Study tables, notebooks and laptops are being foregone for a night in many dorms’ study lounges for Pure Romance’s vibrators, c-rings and massage oils.
Pure Romance is the world’s largest in-home party company specializing in “relationship-enhancing products;” better known as sex toys. This may seem seedy to some, but the parties are designed to be fun, freeing experiences in a safe, judgment-free environment.
Only those who identify as women are allowed to attend these parties, which are usually run in a home, dorm or private residence by a representative of the company. Parties are lighthearted and usually feature pink decorations.
The fact that men are excluded is not one that all agree with, however.
“I think it’s unfair,” said Kati Anderson, a junior studying biology who hosted a party in 2010. “If a man wants to come and have a good time and buy some things for the bedroom, then I don’t see a problem with it.”
The Loveland, Ohio based company is gaining some steam at Ohio University because of its geographic roots. Lincoln Sklar, a residential assistant and a senior studying journalism, said she hosted a party at a nearby apartment during her time as an RA because she wanted a way to discuss sexual health with her residents.
“I wanted a safe way for us to talk openly about safe sex and our expectations in a partner,” she said. “Honestly, these are some of the best conversations I had as an RA.”
Despite the lighthearted nature, these gatherings can be intimidating to those who aren’t familiar with the process, said Ashley Labaki, a senior studying psychology.
“I expected that there would be very few people there and that they’d be gossiping about sex and dildos and junk, but it was a bunch of young ladies not unlike myself,” she said. “It was totally different than what I had imagined that I’d be seeing at this type of party, which made it all the better.”
Jessica Link, a 2013 theater alumna, said she was also surprised by the party she attended, especially by its focus on women’s sexual health and education.
“I expected the party to be a lot of penis and a lot of giggling with little substance. I was wrong,” she said. “Yes, there was giggling and penis, but Kori Roth, (the consultant) was incredibly forward thinking about sexual health and very candid. … Sex is an important part of life that most of the time gets skewed.”
For those who aren’t so keen on vibrators and other personal sex aids, Pure Romance also offers beauty products, soaps and other products for more timid partygoers.
“Going to a sex toy party with your RA can be a little awkward,” Sklar said. “But, everyone had a lot of fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”