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Dildocon 2024 or I Went to a Pleasure Conference So You Don't Have To

Erin: Welcome to Hotter Than Ever, where we uncover the unconscious rules we've been following. We break those rules and we find a new path to being freer, happier, sexier, and more self expressed. I'm your host, Erin Keating.

Today I want to talk about stepping out of your comfort zone. I went to a thing called the Vibe Expo, they call it a pleasure show. So the pleasure show is a trade show dedicated to sensory expedition, pleasure, play things, sensual ecstasy, and intimacy insights. I mean, this is so up my alley, but I have never been to something like this before. It was basically a trade [00:01:00] show for products, services, and experts who put a spotlight on the realm of elevated pleasure.

So first of all, let's give thanks to the fact that it's 2024 and this type of thing exists. This type of thing is out of the shadows and no longer in the back of a seedy adult bookstore, or even relegated to the realms of alternative culture. I really believe that sensual and sexual exploration is moving towards normalcy in certain pockets of our culture. Now I get it. I live in Los Angeles. This is the perfect place for a thing like this. Um, but I was on social media. And the algorithm, I guess the algorithm knows me, because the algorithm served me up an [00:02:00] ad for the Vibe Expo and within five minutes I had signed up for two free tickets to this event.

Now you say, two tickets? That's interesting. Who did you take with you? I invited the Marine, my boyfriend, to come with me, not knowing whether or not he would say yes. In fact, thinking he might be like, no, that's cool, Erin, go do your own thing, you wild child, but instead he did say yes, and he exhibited just such extraordinary open mindedness, big shout out to him for coming along on this adventure.

So, first question, why did you go to this? I am dedicated to having experiences that are aligned with my curiosity. You know, for so many years of my life, I did not [00:03:00] step out of my comfort zone. I was so good and obedient and following a set of rules and sort of cultural standards for what it was to be a successful married person, mother, professional. Like I wore those titles, those roles like a fucking straight jacket and I did not give myself room to loosen up, explore, follow my own curiosity.

Now I will not be so hard on myself. I was working really hard in my job. I was trying to keep my unhappy marriage together. I was raising twins out here in California with no help that wasn't paid. My life was very prescribed and very rigid and very tight and brittle. I was brittle. And what I am [00:04:00] dedicated to today and why the hotter than ever podcast exists is because I want to explore the juicy and maybe unconventional places where my curiosity takes me. So that is one reason. Another reason is like, maybe we make a line of hotter than ever sex toys that could be really fun. I wanted to learn about what that business is like. Maybe there are sponsors for the show there. Maybe there are people that I'll meet who I want to bring on the show and interview for you so that you can hear their expertise.

The best part of this is that I let myself follow my curiosity. And it was rewarded by a really fun and interesting experience. So let me set the scene for you. We are in the Lowe's hotel in Hollywood. We are right outside of the Chinese theater and the people dressed in superhero costumes [00:05:00] and the walk of fame and all the stars on the sidewalk. We're in this gigantic hotel. And there are these purple signs and they say Vibe Expo and we check in and it's all very much trade show, right? Like we get our wristbands.

And the first thing is that the Vibe Expo is sponsored by Bad Dragon. Bad Dragon are the most insane dildos. They are sex toys that look like tentacles. They are something out of Anime or comic con, and I guess they are really successful, successful enough to sponsor an entire expo. So their branding is everywhere. We walk into the main room and it is like a medium sized conference room with like six rows of booths. And the first one that we see is a company that sells vapes that make you horny. [00:06:00] So it's some sort of THC derivative. They make gummies, they make joints, they make them for women and they make them for men, and they're supposed to make you aroused.

Well, I mean, I love marijuana and I love sex and so I was like, I'm definitely in the right place people. So we stayed and we talked to the guy who ran that company and I grilled him about his business and about the opportunity and how he's getting distribution. I mean, I'm just really curious. And people want to talk about what they are doing and what they're up to and so we had a great conversation and we got them to give us free samples. I'll let you know how those go. I haven't partaken in any of them.

We then talked to a guy who had this set of Tiki themed sex toys. So Tiki, like Polynesian, Hawaiian gods, and he [00:07:00] said he had worked for Larry Flint of Hustler Magazine doing international distribution for his sex toy business, but he is obsessed with Tiki culture.

