What hasn’t Tom Stewart done? From Navy Commander to successful business owner – he has certainly lead an interesting life thus far. Now branching Sportsheets out into additional brands, it seems his trajectory just keeps going upward. Let’s learn more about this fascinating man and his brands.
It all started when, in the mid 1980's, Tom saw David Letterman stick to the Velcro wall. Shortly after, Tom contacted a representative at Velcro, got some samples, and with the help of a friend, had a bed sheet made out of the material. After many attempts, Tom and his brother came up with the idea of using anchor pads and Velcro cuffs. The company began with a single product, that first Sportsheet. Since then Sportsheets has added more brands to help keep couples connected, including: Sedeux, Flirt, Sex in the Shower, Naughty Night Out, and Manbound.
Why does Sportsheets continue to concentrate on couples as compared to producing solo toys? Do the ideas for some of these truly innovative lines come from personal life, conversations with peers, consumer research or a little bit of everything? Going from a single bondage play sheet to a whole line of sex in the shower accessories, Tom has the lives of couples in their homes in mind. He says that he loves designing products, working with customers and consumers, and that coming to work every day is an exciting challenge. Not one to settle, Tom says he continually pushes Sportsheets to “Always improve.” After 20 years in the military and growing his company from a one man garage operation 16 years ago, to a company that employs 40 people today, we’re betting Tom and Sportsheets will be surprising us for many years to come.
Do you attribute the awesome quality of your company's products to working with Velcro directly versus any other company who works with said material/product?Thank you for appreciating our products. Quality was a founding principle of my company and I would have to attribute it first and foremost to the fact that 95% of Sportsheets products are Made in the USA. We are an actual manufacturer that still cuts, sews, punches and combines raw materials to make finished goods in our Huntington Beach CA production facility. Working directly with Velcro, the inventor of hook and loop construction, was natural for us since we also pride ourselves on quality innovation and going to a company that imitated Velcro just didn’t seem right.
I love the Sex in the Shower stuff. What are your future plans? What new and exciting, wet and wild products can we expect? Hints? Clues? Teasers?Thank you for the love. Sex In The Shower is the hottest brand in our history and we are excited to be expanding it at a rate unparalleled for our company. In addition to our runaway best selling Suction Foot Rest, there are many new and exciting products that we just launched! Sex In The Shower Silicone Lube, our #1 consumer request, our one-of-a-kind Vibrating Massage Soap, three different Vibrating Sponges – Purple Sponge, Foam Sea Sponge and Mesh Sponge – and our Double Sided Suction Cup dildo holder.
I have been curious about products such as yours in the shower. I wanted to try something like that, but have been a little unsure. What one sentence would you use to help me change my mind? In one sentence how would you convince me to buy your product?Thank you for your question, now I am going to convince you by posing a question and answer back to you. “Have you had sex in the shower?” “How successful have you been at having satisfying sex in the shower?” I can answer these questions for you because the answers are universal – YES and NOT VERY. Yes, because 85% of all people surveyed have had sex in the shower and less than 5% of them rated it successful. With our Sex In The Shower lock-down suction handles you have more to rely on than the erratic placement of the soap dish, the unsteadiness of the faucet or the random height of the shower head to achieve sexual satisfaction in the tub or shower.”
Were you aware of the similarities between the Sedux Wave and Gonzo's nose?Why of course, Gonzo was always my favorite Muppet. Be on the lookout for the Beaker butt plug. LOL
did sex/bondage immediately pop into your head when you saw david letterman stick to the velcro wall?
what was your initial idea that led you to make a velcro bedsheet?Sex and Bondage immediately popped into all of our minds. Over may beers in the Officers club at the Marine Corps Air Station Tustin,California we began discussing Letterman's leap onto the Velcro wall. Our Nomex flight suits had a lot of Velcro patches and closures, we were very familiar with the function of Hook and Loop. The majority of the officers/pilots in my helicopter squadron were single, so whenever we weren't flying, we were drinking and either talking about sex, looking for sex, having sex, or talking about sex (I know I said "talking about sex" twice).
The kickoff to this whole journey began when someone asked the question "did you see Letterman the other night when he jumped onto the Velcro wall? To which many of us replied "yes", it was then that someone else in the group (maybe me) said "wouldn't it be great if you could stick your girlfriend to a Velcro wall and do her"? then someone commented "yeah, and you could more her into all kinds of different positions", someone else piled on and said "like sexual flypaper!" "What if, instead of a Velcro wall, it was a flat table"? "What if it was on a bed"?
"What about bedsheets"?
there was a moment of silence as we all contemplated what an evening of sex on a bed of Velcro would be like. the jokes started flying and got really raunchy, okay, they were already raunchy. the idea of "sticking" your girlfriend to a set of Velcro sheets, being able to reposition her, and still have her stick to the sheets was hilarious and intriguing. the positions we came up with were right out of the dungeon (even though none of us had ever been to a dungeon before).
In my circle of friends, the discussion of the Velcro sheets took on a life of its own (almost like this answer). we'd talk about it continually. One of us would see a good looking girl and we'd say to our friends "oh man, Velcro sheets!" Meaning that she was worthy of a ride on the Hook and Loop. this discussion went on for several months. during this period those in our little group would bring their "girlfriends of the month" over for parties and the conversation would invariably turn to sex and of course Velcro bed sheets. I'd usually be the one asking how they would feel about being stuck to a Velcro bed sheet while having sex. Most of them laughed and said that sounded like fun as long as it was Velcro and they could get out. Others ran away crying. They were usually my dates.
through these social sexual inquisitions we put everyone's girlfriend through, a theme was developing. the majority of the ladies we spoke with (those that didn't run away) said that they would be willing to try the Velcro sheets if they knew that they could escape or get away. My curiosity drove me to contact "the man from Velcro". I explained over the phone that I wanted to put together a Velcro Bed sheet with some way of "sticking" a person to the bed so they couldn't move but they had to be able to get away. I thought he was going to hang up on me, then he started chuckling and said that's the funniest thing I have ever heard. I have two materials that might just work , when would you like to meet?
He showed me the Hook and Loop that he brought and I couldn't believe how soft the Loop was and how strong the Hook was. I ordered 10 yards of Loop and a few yards of the Hook.
I went back to the squadron feeling like Thomas Edison on the verge of a major break through - Velcro Sex!!! This could change the world! Everyone will be having Velcro sex. The sounds of crickets at night will be drowned out with the sound of Velcro peeling up in bedrooms across America! Velcro Bondage for everyone! What a great country!
I asked my friends if they knew of anyone who could sew. Bill, a lieutenant in the group, said that his wife Debbie knew how to sew really well. I asked Bill if he thought Debbie would sew the first set of Velcro sheets together, he said "yes" as long as they got to try them out first.
Debbie had completed sewing the sheet, and my brother Bob and I were still racking our brains trying to figure out how to get a person to stick to the bed sheet. we tried all kinds of setups, none of them worked. We had the cuff worked out, we took a basic surf leash cuff and modified it. Bob ultimately came up with the idea for an Anchor Pad. A 6 x 8 inch piece of neoprene rubber from a scuba suit with the Velcro Hook stitched onto one side. the other side connected the pad to the cuff. With the cuff wrapped around a wrist or ankle the whole thing would stick to the bed sheet. Piece of cake. it was so simple, it was hard.
we were ready to debut this one of a kind bondage wonder but didn't have any girlfriends to try it with (they had all run away remember)? During a party at our place we finally convinced (begged) one of our friend's girlfriend to get on the bed and try it out. Reluctantly she got on the sheet. We all surrounded the bed as we wrapped her wrists and ankles with the cuffs and then attached the Anchor Pads. when the Anchor Pads hit the Velcro sheet they stuck like glue! she couldn't pull them off the bed. As hard as she tried she couldn't get them to budge. we were amazed at how well they held. she started pulling really hard trying to get the Anchor Pads off the sheet, then fell back exhausted and started laughing so hard she almost peed her pants. everyone was gathered around the bed in hysterics. Bob and I had tears running down our face we were laughing so hard. we couldn't believe this worked. After she regained her composure we asked her to peel up the Anchor pad off the bed sheet. She grabbed a corner and pulled it right off the sheet. More laughter. More tears. That night the Sportsheet was born, just not named. I heard crickets that night.
