A sexual health company that had a 2019 CES reward revoked — then reinstated months later — helped rewrite the trade show’s policies on sex tech products.
CES 2020, which runs Jan. 7 to 10, will for the first time allow sex technology products in the health and wellness category, allowing them to be showcased and qualify for awards.
“There’s nothing taboo about it,” said Lora Haddock, whose Oregon-based company Lora DiCarlo won a 2019 CES Innovation Award for a prototype of a vibrator-like device. “Sexual health and wellness is health and wellness.”
But two months before the trade show, convention sponsor Consumer Technology Association revoked the honor and the company’s space on the show floor. In an emailed statement to the Review-Journal in January, a CTA spokeswoman said the device didn’t fit into any existing product categories.
According to Haddock, CTA said any products deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.”
But the Lora DiCarlo Osé personal massager, which uses micro-robotic technology, wouldn’t have been the only sex tech product at the show. OhMiBod, which produces vibrators and other sex toys, had been at CES every year since 2011. And Naughty America had virtual reality sets in a meeting room that demoed their porn products at the 2019 convention.
It took four months for the CTA to restore the award to Lora DiCarlo. CTA spokesperson Jean Foster said in a May statement that the association “did not handle this award properly.”
The CTA’s inclusion of sex technology products for CES2020 will be a test run, the association said. Products must be innovative and include new or emerging technology to exhibit and participate in the awards, according to a July statement from CTA.
“We’re seeing a shift toward acceptance and being able to converse and talk about it, and I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon,” Haddock said. “It starts with sex, but ends with so much more power and agency over self.”
It’s a message Haddock plans to continue to spread. She said she’s in talks with “several producers” in Hollywood who are interested in backing a movie based on her company’s experience with the award.
“What we’re doing is real, it’s innovative, it’s at the cutting edge of technology and yes, it happens to have something to do with sex, but there’s nothing wrong with sex,” Haddock said.