The Intelligencer


By Dorothy Cascerceri, The Intelligencer

 CT-adult-toy-partiesFirst came Tupperware, then Pampered Chef. Now, the newest – oh, some might say hottest – in-home sales trend: women-only adult toy parties. And they improve their sex – as well as social – lives.

It’s been called the Tupperware party of the new millennium. But don’t expect to find any products here that can store left-over lasagna. Instead, there are sex toys, lotions and potions for sale. The get-togethers are like a “No Boys Allowed” secret club that improve women’s sex – and social – lives.

Take Brittany Smith, for example. Three months ago, she moved from New Jersey to Warrington with her husband and son. She became friendly with her neighbor, Sophia, 34, but she didn’t know anyone else in the area and wondered how to meet more girlfriends.

Sophia, who declined to give her last name, hosted a Fantasia party in her home with approxiamately 20 guests, and Smith enjoyed it so much, she decided to host her own. Her guest list included many of the women on Sophia’s guest list – people Smith now calls “friends.”

She says the topic of discussion – sex – encourages women to trust each other, bringing them closer.

“I kept thinking, ‘I gotta find more girls,’” the 29-year-old says. “This kind of thing forces you to open up and, if you want, share some personal experiences.”

The topic of chit-chat is predetermined, of course. Michelle Pearl of Southampton says it may be a bit daunting at first, but women of any personality type, can have fun.

“Even shy people like me can get into it,” she says. “(Shy people) can ease their way into it.”

Tina Holmes, who presents anywhere between five and ten parties a month, says usually, everyone starts out like Pearl.

“A lot of times, in the beginning they’re more quiet and they’re a little more reserved,” she says. “They’re in their own little personal groups. As the show goes on, they’re showing everyone (the products). They interact more.”

Melissa Reese, another friend of Smith’s from a previous Fantasia party, says the nature of the products makes participation inevitable.

“When other people around you are being crazy and open, it’s not that hard to join in because it’s a roomful of women,” says the 28-year-old mother of two who lives in Warminster.

“It’s not like you’re with family members or men. You feel comfortable and want to join in the fun.”

Jessica Iovine, a 20-year-old Warminster resident says sometimes, women are unfriendly when they first meet. But not at these parties. “Nobody is snobby,” she says. “You can’t have an attitude.”

Iovine adds that conversations at Fantasia parties are about trust – whether or not you know everyone there.

“If you just meet someone, you’re not sure if you can talk about something like (sex),” says Iovine, who met Smith at another Fantasia party. “Here, everyone opens up and talks about it.”

Smith says the parties are a safe place to bring questions and concerns to the table where other women can offer their input. “I’m real modest when it comes to sex,” she says. “You’ll never hear me talking about it in a bar. I’d never say anything about it in public.”

Judith Blau, a psychologist in Doylestown, say the hands-on demonstrations with the products creates an intimate atmosphere for women. “If people are getting massages and putting things on their skin and trying different items, they’re experiencing something that’s physical and personal and more intimate in feeling than in some other settings, so right there, there’s a connection,” she says.

“The whole idea of sensuality and pleasure is very personal, too, and is going to feel more intimate than just talk.” Rina Valan, who founded Fantasia 20 years ago, says the parties are popular because they’re fun.

“Not that other parties aren’t, but the nature of the product itself leads to hootin’ and hollerin’ and laughing and giggling with their friends,” she says. She admits her motivation for booking parties – to sell products.

But she adds women get more out the experience. “… It gives them the chance to meet other women, to talk – a socialization method, a get-together.” she says.