Chronicle of Erofame 2018, Europe’s leading erotic trade fair
Getting back from Erofame is kind of like returning from a non-stop three-day rave party: it’s hard to put it behind you but it’s your physique asking you to. Now I know why they schedule it during weekdays: the weekend’s needed to lower the noise in your head and get back to full strength to face the silent everyday life.
Erofame is Europe’s leading b2b fair for the vibrant ever-expanding erotic industry. Every year for the last 8 years, manufacturers and distributors of sex toys, condoms, lubricants, erotic lingerie and accessories gather at the Hanover fairground to showcase their latest products contributing to spreading pleasure into the world.
This year, the spotlight pointed at the two competing brands in the clit suckers market: Womanizer – The Original – world’s first brand to manufacture the first, inimitable (but imitated) clitoral stimulator that creates a gentle suction, and Satisfyer, the cheaper copycat that won people’s heart with its iconic penguin-like shape.
The latter went with an attack marketing strategy with tons of bags filled with sex toys for him, for her, for couples, for everyone that they were giving away to every visitor who walked through the entrance. A clever marketing move before to flood the market with an upcoming line of vibrators – Satisfyer Vibes.
In response, Womanizer invited visitors at its booth, elegantly surrounded by white and gold balloons and topped with flying purple waves, for the launch of the new travel-size Womanizer Liberty designed to be portable and discreet. With its fine, sleek shape and delicately coloured shell, it looks like a luxury beauty accessory rather than a sex toy.
Generally, the latest market trend seems to be to design toys and accessories that integrate with everyday life. Spanish brand Bijoux Indiscrets, known for its gold diamond-shaped vibrator and bondage-inspired body accessories, presented Horoscope, a Zodiac-themed pleasure kit offering a new way to experience sexuality through both mind and body. The triangular box with a lunar surface-like texture, available in 12 variants, each for every zodiac sign, includes a necklace with the sign gemstone and an orgasm-enhancing heating effect clitoral balm scented with the sign’s element fragrance: they are the start of a pleasure ritual culminating with the use of a finger vibrator, also included in the kit, shaped to become an extension of the hand.
And that’s how the focus shifts from genitals to the person as a whole.
On the subject of sex toys for female pleasure, the trend is still to design products that look more and more like affordable luxury items such as perfume, makeup accessories and beauty tools, thanks to their elegant finishings, appealing colours and quality packaging designed to create a memorable overall product experience.
It was good to see enlightened business men and women contributing to creating a positive culture around sexuality by breaking taboos and spreading information, also through projects like #mykey2orgasm. Freshly launched by American Svakom, the campaign invites people to post their orgasm face on Instagram: for every picture shared, the company will donate 1 dollar to the Movember (Prostate Cancer Foundation for Men) and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
There was some news also on the male sex toys front, still suffering from an ongoing stigma and all the stereotypes that relegate the toys for penises to mere replacements for a physical act, making them the perfect subject for macho-man kind of jokes. These are actually objects carefully designed to offer a whole new pleasure and stimulation experience compared to what you get by manual action. And it’s not all about Fleshlight, always relying on the replicas of pornstars’ genitals to model the entry of the masturbator cups. There are also brands like Tenga that manufacture well-designed objects that are beautiful, smart and high-quality, looking like futuristic artworks, promising (and delivering) new and extremely pleasant sensations.
Manufacturers of the little (chemical and physical) helpers such as magic pills and penis pumps/extenders still survive, promising a volume boost (if shampoos didn’t make it so far, it is questionable whether they can).
In the area of lubricants, gels, massage oils, creams and various concoctions, the most interesting proposals come from Shunga and YesforLov. The former is recognizable for its beautiful illustrations inspired by Japanese erotic art that decorate every single bottle and box, and for the wide range and high quality of its products, specifically designed to stimulate, please and caress every single intimate part of the body (such as G-spot arousal cream, intensifying penis cream, clitoral enhancing gel…). The latter, YESforLOV, is an English-named French brand of intimate cosmetics designed with the love in mind, to encourage partners to explore, play and interact with the significant other’s body and create creative and funny situations.
On the tech side, there’s the well-known range of remote-controlled vibrating sex toys that connect to various devices allowing to create custom patterns via a specific app. One is Ohmibod which is also sensitive to ambient sounds like voices and noise and owes it’s popularity to camgirls (more tip sounds = more vibrations = more moaning = happier customers willing to pay more tips). Also present SenseMax, a male masturbator compatible with VR technology that creates an immersive pleasure experience through the goggles showing interactive 360-degree videos with the images following the exact hand movements.
It was inevitable the alien invasion in the form of squishy TPE sex dolls with metal skeleton, big boobs, slim waist and round butts sounding lifelike when slapped. They were scattered around the fairground, populating some booths that displayed also the mermaid version, half woman and half fish, with some firm points: the hole in the usual place, just to be sure.
There were also many sad basic versions: half body dolls with erect penises or jutting boobs and exposed vaginas or just pelvises equipped with practical holes: less is mess, in this case.
Judging from the number, it looks like we won’t get rid of them soon. No advanced robot in sight so far.
The particularly toned and particularly prosperous bodies wrapped in bottomless boxers and skimpy lingerie were just a few and nothing particularly special if you’ve ever visited a trade fair in the automotive field (more tits than tyres).
Some booths were dedicated to various fetish gear and all the equipment for lovers of the fine line between pleasure and pain.
Overall, Erofame was an unstoppable tornado of hugs, laughs and chats. And beer, frosted doughnuts and cabbage, inevitable side of every meal consumed in the fair. And we can’t forget about the can’t-miss legendary Oktoberfest on the evening of the second day, that gathered manufacturers, visitors, bloggers and business owners to dance together and prove their resistance riding the mechanical bull.
On the outside, this is a world of weirdos who spend most of their life thinking about sex. The fact is that these people not only think about sex (like everyone actually does) but also talk about it and work to improve everybody’s everyday life reminding us how important it is to listen to all the feelings and sensations our body can experience. And the more we care of them, in a context of consent, consciousness and creativity, the more we’ll be able to live a life that is full in all respects: physical, mental, spiritual.