Nasstoys Taylor Means said. “We’ve been giving away free swag and it’s been fun to see the excitement on consumers’ faces when they hear about our new products. We’re showcasing a softer side of Nasstoys. We sold out of our edible panties!”
At 1 p.m. on Sex Expo's stage, a crowd formed around a handful of yoga mats that were set up on the floor which were quickly taken by female participants that were willing to participate in Kama Kat’s Beginner Yoga for Expanding Pleasure workshop.
Kama Kat led them through a series of basic yoga moves, however she focused on their sexual benefits.
“Vibrators are nice but we actually have a great sex toy inside of us — it’s your pelvic floor,” she said, adding that although a lot of sexpert emphasize the importance of keeping it tight, having an “open” pelvic floor can make sex feel more pleasurable.
On Saturday afternoon, members of the media and vendor reps poured into a back room of the Brooklyn Expo that had been filled with plush couches and bar-top tables to convene around. Complimentary wine, beer and snacks were available, offering a comfortable, semi-quiet oasis hidden from the bustling show floor, to make media connections.
Among the sexperts on-hand was Ashley Manta who elaborated on her workshop from earlier in the day.
“My workshop focused on being present and establishing a connection,” she said. “For a portion of the workshop I had attendees eye-gaze for 30 seconds. It felt good to get present and show them how to be more mindful — that’s my message with as a Cannasexual — I want to show people how to use marijuana mindfully during intimacy, not as an escape.”
Sexpert Domina Franco also made her rounds in the press lounge. She told XBIZ she was looking forward to hosting her workshop, sponsored by Vibratex and Uvee, the following day, which would focus on breaking down the barriers surrounding sex toys.
“If you prefer G-spot toys, that’s fine and if you prefer anal toys, that’s fine too,” she said. “It’s all about finding the right sex toys that work for you. I’ll also be talking to people about health and hygiene — but of course it’ll be full of fun, sassy commentary.”
Offering yet another photo opp was the COTR booth, which dedicated half of its booth to a green screen photo booth that offered a selection of b-Vibe and Le Wand branded backdrops that included a rock band background to pose with the Le Wand as a microphone, a unicorn background because “anal is magic” and a chalkboard background to highlight the company’s focus on sex education with the tagline “Official Smartass.”
Company representatives wore unicorn horn headbands to promote their message of the magic of anal play, said COTR brand ambassador Tracy Felder.
“We want people to know that embracing anal play is special, and we want to encourage them to be open and true to themselves,” she said, listing off the free giveaways and special show offers. COTR gave away free totes branded with b-Vibe’s “Anal is Magic” tagline and Le Wand’s “Feel the Power” message, as well as pins and glittery pencils that were gifted in the goodie bags. The company’s show specials included 30 percent all b-Vibe and Le Wand product, as well as chances to win free product by signing up for the company’s newsletters and participating in b-Vibe’s Anal Ring Toss game that was presented on stage.
With the crowd’s hip, young crowd, it’s no surprise that Le Wand’s new Petite wand in violet and rose gold (aka millennial pink) was among the booth’s most popular releases.
“The colors are the best — no one can resist the millennial pink,” Felder said.
The very millennial-friendly Emojibator brand also returned to Sex Expo to showcase its collection of phallic fruit and vegetable Emoji-shaped vibrators. Available in the shape of an eggplant, chili pepper and banana, Emojibator vibes were available for sale for $25 each, along with an assortment of pins in the same shapes and other Internet meme-inspired merchandise, such as pizza- and sloth-shaped pasties.
The company also came equipped with inflatable eggplant and banana-shaped inflatables that attendees could straddle for a photo.
“We doubled our sales on the first day compared to last year,” an Emojibator representative said. “The Emojibator is great for first-time buyers and so many people identify with Emojis! People will buy more than one to give to their friend if ‘they’re more of a chili pepper’ or ‘more like an eggplant.”