7 Innovative Sex Toys, Products, And Lessons From The Sexual Health Expo In NYC

For the second year in a row, I attended the Sexual Health Expo looking for fun new products to try out, only to be impacted far more by the funny, inclusive, sex-positive people exhibiting and presenting there. That's not to say the products aren't awesome, but unlike some events driven by the toys and the swag, this one is definitely driven by the sexperts. From sex educators to sex writers to sex toy entrepreneurs, the diverse crew of folks at SHE are fighting on the front lines to affirm sexual pleasure as a fundamental human right — and having a damn good time while doing it.

This year's New York City expo was held in a Greenpoint warehouse near the water, complete with dozens of stalls showcasing sexy wares and two areas for sexpert talks and panels. Sometimes walking past table after table of erotic contraptions can be daunting, but every booth I awkwardly stalled by was helmed by someone ready and willing to welcome me in and show me the ropes — sometimes quite literally. From games to advice to new techniques to new products, here are seven stimulating highlights from the Sexual Health Expo.

1. The Sex Toy Claw Machine

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Anyone who's been to an amusement park knows: the claw is pretty much the worst game in the world. The glass windows tease you with all the amazing stuff that could be going home with you, but, alas, it's usually all too slippery to be clutched in the claw. At the sexpo, however, this Vibrators.com-sponsored machine did actually seem to work — and it dispensed vibrators and dildos! Total win-win. Can you tell I'm easily amused?

2. Sex Therapy & Birth Control Via FaceTime 

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Sex therapy can be a daunting proposition. If you're having difficulty with your partner, or want to work on your own sexual issues solo, finding a therapist, scheduling an appointment, and getting the time off work to get there isn't always a fun prospect. Enter Maven, an online clinic where you can not only get a doctor to prescribe you birth control via FaceTime, but also meet and talk with a sex therapist from the comfort of your smartphone.  

3. Portable Sex Toy Sanitizer

HomePlay, $180, Uvee

Here's a thing: if you don't regularly and effectively clean your sex toys, you could be fixin' to get (or give!) a yeast infection, STI or bacterial infection. The antidote? A spray or gel — or the UVee, the world's first and only sanitizing and charging storage box. Ten minutes is all it takes in one of these bad boys to rid your toys of 99.99 percent of germs, and it's two to five times more effective than the foams and sprays out there. The Uvee also comes in a handy travel size, which is pretty cute, I gotta say.

4. Sola Massagers/Vibrators


Sola Egg Wellness Set, $104, Amazon

The term "personal massager" has been a longtime euphemism for "sex toy," but with Sola, you legitimately get both. Their remote controlled, waterproof massager called Sync is not only ergonomically designed to hit your pleasure spots below the waist, it's also long enough to hit hard to reach spots on your back (I know, because I tried). The most adorable and portable toy is Sola's waterproof Egg, which comes with three different removable heads for a variety of stimulation. To increase vibration speed, all you have to do is press harder, and the toy will respond with increased intensity.

5. The Secrets Of The Clitoris

Despite her session's time limits, sex educator and medical professional Sheri Winston managed to blow minds with a detailed explanation of the anatomy they don't cover in medical textbooks. Author of the award-winning book, Women’s Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure, Winston unveiled the inner erectile workings of the clitoris. Did you know that vagina-having folks have as much erectile tissues as penis-having folks? And that there is way more to the clitoris than the head (hello vestibular bulbs!) that can be aroused and engorged? As Winston noted, the her-ection is a mighty yet severely understudied phenomenon which deserves far more attention.

Women’s Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure, $10, Amazon

6. How To Sext Well

Sending e-rotic missives is pretty unavoidable these days, and yet, there's always a way to bone up on your sexy smartphone banter. In Tina Horn's session, the author and sexpert de-mystified sexting, offering tips and tricks from her recent book on getting dirty digitally. Sexting can be great for establishing consent, Horn noted, but not in the sense that texting something you'd like to be done to you later means you have to do it even if you change your mind. Instead, sexting can establish consent by starting a conversation about what you're into, what turns you on, and what your boundaries are. And when you're not in a relationship or on the prowl? Sext a friend, because there's nobody better to appreciate your hotness — just make sure to ask them for consent before you hit send.

Sexting Book, $10, Amazon

7. Sex Tips From The Sexperts

In a discussion moderated by sex-positive feminist activist, educator and icon Tristan Taormino, sexperts Tina Horn, Dirty Lola, and Brandon B got down and dirty about a variety of subjects from their favorite positions and toys to how they navigate dating with their sexy reputations. Brandon told tales about spreading the sex-positive gospel at The Pleasure Chest. Dirty Lola filled us in on "cunt-punting" as a kink (it's where you get kicked in the crotch, and some folks love it). Tristan said her favorite toy is the Tristan butt plug that she designed (but she'd settle for a knock-off, as long as it's the same shape), and Tina explained that anal sex is her happy place where she goes when she doesn't want to be all up in her head, because it's a fast track to singular focus. 

Tristan Butt Plug, $53, Amazon

After a full weekend of goodies, I left feeling thankful for all these disarmingly charming sexperts, because sexual pleasure shouldn't be scary or out of reach for anyone in the mood to explore.

Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Kristen Sollee; mavenclinic/Instagram

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