Good vibrations

Hundreds of curious customers lined up at the Feminique sexuality boutique yesterday to get a free vibrator. The toys, handed out by volunteers like Jeff (right) in discreet paper bags, were intended to promote positive talk about sexuality, according to shop owner Jill McDevitt.
Hundreds of curious customers lined up at the Feminique sexuality boutique yesterday to get a free vibrator. The toys, handed out by volunteers like Jeff (right) in discreet paper bags, were intended to promote positive talk about sexuality, according to shop owner Jill McDevitt.
Posted: September 10, 2013

DAVE MALMAN doesn't have a girlfriend right now, but the 22-year-old eager beaver from Glen Mills was one of the first in line for "Free Vibrator Day" yesterday at the Feminique sexuality boutique in West Chester.

"I came for all these beautiful women," said Malman. "I'm hoping to find the right girl and give it to her."

The good vibrations were hard to ignore as more than 300 people - from Fulbright scholars to college freshmen - lined Church Street in West Chester to receive a free "pocket rocket" vibrator courtesy of Feminique.

Store owner Jill McDevitt, a sexologist, writer and activist, came up with the idea last year to draw people into her shop and to promote her "sex positive" mantra that sex is pleasurable, and pleasure is good for you.

"When you have people standing in line on a busy Sunday afternoon, they make a statement with their presence," McDevitt said. "It's a positive thing."

This year, 305 people came for the brown-paper bag filled with a $20 vibrator, McDevitt's business card (which is printed on a condom) and a coupon for 50 percent off one of McDevitt's in-home "edu-tainment" parties like "Foreplay 101" or "Kama Sutra positions."

Vibe seekers came from as far away as New Brunswick, N.J., and began to line up at least an hour before the doors opened.

A group of graduate students studying human sexuality education at Widener University traveled from Chester to attend the giveaway.

Melissa Connelly, 23, a graduate student who teaches sex education in the Chester-Upland School District, said sex-ed is extremely important, especially in places like Chester, which has one of the highest teen-pregnancy rates in Pennsylvania.

Onika Henry, 40, of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, who is attending Widener on a Fulbright Scholarship, focuses her work on HIV and AIDS education. She said events like yesterday's get people to open up about sex.

"It helps it to be more mainstream and it helps people talk about it," she said.

Many of those in line were students from West Chester University who heard about the giveaway when McDevitt recently attended a welcome event at the school.

Kim, 20, a junior communications major at West Chester who declined to giver her last name, came with friends because "we are comfortable with our sexuality," she said. Kim said she is sick of the double standards for women when it comes to sex, multiple partners and masturbation.

"It's cool for girls to be comfortable talking about sex, too," she said. "Jill is someone to look up to, because she's so comfortable talking about her sexuality."

That may run in McDevitt's family. Her grandmother, Joy McDevitt, showed up with fresh flowers for her granddaughter yesterday and with a book she had borrowed from Feminique's "sexuality lending library."

When Joy McDevitt revealed her age - 70 - and was complemented on her youthful appearance, she had no problem sharing her secret.

"Thank you," she said. "It's the vibrator."


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