After a two-year hiatus the ETO Show was back this month, this time at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
As luck would have it a couple of good friends of mine study at Warwick University, so it was a great excuse to head down there and stay with them for a long weekend of hijinks and attend my first ever ETO event.
I was a little apprehensive at first, as being a trade show I was worried that I might feel out of place, and as a sex blogger I also take my anonymity seriously, even in a safe-space such as one filled with industry professionals, so I made the decision ahead of time that I wouldn’t tell anyone who I was, or that I was a reviewer.
I was incognito at ETO.
The event itself was smaller than many conventions I’ve been to in the past, but the room was completely packed with stalls and stands, and there was a constant bustle of people flowing around creating a really vibrant atmosphere.
Everywhere you turned there were big displays of products, some from familiar brands, some from companies I’d never heard of, some I owned, and some which weren’t even on the market yet. Stood in front of them were some of the most friendly and enthusiastic people you could meet, all keen to tell you about their products and offer a demonstration, and when it came to lubricants and condoms there were samples galore.
The first stall which really caught my eye was for the CockCam. A couple of guys have invented a small wireless camera which can be mounted in a stretchy silicone cock ring, giving what I call a “penis-eye view” of your sexcapades. As someone who is well acquainted with the art of a sexy Snapchat message I was loving the idea. You can wear it on yourself during oral sex, penetration, or even mount it on a dildo that you’re about to ride and get a really up close view of the action. I can only imagine the uses that webcam performers will come up with for it, but it’s got to be great for home use too; imagine being in the doggy style position and being able to see on your phone exactly what your partner is doing.
Over at the DreamLove stand I encountered probably the most amusing product of the entire show, a thrusting silicone suction cup dildo, which just happens to look like it’s dancing when you stick six of them side-by-side on a table and turn them on. I really wish that I’d taken a video, but I was slightly distracted by the very attractive Spanish man, Raul, who came over to tell me about them.
Across the other side of the hall I got my first in-person look at the new AXIS from my friends at Electrastim, and that thing is just crazy. It can do more things than you can possibly imagine, and that’s before you even get to the gesture controls which are the pièce de résistance. Almost every feature of it can seemingly be adjusted by waving your hand over the sensor in a certain fashion, and it was almost as though Sophie (the sales manager) was talking to it in sign language. This is gonna be perfect for anyone who always finds themselves messy with lubes and massage oils during sex.
I stopped by the Tenga stand and met a delightful man called Kenji from Japan who was really keen to show off their products. As someone who has reviewed quite a few Tenga toys I was able to talk about a number of the different ones, and he seemed genuinely impressed by how much I knew, which made me feel good. I also saw a couple of really nice looking new products that I’m quite excited about, and they had the most adorable little LED lights in the shape of a Tenga Cup.
I met a lady called Denise from Blush who has to be one of the warmest and most friendly people at the whole show. Blush is a company which I’ve had slightly mixed feelings about in the past, but she left a really good impression on me, and showed off their new 100% silicone Avant range which looks amazing. It’s so colourful, and they’ve even incorporated the colours of various pride flags into the design. They also have incredible sticking power; she dropped one on a table and I lifted up the entire table top when I tried to pick it up to remove it.
There was a stand showing off some of the most incredible flavoured lubes, and while I love the taste of dick as much as any red-blooded gay man, if you give me the option to enjoy bubblegum, cotton-candy, or butterscotch while I’m giving head then I’m sold. The most amusing part was that they had a little framed recipe card on the stand showing you how to make a milkshake from the lubes. The man even said that at previous years events they actually made the milkshakes on the stand themselves, so it’s not just a joke. I left with a little goody bag of miniature “I Rub My Duckie” rubber ducks, which are very cute.
I swung by the Lovehoney stand where they were showing off their Uprize dildo, and that was my first chance to see one in action. Seeing it go from soft to hard is fascinating, and I couldn’t shake the idea that this must be what RoboCop has behind his shiny metal codpiece.
There were so many other booths that I couldn’t possibly go through them all, the Swiss Navy man who had his demonstration down to such a fine art that I felt as though I’d stumbled into an infomercial, this tall blue-eyed dreamboat called Lars who was demonstrating a whisper quiet sex-machine on the Dusedo stand, the lovely lady from Nexus whose birthday it was, several stands of really interesting fetish wear, this amazing Brazilian body mousse that crackles when you rub it into your skin, the lady from ABS Holdings (the parent company of Prowler and Simply Pleasure) with the gigantic Doc Johnson toys, the Dutch company with the ice-lolly shaped vibrators, and the nice guy from Liberator who let everyone splash water on his Throw.
The whole event was sponsored by Satisfyer, who very kindly provided a big swagbag packed with four of their products, which I really look forward to trying when I get a spare moment, as well some catalogues and a copy of Cosmopolitan Magazine.
I honestly had such a fun time that I managed to spend both days there, and I’m so glad I went. Everyone was so lovely, and it was a really interesting experience. I’m very thankful to ETO for putting the show on again this year, and for allowing bloggers to attend alongside all the professional members of the trade. Hopefully I’ll make it again next time and see even more great brands there!