Article: Eroticon (An Introduction, Thanks, and Initial Thoughts)

There are some experiences that, although good, require digestion over a long period. Their impact may be small at first but given consideration and time it matures, like a fine wine.

Then there are some events that are so memorable, so dynamic, and so fundamentally fun that their immediacy is both potent and profound. Like the finest champagne, they burst on to the scene with incredible and a hearty cheer from everyone in the area. These events have all the charge of a fizzing bottle of the good stuff and are equally set to become a memorable classic.

Eroticon 2017 was the best damned champagne I’ve ever had.

What Is Eroticon?

From Friday evening until the early hours of Monday I have found myself fully immersed in the world of sex writing and positive sexual representations. I have given new faces to well-known voices, added more people to my much-loved circle of Twitter friends, and have felt first-hand the incredible sense of progression and consideration that certain individuals in the industry carry with them.

This is the Eroticon experience—taking the already very strong sense of community in the adult writing interesting and giving it a tangible presence in the world.

Eroticon was founded in 2012 by Ruby Kiddell as part of the Write Sex Write online magazine. At the time Eroticon was the first sex writers conference in the UK and, after many years, it has just grown in influence.

Something has changed this year though—After giving the community an incredible asset, Ruby has taken a much-deserved step back from the Eroticon event and the powerhouse threesome of Girl On The Net, Molly Moore, and Michael Knight have brought their own creative flare to the event.

Thanks To Molly, Michael, and GOTN

I’ve arranged a conference in the past and I can attest to the fact that it is bloody hard work. Behind the scenes there are always incredible highs and lows and more than a few little panics that leave the organisers more than a little frazzled. The success of a conference comes, in part, from just how little of this is felt by the guests and speakers.

If there were any glaring issues with Eroticon I didn’t notice them at all. The event ran near seamlessly and any of the issues that were experienced (lunch hiccups and the expected technology irks) were approached with a sense of humour and solidarity by everyone involved. We’ve all been there in some capacity, we were all there to enjoy each other, and the consensus seemed to be that the event was a resounding success.

This would not have been possible without the incredible amount of work that these three put in (in addition to the ambassadors for the day) and I have nothing but admiration and affection for them. You couldn’t get a more wonderful group of organizers and the atmosphere of the event was lifted by the spirit of its organizers.

Thank you so much you three. I really hope you’re getting some hard-earned rest now.

Thanks To The Conference Sponsors

Upon arrival at Eroticon each of the delegates was provided with a very generous goody bag containing various bits of Eroticon swag, most of which was supplied by the sponsors of the event.

I will never say no to another canvas bag (nor the brilliant goodies that resided within it) but the biggest gift that the sponsors of Eroticon gave us was the event itself.

Having the event in London is invaluable, and you could hardly wish for a better venue than the Arlington House—A Camden Town hostel founded in 1905 and dedicated to providing a save and constructive place for vulnerable individuals who have suffered from homelessness, abuse, and other experiences that have otherwise led to the House.

But amazing venues come at a cost and it is through the good graces of the event sponsors that we have been able to come together and create such a constructive writing and networking event for the adult community.

Fuck.com were the first of the conference sponsors to reach out to me in an email prior to the event.  Fuck.com provide a sex-positive dating community where likeminded individuals can get together and enjoy healthy and respectful casual dating in a new way.

I did not get nearly enough time to talk to Fuck.com. I didn’t even manage to get one of their glorious T-Shirts (which were worn by many stunning-looking attendees) but I hope to reach out to them soon. Consider this my personal thanks, Fuck.com!

Descending the stairs in to the Eroticon conference area I was immediately greeted with the familiar banner of Doxy and an unfamiliar addition to their collection. Oh yes—I got to see the mini wand that many ‘a Tweeter has been lusting over since its sneak peaks.

Holding this tiny creation was, in some ways, more empowering than grasping the full bulk of a Doxy original. It was as if I was being given access to concentrated power and I loved the premise. The toy itself is still going through some final considerations but I am very excited to see where Doxy takes this.

Ceramic Pleasure is a company that I have nothing but kind words about (or should I say individual, as the hardworking founder makes each one of his products by hand).

Beautiful ceramic dildos filled the Ceramic Pleasure stall for the event, so much so that they were also scattered under the table and stocked in boxes underneath the stall too. I couldn’t resist buying a few myself, despite having reviewed well over a dozen of these amazing ceramic samplings.

To everyone who purchased a Ceramic Pleasure dildo—thank you so much! And do let me know how it goes.

