Revamping the house call

One Journal staffer reviews her not-so-hot Passion Party experience

Passionate Pam Rochna shows off the Ultimate Indulgence.
Passionate Pam Rochna shows off the Ultimate Indulgence.
Photo: 
Passion Parties’ wild catalogue offers everything from cock-rings and bullets to vibrators.
Passion Parties’ wild catalogue offers everything from cock-rings and bullets to vibrators.
Photo: 

Back in the day, women held Tupperware parties. A hired consultant would demonstrate and sell plastic containers to a group of women gathered at a home. These days, you can participate in a more passionate kind of household party.

Passion Parties, a Las Vegas-based company, gives people who may feel a bit sheepish about buying intimate products, such as edible lotion or racy sex toys, the chance to do so in the comfort of their—or their friends’—homes.

On one cold night in January, it was a group of Journal staffers’ turn to experience some passionate fun.

“Welcome, everybody,” said Pam Rochna, the passion party leader for the night. She was in her mid-30s, sporting bleached-blonde hair, a hot pink shirt reading “Passion Party” and a bubbly smile.

“Has anybody ever been to a passion party before?” Collective shaking heads.

“No? OK. I like to call you guys virgins,” she said.

To start, she handed us an order form with more than 175 items and two different catalogues—an orange “mild” one, and a purple “wild” one—so we could mark down what we liked or wanted to purchase during her demonstrations. The mild copy featured items such as the purple, heart-shaped, self-warming massage pack; shower gels; edible body paints and candle massage oils. The wild catalogue contained everything from vibrators to dildos and fetish wear, such as full-body stockings and costumes. The first activity of the evening began with “Pure Instincts”—a clear, perfume-like fluid made with synthetic pheromones, designed to bring out the wearer’s natural pheromones, the hormone that attracts one person to another. “All you need is a little dab,” she said.

Rochna went around the room with popsicle sticks, spreading pheromones to everyone.

Pheromones have no scent, Rochna said, but with the fluid’s help our natural pheromones can become subject to human detection. After applying the Pure Instincts, some of us smelled a little fruitier, others muskier—but generally, everyone’s “pheromones” had a hint of tropical fruit.

Other mists and sprays came out of Rochna’s suitcase. One such product was “Silky Sheets,” a spray with a thin layer of talcum powder infused in an aerosol can.

“You know those wet spots you may find … you don’t have to worry about that anymore,” Rochna said.

With that, the party moved into more 14A territories—actually talking about what goes on in bed.

“We’re going to talk about some edible fun. Having fun in the bedroom makes sex more enjoyable,” she said.

She brought out the Edible Pens—non-sticky, chocolate body ink in squeezable pen form. Rochna went around the circle writing our initials on the back of our hands with either a chocolate- or a strawberry-flavoured Edible Pen. The icing itself was less pleasant than real chocolate—too much of it tasted like Kool-Aid and food colouring. Silence filled the room as we collectively licked the back of our hands in an awkward, cat-like fashion.

Sticking with the edible theme, Rochna concluded the “mild” session with a dab of Tasty Tease, a paste coming in strawberry and piña colada flavours.

“It’s a tasty tease on your tongue, or on the penis,” Rochna said.

You could also use it in the morning, Rochna said, to prevent morning-breath from detracting from some early fun, or on the clitoris to help with post-orgasm sensitivity.

The talk of orgasms is the trigger that transitions the evening from mild to wild.

“Let’s talk about vibration,” Rochna said.

The rest of the night was filled with vibrators of all kinds, sizes and speeds. With names such as “Pearl Dolphin,” “Turtle Frenzy” and “Escalating Elephant,” the wild catalogue resembled an R-rated safari.

Rochna had samples of a few items from the catalogue, and passed various vibrators around the room. With an escalating scale of features and price tag, the most expensive and high-tech vibrator in the catalogue was the “Ultimate Indulgence.” At a whopping $168, it featured flashing lights and beads, with a hummingbird-shaped clitoral stimulator that flutters at lightning speed.

Our photographer—the only male in the room—looked in awe at its 360 degree rotation and thrusting mechanism.

“You’ve been replaced,” Rochna said with a twinkle in her eye.

After the Ultimate Indulgence, the night winds down with Rochna in the other room, taking confidential orders from those interested in purchasing her wares.

Rochna said she began hosting passion parties in July 2004 when she was looking for a fun bachelorette party activity.

Since then, Rochna said she has hosted more than 200 parties, making an average of $40 an hour.

Rochna said the aim of Passion Parties is to create a confidential and safe environment for women to explore their sexuality.

