Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Lesbian's Review of Pure Romance

Background needed:
  1. I am a lesbian
  2. A coworker/friend invited me to her party. It was her first party as a consultant, and she was both consultant and host.
  3. I knew of Pure Romance through being invited to a party once but never going, and then checking them out online. 
  4. There were other people at the party, but for the sake of privacy, this story will be told as if they were cardboard cutouts capable of generic speech. 
So, for those of you who don't know what Pure Romance is, they're basically Mary Kay of sex toys. Pure Romance sells things for getting intimate: perfume, shave gels, lube, sex toys for couples, sex toys for solo/couple*, and a few other things.  Pure Romance products can only be bought through a consultant, either at a party on online through the consultant's site**.
This is a method much like other companies such as Tupperware, Amway, Mary Kay, Big Yellow Box, and Herbalife. All of these work through the same sort of promise: Own your own business, and you will make money! Once you make your business, the REAL money comes when you sell your business to others! This is what I'm going to define as multi-level marketing (which is not my term). Level 1: you're selling the product. Level 2: You're selling the business. Level 2 often includes hosting a party where someone else is the consultant. You're making money selling the product. They're making money getting you to sell the product. In some versions (lookin' at you, Amyway*** and Herbalife****), the real money comes in when your business you sold starts selling the business.

But we're not going to talk about that. What I'm reviewing from here on out is the level 1: the product, and my experience with the selling aspect.

THE PARTY, an overview
Pure Romance parties consist of all women over the age of 18. Well. I say women. It was specified that they should be "female". I do not know what Pure Romance's policy is on trans and nonfemale women. It may be up to the discretion or the party host or the consultant, or it may be Pure Romance's policy that the only dicks allowed are synthetic and battery operated.

Everyone sits down at the party. There was wine at mine. Our consultant/host (henceforth called GFHBF because random numbers are fun) started up with a little game, involving a lot of innuendo****  and us all admitting that we have sex organs.

The story and sales pitch we got was pretty fun. We got to try out perfumes, look at body sprays and shimmers, and then progressed into tasting lubes. They were some damn tasty lubes.

This progressed into sex toys. Bullets, and the optional c-ring they could go into. Pure Romance doesn't say "cock ring." Up next were the g-spot vibrators and a demon called the "B.O.B, your battery operated boyfriend!" It was blue. It rotated. It vibrated. It had a tiny remote control attached to it.

There were discussions about clitoral stimulation and how to find your g-spot. We skimmed through the catalog, looked at anal toys and fetish supplies, and then went into a private room with GFHBF to place orders.

I then locked my keys in my car, failed to break into it, in the hail, and called AAA.

It was a fun party. I had fun.

THE PARTY, a review on product
I love the idea that intimate products can be bought privately, among friends, and without pressure to prove anything or know anything about toys. It'd be a good environment for buying your first toys, where you can go home and not have to admit to anyone that you just touched something called "The Thumb's Up."

Some very important sex toy rules were set down. Cleaning product was available from Pure Romance, and the consultant was clear that it's needed. Silicone toy safety was covered too, like no silicone lube on silicone toys, and no leaving your silicone toys where they can touch each other. Anal toys were not to be bought without lube. All in all, good rules.

I could have gone with a little more safety on the butt stuff, personally, because I've known people to do dumb shit like puncture their colon on a toilet plunger handle or get nasty anal fissures because their partner said that anal was a good idea but wasn't quite sure how. My main issue was that most of their butt toys were silicone, and silicone lube is the lubiest of them all, your butthole needs much lube, and Pure Romance just established that you can't use silicone lube on silicone dicks.

Unofficially, I've been told by several people who know their way around bondage products from many manufacturers, including Pure Romance, to never get their fetish supplies. First of all, they were added into their inventory to cash in on Fifty Shades of Grey's popularity, and second of all, they're cheaply made. Mostly what I saw consisted of 50 types of blind folds and some badly-made whips. In general, in my opinion, fetish toys are specialized enough, and bondage/kink likes and dislikes are specific enough, that trying to find stock Pure Romance can offer would be very difficult. It's kind of like buying bras from Chinese Ebay.

Other than that, the products seemed pretty damn swell. Prices were similar to what you'd find online, but more comfortable to order, since the party goers were aware of their products and quality.

THE PARTY AND PRODUCTS, a review on inclusivity.
As I had expected,  I was the only lesbian in the room. I know that I was not the only non-straight woman in the room, but I believe I was the only one who wasn't interested in penises or men.
And, also as I had expected, this wasn't something Pure Romance frequently caters to. Most girls who go to a sex toy party like that are going to be interested in a different kind of sex from what I am interested in. I'm not a lesbian trying to make everything equal or take away dick fun for the non-lesbian women. I just thought it'd be fun to share how my sexuality affected my experience here.

The party itself was very fun. There was an understanding that all of us girls like sexual stimulation and that it's nothing to be ashamed about. The consultant tended to say, "your partner" and not "your boyfriend," or "your man." Most of the conversation was about personal preference, your right to control your sex life as a woman, and about embracing your sexual desires. There were absolutely no jokes about me being gay that weren't jokes I made.

The products, however..
Look. I know that a lot of girls who like vaginal vibrators also like dick. I understand that a lot of people who like vaginal vibrators like them to look like and feel like dicks. I understand that only about 1.6% of USAmerican women identify as lesbian and that most of them probably don't go to parties like this. I understand that I am not in Pure Romance's normal demographic and I am not expecting them to cater to a side demographic like mine.
That said, while I was looking through their catalogue prepping to make my purchases, I ruled out all of the toys that would be emotionally uncomfortable to put in my me, and then kept looking. And the thing that got me was the names. Like I could just see myself going to town, about to hit it, and suddenly that evil voice that tries to make me never have fun would just go, "its name is Carl," and that'd be a great o-moment killer, and as a chick with a stressful life and frequent periods of genital numbness or total anorgasmia, I don't need the voice in the back of my head reminding me that I have Mr Know It All or The Cabana Boy all up in my vag to kill the occasional moments I get.

So, Pure Romance, if you want to cater to lesbians, which I am very aware that you may not want to do, if you change your naming structure so that the sleeker and more stylized toys didn't have obviously men/male names, I would appreciate it.

ALL IN ALL I give Pure Romance a 5/5 on concept, 3/5 on product (I'd personally prefer a smaller selection of safe and high quality toys than trying to expand it into fetish gear and anal play that you're not sure 100% how to encourage to be used safely), and a 3/5 on lesbian inclusivity, which is very damn impressive because I don't think they were actually trying for that at all. A ?/5 in trans inclusivity awaits further information before I can make that ruling.

So, women with vaginas over the age of 18, if someone invites you to a Pure Romance party, I definitely suggest you give it a shot. Stepping out of your comfort zone is always fun, and if your party is like mine, you'll stretch your comfort zone in new directions without ever feeling like you left. If you're not into toys, they're great for you. If you're thinking about toys or just getting into them, they're fantastic for you, and if you're really into toys, you might have everything in their catalogue already, but in that case you need to buy some of that rainbow sherbert lube. I'm tempted to buy some to just put on ice cream. That shit was tasty as hell.

Wishing you luck

*Any solo sex toy can be used as a couple/more than couple. You've just got to think.
*That's a lie. You can buy the toys online through Pure Romance directly, but don't. You'll pay the same as you would through a consultant, your order's private, and no one's making money off it except Pure Romance. If you see something on their site that you like, hit me up, and I'll ask my consultant to send you her webpage. You'd make her fucking week.
**My mom has sold Amway for over ten years, now
***Some of my best friends are Herbalife