CES Successfully Banishes Sex-Tech From Show Floors

However, at this year’s event, there was a conspicuous void: the near-absence of sex tech. Despite being an industry that caters to a universal human experience, sex tech has always had an uneasy association with CES. In 2019, sex tech had its headline moment at CES when pleasure tech company Lora DiCarlo won an innovation award—only for it to be rescinded, and then reinstated after widespread backlash. This controversy highlighted the uneasy relationship between the mainstream tech industry and its more intimate cousin. Fast forward to 2024, and it seems CES has effectively managed to chase the sex tech industry off its show floors.

CES has always been known as a breeding ground for groundbreaking ideas and revolutionary technology. However, at this year’s event, there was a noticeable void: the lack of sex tech. Despite being an industry that caters to a fundamental aspect of human existence, sex tech has always seemed to have an awkward relationship with CES.

So, why are we still so prudish when it comes to merging technology and intimacy?

In 2019, sex tech made headlines at CES when Lora DiCarlo, a pleasure tech company, won an innovation award. This victory was short-lived as the award was revoked and later reinstated after facing widespread backlash. Unfortunately, the controversy highlighted the tense relationship between mainstream tech and its more intimate counterpart.

Fast forward to 2024, and it appears that CES has effectively pushed the sex tech industry off its show floors.

I was on the lookout for sex tech companies to potentially feature in a roundup, but I was surprised to find only a handful present. And even then, the one trend I noticed was the absence of sex tech. The only standout was Norwegian company Ohdoki, creators of The Handy and last year’s CES debutant, Oh!. Their booth was buzzing with activity, providing a refreshing contrast to the overall prudish environment of the event.

The motive behind this radical shift in tone is unclear. Has CES made a conscious effort to eliminate any form of sexiness from its show floors? The event has undergone significant changes over the years, and I, for one, am glad to see the absence of what was once known as ‘booth babes’ – a stark difference from when I first attended CES back in 2007, where scantily-clad models were a common sight. While I celebrate the eradication of sexism, the omission of sex from the tech discourse begs question.

It is baffling as to why we, as a community, consistently erase sexuality from technology – a universal aspect of the human experience. It seems contradictory that we are eager to embrace and enhance all facets of our lives through technology, but hesitate when it comes to intimacy. It is about time that we start acknowledging and actively incorporating sex into the realm of technology.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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