CES 2020 will allow sex toys but crack down on inappropriate clothing

CES Las Vegas
The CES logo is seen inside the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2019. David McNew / Getty Images

For the 2020 CES show, sex toys will come to Las Vegas — but skintight clothing that “hugs genitalia” is a no-no, the group organizing the enormous consumer tech-fest announced Tuesday.

During a luncheon event in New York City, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) — the trade organization behind the event — announced a variety of new policies, from changes to the dress code to efforts to encourage diversity and inclusivity within the technology industry.

The organization also announced a $10 million fund meant to invest in women, people of color, and other entrepreneurs who are traditionally underrepresented in tech. But changes to the show itself will make a more visual impact: following controversy last year around a sex toy that won an award at the show only to have it revoked, the group will this year allow for the inclusion of sex tech and will even allow it to win awards, said Karen Chupka, Executive Vice President of CES.

Sex tech will be included as part of the Health & Wellness product category, and will probably be limited due to restrictions on which types of devices will be featured. The category will be limited to devices that are innovative and include “new or emerging tech” to qualify, she said.

“We don’t want to see rows and rows of vibrators at CES,” Chupka said.

The move is intended partly as a response to the outcry over the Osé Robotic Massager, which won an award last year but quickly lost it when the CTA realized what type of product it is. The change is also meant as a reflection of changing norms in society.

But suggestive clothing? That’s out, the group said. The CTA said it was updating its policy around what kind of clothing is permitted on the show floor. The message: CES is a business show and as such, people should wear standard business attire. For the first time, the CTA has added punitive measures surrounding this policy, Chupka said.

For years, CES, car shows, and other large exhibitions were notorious for “booth babes,” a derogatory term for scantily clad women meant to drum up attention through the old adage, “sex sells.” While the bare skin is gone, some exhibitors and show-goers would still wearing inappropriate attire.

The new policy: “Clothing that reveals an excess of bare skin, or body-conforming clothing that hugs genitalia must not be worn. These guidelines are applicable to all booth staff, regardless of gender. In addition, the existing CES ban on pornography will be strictly enforced with no exceptions for CES 2020.”

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