Driving down to ANE (AVN’s Novelty Expo) thursday morning I wondered what to expect. The truth was, I had no expectations. I didn’t know how big the venue would be, how interactive the seminars would be or how such a big event would be for a lowly, unknown, sex toy reviewing porn girl like me. ANE is generally focused on sex toy manufacturers and retailers that are looking around for new toys to cary. Showing up alone to a new event (to me), no idea of where I was going to sleep, what I was going to do and really just flying by the seat of my pants was thrilling and a little scary.
When I arrived at ANE and was able to have a look around, I realized I wouldn’t feel lonely or unimportant. I was welcomed with open arms by everyone I talked to. Within minutes of being at ANE, I ran into @charlieglickman and he kindly guided me in the direction of @ReidAboutSex who put me up in a room and introduced me to other sex geeks. I was making new friends left and right. I soon realized that just because I wasn’t a retailer or manufacturer didn’t mean I wasn’t important in the sex toy scheme of things.
Though the first day I didn’t manage to fully make my rounds to see all the toy booths, I did make some amazing acquaintances. I think one of the best things about this experience was getting to know the people who create, make, sell and genuinely love doing what they do in the sex toy industry. A perfect example of that type of person was @CrystalDToys. I have been testing and reviewing @CrystalDToys for months and I finally got to put a face to the line of toys that I constantly rave over. I got to meet @PapayaPam who kicked ass in helping make everyones ANE experience a blast. I spent hours at the Njoy booth talking to Rebecca and Greg for pretty much the entire time the expo floor was open for that first day. I was given an Njoy eleven as a gift and I was in awe by Greg’s kindness and the amazingly crafted toy that weighs about five pounds. Anyone who loves the Njoy toys and can get a chance to talk to Greg (the creator and designer), I highly recommend it. He is crazy smart and hilarious. I cant sit here and list everyone I met since that would take up a couple pages, but trust me, every person I interacted with was personable, happy and very kind. It was fantastic.
The kick off party later that night led to more mingling and intelligent conversations. Getting to meet @elayneangel and @BuckAngel was a high point of that night. We discussed everything from healthcare, porn, tattoos, piercings to an array of other topics. It was enlightening to have so many open minded folks all in the same place and all wanting to meet and chat. I was touched that I was able to be a part of this.
I started my next day with the seminar “The Role Bloggers/Reviewers Play in the Adult Industry.” I was live tweeting things that caught my attention. There were a few points that really stood out to me as a sex toy reviewer
After an invigorating seminar, I went on a mission to visit every single booth and try to find toys to review. I walked away with about six toys and have a few emails to send that will result in more toys coming my way. I cant wait to try them, aside from the obvious reason, I feel like my posts have more of a purpose now. I hadn’t thought about how many people we can help with reviews. My desire is renewed and I have ANE11 and the wonderful people to thank for that.
I concluded my fun of ANE11 with the O awards (#Owards). Seeing so much support for eachothers successes was pleasing. There will always be competition in the sex toy industry, but there is plenty of room for everyone and every person that attended ANE11 and the O Awards understood that. When a winner was announced, the whole room would erupt in cheers for the winners and congratulations were given afterwards. There were no sore losers. Everyone that was attending was a winner even if they didn’t get an award. Cliche, I know, but that is really how it felt.
My experience of ANE and the O Awards was something I wont forget. Part of it was the fact that we sex bloggers/toy reviewers were there helping to bridge the gap from manufacturers/retailers to the consumers and “the people” which feels amazing. I hope to make it to another event someday to meet more people, learn more about everything I can and then get home to fuck myself silly and share my experiences.