So what he's doing is bringing together his passion for Tiki culture and his expertise in business, which happens to be sex toy manufacturing distribution. Fascinating to me. What it tells me is whatever you're into, there is a business for you that you can create that combines your professional expertise and your personal passion. This guy is going to the Tiki convention. Who knew there was a Tiki convention? He's going to be the only Tiki themed sex toys there. I think he's going to clean up. They're going to get a lot of attention on the shelves of sex toy stores because there's nothing like it.

This could apply to. anything. It just happens to be this sort of titillating, pleasure [00:08:00] centric world. There was an older couple who are clearly skilled at glassblowing who were making glass sex toys. The craziest of which was a butt plug that had an eyeball on it that was pretty realistic. Oh my god. Oh my god. Are you freaking out listening to this in your car? I really hope so. They were so earnest and lovely. They could have been selling crocheted Toilet paper covers to sit on the back of your toilet like my grandmother had. Honestly, they were like, they were so artsy craftsy. What's adorable.

Oh, they were also selling tail attachments that you could attach to the butt plug. If you wanted to have a tail as part of your sex play, I've never had a tail. A friend of mine gave me one as a joke. I see it as for me, it's very funny. There was a sex toy device that is kind of like a half dome that [00:09:00] you sit on that has a motor inside that is very intense and then you can put attachments on top of it. They had set it up connected to a video game so you could sit on it in public with your clothes on in front of people and play this video game.

and every time you failed at the video game, it would go "zzz". I, of course, got on it, uh, and well, it was so weird because they put down like a paper towel on top of whatever. I'm bad at video games. I was too self conscious to really get off on it in public and the Marine is just standing there.

Oh my God he looked so preppy in this room full of people who clearly live in the counterculture or in some corner of the counterculture. He was wearing a Brooks Brothers plaid shirt. [00:10:00] Oh my God he was so cute. And you know, I got to give him props. I got to give him props. First of all, he was the hottest guy there. And I just kept being like, Oh my God, I can't believe this is my boyfriend. And he's going with me to this insane event. He was so supportive and we were both so curious about the business side of this world and the fact that you really can make a business out of anything now, whether these are real businesses that are going concerns where people are actually making lots of money or breaking even, or whether it's their, their passion products, I mean, in more than one way, I don't know. Some of the companies seem to be really legit.

I think the best part of it is like we were on this like kind of a sexy date, you know, and the open mindedness of it all just made me feel so [00:11:00] good. Yeah, I'm just grateful. I'm so grateful. It was not the sexiest experience, but it was a sexy idea and it was fun to talk about and it was fun to do it together and I was going to go either way. I was like, there's a 50/50 chance he's going to say no when I invited him, but he said yes, because he's the best.

Okay. Back to the products. There was a bunch of BDSM gear, right? Bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism. That's what BDSM is. There were restraints and strap ons and harnesses. There were some really kinky toys called urethral sounds. That's to stick in the top of the guy's penis. Apparently it feels really good. I have never gone that far. There were lots of lubes and potions with CBD in them. There were also pheromone perfumes. Patty Stanger from the millionaire matchmaker was there selling pheromone perfume. So [00:12:00] interesting how people evolve their brand and their business.

One thing that made me skeptical about the pheromone stuff was like the sales. person was saying, Oh, you should spray this on before a business meeting because it'll make it easier to close the deal. And I was like, Oh, is that really right? I don't know. Where's the science? But I guess mind over matter, maybe there was this brand called the liberator that I bet you have seen ads for in the back of New York magazine or the New Yorker. It's like a triangle shaped pillow. I've only ever seen it in classified ads in those places, but it's all these different shaped pillows to, to angle your sex. It's basically, I mean, I concluded that pillows work just fine, but having a dedicated sex cushion could be a sexy thing.

The product that we had the most fun thinking about. It was a thing called the Cock Block. It was for two guys. It was a rectangular box. [00:13:00] with two holes for guys to put their penises in to rub their penises on each other the name the Cock Block made me laugh so hard. I loved it so much. There was a guy and a woman maybe in their late 60s, who are buying everything in the entire place. I was like, wanted to know everything about their relationship. Was this personal? Was it professional? Like were these prototypes? I don't know. But the guy who seemed pretty heterosexual, although you never know, and I almost regret judging him in any way, but he was like, Oh, it's almost enough to make me want to try it out. It was so funny.

