So I went to Germany to visit Erofame (a huge sex toy tradeshow in Hanover) and to have a guided tour of the Fun Factory in Bremen.
(Fun Factory retail store smack bang in the middle of Berlin)
Erofame was a surprisingly upmarket, quality affair, with many new products to peruse. I can't say there was anything groundbreakingly amazing but there was definitely a couple of strong trends that I noted.
The main one was a refreshing array of softer, more fluttery toys that use air pressure rather than vibration for stimulation. If you're familiar with The Womanizer, then you'll know what I mean.
Over the years, vibrators have been getting more powerful with stronger, more quality motors. (And we do love a good, deep, rumbly motor - no doubt about it). But it's left a gap in the market that the (toxic) jelly toys of old used to fill. Remember the 'Sex and the City' style rabbits with the fluttering ears? Well many women ditched the pearly shafts (that generally bit the dust anyway) just to revel in those soft, tongue-like lappers.
(Old Style Pink Pearl Rabbit)
We certainly get asked all the time for something like those old flutterers because the more modern, medical grade, body-safe toys have tend to have more rigid clitoral stimulators. And they're not to everyone's liking.
Hence the incredible popularity of The Womanizer, that uses air pressure to gently tease the clitoris to orgasm. Of course The Womanizer is $320.00 and is as ugly as the name suggests. There's been a flurry of cheap copies, like The Satisfyer and now an expensive copy too (Lelo have just put out there own version - also a copy and a few years too late to boot).
The best I saw were from Crave (top notch and available soon) and Svakom (with the cutest little anemone you've ever seen also coming soon).
(Cookie and Candy Svakom)
The other trend, that admittedly has been around for a while now, is for male toys. There was a huge array of masturbators and prostate massagers, the best in house being Aneros (available now at Passionfruit) and Monkey Spankers (coming soon).
Other than that, there were a lot of We Vibe rip offs, with Standard Innovation (the We-Vibe manufacturers) apparently feeling the pinch, which is unfortunate because they're still one of the best, most innovative companies out there.
FUN FACTORY TOUR
What fun it was to have a personalised tour of my favourite toy company's factory. It's a very cute little factory with happy workers, low noise and no nasty smells. Not something I expect from any factory! I got to pour fresh silicone into a mold and collect my own handmade dildo a few hours later. Yes, all the dildos are hand poured whilst the vibrators are put through a machine, with the motors personally checked by diligent staff.
(Fun Factory Bremen)
Fun Factory have produced an amazingly fantastic new set of Menstrual Cups, or Fun Cups, that I have been so excited about recently but unfortunately they won't be available in Australia because of the $18,000.00 cost of getting them passed through the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.
(The Fun Cup comes in a packet of 2, small and large, and are by far the most comfortable that I and my staff have ever felt).
It's an issue that drives me wild considering that there a plethora of unsafe, toxic sex toys and lubricants on the market that have absolutely no regulation. Yet a completely safe, silicone menstrual cup is not allowed into the country. The TGA are also currently investigating soft tampons and have pulled them from shelves. Considering the amount of toxins in tampons and pads I have a theory that the almighty pharmaceuticals are behind the whole conspiracy!
(Soft tampons or sponges have no added toxins or bleaches)
In Berlin I got to meet the brilliant designer Miss Nicole, aka Fräulein Kink, with whom I shared a bottle of wine, lots of conversation and some good old fashioned gossip about the lingerie industry in general. I managed to bring home half of her studio because the stuff is really absolutely irresistible.
(Fraulein Kink Studio - how to choose?)
And then of course there was the exploring of Berlin which was a double edged sword. On the one hand, it's an amazingly vibrant, exciting city and on the other, a city with a history so brutal and so open to analysis that it leaves you feeling vulnerable and raw. That lack of artifice gives Berlin an authenticity and depth rarely felt elsewhere. The sex/club/music scene is thrilling and the beer is cheap. Berlin is a work in progress.
(Plaques line the pavements to remind you of the German families that once lived here and perished in the concentration camps.)
(The Kit Kat Club in Mitte, Berlin. A den of sexuality, thumping music and abandon.)
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*Blog image - graffiti in Berlin