In 1983 I was on maternity leave from my job at a pediatrician’s office, home one day with my four kids. I was an average middle class housewife, happy and busy enough. My three boys were outside playing in the backyard, and my new baby daughter was napping inside the house with me when I happened to flip on the TV. Phil Donahue was interviewing a couple of women about their new, sideline careers, which were making such a difference in their lives. They spoke about how empowering it was to sell their products to women and how these items seemed to be boosting women’s self esteem and strengthening their relationships.
As I paid more attention, I began to understand that these very normal looking ladies were throwing Tupperware-style parties for their friends, where they would present an array of items that women and men could be used to enhance sexual pleasure – they were selling lubricants, vibrators and other toys!
I couldn’t believe my ears. And aside from the provocative subject matter, what really got my attention was how confident and self assured these women sounded.
Later that day, I called my friend Nancy to find out what time our son’s Little League was. After exchanging logistical info for the baseball game, I said, “Hey Nancy, did you happen to see Phil Donahue? Do you know who he had on today?”
Nancy had not caught the show. “Can you believe it,” I asked. “I mean who in her right mind would use any of those things?” As I rambled on, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable by Nancy’s silence – I thought I had offended her.
Finally my friend said, “Actually, Patty, I went to one of those parties just the other night in Old Milford.”
I was shocked for two reasons – first that my friend had actually gone to such a party and second that the party took place in a small Ohio town.
So then I said, “Were there a lot of people at the party?”
“It was packed,” she said.
“But no one bought anything, right?”
“Well, actually, the line went out the door!” Nancy said.
You could have knocked me over with a feather.
“But you didn’t buy anything, did you?” I expected her to say, “Oh, nothing. You know me.”
Instead she said, “I bought a vibrator.”
“If Nancy could buy a vibrator . . . “
So began my crash course in the land of bedroom toys. I had asked Nancy for the company’s contact information, and somewhat nervously, I called the company and ordered a Starter Kit for becoming a sales consultant, just to see what was included. After I hung up, I was still anxious. How was I going to cover the cost of these products? It wasn’t like we had money to spare from our family budget, especially since I was on maternity leave. But then I thought about the women I’d seen on Phil Donahue. Maybe I could become a part of a business that not only helped women but made money too! So I picked up the phone again and began calling friends to invite them to a party. I scheduled it for one week after the date I was supposed to receive my Starter Kit.
When my husband came home from work that night, I told him all about the show and how I was going to make lots of money with this new business. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “No wife of mine is going to do this sort of thing. You must still have the Baby Blues or something. You better cancel that order.”
I tried to explain that I really wanted to give this a try – not to mention that it was the perfect solution to finding more quality time with my kids and making money. “And besides,” I said, “I made a commitment and I’m going to do this.”
Despite my husband’s lack of support, I was determined to go through with my plan.
But once my products arrived, I got nervous all over again. What if no one showed up at the party? How was I going to justify all the money I’d spent? So again, I picked up the phone and called more women I knew in the community, coming up with a total of twenty women. By the night of the party, twenty had turned into forty! The house was packed and everyone had a blast. And I knew I was onto something – something very special indeed.
That was over twenty-five years ago. My husband and I went our separate ways, and like many women today, I am a woman who wears at least three hats – as a mother, business woman, and sex educator. As a mother, I have raised four children to be knowledgeable, confident, and respectful of their sexuality. As a businesswoman, I founded Pure Romance, Inc., creating hundreds of sex-enhancing products that respond to women’s and men’s needs, netting over $80 million dollars in sales. And finally, as a sex educator, I have spent twenty-five years listening to women and answering their questions about sex. Through my network of party consultants and our dynamic website (www.pureromance.com), I have a created a safe, trustworthy place for women of all ages and from all walks of life to air their fears, disclose confusion, and find reliable, accurate information that has the power to transform their lives.
I am both proud and humbled by all this success. And though the phenomenal growth of my company has been quite a rollercoaster ride for a single mom of four, it’s the ever-growing family of women whom I have encountered and truly want to reach that really mean the most to me. What began as a simple party is now a mission to educate, empower, and inspire women to respect and treasure one of the most vital aspects of their lives: their sexuality.
When I started selling relationship enhancement products, I read every single book I could find about women, their bodies, and relationships. The more time I spent on the road, listening and talking to women, hearing their stories and answering their questions, the more clearly I saw that there was a gap between buying these enhancement products and truly knowing what to do with them. In other words, most of the women I was meeting in this early part of my career didn’t want to just purchase a bedroom toy to add a bit of spice to their love life, they needed to know how to use that toy, how to introduce it to their relationship without feeling awkward or afraid, and perhaps most important, how to feel more comfortable in their own skin when it came to their sexuality. I soon realized that for all the people selling products and writing books on sex tips, there was no good source for women to reach out to make sense of this information in a personal way. Tips, techniques and products can make a great evening of sex, but if a woman can’t also connect to an inner place where her sexuality made sense to her, then all the information had the power of simply a good, one night stand.
Consider these two statistics:
- A survey of 125 United States and sixteen Canadian medical schools revealed that the majority of undergraduate medical programs provide less than ten hours of education on human sexuality. This explains the challenge many women encounter when they pose specific sex-related questions to their doctors: their doctors don’t know enough about sex!
- A survey of adults twenty five-years of age and above showed that 85 percent would like to discuss a sexual problem with their physician, but 68 percent were reluctant to ask and 71 percent thought their concerns would be dismissed. Talk about a trust problem and a communication gap!