I was lucky enough to be on a panel where Hot Octopuss was also the topic of interest. This company produces the well-known ‘Guybrator’ that helps individuals from all walks of life find new ways to experience pleasure with their bodies.

The focus so far has been on the penis but Hot Octopuss also debuted a more vulva-oriented sex toy at EroticonThe Queen Bee. This product certainly caused a buzz at the conference and having felt the prototype all I can say is this: I need to review this product.

 If I was writing this post with a Ruby Glow between my legs I’d probably have more get-up-and-go (or sit-down-and-glow, as it were). My main point being that I am a fan of the Ruby Glow, and have even more appreciation for the people behind it all—Tabitha Rayne and Rocks Off.

As someone who has reviewed the Ruby Glow I am incredibly grateful for what Ruby Glow has brought to the adult community. Sponsoring Eroticon is yet another mark of just how sensational and supportive Tabitha is of fellow writers and sex toy enthusiasts. Also she gives brilliant hugs, just sayin’

And, of course, what sex event is complete without the endless enthusiasm and contagious personality of Adam from Godemiche.

Whenever Adam enters a room that room has officially become a party zone—filled with discussion, laughter, and colourful, hand-made dicks. Monika is the perfect counterbalance to Adam’s frantic creativity and presents herself as an ocean of serenity and grace. Together they create some of the most cherished silicone dildos and anal toys that the UK has offer. It was fantastic to see them at Eroticon—even more so knowing that they had helped make it happen.

There were also several event sponsors that couldn’t make it, but whom were equally invaluable to the event.

Chaturbate—you helped provide us with the tea, coffee, and water that we needed to survive the weekend (and Saturday’s lunch too!). At an event that involves hours talking, networking, and generally barely having time to breathe from all the excitement I cannot express just how valuable a good cuppa was at times. Oh, and the food was highly appreciated by all who encountered it (trust me).

Thanks to Marvy Darling and GOTN I’ve come away with a little something from The Rabbit Company of my own to enjoy, but everyone at the conference benefitted from their support. It may not be Easter just yet, but I’m hopping mad over just how thoughtful this company has been!

I have also come away with something from Freedoms Shop that I cannot wait to review for you all, but for now I’d like to express my gratitude to this company for sponsoring Eroticon too. It’s such a shame they couldn’t make. The work that Freedoms Shop does as an NHS sexual health promotion initiative is understandably vital to safer sex for all and I would have loved to have spoken to them. Maybe next year.

Thanks To The Delegate Sponsors

In addition to conference sponsors there were also several sponsors that helped get delegates there and I am so grateful for this. Not least because I am one of the individuals who received sponsorship, but also because the other companies involved are the reason why so many of my friends could attend.

So Divine, Exhibit A, Horny Geek Girl, Sexy Little Pages, Velvet Fleurs, LoveYourself Online, Sinful Press, Sheets of San Francisco, NEWPL, and Luke and Jack—I love you all! I’ve worked with many of these companies first-hand, dear readers, and I can sincerely say that they’re investment in to Eroticon is entirely in keeping with their overall sense of community support and sex positivity. I highly recommend you check each and every one of them out.

The Woman Who Made It All Happen (For Me, At Least)

And, of course, how could I not thank Ruby l’Ace—the blazing red-haired icon behind the sensational Knicker Rocker Glory site. Knicker Rocker Glory is like all of my sex toy boutique goals bundles in to one aesthetically astounding website. Ruby welcomes everyone to her site with open arms and a cheeky little wink that it so retro that I’m convinced she was born in the wrong era. But thank god for this happenstance of temporal fortune, because ours is a world that is all the brighter for having Ruby and Knicker Rocker Glory in it.

Knicker Rocker Glory is an adult retailer, but it also provides additional services such as a blog, individual (and confidential) sex advice, a bespoke shopping experience, and these amazing customisable gift hampers that need all the love in the world (I personally own one of the baskets to put testers in, which shows you just how much I adore it).

As an individual Ruby is fierce and incredibly well informed about the issues surrounding the sex toy community and the wider culture of sex and sexuality. This shines through in everything she does, including Knicker Rocker Glory.

Full disclosure: Ruby was at the Friday night social for Eroticon but nothing else. The reason? She had a choice between sending herself to the conference or a blogger such as myself and she chose to send me.

Let that sink in.

Ruby is as passionate about sex toys as me (if not more so) and yet she wished to support someone who writes about sex to attend (and speak, as it happened) rather than attend herself.

I have no words. Only the deepest of gratitude.

