Adult

[AVN/AEE 2015]

Porn progress: AVN’s expo expands with more to show and tell in 2015

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Attendees pose for a picture during the 2015 AVN/Adult Entertainment Expo on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

Past the coffee shop housing sex toys, I slide by the bouncer and the women striking poses in Spandex. I’m not in an Amsterdam sex club, I’m at the Hard Rock Hotel. AVN just wrapped another installment of its Adult Entertainment Expo at the off-Strip resort Saturday night—and after an increase in attendance last year following a recession-fueled industry lull (as told to the Las Vegas Sun in 2014), the annual trade show saw more growth in 2015.

2015 AVN/AEE: Day 3

“This time out we are packed to the gills,” says Sherri L. Shaulis, senior editor of AVN’s Pleasure Products. With exhibitors taking up more space in the convention halls, AEE’s B2B Adult Novelty Expo was moved to a nearby ballroom. “We’ve taken over areas of the hotel that we’ve never used before,” Shaulis says, mentioning the elevator lobby and the Fuel Café.

But don’t think added square footage translated into more room to roam. Congested hordes surrounded busy booths, lines for starlet selfies caused a never-ending traffic jam, and fan seminars packed HRH’s Vinyl concert venue. Registration numbers for Internext, AVN’s B2B web component, were up according to Shaulis, and an AVN rep said over 35,000 were in attendance at AEE. Convention content expanded, too.

2015 AVN/AEE: Day 1

“The fan element really skyrocketed this year for a number of reasons, not least of which I think is our ‘Sex Is …’ [fan seminar series]” Shaulis says. The AVN rep explains that as adult entertainment moves away from the fringe thanks to visibility (citing 50 Shades of Grey) and with technology allowing increased access to information, more people are interested in being educated about sex. So AVN amped up the seminar series this year, loading each day with multiple sessions and inviting sex therapists and doctors alongside the usual lineup of porn-star panelists.

“It wasn’t a one-time fluke last year,” Shaulis says. “We are really here, we’re mainstream and people want their adult stuff.”

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