Victoria (host): "This is the craziest best "How I got started" story ever!!! Thank you so much for sharing all of the incredible details with us. That's some fun R & D, for sure!"
Did 'Sex In The Shower' come to fruition from some close calls in the shower in your personal life? I am imagining you and your partner slipping and sliding, and you thinking "damnit, someone should make accessories for this!" ...*lightbulb*. Was it something along those lines?Victoria it was exactly along those lines. Here's a two part answer to this question.
I have always liked water. I have always loved sex. when I get an occasion to combine the two its a pleasure. For me having sex in the shower or hot tub/spa has always been recreational. I got hooked on shower sex when I was 19. I was at my girlfriend Donna's, and her roommate Sue announced to us that she was going to take a shower; would we like to join her? as I was looking Donna for a nod of permission, my clothes were already off. As I ran to the bathroom, I looked over my shoulder and said "come on Donna, this'll be great"!
I climbed into the shower and here was this beautiful naked wet woman rinsing the shampoo from her hair. The suds were running off her body and I stood there and stared. Sue was hogging all the water, I was getting the over spray. I got cold and started shivering but i couldn't tell if my shaking was from nerves or the onset of hypothermia.
I was so excited i could barely hold the bar of soap against Sue's breasts. Donna finally came in and I had my first threesome in the shower, I didn't even know what a "threesome" was but I was having it! Sex in the shower. I was hooked. At 19 that stays with you. In another question ask me to tell you the formative story of a shower experience i had in Mexico.
As I had other experiences in the shower I always enjoyed it but it was never easy, it was athletic. Nothing was handy,nothing was easy. The tub was slippery, a single shower head meant someone was always freezing and the other was drowning. you can't hang on to the soap dish (it's too low) or the shower head (it'll break), or the shower curtain (it will fall down), so what do you do? Hang on for dear life and try to fuck. When I've been to places with safety bars in the shower it got better, but the bar was never the right height, the tub step was either to high or too low and the shower curtain still came down. You could never get it just right, so you wind up contorting your body to get inside your partner. A Charlie horse in the shower before your orgasm is a buzz kill.
I think the inspiration for the Sex In The Shower line came when I was visiting an adult boutique in Arizona about 6 years ago. On the shelf was a dual showerhead. I asked the manager if they sold many and he replied "a few". I thought about the context of seeing a plumbing fixture among hundreds of sex toys and it struck a cord. If you see a pack of clothespins in a supermarket you think about drying laundry. see the same clothespins in a sex shop and now your thinking about anything but laundry. I filed the thought of the showerhead away in my mind for 5 years.
Functionally, I knew that the basic line needed handles (hand Grips) and a foot step. I started collecting different types, sticking them to my office window. the ones that fell off, i threw out. In the concept of the line, we had a dual shower head and removeable safety handles. We knew that in order to build a "line" of Sex In The Shower products we would need more than what we had, so we went out to our customers and asked what sex toys do couples want in the shower /bath? "Functional" and "discreet", were the primary calls for Sex In The Shower products. We dried off, threw our bathrobes back on and raced back to the lab. Sex In The Shower was a new line of products!
Victoria (host): "I had a feeling there was a story here too - and I'm gonna ask you the Mexico question right now!"
What's been your favourite country in your world travels? Most unusual dish you've eaten?Thailand and Australia (Melbourne my favorite city) would probably be my favorite countries that I have visited. Been to both quite a few times. The most unusual dish I've eaten? that would have to be a beautiful Blonde from Perth, Australia. Culinary cuisine? My favorite food is definately from Thailand, anything especially the seafood.
During a Naval deployment to Thailand, I ate bugs once (not the lobster seafood type) but crickets, grasshoppers, beetles ( I swear they were cockroaches) from a sidewalk vendor. Not the type of vendor that sets up a cart on the side walk but one that walks down the sidewalk and sells food. Probably the best place to pick up a souvenir parasite.
Late in the evening, After way too many Thai beers this little old man walks up to this open air bar where we were sitting and shows us this wide basket of (boiled in oil) insects. the dares and bets start to fly and the next thing I know boiled insects are flying into my mouth. Crunchy, creamy, not too bad but not good either. The beer helped wash them down. Nothing helped keep them down. They all returned the next day.
when I got back to the States i had visitors in my "system". I started crapping aliens, and got scared enough to get a culture sent off the Naval Hospital lab. the report was inconclusive of specific parasites but stated that I had active critters in residence and was prescribed massive amounts of antibiotics and wasn't allowed to fly until I was "clear" of illegal aliens.
Victoria (host): "I love everything but the crapping aliens part! ;)"
What's your favorite Sportsheets product?
Do you use any of your products? Which one is your favorite? Which one would you recommend to a first time buyer of the Sportsheets line?
I am a really sexual person and always have been but I just started looking at the world of sex toys and accessories that are made. What would you say is one item that everyone should have in their home?
Thank youGreat question, thank you. Without a doubt, the I Like It Doggie Style Strap is a MUST HAVE for every bedroom. This is the product that revolutionized everyone’s favorite position by offering deeper more controlled penetration, multiple angles of penetration and G-spot stimulation. That’s right, I said G-spot stimulation. By positioning the strap just below the waist, even with the pelvis, each time the Doggie Style Strap is compressed, it adds pressure from the outside while combining with inner penetration to provide G-spot stimulation. Using the I Like It Doggie Style Strap is the only way to receive G-spot stimulation while in the doggie style position.
Now typically, in the doggie style position you only have a 90 degree angle of penetration, with the I Like It Doggie Style Strap, two other angles are possible: 45 degrees angled up when the partner behind leans back and thrusts upward and 45 degrees angled down when the partner in front drops his/her head all the way down allowing the partner behind to pull up with the strap and enter at a down angle.
Why does this matter? Because when sex feels different, it feels better and that same “old” position suddenly feels brand new again. Finally, for the ultimate thrill ride, attach the Hump Bump & Vibe to the I Like It Doggie Style Strap for hands-free clitoral stimulation and increased G-spot stimulation. Trust me, there’s nothing like this at Six Flags!
Do you still make time to fly, for pleasure? And if so, what do you fly these days?Mostly I am flying in jets these days. Instead of being in the cockpit, I’m sitting in the back of the plane with the rest of the sardines.
I used to fly small planes with my wife. When she was a flight instructor, we flew together frequently. We had a blast and I got to keep my flying skills from rusting solid. She’s an airline pilot now, so I’m able to fly just about anywhere, which is a huge benefit. We travel together a lot.
When I fly now, she’s driving up front and I’m in the back ordering peanuts and beer. It’s not a bad way to go. I still have dreams of buying a plane. I keep telling myself “one of these days.” When I look at the reality of owing a plane I honestly challenge myself and ask when I will have time to fly my own plane. Right now Sportsheets is keeping me busy and to spend time flying isn’t on the priority list. So many more sex toys to make. I gotta get back to work.
Victoria (host): "Coolest. Wife. Ever. Wow - you *both* have awesome jobs!"
Was there an overlap where you were working on Sportsheets and still in the military? If so, did your fellow servicemen know?In my Marine squadron, there was a paraloft (where they repair parachutes and flight gear). They had sewing machines and I used to hang out and ask the Marines on duty if I could sew some things together. Eventually I could sew a semi-straight line, turn a corner and finish the stitch without sewing my fingers to the webbing. That hurts.
As I was starting to produce prototypes from the paraloft, word got out that Lt. Stewart had a SM production lab in the squadron. Most everybody was amused except the Gunnery Sergeant who ran the paraloft. He was pretty much a buy the book Marine and sternly suggested that I get my own sewing machine.
I found one for $200 at a dry cleaner and I was off and sewing. I taught myself to sew had a lot of close calls with my fingers and the needle, but survived the initial learning phase.
