New York has a lot of trendy clubs, but one of the latest trends gives new meaning to the phrase "hot nightspot." Women in their 20s and 30s are lining up to get into "CAKE" parties, erotically charged happenings given by and for women. And the parties give a glimpse of where the sexual revolution has taken us.
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Like Mama Gena's classes, CAKE encourages women to explore their own sexuality and put their needs ahead of their partners. "Women were taught you should, demurely and quietly and passive aggressively bring up your needs and wants in the bedroom," said Lauren Elmore, a card-carrying CAKE member.
"I always thought of myself as pretty sexually open and free. CAKE has helped me feel less freakish about that," she said.
CAKE co-founder Melinda Gallagher said she used to have problems with sexual satisfaction and her body image. "I felt insecure. I was more preoccupied with what I looked like in different poses than actually thinking about you know, my pleasure, or his pleasure or just you know, getting in the moment," she said.
Then she went to grad school, earned a masters degree in human sexuality and decided she wanted to help other women understand their sexuality.
She founded CAKE along with her boyfriend Matt Kramer and his sister Emily.
"Sexuality is yours to enjoy, to feel good about. And there are so many ways that you can do that, to think about your own pleasure. And that's what I think was really missing, was opportunities to explore what turns you on, and what pleases you," Emily Kramer said.
For more information on CAKE, visit the Web site www.cakenyc.com.
A New Sexual Revolution?
And CAKE offers women all kinds of ways to please themselves sexually. On its Web site you can buy sexy clothes, sexual paraphernalia, and porn videos. Some 30,000 women have subscribed to the site and almost 2,000 more have paid $100 to become members. The paying members can get into the exclusive parties that take place once a month in New York and London.
The parties have themes, like lap dance, strip-a-thon, and masquerade. Partygoers are greeted at the door, given some provocative party favors, and professional dancers are hired to inspire.
As a party gets going, it doesn't exactly become an orgy, but there's plenty of partial nudity, kissing, and touching. The founders insist the parties are about exploring sexuality — not having sex.
"We're working with how feminism has dealt with sexuality in the past, and what some of the next steps are," Kramer said. She said CAKE members are "creating a sexual revolution."
But feminist Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, disagrees.
"A real sexual revolution is where a woman doesn't have to take her clothes off in front of a bunch of strangers to feel proud of herself," Wolf said. "This is just a stupid cosmetic halfway point that kind of puts CAKE decoration on business as usual, with a little pro-woman twist."
The founders of CAKE insist that CAKE is at the heart of feminism.
"Female sexuality has been owned by men in a cultural context. Now women are owning it," Kramer said.