Move over, Craigslist! Community Board 1’s bulletin board is now the hottest place to advertise sex parties — but some members are all hot and bothered about it.
Last weekend, community member Susana Ramos used the community group’s unofficial Yahoo club page to post multiple invitations to a ladies-only “Passion Party” on Feb. 5, sparking outage in some (and curiosity in others).
“I don’t think [it’s] appropriate for this listserv,” wrote board member Karen Nieves.
Nieves’s problem isn’t sex or the Passion Parties, which are akin to a Tupperware party for sex toys. She just doesn’t want to see sex solicitations every time she logs onto a Yahoo page that was started by a board member for non-official CB1 postings.
Ramos, who is a former member of the 90th Precinct Community Council, didn’t take Nieves’s criticism lightly.
“I am not charging! I am not selling!!!” Ramos wrote in a reply post. Instead, Ramos said that all she wanted to do is ease her neighbors’ pain in these stressful times.
“If anyone who reads this is not secure with your sexuality and don’t want to learn more on how to better your sex life in these times of war and economic problems, that is your business,” Ramos posted.
But others saw a profit behind this professed generosity.
“I suspect the real issue at hand is using this forum of a means of free advertising,” said Heather Letzkus, a local blogger.
And some were even wary of what was being sold.
“It looked like a scam from a Nigerian bank,” said Teresa Toro, the listserv’s moderator who did not to censor the post, preferring to keep her eyes wide shut to this particular controversy.
Only members can post on the CB1 club page, and the moderator must approve all members, limitations that Toro hopes will prevent her from having to play an active role in curbing debate or discussion.
“Am I going to censor a Yahoo group? No, I really don’t want to do that,” said Toro.
But without an active moderator, scams and other types of risky business might become more common.
“Pretty much every popular forum gets attacked by spammers,” said Richard Millington, an online community consultant whose clients include top-shelf names such as the United Nations.
“If the community is properly managed, this shouldn’t be a problem,” he added.
Even smaller, private online communities like a neighborhood parenting forum can quickly become R-rated.
“I had someone post that they were looking for another couple for ‘soft swinging,’” said Susan Fox, the creator of the website Park Slope Parents.
“And that wasn’t the most inappropriate thing … I had to start moderating because people were getting really nasty,” Fox said.
It’s unclear whether the CB 1 group page will ever deal with postings more sensational than the pre-Valentine’s Day Passion Party come on from Ramos, who, like others who throw such events, is an “independent Passion Consultant” who gets commissions from any sex toy sales.
Of course, public scandal is the best aphrodisiac — just ask Mark Sanford — and the Passion Party is still scheduled for Saturday.
On the agenda for the evening, after the cursory discussion of the Broadway Triangle rezoning, partygoers will attempt to map the dark continent of female sexuality (no word yet on whether Jack Hammer, Brooklyn director for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, will swing by).
As for other prospective guests, free-speech champion Toro said she probably won’t make it.
“I’m not in the market for sex toys at the moment,” she said.
CB1 Passion Party (366 Hewes St. between Third and Fourth streets in Williamsburg, no phone), Feb. 5, 6 pm. RSVP to [email protected]