In my Navy squadron, everyone knew what I did. It made me a bit of a novelty in the helo community. I was always introduced and “Lt. Commander Stewart, the Velcro bondage guy”. It was nice that in a fairly conservative organization, I was accepted for who I was and what I did.
Wow. I am impressed. So Tom, what inspired you to do this? Was it multiple try and fail experiences in the shower? Trust me I have had a thousand of them!I've always loved sex in the shower and (except for a penthouse suite in Las Vegas) I’ve never been in a shower that was ideal for sex in the shower. Showers aren’t built for that purpose, so it’s no surprise that having sex in one is difficult. You can have sex standing up with the man holding the woman up, but then you have the issue of slipping. Shower sex is challenging - very few if any bathrooms are set up for it. I have had many near death experiences trying to get it on in the shower. Slipping tops the list, but the real disasters come from how you break your fall (or what your break) and what or who do you grab on your way down.
The shower curtain is the always a popular handhold so it’s usually the first item to go. I’ve broken and torn out many soap dishes. Forget holding on to the towel bar; that’s coming off in your hand and you look like a baton twirler on your way to the floor. My favorite disaster that caused the least injury but the most clean up effort, was when my partner broke off the shower head then grabbed for the pipe coming out of the wall. The pipe bent it as she tried to hang on for dear life. The bend “pinched” the pipe and created a nozzle effect. Water went everywhere. It was like a garden hose in the bathroom. Buzz kill.
Hockey helmets in the shower aren’t sexy; but like condoms, can be handy, if you are wearing one.
I am that little dweeb with the sketches of things that I would like to see come to life. As an entrepreneur, an inventor, a very on-track, determined and successful man...What advice or direction would you give me? (BTW, I may have sketches, but I am not the kid from SuperBad who draws dicks all day. LOL) <3Since it took me ten years to figure this out, this answer is going to be a long one. Readers, if you’re not interested in this process, please skip to the next question.
I will assume that you’re talking about sex toys. It sounds like you are artistic, creative and fabulously sexual. If you have ideas/drawings for sex toys or other applications, I would start by redefining the sketches. Make them “readable” and ask some close friends for their opinion - then don’t listen to them. There are brilliant ideas out there and not every idea makes it to market. I started with one, “The Sportsheet.”
I only went to work on it after the idea had been a subject of conversation among my social circle and almost everyone liked the idea. The real tough part is getting a working model (a prototype) and not going broke doing it. There are companies that claim they’ll take your idea (for a fee) and bring it to market. If you invent something, make it yourself and make it work.
Let’s assume you have the next George Foreman grill (“set it and forget it”). Many people I know started their business in a garage or kitchen. It’s going to cost money and you’d probably like to make money from your idea. If you think you have the next big (small) thing do some research. This can be as simple as walking thru your local adult store - talking to the manager or sales clerks to see if they think there would be a market for your idea. Surf the web, get feedback from people. Then don’t listen to them.
There are creators, copycats and naysayers. If you listen to the naysayers you’ll never get an idea off the ground; decide what you want to do, design, manufacture, start a new business or find someone to sell your idea to. If you can make a working model and then refine it (without spending your life savings) it will be easier to get it produced or to sell.
Once you have a working model, you’ll get your most valuable feedback. People will see it, touch it, use it, and give you suggestions. They’ll tell you things you never considered and you’ll learn a lot. Listen to only some of them.
Have a few more made get them into people’s hands. Does it work; does it do what you claim? Let’s assume it does; now you’ve got a working product, who is the customer, men, women, couples? Put it in and package, since you can draw, sketch out some boxes/packaging that presents it tastefully and make sure it appeals to your target market. If it’s for gay men - make it look masculine. For a woman, upscale and classy, couples? Make it look enticing to both. Remember women are the shoppers and the buying decisions-makers in the relationship. The guy may want a product but it’s the woman who’ll say yes or no.
To get your product made is one category of issues, the biggest issue you’ll have selling a product is how you’ll get it into stores, on the internet and into consumer’s hands.
When I started Sportsheets we didn’t have anywhere to sell it. We found swingers convention that had an “erotic market” where vendors would some in and sell products. We started there and over the years got to know who the players in the industry were- who you could trust, who you shouldn’t. We boot strapped out way up from a start up with no customers, to now being sold internationally. That doesn’t happen overnight but nowadays there are multiple venues for a start up to sell a new product and do well with it. There are many sex toy industry trade shows, lingerie shows that anyone can buy some space, hang up a banner, and sell their toys directly to distributors and retailers.
If this sounds demoralizing and too overwhelming, manufactures are always looking for new ideas. You can always sell your ideas to a manufacture that may pay you $500.00 for an original idea or may give you a royalty for every item of yours that’s sold. You won’t make a fortune but your idea may come to reality and for a lot of people that’s for more acceptable and rewording than going it alone and investing a lot of money up front.
If you want to share an idea with me, I’ll give you some additional feedback on where you should go.
Victoria (host): "Very cool of you to go step by step like this. You make it sound so glamorous ;)"
The Sex Sling looks like it would be a great device for stretching - were you inspired by stretching from your military background? Other (intended) uses aside, its durability and portability bode well for this type of usage.Sophie, it is ,and I wasn't. The only stretching that I did in the Marines was a morning routine we called "the daily 7" which is a stretching and calisthenics series of sit ups, pull ups, etc.; to warm up before we went on to more strenuous exercises like the obstacle course where we would pull our hamstrings. The Sex Sling and it's big brother the Super Sex Sling are well suited to stretching hamstrings and glutes. You can get great leg stretches using either of these slings; then put your naked partner into it and stretch their imagination.
My partner and I have been together for about 2 years now and we are still exploring our sex lives. We've been interested in trying out restraints and other forms of bondage. Since we're new to it what Sportsheets products would you recommend to couples just starting out and wanting to experiment?If you’re discussing fantasies and sexual options with each other if you’re already on your way to having incredible experiences playing with restraints. Communication is the key to have exciting sex play and exploring each other fantasies and desire and satisfying your inner kink.
Except for making love, (you know the really good, close intimate emotional intercourse) playing restraint games is the most exciting and pleasurable form of sexual expression for me. I’m a kinky perv and I love it.
I want to share a story with you that makes a point that I have never forgotten. At a swingers convention years ago, I spoke with a nice looking couple in their late 20’s. They walked up to the Sportsheets booth and I asked if they were interested in trying out the Sportsheets. He said yes, she said no. I asked her why she said no. She told me (looking right at him) “I don’t trust him.” I was floored. I didn’t expect to hear this from a young couple attending a swingers convention- follow me here- They were ok to swap partners, watch each other having sex with other partners but she didn’t trust him when it came to playing with restraints. We had a long conversation because I had to get to the bottom of this. I couldn’t comprehend their (her) issue of mistrust. It seems that they had experimented with restraints earlier in their relationship and she did not have a satisfying experience. He tied her up with ropes and took advantage of her trust and after just fucking her, left her tied up, went downstairs and watched on hour of TV.
She said I will never allow myself to be put in that situation ever again. Here’s the point; had this couple discussed their desires ahead of time, they could have had an understanding and set some ground rules for how their restraint play was going to go and how far it could go.
They needed to have a code word or safe word to use in order to say stop. If your partner trusts you enough to let you tied them up and if you breach that trust it will take years and a lot of expensive counseling to get it back. This trust carries thru from your bedroom (or makeshift dungeon) to the rest of your life’s dealings with your partner. If you’ve left her tied up when she’s most vulnerable where else are you going to leave her hanging, It carries through your life, don’t fuck it up.
Talk about it ahead of time, what’s your pleasure, what’s his fantasy- what’s off limits and what would you be open to.
Restraint play is so exciting because of the surrender - you submit to your partner all control. The playoff for you is that you get to lay back and go for the ride. You have no responsibility to your partner’s pleasure. It’s all you. Sure you may get your ass spanked and it may sting but when you ride the sensations it all becomes very blissful. Unless he fucks it up.
