How Pure Romance helped student embrace sexuality
This article originally appeared in the Ball State Daily News
Morgan Smotherman wasn’t comfortable with the concept of sex, at least not when she started college. She didn't want to talk about it and thought it was disgusting.
"We’re taught what sex is, but we’re not taught pleasure," she said.
That idea drove Smotherman, a sophomore psychology and women and gender studies major, to explore a sexuality psychology class. During the semester, a Pure Romance representative visited to talk about the company.
Pure Romance sells products to people in their own homes, similar to Pampered Chef and Mary Kay. However, instead of selling cooking products or makeup, Pure Romance focuses on sex toys and related products.
Smotherman left her first Pure Romance presentation feeling compelled to join the company.
"I felt empowered being taught all these new things and I wanted everyone to feel that," Smotherman said.
Pure Romance’s main objective is to empower women and give them a safe environment to learn about sexual health, according to their website.
Smotherman took the business card of the Pure Romance presenter, Falisha Jean Lewis, and contacted her about becoming a Pure Romance consultant. Lewis then became Smotherman’s “sponsor mom” and currently helps her with anything she needs for the company.
Lewis became involved with Pure Romance when she was a student at Ball State working for a day care. Some of her coworkers invited her to attend a Pure Romance party with them. Considering her role as a child caretaker, Lewis’s main thought about going to the party was, "Oh my gosh, we’re all going to get fired."
After sitting through the party, Lewis was in awe. It was nothing like she imagined it would be. She booked a party for herself that night. Lewis later became a consultant for the company.
Lewis said she believes Pure Romance’s message is especially important in a college environment because many college students have a fantasy-like idea of what sex is. In reality, she said, sex takes work.
Eighty-seven percent of college students are sexually active, according to "The Sex Lives of College Students" by Sandra L. Caron, a family relations and human sexuality professor at the University of Maine.
Smotherman said she wants college students to be comfortable with their sexual being and sexual self and "accept who they are and what they like because there’s different strokes for different folks."
She's thrown five Pure Romance parties for girls in their dorm rooms. Clients are hard to come by in a college setting, she said. Many girls on campus are unfamiliar with Pure Romance and sometimes feel uncomfortable talking about sex.
Smotherman tries to make sure they have a comfortable experience.
The parties are only for women over 18, although products are available for men as well. She starts the parties by playing games to get the women warmed up. She then shows them bath products before working her way up to sex toys.
She makes her sales in individual shopping rooms so that every client is as comfortable as possible.
Smotherman has come a long way since she began college. Sitting in on the sexuality psychology class and joining Pure Romance opened up her mind.
"The coolest part of watching Morgan is watching her transformation from being shy and unaware to being educated," Lewis said. "Pure Romance opens up a world people didn’t know existed."