I am here to fill that gap. Women turn to me because they trust me and feel comfortable sharing their most personal and intimate issues. They continue to come back because they know they can access accurate information that makes sense and works in their lives. My Consultants and I are out in the field talking and listening to thousands of women. We hear what women want firsthand and so we have become their go-to source for information about anything sexual. They may be embarrassed to ask their friends, or afraid of getting unreliable or inaccurate information, and they may event shy away from discussing such things with their partners. And we know many are not turning to their doctors! Again, what I’ve realized over the past twenty-five years in the field, was that these thousands of women logging onto our website and attending our parties are really asking for is real, trustworthy, accurate information that makes sense to them. So when I founded my own company, I made certain that every single one of the consultants who sold my products was rigorously trained. I sought out the best and brightest experts, and I developed a systematic training code and program so that when I or one of my 75,000 consultants hosts a party, leads a workshop, or presents to a lecture hall of college students, they offer not only techniques and products for sexual enhancement, but also a way for women to understand the very nature of their sexuality.
All that Pure Romance has brought to me has made me want to give back to the community at large. With that in mind, I have established two outreach programs and a not-for-profit organization within Pure Romance, each focused on sexual health issues for a specific audience. The Patty Brisben Foundation contributes funds to various charitable causes and supports ongoing breast cancer and sexual health research; Sensuality, Sexuality, Survival was designed for women following cancer diagnosis and treatment; and The Naked Truth is part of a national college tour presentation aimed at delivering sexual health information to college students on their college campuses – as I like to say, “get the truth before you get naked!” And through collaborative research studies with Indiana University (home of the Kinsey Institute), Pure Romance has helped hundreds of thousands of women life fuller, healthier, more satisfying lives.
To me, sexuality is one of the foundations of a woman’s sense of her own power, and when we truly learn to own, honor, and respect this vital aspect of ourselves, we enrich every aspect and dimension of our lives. Yes, tips, toys, and techniques can lead us to great sexual pleasure, but that pleasure will not last unless it comes with an inner foundation of awareness and knowledge.
Educating and empowering women has always been the mission and promise of my company, but I now want to share all that with you in this book. I want Pure Romance to be a roadmap for your own “inner journey,” so that you too can discover the self knowledge, the confidence, and the wisdom to make your sexuality a fulfilling part of your life, for the rest of your life.
When you make this shift, and learn how to embrace the inner foundation of your sexuality, you empower your relationship with your partner; you increase your confidence to achieve your personal and professional goals; and you enrich your sense of self. So many women have come to me and said, “Thank you!” Not because they had a great night of intimacy with their partner, but because they rediscovered themselves and found a new way to live to their fullest potential. And that is the heart and soul of my promise. After taking care of my kids, I have completely devoted myself to helping women believe in themselves and find the pleasure and power that comes from truly owning their sexuality. And this requires not just learning the ins and outs of lubricants, vibrators and other bedroom toys (all of which you will soon find out), but really understanding your sexuality during all the stages of your life.
Part One, This Is For You, focuses on helping you understand more about your own sexuality and how your body works. I will show you how to get in touch with how you like to be touched, how to think about your libido or desire, and even how best to trigger your arousal and reach orgasm. As you understand more about how orgasms happen, you will learn how to increase your orgasmic pleasure. And if you’ve never had an orgasm, you may just find what’s been in the way. Most important, you will know how to think about orgasms – so you can keep the “almighty O” in perspective.
In four succinct chapters, women will get much closer to understanding what’s going on with their bodies and their minds when it comes to sex. Chapters include:
- Getting in Your Comfort Zone About Sex
- Your Love, Your Life, Your Libido
- Beyond the Bedroom: Taking Responsibility for Your Sexual Health
- Putting the “O” Back in Romance
In Part Two, Turning To Your Relationship, I expand the discussion about sex to be more of an intimacy guide for women who are now ready to take this self-knowledge to their relationship. If you’re not in a relationship right now, you may still find these chapters useful as a way to help hone what you want in a future relationship. These five chapters will help prepare you to be your best sexual self with someone you trust and care about.
- Pillow Talk: Learning How to Stay Close
- “Your Body is a Wonderland”: Discovering the Power of Touch
- Pure Pleasure: Lubrication Education
- Batteries Not Included: The World of Toys
- Moving Beyond Missionary: Expanding Your Pleasure
You’ll have all the information you need to know how to make your intimate relationship the fun, trusting, loving place it should be.
Again, though some of these topics may seem familiar, especially those in Part Two, what’s new and absolutely different from any sex book out there is the lens through which I deliver the information. After reading this book, you will walk away not with a list of tips in your head, but a complete understanding of your sexuality and how you want to use these tips. You will walk away with the confidence and trust in yourself that before you have only dreamt about.
Everything you will learn in these pages is based on solid, medically sound research and findings from our own research sources, combined with what we access through our affiliations with Indiana University (Home of the Kinsey Institute) and American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). In addition, within each chapter, I highlight the most commonly asked questions selected from my “Ask Patty” column on the Pure Romance website. These questions cover a range of topics, including some basic “how-to” questions regarding how to introduce bedroom toys or how to have a clitoral orgasm. Some are more medically-oriented questions such as how to overcome pain during sex and what birth control is suitable for someone on anti-depressants. Other questions are more relationship oriented and will help you solve intimacy issues that might be surfacing with you partner.
I have also included “Intimacy Issues.” Based on my twenty-five years in the field, these “issues” are common hang-ups that often get in the way of women fully experiencing and enjoying their sexuality. Some are related to emotional issues, others are medical or health-related questions.
Pure Romance is my gift to all you out there who want not only to learn more about how to achieve sexual pleasure, but how and why this knowledge can help you understand your body, your mind, and that wonderful, sometimes confusing relationship between the two.