And to the boys out there… if your partner lets you spank her don’t start off with a home run smack on her ass. Trust, remember? If you hurt your partner know it will be a one time thing you’ll be cut off forever. Start slowly and play at it, get a book on Intro to Bondage there are many available. Restraint and role play can be a fabulous part of your sexual repertoire, respect each other and you’ll be playing for years to come.
Products I’d recommend are of course the Sportsheets. The Velcro bed sheet is designed so you can feel like you’re tied up, but you can get out of the restraints any time. The beautiful thing about the Sportsheets is that knowing that you can get out anytime alleviates the fear of being trapped. You can pull against the anchor pads, that stick to the Sportsheets and they won’t come of the bed. But grab a corner of the anchor pad and peel it of the sheet and you’re out.
It’s like a safety net beneath a tight rope walker. It gives the walker the assurance that if they fall they won’t get hurt. Because of the security of the safety net, the performer will do more daring tricks and feats of balance because they have the confidence in the safety net.
The Sportsheets gives you that safety confidence. You can get out anytime and since you have that in your mind you’ll probably allow your partner to go further with their sexual exploration and push beyond you normal boundaries.
If he brings in a bowl of ice cubes and that makes you nervous you can relax and see how for you’ll let it go before using your safe word or peeling your anchor pad up and “escaping.” It really puts the person “tied up” in control.
Another great item is the Under the Bed Restraint Kit. (It’s less expensive than the Sportsheets).
It’s excellent for starting out. The main strap goes under the top mattress and the straps for the arms and legs come up from the sides. It’s very versatile, strong and hides easily just in case your mom or roommate drops by unexpectedly. Go to Sporsheets.com and click on the demo video.
First thing: Cmdr. Stewart, Sportsheets is one my my favourite companies on EF (this is not a secret). Thank you for working with Eden Fantasys to bring your products forward.
Question: How did your company go from Velcro fun to the strap-on attachments? Was David Letterman an inspiration there too?Although we hold David Letterman up as the inspiration behind Sportsheets, strap-ons were never his thing (we think).
Friends of ours at Tantus Silicone make the best silicone dildoes in the world. Since we make cut and sewn products, they asked us to make them a strap-on harness for their very popular dual dildoed product “The Bend Over Beginner’s Kit.”
This became a huge hit for Tantus so we developed another harness for them that had a vibrating bullet that slid down a channel in front and buzzed the clit of the person wearing the strap-on. Another hit.
As we got more involved with harnesses someone suggested we make a harness that didn’t look a telephone pole repairman’s tool belt. With our designer and staff lesbian and strap-on user, we developed a line of harnesses that were as sexy looking as they were functional. We thought 'if you’re going to have strap-on sex you might as well look sexy'. We made super soft harnesses, leather ones, clear ones that leave nothing to the imagination, tiny harnesses, bikini style harnesses and larger ones for plus sized women with extra support in the back. To compliment our harnesses we now make the “Sedeux” line of strap-on compatible dildos in all shapes and sizes for women and men.
Our best selling harness is our Pegging Kit (for her to give it to him in the ass) called “The Newcomers Kit”. It features a very comfortable basic harness and a very slender dildo for anal play.
Pegging is becoming de rigueur in bedrooms across America and the tables have turned from the man mounting his partner to have anal sex, to the woman strapping it on and giving it to her man. Men, if you’re wincing reading this - get off your ass, onto your knees and let your partner in. That prostate gland of yours is begging to be tickled. You’ll open up a whole new world (no pun intended) of pleasure, and your partner will love you for it. Contrary to what you might think, the anus is not a one way exit. Ladies take it slow, use lots of lube, and take it slow. Ladies - he’ll expect reciprocation. Tit for tat, or something like that.
How did your experience in the Navy and Marines influence the way you approach your business?I think the biggest impacts the military had on our business was that, (1) I was used to people working for me, (2) I never gave up on the business because it was too hard, and (3) an insistence on quality.
The demand for quality came from the military specifications for how our flight gear was assembled. The gear we wore or carried never ripped, it always worked (it had too) and you depended on it to save your ass one day.
I came to expect this as a standard and translated this to our Sportsheets products. Quality, innovation and customer service are the hallmarks of Sportsheets. If we discover a defect with a product we’ll fix it. If any Sportsheets product fails and the store won’t exchange it send it to us. We’ll repair or replace it for free. We don’t get many products back.
What did you study in college? Has it been any use to you with your designs and inspirations?I studied to be a pilot. I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Science from Metro State College in Denver, CO. While I was getting my degree I studied the usual life courses of surviving with no money and of course, sex.
Those survival courses (2 1/2 years long) prepared me for living with no money and trying to start a business. That prep course came in handy. Knowing that just because you only had a bean burrito today doesn’t mean you’re going to die of malnutrition tonight.
The sex I studied in college was probably more formative and beneficial than anything else I learned.
I dated several girls over the semesters; each one was absolutely different and special in their own way. The most profound educational experience was the girlfriend with the G spot. Early 1980’s, I didn’t know that there was such a thing until one night on the Jacuzzi. What a surprise. I asked what is all this? She said giggling “that ‘s my G- Spot”. I was mesmerized, enthralled and hooked. I found the book by Beverly Whipple Ph.D. The G Spot and Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality, and memorized it. After that I got an “A” in G-Spotting. It was my most successful course at college.
I mentioned this because that experience carried over to other women I dated and I found it to be a very practical and useful skill set to have. I’ve always read with amusement the article debating the existence of the G-spot in women. I knew it in 1982.
When we developed our line of intercourse products, The Doggy Style Strap, Sex Sling, Penetration Station and the G-Spot Link, they all go back to my experience with the G-Spot. I had a pretty good understanding of what it takes to stimulate the G-Spot during intercourse. We designed our products to tilt the woman’s hips, which changes the angle of her pelvis and changes the angle of her vaginal canal. When her hips are tilted correctly the man can contact the G-Spot every time he thrusts into his partner.
All these intercourse products work better than you can believe and change the way your “sex” feels. When you use The Doggy Style Strap, Sex Sling, Penetration Station and the G-Spot Link, you’ll be able to change your partners hip angle and as a result your penis with hit different places in your partners vagina. If you haven’t found your partner’s G-Spot yet, start looking, happy hunting.
My roommate recently purchased Sportsheets' 7-Piece Fantasy Kit on my recommendation. Had I known the founder of Sportsheets himself would be EF's next interview guest, I would have advised her to wait for your recommendation! Which of your bondage/positioning products would you advise for a complete newbie who's interested in trying a little of everything?When it comes to sex, never wait dive in – tonight! I think your personal consumer report recommendation to your friend was right on the money. The Sportsheets' 7-Piece Fantasy Kit with two pair of Sports Cuffs, two Tethers and a soft leather blindfold you can be very creative in the bedroom. The Tethers and Sports Cuffs can be used in all kinds of combinations from wrist and ankle cuffs to neck collar or thigh straps. You can connect the two 48 inch long Tethers together, place then under a queen size mattress, connect the cuffs and you’re ready to play. Put the blindfold on your partner, pull that feather boa out of the closet, grab 2 ice cubes and start teasing your partner. When wearing a blindfold your other senses become heightened, your imagination and anticipation grows. You start to fantasize, your mind drifts, you have an incredible orgasm. That’s a pretty good product recommendation.
For a complete newbie, I would suggest the Beginner Bondage Kit, it has 4 Tethers and Cuffs and a soft fabric blindfold. You can tie the Tethers to anything and you’re ready to go. The Cuffs have Velcro closures so they are easy on- easy off. No ropes or neck ties for beginners. Leave that to the pros and the dopes.
Another fun one that’s a bit more adventurous is the Bondage Bar. This is a straight bar with 4 cuffs attached. The person wearing it puts their ankles and wrists in and ends up in a bent over (toe touching) position. This can be easy to get out of, great for a classic bondage position and leaves your partner accessible for penetration (both kinds).
By the way how do you get any sleep with your roommate owning a 7pc Fantasy Kit. Doesn’t the wall shaking bug you?
