Exploring College Men’s and Women’s Attitudes about Women’s Sexuality and Pleasure via their Perceptions of Female Novelty Party Attendees
Women’s sexual desire, agency, and activity have long been stigmatized. In contemporary times, however, adult novelty parties, or gatherings where women can learn about and purchase sex toys or other sensual aids in a group setting, are widespread. The current pervasiveness of novelty parties may be indicative of greater acceptance of women’s sexuality in contemporary Western society. The goal of the present study is to determine whether young people are more accepting of women’s sexuality and desire via their evaluations of women who attend novelty parties relative to more traditional kitchen product parties. In two experiments, U.S. college students read either a novelty party catalog or a kitchen party catalog, and they evaluated hypothetical female attendees of their respective party catalog type across ten total domains. In Experiment 1 (n = 205), novelty party attendees were rated as more vivacious, less traditional, and more insecure than were kitchen party attendees. In Experiment 2 (n = 211), women were harsher than men on novelty party attendees compared to kitchen party attendees in most domains, and men rated novelty party attendees as more masculine than kitchen party attendees, whereas women rated novelty party attendees as less masculine and feminine than kitchen party attendees. Applied and social implications of the present results are discussed, highlighting ways to improve perceptions of women’s sexual desires and pleasure.