Genevieve LeJeune launched her sexy venture seven years ago not knowing it was going to be powered by rocket fuel. I spoke with her just as the business was beginning to reopen for in-person events, and she said she was grateful for the down time she got during Covid, after seven years of jetting from city to city around the globe hosting her now-famous Signature Parties. Skirt Club, she says, is a sex-positive community for bi- and bi-curious women, which she designed in order to create a space that would allow the sexy-yet-gentle feminine spirit to express itself on its own terms. She struck the explosive mother lode of an untapped market, and held on for the ride!
When I first read about Skirt Club roughly a year ago, I couldn’t believe it was real. And, shoot, why didn’t I know about this? When I wrote my book (Hot Blooded: A Sexual Resurrection), I ended it with a chapter about women loving and supporting women, particularly sexually, possibly even through female orgies…in hot pursuit of sexual healing, empowerment, and liberation. I thought my vision, based on my own experiences, was far too pie-in-the-sky to be taken seriously…I didn’t know there was a worldwide organization up and running that offered just this opportunity! (Dear Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.)
While living in her native London where she worked as a journalist, LeJeune had attended sex parties with her husband and noticed that, even though the parties all touted the idea of deferring to female shot-calling, in practice this was not happening. Instead, she saw men naturally dominating the scene, and women falling into roles of people-pleasing and performance which, she stresses, is not healthy. She decided, since women are just naturally too damn “nice” and accommodating, she needed to get them into an entirely different environment, so she went out and created what essentially became an overnight sensation.
One of the first things she emphasized in our conversation, however, is that “Skirt Club is not a sex party.” She’s had to defend the more far-reaching vision of the organization because, predictably, much of the media coverage has pumped up the salacious aspect (because, you know, sex sells copy).
Of course, there’s also the part that has to do with society’s pathological bent on viewing female sexuality through opaque lenses. Initially, the overt eroticism of the club’s exclusively-female design generated shock waves due to the fact that it breaks stubborn ideals of women’s sexual nature and appetite. “People couldn’t fathom that this is really what women want,” LeJeune said. (Anybody remember Alfred Kinsey? Thought we breached that wall? Think again.) She herself had no idea there was such a pressing demand. She reminisced about tossing her fetal idea around with friends, and said they just cocked their heads and looked confused. Now, seven years later, she’s normalized it. But even though the initial shell shock and novelty has worn off, Skirt Club continues growing in all its cities and expanding to more. Cat’s out of the bag. Women want women, and we want more!
Now that I’m a card-carrying member, I can vouch for the fact that Skirt Club is, indeed, far more than a sex party. Reducing it to that label is really missing the boat, or missing the forest by fixating on one of its (albeit scintillating) trees. This is also one of the reasons she consented to my interview. Over time, she’s gravitated to female journalists because, in her experience, male journalists have tended to fixate on the sex, overlooking the exquisite overarching philosophy (and genuine underlying pursuit) of women’s empowerment and sexual freedom.
In my experience, I don’t know how you could miss that piece when engaging with Genevieve! I upgraded my subscription to ‘paying’ member in direct response to her wholehearted, overflowing embodiment of the philosophy during her welcome event for new subscribers like myself, via zoom. It was immediately evident that this woman’s heart was centered on the right spot, and this was not just some kind of seductive scam, all spit and polish with no real soul.
Skirt Club delivers. The website features and promotes women’s small businesses and emphasizes telling women’s stories and sharing their diverse perspectives and inspirations. I’ve already attended a thoughtful “Book Club” discussion online, the “Skirt 40” chat (for grown-ups like me), and connected with a couple of like-minded women I’m looking forward to meeting. And, of course, I’m excited to attend my first Signature Party (the lavish gatherings where anything goes), when I’m ready to take that plunge. (I’ll keep y’all posted!)
One of the most fascinating, and quite beautiful, things I uncovered through our conversation is how the sex at the events came about. The original blueprint did not involve sex itself. It actually just started out as a “sexy” party for women, focused on exotic sensual entertainment like Burlesque, which LeJeune relishes for its artistry. She said the sex that’s now a strong feature of the parties is something that came about later because –and her tone of voice softened into a crooning amalgamation of awe, humility, admiration, and delight– “that’s what they wanted.” She sounded right then like the matron saint of sexual deliverance!