Keeping this in mind please do check out Knicker Rocker Glory’s site and support Ruby in any way you can. I will be recommending some favourites from the store very soon but, in the meantime, if you’d like to read more about Ruby then check out my interview with her here.

But How Did It All Go?

You’d think as someone who had just attended a writing conference I would now feel like a well-oiled machine, capable of waxing lyrical about my experiences for paragraphs on end, but the truth is I am almost completely without words.

Having now experienced Eroticon I am convinced that there is no single post that would ever be able to do it justice. Because of this I have instead opted to write a series of Eroticon-inspired articles, each one influenced by one of the sessions I attended (in addition to the panel I was part of).

Each of these articles is made possible by Knicker Rocker Glory and will be part of the wider KnickEroticonGlory hashtag, where I live-tweeted throughout the entire event.

But I’m also no tease (well…not on purpose, at least) and so I’ve decided to take up the Ten Things I Took Home From Eroticon challenge, this just reflecting a small amount of the return from attendance (which gave so much more).

#1 A Safe Space to Be Myself

As writers, we are all very prone to living in our own little bubble of work, editing, and deadlines. Add to that the fact that our work focuses on the supposedly ‘taboo’ topic of sex and we’re often left feeling as if there are very few people out that there are truly swimming in the same creative ocean.

Among that sea of isolation Eroticon is like a giant party cruise, rocking up to remind those it plucks from the water that they’re never alone.

It is so incredibly liberating to be able to casually discuss the curvature of a dildo and just why it hits the G-spot well without at least one person scoffing and saying “I think you’ll find that the G-Spot is a myth”. Nor how wonderful it is to go in to full sex jargon mode—discussing brands and fetishes as casually as we would be deciding what’s for dinner.

But beyond that there was also a huge amount of mental support too. Whether attendees of Eroticon suffered from mental health issues (or had even encountered them first-hand) there was a general understanding that mental health was entirely valid. This should be the norm in society, but it’s not, and so to be in a space where everyone was respectful of each other’s personal considerations was incredibly refreshing.

And, on a more basic level, it was unbelievably nice to be around people who understood that every now and then I’d need to whip out my phone and tend to some social media concerns (mainly because they were doing it to!)

At one point I went out with a group of friends and we all ended up pulling out our phones and sorting through Twitter and emails in unison. No complaints. No comments about a lack of engagement. We all got each other, we all knew what we were doing and we were all comfortable to do it around each other. Yes.

#2 A Love of The King

No not Elvis. Elvis. As in the King of Sheets of San Francisco –the tiny teddy behind it all.

Okay, maybe he’s just the brand mascot, but he’s adorable, so we’ll let him sit atop his fluid-proof throne in all his glory.

When I mentioned that I loved the SoSF teddy bear I had seen online I did not expect to be cuddling the King himself the very next day, but that’s exactly what happened. Me and Pixie from Kink Craft both expressed our deep affection for this pawsome plush (though Pixie will always get hugging priority) and Elvis went on many adventures with Horny Geek Girl.

What can I say? All hail the King.

#3 Faces To Names

Something I learnt very swiftly was that greeting people at Eroticon was very akin to that moment where someone pulls off their mask at a fancy-dress party and you finally realize that the person who approached you isn’t just a very friendly clown/dolphin/werewolf but is your best friend and you just needed a moment to match the voice to the face.

At least that’s the best way to describe an otherwise entirely surreal (and incredibly exhilarating experience).

The amount of times I started talking to people and then we both shared a gasp of joy when we saw each other’s Twitter name was…well, pretty much every time I met someone, and it was amazing each time.

I read an advert on the London Underground that said ‘Rapport isn’t built through emails’ (and, by extension I assume social media too) but I have to respectfully disagree. By the time I came to Eroticon I already had so many friends there. I had already joked, conversed, and raved with so many of the people I met and they were no more a stranger to me than the Lelo Smart Wand Large is (a toy which I’m very well acquainted with) .

Coming together at Eroticon was like a reunion after a long time apart—just what we needed but never a requirement for our friendship and professional relationship.

Still, I now have smiling faces and cheeky laughs to add to the Twitter handles that I am so familiar with, and I can’t wait to see my friends again.

#4 Ceramic Pleasure Creations

Four to be precise.

I love Ceramic Pleasure’s work so when I saw his stall I just couldn’t resist picking out a few more to review.

It was incredibly difficult too. There was an Evermore for sale in the most beautiful glaze I had ever seen on a dildo. I wanted to stare at it for hours and get lost in its depths. It was mesmerizing in the finer nuances of its pigmentation and patterning.

