"Barber pole," she said, referring to that certain part of the male anatomy. This was how our fortysomething "hostess" kicked off the F.U.N. (For Us Now) "lingerie" party I attended. She was proposing a stripe-it-yourself method involving a flavored whipped-cream product called Body Topping.

"Chopped nuts are completely optional," she explained as she circled the room, two cans in hand (double-barrel whipped cream action!), exhorting us to taste the product, noting both the rich vanilla flavor and the delicate-yet-slippery texture on our tongues.

I was shocked. I knew these kinds of things went on in the world–but a communal Body Topping tasting? When I accepted the invitation to check out the "lingerie" party, I expected demure satin and lace, not latex and petroleum-based lubricants. Apparently, so did just about everyone else in the room. We were a motley collection of mostly 30-ish women, most of us quietly, happily married (well, except for me). Heck–and I think I can speak for my equally dumbfounded sisters–we weren't even aware that we were in the market for sex toys. It was, understandably, a bit of an adjustment.

Agog, I stared at our hostess, torn between feeling disgust and admiration. This was a woman with, literally, balls–a woman who forges a living for herself by selling "marital aids" to unsuspecting hinterland housewives, Tupperware style.

It's basically the same setup. Everyone gathers around the coffee table in the living room, nibbling daintily at finger foods and making polite small talk, until the hostess begins her sales pitch. Of course, rarely do the partygoers shriek with embarrassed glee as the hostess demonstrates the airtight seal on the salad keeper. But then, neither does the salad keeper simultaneously vibrate and rotate while applying pressure to the elusive G-spot.

For the first hour or so of her presentation, the 11 other guests and I unabashedly sniffed, licked, nibbled, and stroked a variety of products designed to heighten our senses, provide "natural" lubrication, sensitize our erogenous zones, and desensitize our over-eager partners. Among my personal favorites were the Fireworks lotion that gets hot when you blow on it (with 12 flavors, including hot fudge, how can you go wrong?), the Coochy Shave Cream for those sensitive areas, and the Tasty Tattoos–little flavored hearts, stars, clovers… Lucky Charms was never this fun! I especially liked the multi-purpose Gumdrops, a delicious cherry-flavored body gel that not only doubles as a great lip gloss, but is enriched with vitamin C. Good, and good for you.

All the while, our hostess shared anecdotes, infobits, and her suggestions on how to get maximum usage from each product. "Men love women who are selfish in bed," she explained. "Make him serve YOU. Make him massage your chest with the Gel-o-Fun. Decorate your privates with the edible body paint, and command him to lick it off!" I think that we all felt a little more empowered just knowing that with a little Gel-o-Fun and a few harsh words, we could finally have that fantasy sex life.

By the time I'd slurped up some citrus-flavored Lucky Stiff (figure it out), had my forearm massaged with a Super Deluxe Love Mitt, and coated my lips with a cherry-flavored numbing formula intended for parts unknown (our hostess's idea of a joke), I was more than ready for the half-hour intermission. I used it as an opportunity to gulp down some much-needed alcoholic beverages and hide out in the bathroom, frantically filling out my order form where nobody else could see. Now let's see–did I want the Body Topping or the Puddin' Fun? Were the piña colada and pink champagne flavored Kandie Kondoms (that's capital K for klass) worth the hefty $7.50 price tag? Would my boyfriend be offended if I bulk-ordered tubes of Not Yet? Would I actually use any of this stuff anyway?

As I returned to the party, we entered the "Bedroom Accessories" portion of the evening. This, it turned out, was a euphemism for raunchy, self-stimulating toys, the likes of which you'd expect to find at your typical adult book store. These were toys that vibrated, rotated, stroked, and offered multi-speed controls. Some were realistic, some were even cute (one looked like a tall, skinny Santa Claus).

By the time our hostess got down to describing the more, uh, "inventive" devices, the group had had just enough wine to be shouting things like "woo-woo-woo" and arguing over who was spending too much time with the Jeff Stryker playing cards and the super mini "bullet."

As she wrapped up her presentation, she handed out party favors: flesh-colored white chocolate phallus suckers (which I think will be worth a thousand laughs with my SpinPop). She then explained that she'd be waiting in a remote bedroom of the house with her wares so that we could finish our order sheets and file in one at a time for maximum privacy. First in line, I brightened her day when I entered the room to buy $108.59 worth of F.U.N. Heck, by the end of the evening, everything was sounding just great, and more than one of us was wondering how we'd managed to get along without all these toys in the first place.

Afterward, we milled around the kitchen, giggling and speculating about who had bought what. Our goods were all packaged in identical plain brown bags labeled "A Plain Brown Wrapper." From time to time, someone would open the wrong bag and squeal, "Oops! That's not mine!" We chatted openly about our prospects for the rest of the evening, about how to spring all this on our poor, unsuspecting mates. I, of course, opted for the sneak attack. My guy never saw those chopped nuts coming.


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