“Sx Tech Conference is where technology marries sex.”

The combination of sex and technology will be one of the big topics in the erotic industry going forward. Of course, the movers and shakers of this blossoming segment need a platform to meet and network. Providing such a platform was one of the main reasons behind the creation of Sx Tech Conference. After its successful debut, the event will be back this year, inviting creators, developers, sex experts, and hackers to gather in Berlin on September 14 for workshops, panel discussions, and a hackathon, all centred around the future of the erotic market. EAN spoke with Ola Miedzynska, founder and organiser of the event, and Media/PR manager Haruna Katayama. In our interview, they explain how this year’s event is going to be different from the previous one, and why industry members should definitely attend Sx Tech 2020.

On September 14, the second SxTech conference will take place in Berlin. For those who have not heard of SxTech yet, what can visitors look forward to and who is the conference aimed at?
Ola Miedzynska: Sx Tech is the one conference in the world that focuses on accelerating businesses and technological innovation in SexTech and Femtech.

Our goal is to support the sex tech ecosystem by connecting professionals, sharing knowledge, providing financial linkage through the network of investors, presenting the latest trends in the industry, and educating the crowd to normalise sex and pleasure.

Sx Tech Conference is where technology marries sex. You could be engineers and data scientists working on new technological solutions; start-ups learning to bring your products to market; investors in search of innovative start-ups; marketing managers or communication heads exploring better ways to promote themselves; and media and PR agencies eager to see what’s happening at the forefront of sex tech. And sex tech enthusiasts too, of course.

Before we talk more about the second edition of SxTech, could you recap last year’s event for us?
Ola: The first edition of the conference attracted more than 400 attendants from over 25 countries. It illustrated the overwhelming attention the sex tech industry has received internationally. We hosted over 40 talks and panel discussions and invited 30 speakers and mentors, including Ida Tin (founder of Clue), Lina Wenner (principal at First Minute Capital), and Guile Lindroth (Director of Artificial Intelligence at Realbotix). Our programmes covered a wide range of topics, including marketing in the time of censorship, protection of intimate data, pros and cons of intelligent contraception, and best practices for cultivating online and offline communities. We also organised the first German sex tech hackathon, joined by 150 hackers.

We were honoured to welcome international brands as our last year’s partners, such as WOW Tech Group, Satisfyer, Mysteryvibe, and LELO. Going forward, we decided to develop our mission and boost the conference to three times its original size!

Will there be any changes to your concept compared to 2019?
Ola: Yes, we’ve made significant upgrades from last year’s conference!

For example, we are inviting fem tech exhibitors, in addition to sex tech exhibitors, with the aim to democratise women’s health and encourage technological collaboration in this field. We will have a space on the floor explicitly dedicated for start-ups hoping to meet with investors, too. We are also preparing a special dinner exclusively for selected investors and start-ups to promote opportunities in the sex tech industry.

Our goal has always been to support the sex tech ecosystem. We are committed to fostering innovation in sex tech and help companies deliver new solutions to the market. We are happy to see our team grow as our baby reaches the next level to realise our mission.

“Our goal has always been to support the sex tech ecosystem. We are committed to fostering innovation in sex tech and help companies deliver new solutions to the market.”

At the centre of the conference are numerous lectures on the topic of sex tech. Can you already tell us who will be on stage in September? How many speakers will you have at the event?
Haruna Katayama: We are planning to invite around 100 speakers from around the world, who will address an even more extensive range of topics in sex tech/fem tech. Cybersecurity for intimate data, including sexting and dating apps, has raised a vast concern, more than ever. In response, we will talk a lot about security for webcam solutions and sex live-streaming platforms, as well as smart payment solutions. Moreover, we will present sexual wellness and health solutions with a particular emphasis on sex education. Other hot topics include the digitalisation of sex work and the prevention of sexual violence reports.

We will also showcase research on the best multimedia marketing for sex toys. We are bringing back sex toy reviewers to co-develop a case study on better practices for big brands cooperating with freelancers. We will continue to build on the topics covered last year as well, including e-commerce practices and data-driven decision making.

Furthermore, we have a whole part arranged for fem tech, where we will thoroughly analyse solutions including wearables, internet-connected medical devices, mobile apps, hygiene products, and more.

But don’t worry, we will continue to cover a lot of innovation related to VR and AR as well. The AI ​​zone will be redesigned to present the latest sex robot innovations.

Besides the talks, you’re also going to host workshops for the participants. Can you give us a preview of these?
Haruna: We’re still keeping them as a surprise, but I can share a pinch. The workshops will cater to industry professionals, and some workshops will focus on intellectual property and regulations, unconventional marketing, and how to build positive brand perception out of unfavourable circumstances. We want to keep the workshops interactive, so we will limit the size of the training groups to a maximum of 15 people. The number of Vision Bird tickets (that gives you access to the workshops) is very limited, so we encourage you to grab your seats as soon as possible!

Sx Tech also offers companies the opportunity to present themselves and their products to the industry during the conference. What exactly do you offer in this regard?
Haruna: Companies can showcase their products and services at one of the two zones — Sextech and Femtech. We hope to connect companies with retailers and merchants, especially those looking for the latest application of technology in these areas. Therefore, we demand our exhibitors to present products with a high technological concept. In particular, we pay attention to product innovation and sophisticated functionality. Be it a dating application or a sex toy, or maybe a crowdfunding platform or payment solution, we evaluate them based on how the project connects with the concept of our conference and to what technological needs it responds.

“We hope to connect companies with retailers and merchants, especially those looking for the latest application of technology in these areas.”

What were the big sex tech trends you’ve seen in the months since the last Sx Tech Conference?
Ola: Some fascinating projects have emerged in just one year. Digital sex education (apps and platforms) is one such category that reached more users globally. There are many hindrances that have kept us away from teaching ourselves how to achieve sexual pleasure. Maybe we didn’t know how to communicate with partners, or we refrained from indulging ourselves in pleasure due to taboos and social stigma. Many of us grew up without proper guidance on self-pleasure. Of course, each of us can have our views on sex and sexuality, as well as how to enjoy sex toys and engage with sexual wellness products. Rather than imposing a standard dogma on everyone, these digital sex-ed products introduce a lot of different ways to explore intimacy for people of any sex and gender or age. Instead of rambling in the dark tunnels of Google, we can now reach content developed by health/sex professionals and connect with the fantastic community.

Which topics do you expect to be prevalent in the future of sex tech and also at Sx Tech 2020?
Haruna: Sex-related content has never been this accessible. You can easily run for a quick hook-up, virtual sex, or consume adult content anonymously. However, the ease of access often makes us forget about online security. Not just the payment information, but also where the identifiable user data goes, how it is stored, exchanged, and even manipulated sometimes. We live in the era of a personal health data boom – applications that collect information on family planning, menstruation cycle or sexual behaviours and orgasms are processing the most intimate data in human history. Now the questions should not only be focused on what is the hottest app of 2020 but also on how we protect ourselves from the misuse of our data. There will be no safe and sustainable future of sex tech if we do not account for the cybersecurity solutions and regulations.

Photo “Ola Miedzynska” (c) Michal Szymonczyk