You have to imagine the space with some drapes and soft lighting “so you get that fairy forest” feeling, Danielle Doucette urges me, her gesture taking in the blue support beams and bare, black floor of an otherwise nondescript room.
Doucette and I are standing in a sparse studio at Video In, the artists’ collective on Main St, soon to host Vancouver’s brand new women’s-only sex party aimed at all women.
“It cleans up good,” she laughs, eyeing a straight-backed wooden school chair for a possible teacher/student station.
Doucette is the mastermind behind this July’s WET party, short for Women Empowering Together. Billed as a women’s-only play party, it aims to create a safe, women’s-centred sex space for everything from “flirting to fucking to blindfolding somebody and tickling them with a feather,” says Doucette.
She’s been working on developing the party for the last year.
Having cut her teeth on BIO’s monthly, mixed-gender dungeon parties, Doucette started looking around for a women’s-only sex party to attend. Though she found plenty of women’s dances, the annual women’s sex show Diva’s Den, a couple of private gatherings and a few leatherdyke play parties, she couldn’t find what she was really looking for-a sexual space for all women to safely and comfortably explore and enjoy their sexuality together.
“As far as sexual spaces, it’s generally leatherdykes,” she observes, not begrudging them the space but noting that’s not her kink.
So she decided to organize a party of her own.
“I would really like to have a safe space to go to with other women to immerse myself in sexuality and sensuality-to revel in it, to play,” she explains. “That’s what it’s all about: playing. I want to be just accepted for that, get all hot and bothered from it, play with it, have it accepted, have it available.”
Like that kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who could go to the candy store anytime, she smiles. “That would be great. People like me don’t have a place like that.”
Until now, she notes, the “best places for me to explore my sexuality unabashedly” were traditional gay male spaces. “Because they’re accepting of sexuality,” she explains-though not necessarily of women.
Doucette still remembers the time she went, hidden beneath the folds of a bulky hoody, to Lee’s Trail in Stanley Park with a sex buddy.
There she found “unapologetic sexual expressions. No judgments, no nothing. Just sex, in whatever form it may be.”
She left impressed-and more thn a little envious.
Women need safe spaces like that for their own unapologetic sexual explorations and enjoyment, she says. And mixed-gender play parties just won’t do it.
Though Doucette appreciates the sexual spaces gay men have created for themselves, and the mixed kink parties she’s attended, she says men change the mood at a sex party.
In fact, men change the mood at just about any mixed gathering they join, she maintains. “It’s a different energy completely.”
She points to a business workshop she recently attended with 10 women and two men. The women constituted a clear majority but the men still affected the feeling in the room, she says. It wasn’t even a sexual space, but the women still didn’t share as much as they otherwise would have with each other, Doucette laments.
Women need the opportunity to unabashedly run naked and have sex with each other, she concludes. And they need their own sex spaces in which to do it.
“Because it’s freedom,” she says. “It’s the freedom to be in touch with our sexuality. Sexuality is a huge force in human nature. And it’s really, really fun,” she adds.
Doucette points across the room, to an empty space backed by a black curtain. That will probably be the massage table area, she says. We could put the dungeon equipment over there, she continues, turning slightly, and some low couches and beds and curtains over there, and a hot wax station over there. And a buffing station for manicures over there, she adds, with an extra big grin.
Gloves and lube will be provided, of course.
It will be lush and sensual, she promises, kind of “harem-ish.”
To heighten the harem-ish mood, Doucette is also planning to hire cute girls to circulate among the party-goers and act as hostesses.
Women need to be greeted at a sex party to feel comfortable enough to participate, she explains. “Men are not necessarily there to find out you have a dog named Lulu,” she laughs. They’re generally more comfortable with anonymous sex.
Women, on the other hand, need to be greeted and hosted, she maintains; they need to know who they’re having sex with.
Doucette pauses. Then again, she says, “I could be talking out my ass.”
“I don’t want to give the impression that you have to come here and bond,” she hastens to add. There will be room at WET to bond and to have hot, raunchy, anonymous sex. Doucette, for one, is definitely planning to play.
Still, she won’t send her hostesses packing just yet.
The whole party is “a bit of a shot in the dark,” she acknowledges, not knowing how many women will come or what they’ll want to do when they get there. “It’s their space. As soon as we open the doors, the women coming here will help create it.”
Doucette admits she doesn’t know how much interest queer women will have in a women’s-only sex party not aimed at leatherdykes.
“I’m just doing what I want to see,” she says. You know that old customer service rule about not being your own customer? she asks. “I tossed that out the window!”
Doucette is hoping this is just the first of many WETs to come. She’d like to make it a regular event. If it really catches on, she might even try to convince a local gay bathhouse to rent her its space for a night, like the Pussy Palace did in Toronto (minus the police and liquor board harassment).
So far, Doucette hasn’t caught any whiff of hostility or even squeamishness from local licensing officials or the police. And Video In, accustomed to hosting BIO’s dungeon parties, hasn’t expressed any reservations, either.
If WET takes off, do you think it could change the face of lesbian sexuality in Vancouver? I ask.
“I desperately hope so,” Doucette replies.
What if women who wouldn’t normally feel like they belong at a sex party come to WET and discover a sexual space where they feel welcome? she reflects. What if they just come here and sit and watch the first time, then come back for a massage the second time, then come back for more the time after that?
It’s a “ready-made space” for women to get comfortable and relish being wet and explicitly sexual with other women, to “shed all the constraints, the should-haves, the need-to-bes” and just enjoy themselves, Doucette concludes. “I believe it’s groundbreaking.”