Have a Seat, Get Comfy

Gerald Bostock
XBIZ delves deeper into the whole milieu of sofas, swings and super-electric surrogates to say — or ask, rather — exactly what ARE some of these products all about? Which ones are most popular? What folks actually buy this freaky furniture and twisted technology? And, eventually, where and how might one purchase these truly erotic pieces of fornicatingly far-out yet, nonetheless, fully functional, objet d’art?

Zeps, Swings, & Monkeys
In terms of sex furniture, the stuff basically falls into two categories: solids and inflatables. A perfect example of a solid piece of furniture is the Esse (pronounced “s”) Chaise from Liberator. The Atlanta-based company is renowned for its sex products made completely out of foam, with the Esse Chaise basically being one piece of foam cut in the form of a rather large “S” lying on its side to, in turn, resemble an all-out sofa. The long, sleek, narrow body of the Esse Chaise allows couples greater freedom of movement as they transition in and out of their favorite Kama Sutra positions. Yet the Chaise could actually be a legitimate piece of furniture in a living room or bedroom suite.

“The whole idea of our products,” says Michael Kane, chief business development officer at Liberator, “is to support you. We use high-density foam in our products, and in the case of the Esse Chaise, it’s all contoured out of a single piece. It’s light — but it’s also sturdy at the same time.”

Stockroom.com offers a wide selection of BDSM furniture, including the highly popular Pig Swing with Stirrups. The Pig Swing is basically a heavy-duty sling, hung from chains from one’s ceiling or beams, and perfect for trying out those more unique sex positions.

“Pig Swings are good because they’re totally washable and wipe-clean,” attests Ann-Marie Holman, brand manager at Stockroom.com. “They’re like a hammock. As a matter of fact, I recently feel asleep in one at a friend’s house. We also carry leather Pig Swings and a few other different styles.”

In terms of a popular inflatable piece of furniture that also incorporates a sex machine, there’s the Love Lounger from Pipedream Products.

“It’s popular due to its versatility,” says Pipedream Products’ marketing manager Kevin Johnson said. “There’s so much that comes with this particular product. There’s a cat o’ nine tails; a blindfold; a candle; batteries; three dong attachments: one is thicker, one is thinner, one is curved to hit the G-spot… As a result, you can use The Love Lounger as a bondage device, as just a pillow to arrange your partner and you in all sorts of different positions, or just as a full-on sex machine.”

And speaking of sex machines, Stockroom.com has one of the most extensive selections of electro-erotic delights found in both the retail-store and Internet markets. Some of their items even have a titillating retro look to them. For example, the Full Throttle Deluxe Fucking Machine — with its grey, rectangular body and “precision linear shaft” upon which the user may place their dildo of choice — resembling a roboticlike creation out of a ‘50s sci-fi flick.

And of all of the sex machines Stockroom.com offers, one that’s especially “entertaining,” as Holman puts it, is the Fuck Saw, which is identical to a power drill, but instead of attaching a bit to its end, the user attaches (yet again) a dildo for maximum penetration. “I think it’s fun to just brandish the Fuck Saw,” Holman admits. “The first time I tried it, the recoil almost knocked me on my ass. It’s a pretty powerful machine, which takes a steady hand.”

Sex machines, for the most part, are highly contractible, easy to disassemble and, thus, no problem whatsoever to conceal in a closet, under a bed or — in the case of the Fuck Saw — even in a toolbox!

In fact, an item like the Full Throttle Deluxe Fucking Machine, with all of its retrolooking bulkiness, is easy to disassemble and pop into a quaint closet space.

In terms of the discrete nature of sex furniture, once again, the inflatables really speak for themselves: You just deflate, fold and conveniently stow them away.

Solids, like the Liberator Wedge/Ramp Combo is a product that can be easily fold up and slide into the deep dark recesses of a closet. And Liberator’s relatively new Flip Ramp can be folded up to look like a stylish ottoman.

“The thing is,” says Kane, “those pieces look like contemporary furniture pieces. So people can leave them out in their living rooms and nobody is going to know that it’s designed for sex.”

Of course, the already-discussed Pig Swing from Stockroom.com might initially seem a potential problem in terms of the whole discretion issue, seeing as the chains holding up this hammock-like chair are connected to rings drilled into a room’s ceiling or beams.

Not to worry, Ann-Marie Holman says.

“While you can hang the Pig Swing directly from beams in your ceiling,” she states, “you can pull the whole thing down from the chains when, say, your parents or relatives come over. And after taking the swing down, you just roll it up and hide it away. And, of course, you can also take the chains down — which only leaves the hooks in the ceiling. But even with those, you can simply hang a plant from them.”

It’s actually somewhat of a mystery in terms of specifically pinpointing the consumer demographics of these sex machines and furniture goods. Customers, according to the manufacturers we spoke with, range in age anywhere from early 20s to late 60s.

Yet there are some slightly more distinct demographics.

Kevin Johnson of Pipedreams Products, for one, points out that the customers who, on average, purchase inflatable sex furniture products from their Fetish Fantasy series are generally new to the whole kink-sex scene and are basically getting their feet wet.

“Our Fetish Fantasy series is pretty much in every adult store,” Johnson states, “and it’s really the perfect beginner bondage line.”

Ann-Marie Holman points out a different distinction in terms of Stockroom.com’s own customer base: “They’re probably mostly men who pay for these products online. Exactly whom they’re using them on is, I’m sure, is very evenly split, too. That is, I believe it’s fairly evenly split between hetero and gay male customers buying these items.”

Interestingly, there exists a bit of a schism between the two schools of furniture, i.e., the solids and the inflatables.

Those outlets that produce and sell solid products, in fact, seriously question the functionality of inflatable goods.

“Our products have always been on the higher end,” Kane said. “With Liberator products, it’s all about being a love artist, about bedroom adventure gear — that’s the market that we go after. But inflatables… They pop. They’re just cheap stuff.”

Stockroom’s Ann-Marie Holman, more or less, concurs with Kane.

“One of the key things about that type of (non-inflatable) furniture we sell,” says Holman, “is that the furniture is designed to facilitate certain kinds of activities and positions, while using inflatable products is like trying to stay balanced on top of a basketball. It’s counterproductive.

“I mean, have you ever been in a swimming pool, and you’re trying to climb up on the inflatable floating lounge chair? You keep trying to climb up on it and you keep slipping off. The inflatable furniture is very similar: It doesn’t distribute weight in the same way as solid furniture so it’s incredibly awkward. It’s a different matter, however, if you’re talking about a Liberator cushion, which we actually do carry on our website.”

Kevin Johnson of Pipedream Products doesn’t even see an argument existing between the two schools of furniture.

“We’re not trying to compete with people who make solid furniture,” says Johnson. “Yes, our lines are all pretty much inflatable (with a pump being included with larger items, like The Love Lounger, for example). And obviously since our furniture products are inflatable, they hit more of a lower-end price point. Consequently, each product is more of a beginner’s item — just like most of the stuff in the Fetish Fantasy series. We’re more involved with people who say, ‘Well, I might like the bigger, more expensive furniture. But I’m going to give this inflatable one a try first.’ It’s an introductory to the whole experience.”