I think most of us, even in the New Millennium, would find the combination of Christmas and sex toys a startling one ... but Passion Party consultant Tina McIntosh said we might be really missing out if we dismiss the idea out of hand.
Sex toys as stocking stuffers - a New Millennium Christmas?
McIntosh even has catalogues featuring holiday gift packages and combinations of vibrators, games, books, massage oils and lotions, and more, designed specifically as gifts for the holidays ...and they're selling like hot cakes here in Castlegar.
“I think it's a great gift idea, and lots of other women seem to, too,” she said. “You know how, at Christmastime, you want to get your partner something personal, and something you know they'll use? Well ...”
McInotsh, a Calgary transplant who moved here about four years ago, said she came into her unorthodox job purely by accident.
“I was looking for a new toy for myself, and it was so hard to figure out where to buy, what to buy, how to handle the shipping – it was all such a hassle,” she said. “I finally found this company, which has a great selection and reasonable prices, and the shipping isn't outrageous.”
She said it wasn't a great leap, from there, to consider selling the Passion Party product line locally.
“I thought it would be a great service to provide local women ...and the women of this town seem to agree.”
Since signing on Sept. 15, McInotsh has already held six parties and has eight more booked for November.
The concept, similar in function to the more traditional Tupperware party, has a hostess invite a group of friends over for a Passion Party. The hostess provides the locale, the guest list and the appetizers, while McIntosh brings along catalogues and product samples, as well as order forms. The hostess, in exchange for her efforts, gets free products and discounts.
“Usually, it's all women, but I've done a couples party, too – it's whatever you and your circle of friends are comfortable with,” McIntosh said. “You're able to taste and smell the lotions and other products, and I pass around the toys (with fresh batteries) so you can see them up close and see how they work; what they do. We also set up a table in another room, so you can give your order privately.”
She said many women of all ages and marital statuses appreciate the clear, matter-of-fact descriptions and explanations McIntosh provides. She also said each party is different – some are evening dos featuring a great deal of wine consumption and giggling, while others are more formal, lunchtime affairs.
“It's really whatever works for you and your friends – the goal is just creating an environment where everyone can get questions answered and can feel comfortable discussing the products,” she said. “This way, you can see and touch things you might not be familiar with, and might not feel comfortable browsing through in a public store.”
And while many may consider this sort of product the sole purview of the young and single (and perhaps promiscuous), McIntosh said that stereotype most definitely does not hold true - many of her customers are in committed, long-term relationships and, in fact, go through the catalogues together, as a couple, and make up a wish-list that they then bring to McIntosh to fill.
And Christmas is, after all, a season for togetherness, right?
“It (our product line) can add to an already healthy, happy sex life or, if you're going through kind of a dry spell, they can pique your interest again and give you that 'oomph' to kick-start things again.
“It's not as taboo as it used to be,” she said. “And the reactions are never what you'd expect – I've learned not to judge a book by its cover.”
She said those she thought would be completely at home with the concept are often the ones who blush and stammer the most, while others she expected to be more shy, have been totally at ease and enthusiastic.
“There's just no telling,” she said. “All the parties are different; all the people are different – the one constant is that it's way more interesting than Tupperware.”
She said there are toys for men, products designed specifically for couples, products focussed more on sensuality than sexuality – even how-to books her customers have found most enlightening.
“I compare it to shoes – you wouldn't want to go through life with just one pair of shoes. You want boots, and heels and runners – different shoes for different purposes,” she said. “These products are the same idea – each is designed for a different purpose and has its own advantages.”
For herself, McIntosh said the subject is not embarrassing for her at all – she loves providing such an important service for local women.
“I found my calling,” she said. “I'm thoroughly enjoying it, meeting people, stepping out of my own comfort zone. I can't believe how well it's taking off.”
For more information, contact McIntosh at 250-365-2222.
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