Plain old love, she says, is perfectly fine. But why not try some edible massage oil tonight?
"You can use strawberry on one leg," comes the explanation, "and banana on the other. All kinds of flavors."
Then there's the "Darling Derriere" panty for women (in red or black, $6) or the see-through bikini for men (black only, $6.50).
And the "Midnight Special Kit," too, which includes a . . . uh . . . hummmm. Perhaps it's best to say that one item comes with a variety of attachments and that the entire kit, for $22.50, is said to contain "a little of everything to enhance your lovemaking."
These are but a few samples from the latest twist to the Tupperware-style party that's pushing its way, delicately, into the Maryland suburbs. It's called:
The Erotica Party.
American housewives -- and lawyers and teachers and accountants and a NOW committee and even men, once they conquer shyness or machismo -- are snapping up Joy Jell, Prolong Cream ("I'll take a gallon," one woman sighed at a recent party), Emotion Lotion (blow on it, and it gets hot), the Peek-a-Boo bra . . .
And all at nice parties, with nice refreshments. And nice order-forms. Lots of order-forms.
"Most of my friends are really embarrassed about sex shops," says Marsha Lesser, president and founder of Just-For-Play Ltd. "So I created this company as a comfortable alternative.
"See, when you do a home presentation, people don't have to be singled out."
So far, Lesser says Just-For-play has held 1,500 parties in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Washington suburbs, including one last night in Silver Spring. She won't reveal how much she's making, but says the company is doing okay.
And judging from sales last night in the Silver Spring high-rise, things are moving right along. After the hour-and-a-half presentation, most of 20 women there finished their giggling and lemonade, then pulled out checkbooks from pretty pocketbooks that went with pretty cotton dresses. And most of the manicured hands signing checks were bare of wedding rings.
There were little cakes on glass platters and big plants in the corners. It could have been a baby shower.
"I think it's the right time for this concept," says Lesser in energetic Brooklynese. "We went through all that revolution and women's stuff in the '60s and now, people are prepared for this."
Not everyone is as enthusiastic.
"I think it's just absolutely appalling," says Susan Brownmiller, a feminist and author of a book on rape. "It seems to me the purpose of sex is two bodies relating. I find the prospect of paraphernalia ghastly. I think it has to do with the whole consumer society where there's a gadget for everything."
Reaction from other corners of the women's movement ranges from a wholehearted, written endorsement by the Sexuality Committee of NOW's New York chapter to complaints of "bondage" by the coordinator of Women Against Pornography.
"The pushed-up breasts and the clinched-in waists, I just don't think that's sexy," said Dolores Alexander the coordinator. I think that's sexy for men, yet it's not natural for women. It's a very, very mild form, maybe, of bondage."
But many of the women customers, some of whom herald the erotica party as another step toward liberation, seem pleasantly surprised.
Like last night. "I live right down the street," said one woman at the Silver Spring party. "But I wouldn't have missed this if I lived in China." She was gleefully filling out an order form on the dining-room table, which was transformed for the evening into a display of black lace panties, edible marzipan lips, edible other things, and assorted battery-powered gadgets.
The party, given by a young, single, professional -- and anonymous -- woman for others like herself, went like this:
At 7:30 p.m., the sales representative began her talk. She was wearing a yellow cotton dress and two barrettes in her hair. Women sat on the couch or the floor, nibbling on cake. It made you wonder who the bride was.
"We figured Washington was ripe for this," said the sales representative. "Washington was ready."
She started with the oils, lotions and creams, carefully explaining the different flavors for the edible ones.
"They're sweetened with sorbitol," she said, "so it's not fattening."
Then came the men's and women's lingerie, including a wide assortment of garter belts. "They're a lot cooler for the summer," she suggested. "And they're incredibly sexy." The guests, though, seemed to like the black lace baby doll pajamas the best. "Really cute," said one. Everything was passed around. Lots of squeezing.
Then came the gadgets, and next the special gifts. "Mark an X by the ones you want," the saleslady said. And everyone did.
("It was a brilliant sales technique," said one guest afterward who didn't buy anything. "'Mark an X by the ones you want.' Already, she's telling you that you want something. Like, which of these cars would you prefer?"))
Just-For-Play was created 14 months ago by Lesser, then a 31-year-old junior high school teacher in the South Bronx who had always felt, she says, a "genetic sensuality." "It was perfect for me," she explains. "I was maybe one step more aware of sex products than anyone I knew."
So she opened up a small office in Chelsea, made visits to distributors and printed up selection lists and order forms. In May, 1979, she held her first party.
It was awful.
Well, she won't actually say it was awful, but you get the idea. She refuses to talk about it, other than to say the guests were "a group of writers and intellectuals," if you will.
The second party, though, was in Brooklyn. "Great," she says. "And the third party was wonderful." And then off they headed for Park Avenue and Scarsdale, and also Harlem and the Lower East Side, where the sales representative spoke Spanish.
And now Washington, where there is a representative for men as well as women.
"The phone has not stopped ringing," says the men's representative, explaining the fallout from the first party he held. "Although a lot of men are hesitant to come because the implication is that they're not perfect, that they're not knowledgeable about everything that heppens with sex. But once they get there, they really get into it."
And a little earlier, he said: "Chevy Chase is going to eat this up. It's going to be the best thing since raw oysters."
Here are some selections from the menswear items:
Leopard bikini. "Wild and sexy!" says the description list.
Polka-dot bikini. "Adorable yet sensual."
And, the sheer bikini. "Very suggestive."
But perhaps one of the more intriguing items are the "candy pants" for women. There are licorice drawstrings and the whole item, says the description list, is "entirely edible!"