If you have been following my adventures on social media, you will be well aware that I recently attended the Adult Care Expo in Shanghai (in a nut shell a sex toy convention). I also took my Dad with me with many people making interesting comments and asking why. When you have been a sexologist for quite some time, you often forget that the things you think are normal sound strange and crazy to others, this being one of them. The reason I took my Dad is because he is a businessman and is very good at advice. (plus he is a lot of fun to travel with).
Whilst at the expo, you could forget for a moment that we were talking to people about vibrators and sex dolls and it felt as though we were discussing nearly any product that needs to be manufactured. There are moulds to be made, patents and minimum quantity orders. But there were quite a few things I had to explain to my father when it came to the products, especially these sex dolls which seemed to dominate the expo.
When you go to a sex toy expo, you not only get the opportunity to experience normality (yes believe it or not it does feel like a very normal business industry) but it also gives you a bit more insight into the desires and demands by society when it comes to sex and, in particular, sex toys.
Walking up and down the pink carpet at the expo talking to stall after stall of sex toy manufactures and factories, you do start to think, if there are all these people here producing and selling sex toys, all these people looking at stocking these products and producing more, would it be here if there wasn’t the demand? This industry wouldn’t be as big as it is if people were not consuming these products. In the US alone, the sex toy market is valued at $15 billion with a projection that it will surpass $50 billion by 2020. People are buying sex toys, it’s just that sex toys are still considered taboo so many are not buying them openly or talking about it. But the numbers don’t lie.
Sex toys are not just a last ditch attempt at spicing things up, they really are a part of every living (and loving) for so many. Isn’t it about time we recognised that? They shouldn’t be limited to red light districts, hidden from the mainstream and feared. They are not guns that can kill people, they are not even something that promotes negative body image (cough social media). They are just products that deliver pleasure and assist in the bedroom. When you put it that way, does it sound so bad after all?
And because there is a fear around sex toys when it comes to social media, I thought it was best and safest to put some images of what I found at the sex toy expo in here.