Why "Sportsheets"? What were some of the other potential company names you considered?The name Sportsheets is from of course “bed sheets” and the Great American pastime of Sport Fucking. It was a name that evolved in the Marine officer club over a period of 6 months. Everyone there understood its concept so it sort of stuck.
When we unveiled it at our 1st swinger’s convention everyone there had a suggestion for a better name. California Fantasy Sheets, Velcro Bondage Sheets, Sticky Sheets etc. We liked Sportsheets because it didn’t mean anything yet. We were determined to build a brand and having an innocuous name like Sportsheets meant that we could go anywhere and do anything with it.
Have you ever considered outdoor fun kits? Something for a pool party?
Has clothing ever come up as an optional product with your R&D?Outdoor fun kits. Funny you ask, this past summer at Swingfest in Miami, there was a big pool party. We brought our X-Rated Ring Toss Kits with us. We organized a contest, formed teams with one partner wearing the butt plug stick (while floating on an inflatable Sportsheet bed), and one partner attempting to toss rings onto the stick. The contest was a great success. This summer we'll host the Summer Sex Olympics at Swingfest in Orlando.
Clothing, we haven't gotten into yet (with the exception of promotional T-shirts and jock straps).
How does the sportsheet do with lube? does lube compromise the cling of the velcro? what lubes are safe to use with the sportsheet?
what about cleaning the sportsheet? does(wo)manly fluids gunk up the sheet?
lasty, any hell stories of cleanups regarding wax drippings? lolThe Sportsheet loves lube, all over the place. The brushed nylon material tolerates it very well. You wont loose any function of the anchor pads sticking to the sheet. Any personal lubricant is safe to use. Try our new Sex In The Shower Silicone lube. Its a great lube.
To clean the Sportsheet after a big night,simply machine wash, tumble dry and you're ready to put it back on the bed for another go. personal body fluids don't affect the Sportsheet. Most stains will wash out in the machine. If you get wax or crayon on the fabric, after scraping as much wax off as possible, the manufacture recommends applying Naptha to the area, then machine washing. the Sportsheets are pretty much bullet proof. The biggest annoyance is if you have a pet and they get onto your bed. The hairs will wind up in the little loops of the Sportsheet and they are very difficult to get out. Do it Doggie Style on the Sportsheets just keep the doggie off.
One waxy incident that I remember; a customer called me told me that he got carried away in a hot wax scene using a candelabra and got way too much wax on his partner and his Sportsheet. He said it "looked the Parafin Shroud of Turin". He said he put the entire sheet into his freezer and let it sit overnight. The next day he took it out,stretched it and most of the frozen wax popped right off. He treated the residual wax with Naptha. Success story.
"In another question ask me to tell you the formative story of a shower experience I had in Mexico" - You asked for it! Spill the beans, Tom What happened in Mexico?Tomorrow. I promise. Her name was Pam. It was in Rosarito, on the beach...
What kind of testing and trial runs took place on your products? Were there videos made? Do you get to watch them from time to time as a reminder of what great products you have inspired?
Sorry, Tom, I ask way too many questions!Most all the testing we did were done by our staff or close friends. For a new product we would we would take a prototype and get the inflatable ed out and different people would take turns flopping on it.and try different combination's. We would then send it home with a staff member and ask them to try it out with their partner and bring us feedback. This is how we develop most of our products. Originally we'd take a prototype to a swingers event and have couples (or groups) test it right there. Talk about instant feedback! We've gotten great suggestions from swingers about how our products perform and how to improve them.
We did shoot our own DVD for our in store product demo. In the early days some videos were shot by Bondage companies using the Sportsheets. I haven't seen those in years and if I were to look at them now I'd probably cringe at the content.
What was the initial reaction of those around you, to you starting this business?Most of my friends couldn't believe that I started a company that began as joke at the officers club a few years earlier. Each one of my family reacted differently. My brother and I invented the Sportsheet, and together we hosted our first hospitality suite at a swingers conventions. We kept it from the rest of our family for about a year, until it started to get a life of it's own. I told my older sister what I was up to and she ratted me out to my younger sister Julie who was only appaled that I didnt tell her myself. We are now partners.
The parents were a tougher sell. I was afraid to tell them. I waited until we had significant sales and it looked like we were going to survive as a small business. When I told them they were puzzled, shocked, wondering what happened to their Airline pilot son who had gone over to some dark side they couldn't even comprehend. They eventually came around and our dad (a retired business consultant) did a lot of management training with us for several years. Now, they cheer us on, but don't brag about their sex toy industry kids. To their friends some things are better left unspoken.
How does your thought process happen for coming up with new products? Do you actively sit down and say "Alright, lets think of something new" or is it more of a "man, this would really be nice if we had _____ in this situation... O.o *light bulb* "We rarely sit down and say "let's think something up". Someone will have an idea and present it during a research and development meeting that we have weekly. We'll consider it, work up a prototype and resubmit it the next week. Here's an example of a new product that we recently developed The penetration Station: We had a very good sexual positioning product called the Super sex sling. It is designed as a neck pillow with adjustable straps that connect to your ankles and holds you legs up during sex.
Some people had difficulty with the pillow causing pressure on their neck. We figured out that if we put the strap under the bed it would take the pressure off the neck and still hold your legs up. Some one decided that we needed something to hang onto while having sex in this position. We added an additional set of straps and loops for handholds and soon we had a new system for hanging on to something other than the bedsheets while you're having sex. a few more tweaks and The Penetration Station was created.
It's always a team effort. Someone will suggest something and everyone piles on the idea. We'll tweak it in the lab until it either lives or dies. Then we'll pass it around to our toy testers for additional ideas and improvements.
You wouldn't believe some of the stuff on the wall that hasn't made it out yet. There's some crazy stuff hanging around the shop.
I love your story about the 'spark' that started it all! Did you ever send a product package to Letterman thanking him for the inspiration? (I could see him talking about it on the show)Many years ago my wife and I were exhibiting at a big BDSM convention in New York. The Ed Sullivan theater, where the David Letterman show is held , is right there. We phoned his office and spoke to an assistant ( I was bummed that Dave wasn't answering his own phones that day) about bringing a set of Sportsheets to Dave. The assistant who had no idea what we were talking about, took the set and the letter we wrote about Dave's inspiration for the product. We never heard a word from anyone. I imagine some assistant producer scored a set of Sportsheets and someone at the Ed Sullivan theater knows who has them. The Sportsheet would make for a great spot on the show. Dave if you're reading this call me. I answer my own phone. tom
What was your smartest business move? At what point did you realize that Sportsheets would become a widely recognized and accepted brand?My smartest business move was making my sister, Julie, my partner. She and I are completely opposite in our thinking, on everything. She is east and I am west. This caused a lot of arguments in the early days. It has also brought a healthy balance to our business. We rarely agree, so we have to sell each other on our ideas or opinions. Its slows us down, but the discourse we have facilitates our decision making process. Julie is brilliant , a natural leader, very good with numbers and management. I'm more the creative, lets do everything now , type of person. We keep each other in check and as a result we tend to make better business decisions because of it.
Have you thought about products that would incorporate any other pieces of furnature? For example, if you take the shower handle and make one compatible with wood plastic or steel, you could attach it to a desk. Granted it would have to be removable, and that would require some creative solutions.
(if your current product does this, then I apologize for the redundancy)The Sex In the Shower handles with adhere to any smooth surface, like a wood desk, smooth walls or a dinging room table. Having handles for sex anywhere is a great idea. I love having sex on furniture. Flashback- in Vegas there was this high back chair that we used. My partner was bent over it and tied to the legs of the chair, the ottoman came in handy too. The idea or fantasy of sex on furniture helps sell our Beginners Bondage Kit. On the package there is a woman tied up, blind folded and spread-eagled on this huge throne. Its a very powerful image and is a big reason that that product is one of our best selling items.
Love the vibrating massage soap...when I masturbate with traditional soap, it hurts when it gets inside my clit. Does this soap lack whatever that "ouch-making" ingred is?
