These days, sex toys are a multi-billion-dollar industry, with an astounding variety of devices meeting women’s most intimate needs. As not all of us are comfortable walking into the local sex shop and the Internet can be confusing, parties — kind of like Tupperware parties but with a far different sort of plasticware as the guest of honor — have proved a popular way for women to check out their options in a safe and informative environment.
Athena’s Home Novelties sales representative Brandy Walters piqued the inner musings of women with and without Valentine’s Day attachments Saturday night at the Bridgewater Irish Pub & Restaurant in Downtown Kingston by offering a few alternatives from her company’s product line of adult novelty items ranging from bath salts to night-light condoms to battery-powered gadgets engineered to make you go “hmmm.”
The table confronting the giggling gaggle of women was filled with a rainbow of plastic and fleshy latex delights configured in every shape, size and diameter, ranging from an undersized silver egg to bright red-nubbed rings to a suction-cup-bottomed flesh-tone realistic version of the real deal dubbed “Felipe.” They are operated by remote controls, dials, multiple-button settings or old-fashioned elbow grease. The table also featured straps, feathers, Velcro and other sizzling sundries to stimulate good times and well-being.
Ever wonder why creature likenesses of bears, beavers, butterflies, dolphins and rabbits seem to populate the shelves at adult stores? Walters explained that some foreign export laws prohibit the exportation of any adult novelty items which “look” sexual. Athena’s product line was no exception to the rule; however, only a handful of items resembled wildlife, and none daunting.
Every woman has a spot, though few women know how to reach it. Walters encouraged women not to stop till they finally hit the spot, and had a line of products angled perfectly for reaching those hard-to-reach places, including a favored utilitarian bright purple apparatus purported to work its magic in silence, so as not to alert little pitchers with big ears.
For couples who need help greasing the wheels, numerous slippery agents of lotions and oils are on the market offering tingling, burning, cooling and warming sensations, either scented or not. Water-based lubricants rather than synthetics are favored, said Walters, because our bodies cannot break down the synthetic materials as easily, often leading to infections. For men, the synthetics that often go hand-in-hand with extended interaction contain silicone, like Athena’s Gun Oil, but can be messier to clean up. Non-staining is always a plus, like the WET Light which is also touted as non-sticky as well. Needless to say edible is always a plus, as are those his/hers specific lubricants which react upon contact with each other.
What’s the number one mood-killer? According to Walters, stress. “I’m not the only woman in the room who’s having sex and thinking, ‘Why did my boss say that to me?’” For that issue, Walters suggested, prioritize pampering and relaxation first, or nothing will be enjoyable. Hot in the bath-and-body department are synthetic pheromone creams, oils, lotions and bed spray. Or explore a scented edible melting wax which doesn’t burn and can be used as massage oil.
Not every “marital aid” is geared toward women, as Athena offers pages of toys for boys as well. Though we cannot get specific here, we will say that high pressure really does get the job done.
“Sarah” (we are not printing full or real names, for modesty’s sake) said that she had never been to a toy party before, and expected to feel a lot more uncomfortable than she did — she even fearlessly plotted a purchase. Among the toy-sifting women were bankers, nurses, health-care professionals, paramedics, executives, managers and a police officer. “This ain’t our first rodeo,” mused “Molly Magee.” “The first party I ever went to was very intimidating, but as you go it becomes more and more comfortable,” she said. “Women should think of themselves first.”
Few know that Columbia Costume Supply in Uptown Kingston has two floors loaded with every costume, wig, toiletry and accessory on the planet. Owner Laura Spaey boasts to have one of everything; her well-stocked lingerie department has more like four of everything. That includes cat suits, cupid costumes, corsets, belly-dancer costumes, fantasy makeup, fuzzy cuffs, whips, wings, body stockings, satin gloves, feather boas, lace masks, tiaras, garters, costume shoes and more, not forgetting the “Babe-A-Lonian Warrior” costume.
Other Valentine’s Day gifts Spaey sells include professional razors “for men who believe in a clean shave,” Henna kits, glitter tattoos, costume jewelry, feather earrings, rhinestone jewelry, kinky sexy wigs, Garden gloves “to preserve her manicure,” decorative roses, feathered fans, hair clip extensions and more.
Another idea for playful couples are Venetian masks, said Spaey. “They are a part of dress-up. We try to awaken the imagination here.” Also, superhero costumes, or “favorite playmates” as Spaey put it. “It’s a smiling-type of store. People come in here and they feel better.” Drag queens, theater groups, small-film actors, dancers (of all kinds) and school productions are some of the regulars she sees.
From the lingerie department, she offers garters (and the highly sought garter-and-pistol set for those working on their Western saloon themes), garter belts and garter arm bands and even neon garters. There are also retro-print tights, seamless Lurex leggings, seamless high halter-neck industrial net body stockings, spandex crochet body stockings, lace thongs, boy shorts, cheetah-print bras, and (so cute it’s displayed in the window) a Valentine-red underwired satin Merry Widow with lace-up sides and corseted back with matching G-string.
If you’re a brunette who wants to be a bombshell blonde for a hot Valentine’s date, Spaey’s the woman to see. “We have wigs from sexy and sultry to daywear and playwear.” The average wig starts at $24 and runs to $150, with modern styles that include highlights, roots, edgy-contemporary styles in every length, and even salt-and-pepper grey. Right now the pink and red wigs are selling fast, noted Spaey. ‘Tis the season.
Nail polish, lipstick and even false eyelashes in every color and an entire makeup department of professional stage makeup staffed by three professional makeup artists can help apply the finishing touches.
If your lover’s delight is more met through the finer sense of taste, then know that Kokokobi chocolates on Ulster Avenue, formally Chocolatiers, just launched its self-named line of naughty chocolates. You can either pick through dozens of playful quips ranging from the ratings of G to NC-17 on bars sold for $10 per bar or three for $25, or custom-design your own candy bar statement and add up to five ingredients in a bar. They make their own chocolates including assortment of liquor chocolates in both dark and milk. Red-foil lips chocolate “kisses” are a big Valentine day seller for 50 cents per.
Though many of the clever sayings on the candy bars are not rated for print in your local newspaper, employee Ryan Pickering did mention that it is the rated-PG candy bar sayings that sell the best and added that chocolate coupons were a hot-ticket seller for this holiday.