Discovering the new Womanizer Liberty with Alix Fox during an evening focused on the future of sex
My recent trip to Erofame, Europe’s leading erotic trade fair (here‘s everything we saw, felt, touched) was an opportunity to meet new brands and explore new products we still haven’t talked about.
One is Womanizer, world’s first clitoral suction toy – the original – invented in Germany. You probably know its iconic lipstick-shaped 2GO version designed to blend in with the ton of items a woman can fill her purse with.
What happened at Erofame was that we met the beautiful people behind Womanizer, we talked, we knew each other, we liked each other and they invited us to the press event for the launch of the new travel-size Womanizer Liberty.
Discovering Womanizer Liberty
The appointment was in London at 6 pm in an impressive Victorian townhouse: a three-story maze of wooden staircases, mirrors, black and white optical graphics and golden details.
The evening was arranged in the house’s top floor Ballroom enveloped in red exposed bricks and twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling, caressing the wooden floor marked to keep records of past and present steps. The new Womanizer Liberty toys with their sleek, delicately coloured shells, decorated several niches around the space, standing on white pedestals placed around posters with inspirational quotes on them.
Past the entrance, we’ve been welcomed by the Womanizer marketing team’s smiles and hugs. The Prosecco bubbles did the rest, initiating the chats and cutting the formal pleasantries.
Imtheph pounced on the fries on the buffet table but this is another story.
After indulging in that intimate, effervescent and slightly tipsy atmosphere, softly filled with the scent of the buffet featuring some vegan-friendly culinary sides, we took our front-row seats, very keen not to miss the littlest moment of the event.
The evening started with an opening speech by Bonny Hall, spokesperson of Lovehoney, UK’s biggest online adult retailer. She joined the company as first employee back in 2003 and she’s now the Product Director, heading up the Product Design and Development Team, with over 15 years’ experience. She provided an overall picture of the changes that revolutionized the sex industry since the company entered the market until today.
She brought us back to when sex toys were flesh-coloured realistic phalluses, packed into a porn imaginary, before to evolve into the well-designed, coloured, ergonomic, functional, smart and body-safe objects that are now wrapped inside packaging carefully designed to delight the users throughout the whole product experience. Back to when manufacturer popped out dildos with no control and without to communicate with their customers, unlike today, where toys are tested, reviewed and explained by the brands themselves, that share information and suggestions, encouraging to live a conscious and fulfilling experience of pleasure.
Then she passed the baton to the superstar of the evening: Alix Fox.
Alix Fox is a multi-award-winning broadcaster/journalist/sex educator.
You find her signature at the bottom of articles published in magazines like The Guardian, Marie Claire, Glamour, Cosmo, Vogue and more.
With YouTube star Riyadh Khalaf, she co-hosts the groundbreaking late night sex comedy programme Unexpected Fluids for BBC Radio 1, that airs every Wednesday.
Her trademarks are dyed hair, oversized accessories that hardly go unnoticed and a brilliant humour that makes you want her as your BFF.
From inside a jumper with fishing-themed inserts (two flippers on the sleeves and a fishtail on the front) and above red glittering heels, she hit the stage and started an insightful, enthralling, witty speech.
Time travel into the future of sex
Under her arm, she was holding a box that served as a Time Capsule, conveniently renamed Time Fapsule for the occasion. With her unique entertaining yet educational style, she immediately connected to her public and took everyone on a journey in the future of sex (toys), picturing the upcoming trends for the sex industry and the direction of the global conversation around human sexuality and pleasure.
She started pulling out of the box five symbolic items related to five topics.
Giving a talk for #Womanizer tonight on future sex. This is my Time Fapsule, full of symbolic items relating to the topic. Can you guess what I will discuss? pic.twitter.com/36aN9ZLncV
The first item popping out of the box was a ceramic dildo, a link to the recent trend to focus not only on physical sexual pleasure but also on what happens inside your mind – something called mindful sex. The new purpose is no longer to go faster and faster but to find a deeper connection with yourself, your own body, your intimacy. This often leads to a return to sex toys made of traditional materials such as ceramic and wood.
Their limit, however, is to take into account only penetration, when there’s a lot more than the P-in-the-V on the sexploration menu.
The future must be more inclusive in order to not foreclose pleasure to people who find penetration rather painful and frustrating, due to conditions such as vaginismus and vulvodynia. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be focused less on penetration as the only and obvious option and more on all the ways we can explore sexuality and pleasure.
Womanizer is already heading in this direction by designing toys that put control back in women’s hands and offer a customizable experience of pleasure involving a gentle but deep stimulation of the clitoris, the treasure trove of 8,000 nerve endings that are a valuable source of great pleasure.
The liquids’ plastic bag
Second, came a transparent resealable plastic bag (like the one used for liquids). The reference was to an artificial womb in which, last year, scientists managed to grow preterm lambs successfully. It was effectively a clear plastic bag filled with artificial amniotic fluid; the umbilical cords of the developing lambs were connected to oxygenator devices. We are a long way from growing humans in plastic bags, as Alix said, but it’s interesting to investigate the potential of such an experiment. Just think of all the complications of premature birth that could be bypassed, or all the pregnancies that it could make possible for people like women born without a uterus and transgenders.
Then Alix pulled a remote out of the box, talking about the wide range of remotely controlled sex toys available on the market.
When it comes to sex tech, people always picture robots (especially female) replacing partners and human interaction. The topic is currently raising a lot of questions: which impact would they have on human relationships? Would they further aggravate misogynistic objectification of women? Would they help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease? Would they be able to fulfil sexual desires even without the chance to build human relationships? Could they really be used to treat male sexual dysfunctions, such as erectile and ejaculation problems, as well as general anxiety about sex?
Truth is, she said, these are just prototypes today, way far from becoming available on a mass scale. The near future is, more likely, made of augmented and virtual reality (already being applied to sex toys) and touch-based (haptic) interfaces able to simulate the feeling of human touch and give users a “full package” of sexual pleasure.
The fourth item was a simple fork, like the one you might use to eat a pie. “Getting pied” also means to be ignored (it also happens to be the name of a club, variety show and party celebrating the brilliant ideas of creative women who have had Pied, precisely). We cannot afford to just leave someone out of the conversation around sex. Sex does not exist in a vacuum; it influences everyone and is influenced by everything: the world, society, media. And we have a problem of underrepresentation of women in media, a sexist issue that needs to be fixed in the nearest future.
The time travel ended with a cute coloured vulva puppet designed as a non-frightening educational tool to explain genital anatomy.
Sex education field is currently dominated by many white vulvas (women) and a few white penises (men), and this needs to change.
Our background, our origin, as well as the socio-cultural environment we live in, affect the way we approach matters. It’s easier for everyone to relate with people with similar cultural references, and so with people of the same skin colour, age, shape. That’s why we need more different unique people talking about sexuality.
Also, population ageing is a fact and changes in society and the way we build/break relationships are outlining a new target of people exploring sexuality at an age way beyond the one companies in the sex industry are taking into consideration. It’s time to cater to the desires of 50-60-70-80-something (and counting) years olds who explore pleasure with a pace, physic and way that are different from the youngsters.
Back to the present
Globally, the Womanizer event wasn’t just a product launch with commercial purposes but an enlightening and deeply enjoyable time travel to the exploration of the potential future scenery of human sexuality.
A future where more and more different people make pleasure accessible and understandable to a multitude of many other different people of any colour, shape, age, cultural background, social identity.
After sipping some more prosecco, stalking Alix and hugging the Womanizer team one last time, we left that magical location and London with the goody bag filled with pleasure items and the head full of food for thought.