“We’re just trying to spread the passion towards women—young, middle aged, married, or older.”

That said, in an environment where on-campus resources such as the Sexual Health Resource Centre (SHRC) are available with its variety of teach-ins—including the ones about a variety of sex toys they sell at cost—the Passion Party experience is a disappointing one. Rochna replaced information on how to have fun with my partner or myself with an aggressive sales pitch that came with some very expensive price tags.

Perhaps if I were a woman in my mid-30s or was never educated on the subject of sexual exploration, I would have related to Rochna—a mother and a wife herself—a little more. But at an age where resources and friends are widely available for some open advice about spicing up one’s sex life, a passion party is no substitute for getting out and exploring the other more relatable resources available to you.

Safer-sex products

Birth Control Pill

A pill combining varying amounts of estrogen and progestin and taken orally for three weeks, with a one-week break between cycles. When taken correctly—at the same time every day—the pills stop ovulation, preventing normal fertility.

Birth control pills regulate periods, often making them lighter and less painful. They’re also proven to reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer, and may treat acne and endometriosis.

Risks include strokes and blood clots. The pills don’t protect against STIs, HIV or Hepatitis and are less effective if the user is a smoker.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An IUD is inserted into the uterus by a doctor and remains in place for the duration of the time pregnancy isn’t desired. There are two types of IUDs—copper-based and hormonal. An IUD can stay in place from five to 12 years, depending on the type.

Benefits include a less than one per cent failure rate and not having to take any daily action.

However, IUDs may lead to heavier, more painful periods and a very low risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. IUDs don’t protect the user from STIs, HIV or Hepatitis.

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a soft silicone or latex dome with a spring molded into the rim so that, upon insertion, the dome seals itself to the walls of the vagina. The diaphragm must be inserted into the vagina—with spermicide—prior to sex and should remain in place from six to eight hours after the man’s last ejaculation.

Diaphragms must be fitted for the individual by a doctor. They also require cleaning after use. Latex diaphragms should be replaced every one to three years, depending on storage. Silicone diaphragms can last up to 10 years. Although diaphragms can prevent some STI transmission, they shouldn’t be relied on as a barrier against STIs, HIV or Hepatitis.

Cervical Cap

Similar to the diaphragm, the cervical cap is inserted into the vagina before sex and should remain in place for at least eight hours after the man’s last ejaculation. Cervical caps can be made from either latex or silicone and are fitted over the cervix—the entrance to the uterus—preventing sperm from entering the female reproductive tract. A cervical cap must be fitted by a doctor and replaced every two years.

When used correctly, cervical caps have a failure rate of between nine and 26 per cent, depending on the type used. They shouldn’t be used as an STI, HIV or Hepatitis barrier.

Foam

Contraceptive foam contains the spermicide nonoxynol-9 and is inserted into the vagina with a syringe-like applicator. Foam is water-based and will break down inside the vagina and simply leak out. Foam should always be inserted before sex, including between multiple sexual encounters.

Condoms

Condoms cover the erect penis and act as a physical barrier, preventing the male’s ejaculate from entering his partner’s body. When used correctly, condoms protect against pregnancy and STI, HIV and Hepatitis transmission.

Condoms are most commonly made from latex and therefore, oil-based lubricants can damage them and lower their effectiveness.

Female Condoms

The female condom is worn inside the vagina. It is a physical barrier, preventing male ejaculate from entering the woman’s body. Female condoms are usually made from either polyurethane (the FC Female Condom) or nitrile polymer (FC2).

When used correctly, female condoms protect against pregnancy and STI, HIV and Hepatitis transmission. However, recent tests have found the female condom to be less effective than the male condom.

Dental Dams

Dental dams are latex sheets that can be placed over the vulva or anus to prevent STI, HIV and Hepatitis transmission during oral sex.

Gloves

Gloves are used when giving manual stimulation. They protect against the transmission of herpes, venereal warts and HIV. Emergency Contraception Pill (ECP) ECPs—sometimes referred to as “the morning-after pill”—can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Effectiveness of the drug increases the sooner it’s taken—optimally, within 24 hours of unprotected sex. ECPs act to prevent both ovulation and fertilization or the post-fertilization implantation of the embryo. ECPs are different than medical abortion procedures, which act after embryo implantation.

ECPs do not protect against or counteract STIs or HIV and may disrupt the next menstrual period by a few days.

Gardasil

Gardasil is a vaccine that prevents against human papillomavirus (HPV) strains 16 and 18, which account for about 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases.

—Angela Hickman

Sources: clubs.myams.org/shrc, yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com

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