As an industrial designer of luxury sex toys, revoked CES innovation award hit too close to home
Ti Chang is the co-founder and vice president of design of Very wanting to, a company that aims to bring luxury and inclusive design to the sex toy industry.
This week, we were disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that the famous Consumer Electronics Show (THOSE) revoked an innovation award they had awarded to a boot sex toys. We had the same rejection in 2017 when Very wanting to asked to exhibit at the show. Their official position is that we are considered “adult entertainment, a category that they do not present at CES”. Unofficially, however, we know that’s not true: At CES 2018, a literal sex doll was presented on the CES floor and Augmented reality porn for men was licensed this year, but when an innovative vibrator is banned, it presents a clear double standard.
As an industrial designer who works on products that improve daily life, I firmly believe that sexual pleasure is an integral part of the human experience and that the products people use to enhance their pleasure and connect with others are as important, relevant and meaningful. like any other consumer product.
It is therefore simply absurd that the main industry showcases cannot keep up with the rest of the country – and increasingly the world in general – who are eager to recognize pleasure as part of the human experience. When traditional retailers from Bergdorf Goodman to Urban Outfitters showcase our products alongside other beautiful accessories, why is CES so far behind?
“We see sex being used to sell everything from hard drives to burgers, anything but the kind of products that actually allow people to explore and express their sexual well-being.”
To be clear, it’s not just CES. The tech community at large, from Facebook to Pinterest and beyond, has a set of policies that show a constant bias against sexual pleasure – well, a constant bias against female pleasure, that is. On social media, our promoted posts and advertisements are constantly being rejected from these platforms, but all the time we see advertisements for Viagra, lingerie and other products aimed at male desire. And of course, we see sex being used to sell everything from hard drives to burgers, anything but the kind of products that allow people to explore and express their sexual well-being.
It’s ironic that these tech companies, which usually boast of being progressive and forward-thinking, are so far behind when it comes to recognizing pleasure as a vital part of the human experience. Whether they know it or not, these great guardians perpetuate the shame around female pleasure. To remove this taboo, we believe these conversations need to take place on broader public stages, which we have strived to bring to mainstream media, world-class museums, and events like SXSW. That’s part of why we’re puzzled that CES, which plays such a pivotal role in showcasing world-changing innovations, is selectively banning brands like Crave that focus on innovation so fundamental to the human experience.
As a leading voice in sex toy design, I am often asked what the future of sex toys looks like. I think it’s less about what sex toys look like per se, but about how we redefine our relationships with our bodies to give ourselves permission to touch, love, and play with- same. I think the future of sex is a world with more information where we understand our bodies better. Sure, it might be interesting if you could have sex with a mermaid robot hologram (and maybe you can), but the most transformative future would be to remove the stigma so that we can get to know each other better and connect with each other. . Because not all sex robots or widgets will change much if we believe that pleasure is shameful and taboo.