As a direct seller who does home parties, I meet many different people of all ages, backgrounds, and genders. I treasure this part of what I do. I also appreciate that Athena’s welcomes all kinds of people. The services and wide range of products that I’m able to offer means there’s something for just about everyone.
Everyone, including men.
There is another company that sells adult novelties (I’ll call it “Company X”), and it states explicitly in the FAQ section of their web site that men are not allowed at their home parties. Since men aren’t allowed at parties, they’re also not allowed to be consultants. (You can watch Adonis Mason tell the story of how he found his way to Athena’s when he couldn’t be part of Company X. I couldn’t help but notice that it’s acceptable for men to be Company X executives, though…)
I simply don’t agree with a “no men allowed” policy.
Comfort is key
When someone books a party with me, they are welcoming me into their home to do a show, and that means that they decide who they’re comfortable inviting and sharing the experience with. I want everyone at my parties to feel safe and open to interact during my show, and that can look different depending on each group of people. So I leave the guest list up to the Host/ess*.
During party prep, I ask them if the guests that they invite are encouraged to bring friends or if they want to keep it invitation-only. There is certainly truth to “the more, the merrier”, and there is power in a small, intimate gathering with your closest friends, too. I also ask them if the party will be ladies-only or coed/couples/all-gender. Their home, their space, their guests*.
Abusive behavior is not limited to one gender
I once overheard someone say that one reason for the existence of a “no men at parties” rule is that men’s presence would make women feel uncomfortable, especially women who have been assaulted or abused by men.
Yes, there are men that have done detestable things to women. There are women that have been abused by men, and if you’ve seen #metoo pop up in your social media feed(s), you probably know someone close to you that has been assaulted. However, I think it’s unfair to discriminate against all men.
Terrible people exist, and abusive behavior is not limited to one gender. So why categorically block men from accessing the knowledge and empowerment that you’re offering?
We need “girl time”…sometimes
Most of the parties that I do are for groups of only women (as chosen by Hostesses), and I totally get it. As someone who has been happily married to the same amazing person for more than 7 years now, and as a mom of two young children, I get “girls’ nights”. I support them – in fact, I cherish them. I recognize that “girl power” is absolutely a thing, and I need it in my life. Sometimes I need to escape my home to be with other moms & peers and connect, complain, laugh, and let loose without fear of judgement.
Other times, it’s nice to be part of a group with different points of view and experiences. Sometimes I want to share things with my partner and involve them in what I consider interesting, exciting, and important – because it’s part of being partners. Having a “no men” policy takes away the ability to choose.
“Isn’t it awkward??”
I get mixed reactions when people first find out that I offer* coed/couples/all-gender parties, and one of the most common questions that I get is, “Isn’t it awkward to have guys there??” The truth is that it all depends on the crowd. I’ve had some awkward stuff happen at every kind of party, regardless of the gender of the attendees.
Are there “pervy guys” at parties? Occasionally – and I’ve encountered inappropriate, negative, and derogatory women at parties, too. Just like abusive behavior, inappropriate and disrespectful behavior is not exclusive to one gender. It happens, but it’s certainly not the norm. Thankfully, years of experience and Athena’s training have given me the confidence and tools to handle situations when they arise.
“Guys don’t even want to go to those parties.”
I reject the notion that no man wants to go to sex toy parties, mostly because I know for a fact that it’s simply not true. There are men who have a genuine interest in learning more about sex, themselves, and their partner. They do exist.
Yes, there are also men who think that (insert sarcastic tone here) I’m akin to Satan for peddling dildos that their partner might replace them with. In short: that’s usually an insecurity that I have very little control over. I’m not in the business of trying to replace people with objects, and toys are certainly not limited to solo-play.
I think part of men’s hesitation or resistance to “those parties” is that they simply don’t know what happens at them – they might think they know, but they are often just assuming or simply misinformed. When I first approached my partner with the idea of joining Athena’s, he asked, “So do you, like, try the toys on each other… and stuff??” I’ve also heard similar stories from other women.
No, there are no women in nighties having pillow fights, making out, and fighting over vibrators – much to the dismay of some. Granted, everyone does their party a little differently, but Athena’s Goddesses and Adoni are expected to conduct themselves professionally. I like to call my style “sassy but classy”. I use diagrams to talk about anatomy; we pass products around to smell & taste (if applicable), touch, hear, and feel them (over clothing!); I do a few interactive demonstrations with volunteers; and we play a game or two.
This has happened to me more than once: When couples get to someone’s home, the plan is for only the women to watch my show. Half way through, the men take a peek in and see a demo or a game, and then they’re migrating into the room to take a seat. My goal is to show everyone a good time.
ICYMI, the concept of gender is changing. “Female” and “male” are no longer the only identifiers that people are choosing to use. Some people identify as “genderfluid” or “agender”, and those are just two from a list of many non-binary terms. As a Goddess, I’m here to educate people about Athena’s products and all of the various ways in which they can be used. I don’t poll everyone in the room to see if their anatomy matches their “gender presentation”. I try to be as inclusive as possible. I’m here to guide you towards something that will give you your desired result, regardless of your anatomy or how you choose to identify.
Knowledge is power
Unfortunately, sex education in the United States is still tragically abysmal, and the “Clean Panty Challenge” and Kyle, the guy who believes that the women don’t actually have orgasms, are only a couple pieces of evidence of how people seem to be either uninformed or misinformed about human anatomy & physiology – vaginas and vulvas in particular.
The majority of sex ed focuses on procreative sex, STDs/STIs & preventing them, and (how is this actually still a thing??) abstinence. Pleasure is not a commonplace topic during sex ed in schools, and I think it’s safe to guess that the majority of parents don’t want to tackle the topic themselves. It’s no wonder that some women report they’ve never had an orgasm (and while orgasms have great health benefits and are just plain awesome IMHO, not being able to have one doesn’t mean that you’re “broken” or “malfunctioning”, either).
Every single person is different – we have unique preferences, tastes, and turn-ons. There’s much to learn, and communicating is a huge part of the learning process. When people approach me with a problem they’re having with their partner in the bedroom, the first thing that I usually ask about is their communication. It’s great to have tips and tricks to use, but they’re not very helpful if you and your partner aren’t giving each other any feedback. (I don’t think it’s an accident that the Key & Peele sketch “Cunnilingus Class” has over 9 million views on YouTube.) For some, a sex toy party creates the opportunity to open the lines of communication and start conversations. I don’t see the benefit in taking away this opportunity from any adult, regardless of their gender.
In light of all of that, I think that people should be allowed to attend sex toy parties. All people should have the ability to experience the fun of a party and be presented with the information therein. If you’re hosting, the specific group of people that you’re inviting is up to you*. As a person, and as a proud representative of a company that does not discriminate on the basis of gender, it’s my job to present products and information that all people can use to help them in their relationships with themselves and, sometimes, with their partners. I support the education and empowerment of all PEOPLE.
*In case you’re wondering, Athena’s does not require its Goddesses and Adoni to do coed/all-gender parties – it is at the discretion of each independent contractor. I also feel that I need to mention that there is one rule that I will NOT negotiate on: no one under the age of 18 years old can be present in the home while I am conducting Athena’s business. This means that I cannot be in the same residence as anyone under 18 – even infants, babies, and toddlers.