But, alas my desire for others to experience the Evermore trumps my desire to hoard them all myself and so I went for some other designs instead.

I won’t say too much about these, because they’ll each be getting an individual appraisal, but I do urge you to keep an eye on the Ceramic Samplings series.

#5 Marks

On the Saturday evening Marvy Darling showed me an impressive sight—a brilliant bruise on her upper back. Upon seeing it I knew I had to have my own.

I swiftly found out it was the result of a cupping massage (something I’ve wanted to try for a while) and went on a Cupping Quest of sorts to get my own experience of the practice while I had the chance.

As part of this fun little side-quest I decided to get various marks over the course of Eroticon and allow Mr Peaches to set the goal. The conversation had a few…moments:

How many marks should I get?

48

…Marks, not hits.

(Should I be concerned that Mr Peaches is trying to get me assassinated via BDSM? That’s not really my kink).

In the end I did finally get a quiet moment with DomSigns in which he was able to apply the glass cups he had brought to my back. This experience is another one I will be writing about separately (alongside the branding that started off my marking session) but I will say that it was a rush (in more ways than one).

#6 Sex Tips

The best thing about being around other individuals that are frank about their sex lives is that we’re not afraid to trade tips. And, no, these aren’t the generic, somewhat vapid tips that you’d find in some magazines—these were tips from highly respected reviewers and other individuals who knew your personal preferences and catered their advice to what they thought might work best for you.

Long story short I came out of this event having purchased far more sex toys than I should have and I regret nothing.

#7 A Desire To Connect With More Erotic Fiction Writers

To the erotic fiction writers out there,

Hi y’all. How are you doing? We work in the same field but we’re also kind of approaching it from different directions and our parallel paths seem to diverge at times. But for me Eroticon was the crossroads where we finally got a bit more chance to recognize our similarities and get full feel for the complimentary nature of our work.

If you want to do something, I’d be happy to do something. If you ever need advice on what sex toys might work in a certain scene, let me know the scenario and I’ll send you to some reviews. There are some links there. And, although I knew we’ve all gone off to walk our own paths now again, I’d like to think we can find ways to return to each other at various pit stops along the way.

#8 A Sense That What I Say Matters

I think one of the things I must have said more than anything over the course of Eroticon is ‘I’m just a me’ as if to dismiss the many kind words and reactions that people were directing my way.

What I really should have done (especially after GOTN’s talk) is reframe that:

I’m a me and no one else occupies the same space I do. My me-ness matters.

I’m me.

Each any every person at Eroticon had their own unique experiences and contributions that they could bring to the table and every perspective was valuable. That includes mine (despite how squeamish that idea might make me) and I should embrace that, just as I want each of you (and the other delegates) to embrace their own individual perspective on things.

In short you rock and so do I (apparently).

#9 SO Many Awesome Experiences

I named a chair Ricky and mounted it as if it were my most intimate client. I broke the sound barrier with my excited squeal at Formidable Femme’s love of their partner. I ate at my favourite falafel place with Femme Reviews, Marvy Darling, Horny Geek Girl, Formidable Femme, and Screw Taboo and I also haggled down a purple devil plush for good measure too.

Faaaar too many sweet vegan goodies were consumed but discussions with fellow Fitbit users made me feel a little bit better about making a cookie/cereal hybrid for breakfast on one occasion (never again).

I also thanked an incredibly kind manager at my local Sainsbury’s for supplying me with an empty plastic container when I needed one. I got given a free pack of tea from the maker of my favourite Camden loose leaf tea, and I had a few good laughs with pretty much every staff member at the Camden Lock Hotel.

These are just a few of the awesome experiences I had while attending Eroticon and I’ll never forget them.

#10 A Few Secrets

One of the fun things about Eroticon is that you get to see and experience some things that you can’t disclose just yet. I have mounted some things, glimpsed at some images, and started plotting some fun ideas with various companies that I trust and respect.

Of course, that’s all I can say at this point but allow me to be bold and say that 2017 is going to be a very exciting year for the adult community product indeed.

Oh, and if you read my virtual meet & greet then there is a follow up to part of it coming really soon…

Aaaand seeing as this article has gone on for quite some time I believe I shall wrap it up there.

I hope you all enjoyed reading my initial thoughts about Eroticon and that you’ll support all the people that helped make it happen.

Do keep a keen eye on the Eroticon page too. The provisional 2018 dates are already live and I know I’ll be trying to attend. How about you?

Until the next review!

Emmeline.