Written by By Zac Glynn, CNN
The world’s biggest sex toy fair is underway in Cologne, Germany and CNN Style is there as part of the Love Junkie press trip.
For the five days of the fair, we’re talking to the presenters and founders of the annual expo, which for more than 30 years has gathered experts from the world of sex, fashion, film and more to discuss trends and raise awareness of the adult market.
Now known as Lovehoney, the UK company is best known for creating boxes filled with various sex aids and lubricants. Hosting an annual romp in Cologne makes perfect sense, with the fair’s founder, Lucinda Chambers, calling the week “the sexest place on earth.”
Elsa Klarmann / Love Junkie 2018 Elsa Klarmann / Love Junkie 2018
But it also speaks to Love Junkie’s attempt to present a more practical side to the adult industry. Often a fringe element, Love Junkie is becoming an increasingly mainstream event, with representatives from global manufacturers and distributers of sex toys and paraphernalia from across the globe.
While some press events are designed to present products to the industry in a wide range of terms, there is also a safety and ethics message.
“There’s so much hype in the industry that it’s really important to show people how things are made, why these people do it, and what the standards are and how it can be done ethically and safely,” says Lauren Noble, an official from the industry trade association International Federation of Sex Toys and Sex Electronics.
“Like anything else, we’re all a bit like a pilot when we put an idea together and move it from an idea into something, so it’s really important to make sure everyone’s happy with what we’re doing, that’s as pragmatic as we can make it.”
Including some of the 20,000 titles available this year, the Love Junkie Expo offers something for everyone. Amused conversations with the likes of porn star Joe Dahan as he discusses the porn industry as a “sport” are told alongside talks and projects with UK sex therapists and a video project about how sexism impacts the sex industry.
Magician David Asprey, who co-founded No. 1 sex toy company Lovehoney, spoke to us about his company’s fun attitude to sex: “Sex toys can provide more orgasms in your life, but it’s not about the things you could do, it’s about the things you could do with things.”
Love Junkie CEO Lucinda Chambers agrees that sex has moved on, but is still capable of being a captivating topic of conversation: “There’s a conversation happening — for many people, it’s the first time they are talking to someone who is even vaguely interested in sex.”
In our hour-long conversation, former tabloid newspaper reporter/fashion consultant/naked male model/Love Junkie ambassador Alex Wyman tackles everything from the rise of “chaos sex” (an open-plan bedroom with a shower; bedroom with multiple large windows to let in plenty of natural light; candles lit on walls, cupboards and furniture) to the perils of branding to the relationship between the vagina and the anus.
When we finally wind down from our session, Wyman is keen to encourage the next generation of sex toy users to ask for better tools.