Everybody making these jokes. But it was so normalized in this context, right? It was so interesting. It was mostly women working at the show. There were not a lot of men. So this was not [00:14:00] like a porny atmosphere. It was more of an alternative, like pro sexuality, body positive. Kind of vibe. There were sex podcasters, there were workshops about sex and spirituality, a lot of yoga and meditation offered as part of this conference. There were several different companies there that were clearly oriented towards the black community, which I thought was really interesting.

There were sex workouts. So you could sort of drop it like it's hot. There was a dick riding one on one workshop. I mean, honestly, I am so open minded, but I was like, really? You're going to teach a dick riding one on one workshop and that's your brand, fucking go girl. Go. It just goes to show all bets are off, [00:15:00] right, in terms of what you think people are doing out there in the world. People are doing all kinds of shit. You think you making this small change in your life is so radical. Look at what this entire business is about. There were workshops on spanking, dirty talk, sex and body positivity, more or better orgasms, anal play, oral sex, aphrodisiac cooking, there was all of this really?

Interesting thinking going on around the world of pleasure and sexuality. And I really enjoy learning about a new subculture. I really enjoy learning about a new pocket of the world. And there are all forms of entrepreneurship out there. There are people reinventing themselves like the Tiki guy, or [00:16:00] we talked to a woman who was selling what she was calling self care products. And she said, you know, after you have really rough sex, you might want to put the salve on your labia. I was like, what is your job? Turns out she is an adult film actress, but she is there for reinvention as well. Right?

So, It was really fascinating that we are in this cultural moment where pleasure is being normalized. Where toys and sexuality, sexual satisfaction, pleasure itself is being celebrated, if not a noble pursuit, certainly one that is worth a deep level of exploration. I think at the end of the day, the lesson that I took from this was whatever you are passionate about, whatever your area of interest, there is a community of people who shares that interest. There [00:17:00] is probably a business that you could run that is around that interest that allows you to interact with that interest all day long. I was really inspired by the innovation.

Also the cheekiness and also the fact that it was open to the public and that I could go indulge my curiosity on a Saturday afternoon, a 20 minute drive away from my house.

I told my mother that I was going to the sex toy expo. She goes, Well, what could they teach you about sex toys that you don't already know? Another lesson in you think people can't see you and they totally can, especially when they're your mom and they have access to your room when you're 15 years old and they know all the things you're keeping in that locked drawer. Oh my God.

Anyway, I had a beautiful [00:18:00] experience with my boyfriend. I thought it was going to lead to like a really hot something and instead it led to some really fascinating conversations about business innovation. So you never know what you're going to get, but I appreciate it as open mindedness and I celebrate my own willingness to have these experiences and share them with you so that you do not have to go to the Vibe Expo, but you get to peek into it and learn a little bit about a world that you may not have ever known existed.

Thanks for listening to Hotter Than Ever. I hope you enjoyed the story of my experience at what the Marine was calling Dildocon 2024. And I hope that you enjoyed last week's episode about long term female friendships, where I brought [00:19:00] on my best friend of 30 years and we talked about our relationship.

I would love to hear your feedback. Please go to @hotterthaneverpod on Instagram and comment on some of our videos. Let us know what you think about the content we're creating for you here on the podcast. Speaking of content, have you noticed I am now doing short advice episodes every week on top of our regular Thursday episodes?

Do you have something you'd like my very biased opinion about? Do you have questions about love, friendship, sex, relationships, career, ambition, aging, divorce, or something else altogether that you would like my opinion about unvarnished but hopefully thoughtful take on? DM us on Instagram @hotterthaneverpod or call and leave a voicemail or text your question to 323 844 2303. That's the Hotter Than Ever Hottie [00:20:00] Hotline at 323 844 2303. I would love to answer your question in a future episode.

Hotter Than Ever is produced by Erica Girard and PodKit Productions. Our Associate Producer is Melody Carey. Music is by Chris Keating with vocals by Issa Fernandez. Come back next week and I promise to continue experimenting.

Do you, are you experimenting in your life? What are you doing to mix it up and do things differently in 2024? I want to know.


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