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A few women, one of them in reading glasses, sat browsing erotic catalogs in the family room. The smokers blazed through a few cigarettes before it all began, and the crowd in the kitchen tittered with giggles. They were jumpy, half-excited, half-dreading the parade of lotions and gadgets soon to get under way. Erin Ackerly, 31, carefully staged merchandise in tufts of fuzzy pink. She's a sales consultant for Passion Parties, a racier incarnation ofthe old-school Tupperware gathering.
Women schedule a party, invite their friends, ply them with alcohol and Ackerly brings the main event: games, lotions, lubricants and various models of vibrating silicone. She radiated nervous exhilaration. Local women need this opportunity, she said, because "it's really hard when you don't want to go on the Internet Passion Parties, a Las Vegas company founded inis banking on women's urge to take erotica back from the windowless storefront.
Company representatives couldn't say how long Passion Parties has been a force in Bakersfield, but of its salespeople in the San Joaquin Valley, 40 of them operate here. Passion Parties fits into a larger trend, one that has gyms offering cardio striptease classes and TBS airing "Sex and the City" reruns. Increased sexual assertiveness among women comes from years of "unsexy movements," said Paula Kamen, a Chicago-based feminist author whose book, "Her Way," explores the issue.
Women control their sex lives -- and discuss it over cocktails -- because they're economically empowered, educated and enjoy unprecedented awareness of their bodies and health, she said. Cultural icons like Carrie Brhaw from "Sex and the City" and playwright Eve Ensler, who wrote "The Vagina Monologues," reflect a boldness that's been building for 40 years, she said. Women are "looking at their own pleasure and their own desires and needs," said Kamen.
And it isn't necessarily political. Roseann, the party's year-old hostess, is "not at all" a feminist, she said. She's a mother and social worker, and while she celebrates women's ascent in the world of work and other triumphs, she's not one to make a political fuss.
Like the women Kamen describes in her book, Roseann's empowerment doesn't link to a larger movement. Nor does it shun tradition. At her party, women evaluated sex toys in full view of at least four depictions of the Last Supper -- on a plate, vase, relief and framed picture -- and one portrait of Jesus. It's something you enjoy with your spouse.
We need to smell good and relax and be told, 'I love you. Some husbands with wives at the party were all for it. One hoped his wife would bring home merchandise that night she didn't; the products are all mail order. Another husband was left in the dark, and might still think his wife, Tammi, 42, spent the evening ogling cookware with the girls at a Pampered Chef party. Six years ago, a 24 Hour Fitness executive proposed launching cardio striptease classes in its gyms across the country.
The idea went over like a lead balloon. She dropped the idea, but when it came up again about a year ago, her colleagues were all for it. Starting this summer, nearly all of 24 Hour Fitness' clubs, including three in Bakersfield, offer 24Tease, a half-hour cardio striptease class.
And they're a hit. In Bakersfield, women and men of all ages grind and shake around the aerobics room. The instructor hands out feather boas, which are shed quickly -- the class is an actual workout. At 24 Hour Fitness in east Bakersfield, the class struts in full view of slaves to the elliptical machine, but its dancers writhe on; they don't seem to care.
People "come out of their skin" and show another side of themselves during the class, said Charlie Hammons, who le the Thursday evening class. It's not their naked side -- those who take the class arrive in layers, and women strip no further than a sports bra. Women are far more daring than they used to be, Meyer said, and the change is reflected in their workout. They're moving from the "beat yourself up, sweat until you're dying regimen to, you know, I want to do this to feel good," she said.
There are about 40 Passion Parties consultants in Bakersfield. To reach one of them, or to find out about becoming a consultant yourself, visit www. You can also book a party or find out about the business by calling Erin Ackerly ator e-mail her at in2passion bak. To find out the local 24Tease schedule, visit www. More Coronavirus coverage. Subscribe. Thank you for reading!
Up. Log In. Log In Purchase a Subscription. Purchase a Subscription. We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content. Edit Close. Toggle. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram. Home Entertainment Entertainment. The parties also offer the chance to compare notes with other women. When he finds out what she bought, it will be on her terms, in her own time, she said. Recommended for you. Concert for the Causes video preview.
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