P.S. Would love to see some shower heads made for masturbation...right now, if I buy one with 14 settings, there may be only 2 or 3 that work well for masturbation, and it's a "buy and hope" situation since the darn packages don't mention! What is the best way for customers to submit product ideas/suggestions to Sportsheets?A quick answer on the soap. I don't know anyone who would encourage women to masturbate with soap. Men either. When soap gets into the urethra it stings /burns. you'll spend more time rinsing out than you did getting off.
Use our Sex In The Shower Silicone Lube and waterproof vibe for much more satisfying orgasms.
Shower heads for masturbation. I think this is very common for women to use the shower head for masturbation. You have the privacy of the shower ,no one can hear you scream and there is no clean up effort. It's perfect, except for the shower handle itself. Much work needs to be done on ths frontier. When all you want is an orgasm, 14 settings is way too many to choose from, even for just taking a shower, and the way the shower head hits you is all wrong.
If you'd like to explore this or other ideas with us at Sportsheets, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll bring you in on the Sex In The Shower, R and D team.
When you think about it, do you consider your Sportsheets to be more of a product marketed to the vanilla community for kinky sex or an addition for the BDSM community?
Also, you guys are amazingly huge with your variety of products. What's coming up next for your company? Anything you can share with us?
Last: Why don't you make Sportsheets in Full size? I know you have Queen and King, but I've never seen Full, and it makes me sad because we have a full-sized bed.Our Sportsheets products are really made for both demographics. Vanilla for sure, but when we first developed the Sportsheet we took it to BDSM conventions, gay leather events, swingers conventions and fetish gatherings. Most everyone liked the Sportsheets.. A few BDSM purists turned their nose up at us. They considered us the anti-Christ of the BDSM community. What people liked about the Sportsheet was how well it held and how quickly you could change positions with it.
One of the results that came from our attending these events was the Tethers. These are adjustable straps that connect the Sportscuff to the Anchor Pad and enables the Anchor Pad to be placed away from the persons hand that is tied up. If you can't reach the Anchor pad , you can't pull them off the Sportseets. You'll fold the mattress up before the anchor pads let go. When people saw this the Sportsheets was allowed into the BDSM community. The portability of the sheets also lent itself to be considered a good piece of gear for people to add to their travel kits.
The concept behind the Sportsheet and most of our products is that you can get out if you want to. This really flew in the face of the few BDSM people who dismissed our product as "not pure", a novelty. What the Sportsheets did for many people was to let them get introduced to what can be the very scary and intimidating practice of BDSM. In another question I refered to the "safety net" the Sportsheet provides to people. When they know they can get out they are usually more willing to experiment with their partner than if they were using traditional restraints. because of this I think we have helped more people explore their BDSM fantasies how ever mild or serious, and helped them have safe experiences during their exploraroty phase. Some never progress past little tie up games, others graduate to heaver scenes and intensity.
I always asked the question of how do you go from zero to sixty if sixty scares the crap out of you. Start slow, explore safely and see how you like it. more often than not, it isnt the products that determine if a couple is going to like exploring their BDSM curiosities but the way the couple goes about it. the old cliche of "safe, sane and consensual" is still the way to go.
What's on the horizon for Sportsheets are more Sex In the Shower products as well as some new strap-on harnesses. New Bondage products are coming out as well as new sexual positioning items.
And now for the really good news: The Sportsheets does fit a double bed! They come in King and Queen size. the way they are made, makes them adjustable for differences in the sizes of the mattresses. the King Sheet will fit a California King, and an Eastern King and a double pillow top. The Queen Sportseets will fit a double bed. There is a drawstring that goes around the perimeter of the sheet as well as two security straps that cinch the sheet to the mattress. there is no way the sheet can come off the bed. it takes just a few minutes to set up. once on the bed, we suggest that you leave it on the bed as a mattress protector and put your top sheets over it. when you want to play simply peel the sheets off your bed and you're set up ready to go. I hope you'll enjoy youre new Sportsheets. Tom
As you know, I'm a fan. The night I met my husband, I was wearing your velcro cuffs lol, and now, we sleep with our under-bed restraint system dangling around our bed.
My question is: Do you ever think about doing any type of reality shows? Like the Sex/Relationship Help kinda shows? They seem to implement toys into their studies so that the couples find new ways to come together in private. I think that your products would be an entire kit for an experience like that. I know that you have kept your focus on the couple but just since this interview, I now associate you with the shower brand, that's amazing, I didn't know. So congrats on all of your success, continue to rock! Let me know if you do have shows that you are a part of, or if they are in your future, because I think you and your products would be a perfect feature.On the night that you met your husband were you wearing anything else besides the cuffs? and with the under the bed restraint system dangling around your bed how do you ever get any sleep?
That you think our company would be a good subject for a reality show is a very nice compliment. We were approached last year by a guy who wanted to do just such a show based on our family and the Sportsheets business. As I have mentioned, my sister is my partner. I started the company and co-invented the Sportsheet with my brother and my dad is our business management consultant. So we had this family dynamic that the producer thought might be interesting as a TV show. He did some filming at our work and at some trade show events, but wasn't able to get anyone interested in supporting the project. I'd love to do some sort of a talk show one day that would be fun. Thanks for your support. Tom
Can you tell me how you got your "big break"? How was the transition from garage to factory to fame? I bet it was an amazing feeling and ever since those first steps and break-throughs, you are still getting those incremental highs because you are still growing, and rapidly. Stories like yours honestly inspire me, so I want to thank you, Sir, for the interview and thanks to Eden Fantasys for giving you to us for a while.Its been said that to become an overnight success takes about ten years. That's pretty accurate in our experience. I can't point to one really big monumental break. there were lot's of little ones. Each time we would get another store to pick up our products it would add to our sales for the month. When we got a big chain store, we would freak out and be so happy that we couldn't see straight for a while.
I think the biggest break that we had, is when Spencer Gifts picked up our Feather Ticklers. It was about 8 years ago and that was the first mainstream account that we got into. This forced us to really ramp up our production and everything else about the business got a little more serious.
We started the business in the garage of the house we were renting. we were pretty comfortable there. We had our production upstairs and shipping in the garage. only a couple neighbors knew about and they were okay with us selling sex toys in the neighborhood. When the owner sold the house it forced us into our first commercial building. From there we started really growing, adding staff, new products and eventually expanded the the next door facility. We outgrew that, moved into a bigger place and then moved again into the building we now own.
We've had a lot of fun and lot of tearing our hair out as we've grown this into the business it is now with almost 40 employees and sales worldwide. We have much more work to do and so many more sex toys to make. tom
Have you ever considered selling your own line of bedding? I know that the sportsheet is an actual product, but the name also lends itself to a waterproof mattress protector/sex friendly bed materials.If Martha Stewart can do it why not Tom Stewart? In the past we have looked into making rubber sheets and leather sheets. Since all these are very expensive there is a very small market for them. Satin sheets are like the anti-Christ of Sportsheets in that, while you're having sex on them staying on the sheets becomes a death defying challenge of balance and stability. It would be an interesting concept to offer some different kind of sheets in our product line. thanks for the suggestion. Tom
It is obvious that Sportsheets is constantly improving both itself and sex in general. The whole sex in the shower line is absolutely brilliant. However I can think of a frontier that no manufacturer has ventured (to my knowledge) - sex in the car. What invention would you like to see that would facilitate awkward positions in tight spaces? Are there any bondage sets created especially for car seats? How would you use any of your existing products to make this feat easier? Do you think that there are any growth opportunities in this area?Thanks for the nice compliment. Sex in the car. do you know that in the UK there is a pastime/practice called Dogging? This is where couples park their car in a public place and have sex. There are popular Dogging areas/sites that Doggers migrate to see and/or be seen people walking by, watch, and then move on to see the next couple Dogging.
So the new Sportsheets Dogger Kit may be unveiled at next years Auto show in Detroit. It could include two eye masks, a spray bottle to pre-fog your windows and two battery powered candles for ambiance. I'm thinking that the biggest need could be somewhere for the woman to hold/ or hang her feet up for better penetration. this could be a fun product group to work on.