To me, the beautiful thing is that, by creating a space strictly for women that was lush with sensuality yet free of any pressure to participate or perform, she inadvertently fostered the perfect environment to facilitate the women’s sexual self-discovery. Now, I love my dear men –always have, always will– so while it pains me to make that statement, it makes perfect sense when you think about all the nuances of the situation out there.
Let’s take a look at those nuances.
First, the one thing all we women get is the cultural brainwashing around sex. I’m talking about the scrubbing away of almost any trace of our raw, real, direct sexual impulses and responses, and then overlaying it with the countless fables and fallacies that become the new (and improved!?) frame of reference. That’s all the completely irrelevant, totally sterile ideas we’re taught about love and romance, bodies and sex appeal, roles and obligations, particularly as they relate to men. (Men get their version of this too, but their contact with their own sexuality doesn’t tend to get so badly confounded, for various reasons, many of which I discuss in my aforementioned book.)
Second, Ms. LeJeune said her role in the organization has put her in a position to hear a lot of women’s stories and, sadly, what too often happens behind closed doors is abuse. So, in addition to the indirect cultural body-robbing, power-stealing indoctrination, there’s often deeply damaging sexual and physical abuse inflicted directly, bodily, that further pushes women to disassociate from their own bodies and sexuality.
Putting these two pieces together then, it makes perfect sense that the ideal place for women to stumble upon sexual self-discovery might just be a place like the Skirt Club party. It’s safe. It’s supportive. It’s deliberately sexy. And, away from male presence and masculine energy, they may find themselves startlingly unencumbered from the often unconscious participation in a hierarchy that, willfully or unwittingly, stifles their more fluid forms of sexual expression. Then, voila! Something magical happens. Genevieve said, “The women tend to be quite surprised at themselves, at how natural it all feels.” I say, hallelujah! They’re tapping into what the world has robbed from them, and found it alive, aroused, and ready to go.
Furthermore, when “heterosexual” women have sex with other women for the first time, there’s another unexpected discovery available. Unfortunately, heterosexual sex is often defined by, and focused on, penis-in-vagina intercourse so, without a penis involved, women may suddenly find themselves coming upon a whole new repertoire, shattering prior definitions of what sex is. Genevieve says “often the women don’t even know what to do. She’s in a new position where she has to let go of the idea of intercourse as sex. What is sex between two women?”
What an earth-shattering, mind-altering opportunity! This new awareness, in itself, can bring about brand new, radically transformative sexual empowerment.
Skirt Club has, of course, encountered its critics, detractors, and mudslingers along the way. Besides the stereotypical objections from religious groups, the most scathing criticism she’s received about her design comes from the camps whom she’s excluded, such as males and other masculine types. But she’s holding her ground, she says, because she’s very clear about the need to keep the space feminine.
Reflecting on her own experience, Genevieve (now 43) recognizes how repressed she had been in her twenties, acknowledging that “as women, we learn to turn our bodies off because it’s just easier that way.” She says Skirt Club, with its tidal wave of feminine power and energy, has also helped her get more in touch with her own sexual desire by affirming and reaffirming to her that she’s not here to deny what her body wants. She’s more in charge of her own sexuality, and often finds herself in the position of modeling this for other women as a way of offering support, encouragement, and inspiration.
She’s also developed a great deal of sympathy and empathy for women over the past seven years, both through listening to their stories and watching them work through intense vulnerabilities in a brand new environment. These women show up to explore something that’s often way outside of their comfort zones, and then (of their own accord, by hearing–possibly for the first time in their lives–what the body really wants) they work through their discomfort, fear, and uncertainty to have new, frequently life-changing, experiences. Through experience and observation, Genevieve has also grown, and found herself on a mission to nurture the confidence and determination of women to step into their empowerment sexually, relationally, and otherwise.
By far, the most significant thing (revolutionary, in my opinion) about Skirt Club is the real live environment it provides for women to physically immerse, connect, and explore with one another, and she eloquently articulates why. “It’s about doing it,” she says. “Not just talking about it. Talking doesn’t get you anywhere. You have to embody it. It will hurt and it’ll be scary, but cross the line and you’re free. For the rest of your life.”
Skirt Club’s mission statement says that women’s empowerment and sexual freedom go hand in hand. That’s true, although I believe the reverberations extend further than that. Sexually free, empowered women are the rocket fuel we’ve all been waiting for. It’s undeniably the key ingredient required to go the distance with all our human ambitions to make this a better, freer, more habitable world. We simply cannot escape gravity without it.