Sloan, CEO of Very Intelligent Ecommerce, said in an open letter to CES, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas next week, that the organizers at the Consumer Technology Association are discriminating against men and all people who “enjoy the genitalia of other humans.”
Autoblow is a sex toy for men that simulates oral sex. Sloan said the Seattle company was preparing to exhibit at CES, which backtracked on earlier policies and decided in 2019 to allow sex-positive products on the show floor. But the show continues to maintain a line against allowing porn makers to come back into the show, after those groups split off and formed their own show years ago.
This policy change was publicized after Lora DiCarlo, maker of a female-oriented sex toy, complained before and after CES 2019 that a ban on sex products (that was poorly and inconsistently enforced) discriminated against female-owned businesses and the sex toy trade in general. In May, the CTA relented and updated its policy to make CES more “welcoming and inclusive.” As a result, sex toy makers such as Lora DiCarlo, OhMiBod, and Lioness are planning on exhibiting next week in a particular section of CES.
But Sloan said in his letter that the CES policy does not permit any products that contain “anatomically correct” parts including mouths or human genitalia. In an email, the CTA said, “CES welcomes over 170,000 attendees from 150 countries and strives to be welcoming to all. We have published our criteria and have been transparent with our policies.”
“As the owner of a male-centric sex toy brand, I believe this policy effectively prohibits the display of pleasure products for men because men overwhelmingly prefer devices that contain human-like orifices, especially female genitalia,” Sloan wrote.
He said he applied to CES in September 2019 to display the new Autoblow AI at the 2020 show. He said CES representatives told him that they would be happy to rent the company a booth provided he removed the silicone mouth sleeve the product comes with and replaced it with a sleeve that contains only a nondescript hole. He declined their offer.
“It is normal for human beings to feel sexual excitement from the appearance of the body parts of other human beings,” Sloan said. “The reason the Autoblow AI comes with a mouth sleeve is because it aims to recreate the oral sex experience. That a human mouth is involved in that experience is an inescapable fact. I cannot pretend otherwise.”
He added, “While CES has (commendably) helped to lift the stigma against sexual devices for women by allowing them to be displayed as mainstream consumer electronics, CES has reinforced the stigma against sexual devices for men (and the related shame) by disallowing them based solely on the one feature that happens to be highly linked to their commercial success: human orifices.”
Sloan said he would like the CTA to re-explore this issue and open the show to all high-tech adult consumer electronics — including those that resemble parts of human beings.
Very Intelligent Ecommerce has been in business since 2008, and the Autoblow has sold more than 350,000 units since 2015. It is also selling the Autoblow 2 in stores, and the Autoblow AI is for sale online. The company has six employees, not including contractors. Sloan said in an email that the Autoblow AI is the first adult product that used artificial intelligence to understand and replicate human sexual actions.
[Updated: 1:07 p.m. 1/2/20 with CTA comment]