Here's an excerpt from a book written about sex practices in the UK titled: Rude Britannia
Melanie [who runs a dogging website] says it's important to be well prepared for dogging and that you should 'put together a small washing bag containing condoms (if the males haven't brought any), wet wipes and deodorant' ... she then goes on to describe the various dogging 'signals'.
The most common is flashing lights (exterior or interior) which basically means 'we're doggers'.
In the 'after' section Melanie advises that a 'simple thank you' should be given to all involved and all used condoms and litter picked up so it doesn't spoil the environment for normal users.
Rude Britannia (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), £12.99
Even dogging, the sexual practice brought to fame by footballer Stan Collymore, is still going strong thanks to the net.
'There was a huge amount of straight swinging and dogging in every town,' Fountain says.
Dogging was even going on in the unlikely setting of East Kilbride on a Monday night in November: 'I couldn't believe it – there must have been 25 cars.'
Apparently the Brits are kicking our international sexual ass by getting the jump on all the public car sex. We're falling behind! Let's get out there in ours cars a catch up. We'll be the one flicking our lights. Tom
Victoria (host): "Ya learn something new every day! Thanks, Tom - you just added to my slang vocabulary. Good thing I have a minivan, huh?"
Sportsheets products are great; they can hardly be considered adult novelties or sex toys. Why do you market these items primarily for the adult industry?
The recent run of the Sex in the Shower commercials on Time Warner cable look like a major success. How is it doing for you? How did the network management react to the products? Did they see it as a red flag at first or did it go through smoothly?
We've sold Sportsheets to adult stores ever since we started. We would love to branch out to the mainstream stores . I'm afraid that Walgreens may not be ready for us. I do see more sexual items in the drugstores than ever before. We need to modify some products and repackage them before we make that move. I do think the time is coming for more products to find their way into some of the more progressive stores. That'll be a great day when you can stroll into a Rite Aid and walk out with a Sportsheets Doggie Style Strap. next it'll be available by prescription with a 5 dollar co-pay.
The Sex In The Shower ad that is currenlty running on some cable channels in the Dallas are has gotten us a lot of attention. I was told that last week 4000 people visited the stores website that sponsored the commercial. When we were offered this branding partnership with this store we had the commercial broadcast on several cable networks for a 3 month period. I was surprises that the networks agreed to air it. We are delighted at the positive reaction to the ad. Its running from 9pm to midnight so a lot of people are seeing it. Check it out on our website: Sexintheshower.net. click on promotional items and watch the commercial.
Have you ever had the opportunity to test your products in a zero-g setting?Not yet, but I'll bet it would be out of this world (sorry I had too). In Zero-G The Doggy style Strap could be huge in Space procreation or space recreation. tom
Does your family know you do this? What are their reactions? What about in public? When people ask what your job is, how do you explain it? And what's the weirdest reaction you've ever gotten after you had explained it?My family is very cooperative with what I do. My Mom and Dad both know, and Sister is my partner. My Brother invented the Sportsheet with me and does the post production on our videos/dvd's. we are one big happy family. I think I'm the only kinky one in the group.
When i meet people and they ask me what I do, to avoid offending anyone, I have a three question rule. I tell them "I have a manufacturing company". If they press me and ask "what do you manufacture"? I tell them "cut and sewn products". If they go for the third question, "what kind of sewn products do you make"? Then I hit them right between the eyes with my answer, "Sex toys".
9 times out of 10 they smile and ask where can they get a catalog. I'd say this is more the norm than the exception. Most people are very positive about it. It usually opens up a new dialog with the curious person and before you know it they've asked to be on our catalog list.
Once in the Navy Reserve before a big briefing of very senior officers the Navy Captain in charge was holding court outside. Someone introduced us and he asked what I did in my civilian life. I didn't wait for the second question and went the the big answer, "I make sex toys sir" he got this big grin on his face and said "Commander Stewart, I think you've just become my new best friend" . "Yes sir" I replied.
I saw the short videos from YouTube highlighting the Sex in The Shower products. It looked like you guys were really having a good time, laughing a bit too much maybe? Just how much fun was it making those videos?When we shot those it was a spur of the moment ,quick grab the camera and "action", sort of thing. We were laughing so hard because of the bloopers that proceeded each take. We're not actors, not even close, but we do have fun. It was surprising to hear what came out of everyone"s mouth. totally impromptu, unplanned, and spontaneous - like some of the best sex we've all had.
Wow! A bondage bedsheet? That is amazing! Saves tying things around posts for sure. This question is going to be very personal... Tom, do you practice bdsm? And if you do are you dominant or submissive or a switch?I dragged my feet answering this one, but I'll share my secrets with the world. Prior to inventing the Sportsheet i tied up a couple of girlfriends (not at the same time) for fun. Other than that, I had very little experience with any BDSM in my sex life. The Sportsheet started out as a joke until we put the first one together and then we didnt' know what to do with it. During the time we we first selling it, I got my first glimpses into the BDSM world and met people who were into it. I learned more from watching, (I guess that qualifies me as a voyeur) and talking to BDSM people who were interested in the Sportsheet.
I had opportunities to get into it a little bit, but I wasn't dating much then and didn't have a partner that I could explore this side of sexuality with. I always wanted to be careful about staying on the side of being a vendor/manufacturer and not mixing my world with the people that I was selling my products to. For example we sold a lot of Sportsheets to Swingers during Swingers conventions but didn't swing ourselves. I though that by keeping a line drawn, it would help the business stay a business. Not that I didn't want to swing or learn how to flog somebody's ass until they came, i just maintained a distance.
So I dabble and experiment and try out our new products. I'm definitely dominant but I learned that to be a good top, you should know how to bottom. I believe this is true and so i guess you could say I'm a switch but prefer topping. Now that you helped me get that off my chest, thanks for asking. How about you? Tom
I have always been so fascinated with the Velcro bed products, but like so many other people we lead busy lives. Most of us have children, I know that these can be very discrete (IE put under bed sheets for later use but can they do more to 'hide' them?) but I was wondering if u have something or will have something that can be more customized. Not only for height, arms length, but colors and designs. Plus if your like me and love to use toys along with these products, can we customize this further? Extra straps to hold toys in place, so they are in a secure location. Or can you buy a whole set, something along with this plus special toys that fit right in (pockets? hidden straps or pouches that can hold everything that you need? For me personally I find that to have everything in one place is so much easier and keeps the mood up) Also just my own personal interest, down the line would you be up to considering making these heat/ice capable? Spice things up a little bit by making the straps hot or even cold. Or even giving them the ability to hold ice and keep it cold for a reasonable amount of time. Thank you, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my ideas & ask questions!Amy, thanks for your questions, you sound like you have a fantastic mind. I would like to discuss this with you more. call me please.
No plans on the horizon for custom colors. We did have colors years ago but it was too expensive to carry that much material at the company so we narrowed it down to basic black.
Extra straps to hold toys in place is very interesting. Out Pleasure pillow is Velcro compatible and has a little dildo anchor pad that sticks a dildo anywhere o the pillow case or on the Sportsheet. you can make further adjustment using Tethers and Sportcuffs to hold Hitachi Magic Wand or other large vibrators. Out Thigh Harness Straps-on to almost anything for some very interesting set ups. Creativity is the key to getting the most out a set a Sportsheets.
I have a toy bag that attaches to the Sportsheet. It holds all kinds of goodies right where you need it. email me, I'll show it to you.
The ice/heat idea fascinates me. I'm not sure what we could do with that but I know the sensations of the two extremes can be intense.
Email me at email@example.com. I'd love to discuss this with you.
I don't suppose that early in your navy career you would have imagined that you'd head a team of 40 people making wonderful products to aid people's sex lives! So I was wondering, did you have a specific plan for what you wanted to do when you left the navy or did you only make that decision once Sportsheets had kicked off? Had you always been a bit of an inventor? Did you want to go on to own your own business?When I got out of the Marine Corps, I wanted to keep flying and took just about any job I could find that would keep me in the cockpit. It was during this time that I started the company. So I flew and sewed products. I wanted to fly for the airlines. That was my main focus, Sportsheets was just a kinky hobby. I did eventually get hired at a small airline, flew there for three years, then they went out of business. Simultaneously, Sportsheets was sputtering along and I thought if I gave my full attention to it, I might be able to make it work.
