“Hi, my name is ______, and I’m here for the sex.” That’s how some students introduced themselves at last Tuesday’s sex toy workshop, sponsored by Voices of Planned Parenthood (Vox) and Lambda Theta Alpha.
The workshop drew an unexpected crowd – nearly 40 students crowded into the Women’s Center to learn about sensual products and sexual stimulation.
The presenter, Courtney Huston, is a consultant for Passion Parties, a company that sells sensual products – including vibrators and other toys, but also massage lotions and the occasional educational book (sample title: “The Complete Manual of Sexual Positions”).
Like a Mary Kay consultant, Huston sets up parties where women can view and purchase products in their own homes. But unlike the makeup business, Passion Parties sells products more popular at bachelorette parties than at the beauty parlor.
“I’d like to start off with some of our edibles,” Huston said, passing around Nipple Nibblers, a fruit-flavored gel that can double as a lip gloss (added tingling sensation!).
Some products are aimed at women exploring their bodies with a partner, Huston explained, holding up some edible chocolate powder.
Attendees could sample flavored massage lotions, warming gels and Pure Instinct, a pheramone-based fragrance that picks up the wearer’s individual scent.
And of course, there were the sex toys themselves. There was Passion Parties’ most popular vibrator, the small silver Bullet, as well as a few others from the catalog: the eight-inch Pink Passion and the Jelly Osaki, a bright purple vibrator with a rotating shaft.
“(Our business is) all private parties, that’s the magic of it,” Huston said.
Many women, Huston said, wouldn’t feel comfortable walking into a sex toy shop, but they enjoy the chance to see products up close within the comfort of their own home and among friends.
Kathy Loglisci, secondary education/English major and Vox president, said she was “floored” by the number of people who showed up.
She expected that the party would be full of Vox members; she had not anticipated the number of people who had heard about the event through word of mouth.
Loglisci said that the goal of the event was to promote the idea that “self-sex is safe sex” – that masturbation is healthy, and it allows people to discover their preferences on their own.
“I think people like learning about sex toys for two reasons,” Loglisci said. “One, because they’re interested in pleasure, whether it’s their own or their partner’s. Two, because toys are considered so taboo that there’s a lot of curiosity surrounding them. You never learn about sex toys in health class.”