It was a drizzling Saturday evening in B.C.’s Fraser Valley and I was prodding a replica vagina with modest intrigue and quiet condemnation.

I was at the Taboo Naughty But Nice Sex Show, for reasons that are still not clear, and the latex lady part was one of hundreds of items being peddled casually, like a Teflon frying pan at Costco.

Here, perusing the aisles of adult playthings under bright lights in a warehouse setting, one couldn’t help but notice the sterilization of sex — something so significant in romantic relationships and usually so emotionally-provocative — and the complete pointlessness of many of the products.

The strappy leather get-up laden with grips and handles, for example, seemed rather unnecessary. The traffic-cone-size butt plug did not need to exist. The non-porous, glass dildo with a flower inside failed to pique my interest, despite the sales lady informing me it was “functional art” that’s also “dishwasher safe.”

And the middle-age woman selling vibrators at her corner kiosk like a female Billy Mayes? “It’s like she was selling Cuisinart appliances,” said one friend. We half expected the vibrator to also dice onions and absorb spills effortlessly.

Another friend theorizes the trade shows are deliberately unsexy, as to not intimidate the more conservative attendees. I think he is wrong.

The sex toy industry peddles its products with the pitch these items could and should be an exciting and instrumental part of people’s sex lives. Those who aren’t interested, the inference would suggest, are boring or guarded or scared.

Organizers wanted the show to be sexy, exciting and risqué, but failed, because the reality is that CyberSkin and AA batteries and Liberator ramps are not sexy — people are. Toys are just that, and should be used as occasional accessories, without the permanency of the holes drilled into the ceiling to install a Love Swing ™.

That said, I still think the Ultra Realistic Vibrating Vagina & Anus would make a pretty neat conversation piece.

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