I had always made little items for my flight gear in the Marine Corps. The helo crew chiefs called me Lt. Gadget because i always had some modification to my flight gear that I flew with. My most memorable one was a flexible water canteen that I fashioned out of a plastic pouch. It had a rubber tube coming out of the top and I made a harness for it and wore it under my survival vest. I caught a lot of shit from my squadron buddies about it. I flew with it for years. Then Camelback introduced their version of what I was wearing and of course now everyone knows the success of that product.
I looked at that experience and told myself "you can create products that people can use".
I have always wanted to work for myself. I wasn't happy with making other people money. I work hard and I knew that I could do better if I was working for me. That's been one of the best decisions of my life.
Please share some funny stories from when you first started? I know there must be a ton, all that experimenting with velcro!My favorite story was during our first swingers conventions, we hosted a hospitality suite. We served shots of "screaming orgasms" and had a Sportsheets set up on one of the hotel beds. People arrived and pretty soon some lady took off her clothes and a group of people gathered around the bed, tying her down to the Sportsheet. I was pretty interested as this naked lady was lying spread eagled on our Sportsheet. and and I was looking right up her crotch. Pretty cool, I thought. Then this naked guy got on top of her and stuck his cock into her pussy. It was seeing like a bad traffic accident. I didn't want to look but I couldn't help it.
I ran and got my brother from the other room and told him "they're fucking on our Sportsheet" "What?" We both ran back across the room just as this act was reaching it's climax. Afterward, they both got off the bed, revealing a giant wet spot on our brand new Sportsheets. We were pissed. We figured they wrecked the only demo sample we had in the room. We placed a hand towel over the wet spot and hoped nobody would notice the elephant in the room. We didn't know swingers yet...
The next couple got naked, moved the hand towel aside and we proceeded to have Deja Screw. It went on like that all night long. What seemed at first to be a show stopper is now our favorite story to tell. I miss the old days.
What was the process you had to go through to spread your product out there for the first time? Do you have pictures you can share with us of the first tester product?I really have to credit the Swingers conventions that we attended for getting us the introductions that influence us to this day. Pictures do exist of people on the Sportsheets in the early years. I have Polaroids at work in the safe that I will attempt to post in a couple of days. these are some of the old shots that couples took of each other, some fledgling port stars and just plain naked people. if i can find them I'll post them here. stay tuned in.tom
Victoria (host): "We wanna see those pictures too!"
I'm sure there would be quite a lot of demand for a book about your story! Attitudes in this country have changed quite a bit since the mid-1980s. Being in this line of work over the years must have given you a unique perspective on just how much things have changed. I'm curious about how your customer base back in the late 80s and early 90s compares with your base today- not so much in terms of numbers, but in terms of the demographics of your customers and their familiarity with buying sexually oriented products. I'm also curious about whether there has been a change over the years in the reception your business has been given by those in the community who do not purchase these types of products and do not approve of their sale.Thanks for the compliment. I think the biggest attitude difference is in early 90's we were exploring where the demographic of Sportsheets would hit a dead end. I wanted to find out who our target market is and who it is not. The answer back then was "just about everyone". It's the same answer today but a little different.
In the 90's, we were selling to people that were "out there" with their sexuality, swingers, gay leather men , BDSM and fetish people. they were into everything. And everything was still pretty much dark, sinister, and closed up . You had to know someone to find out about a swingers party or convention or BDSM gathering. Nowadays, its all over the place. What was dark and sinister then, is on HBO Real Sex, late night TV shows and all over the internet. Even though most people in the U.S. have never been to an adult store, more people than ever are buying sex toys and exploring their sexuality at younger ages than we did even a decade ago.
If your question is about people in the BDSM community, I'm not sure where they are with our products (how they feel). I can only imagine that the people who are in their 20's and 30's that have gotten into BDSM probably got their start with Sportscuffs and Tethers, or something similar. The prevalence of bondage lite products in stores allow more and more people to try it out than if it was still all hardcore leather gear. I think that more people in the future will be into BDSM than are now, or were ten or fifteen years ago.
It's like the golf clubs of today make it easier to hit the ball, so more people golf because it's not as hard as it was 20 years ago. Better equipment gets more people to try the activity, whatever it is.
I am really intrigued by your products, They are so ingenuous,
How did you get the Idea For Sex in the Shower design and easy suction system?
With the Sportsheet;
What type of Problems did you experience with the testing phase?
What was one of the goofiest, Funny accidents that happened during the testing phase?
Thank you for your contribution to the S&M World!!The Sex In The Shower products came a little at a time. It began with the dual shower head , then the handles , then the vibrating items and now the Silicone lube and mirrors. we didn't really have any problems with the testing phase. I think all the problems were the near misses and near death experiences that we have all had in the shower, that until now everyone has had to tolerate. Finally we can have sex in the shower and not kill ourselves! Pass the soap please.
My Husband and I have been going through a very dry spell in our marriage. We have tried so many things! We own many of your sex in the shower accessories, and love them. What advice would you give to us to try to put some more spice in our marriage? Anything would be wonderful!@Everyone hits a dry patch. You have to figure out if you're both bored, tired or if something else is going on. If you were going to have sex with someone other than your husband, what do you fantasize about that person doing to you? Ask your husband to do that with you. You could offer to do the same for him.
When all else fails, go to Fantasy Fest in Key West in October. Go to Hedonism in Jamaica, Swing fest in Orlando in July. Surround yourself with sexuality and you'll get horny again.
I'm asking my professionals to help with answer. Above are my amateur opinions. I will post a follow up to this later. or you can email me to discuss it further with my professional friends. Toms@spsortsheets.com
So, you design the original sportsheet, something that vanilla people can laugh and giggle at in a "ooo, aren't we naughty" way. Then there are the Sex in the Shower and Naughty Night Out lines - again, the vanilla crowd wouldn't feel too intimidated by them.
Now you've got the Sedeux and the Manbound lines, in addition to a fully expanded Sportsheets line with some items like hogties and paddles. I'm sure people not accustomed to the concept of sex toys and BDSM feel like they're not in Kansas any more.
So then, the question is: how did you deal with the attitudes of family, friends and acquaintances who might see "novelty" items as naughty, but acceptable fun, yet they would view a strap-on for same sex play beyond their comfort level? In the beginning, did your social circle and family think that you were somehow immoral for wanting to make kinkier products, or things targeted at same sex couples? Did you lose friends over your convictions?
It takes a brave person to make sex toys (even now) because you have to buck convention and risk ridicule or attacks. I commend you for making some excellent produts.I have lost some friends over the years, but it wasn't due to me manufacturing "immoral" products. I think way back, if people weren't interested in the Sportsheets project, they just sort of slid off to the sidelines and didn't say why. Most of my family is involved in some aspect of the ,business so I'm in the clear there. I think that everyone's attitude in the family has changed.
When we did the gay Manline products or the Strap-ons, this endeared us to more people than it did alienate us from anyone.
As a manufacturer, we still lean away from making ball gags, nipple clamps etc. - the harder edgier stuff . We try to keep it pretty light and fluffy and approachable.
Thanks for your vote of confidence.
I don't think anyone has asked the "Sex is..." question yet! Tom, it's a tradition around here... would you be so kind as to finish the sentence: " Sex is..."?Victoria i'm racking my brain to see if there is anything left that is clever or mildly poignant. this is what I'm willing to write:
Sex is... ... the most fun I have ever had.
I owe you a story of a beach in Risarito, mexico.
I've noticed that one of the most common ways of making a phallic sex toy is injection molding (can tell from the seems). Does Sportsheets do that too? Are there other processes you've heard about/seen?You'll have to email me for tis one. I cant get to it. TomS@sportsheets.com
After the interest generated with this interview and the marketing promotion increasing yours and your company's names, is there a(n) (auto)biography in the future?