Rebecca Weinberg, president of XR Brands, talks about how far BDSM has come and why no matter which direction it takes, XR has you covered.
If Rebecca Weinberg and XR Brands had their druthers, adult retail stores would boast immersive bedroom and dungeon displays, riddled with kinky products—Wartenberg wheels, fuzzy handcuffs, whips, nipple suckers, electro-stim devices and even cock and ball torture (CBT) devices. In between, you’d find everything from vibrating anal plugs to over-the-door restraint systems.
This BDSM utopia may not be as far-fetched as one might imagine. In fact, it may be able to pop up sooner than later with the advancement in the category over the past decade.
“Of course, we saw an increase in popularity of BDSM products after the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ phenomenon,” says Weinberg, who is the President of XR Brands. “For many, the books and movies were the first time they’d really been introduced to the tools of the trade and dom/sub dynamic, and it was a real boom for our industry.
“Celebrities and musicians are wonderful ambassadors of kink as well,” she continues. “For example, Katy Perry chained our Kink Industries ankle shackles to disco balls to promote her ‘Chained to the Rhythm’ single, Kanye West featured body stocking-wearing figures in his video for ‘I Love It,’ Ariana Grande made latex highly visible in a covetable bunny mask and outfit, and celebrities like Timothée Chalamet and Michael B. Jordan wearing bondage harnesses have recently made quite a splash on the red carpet.”
Pegged as normal
As trends evolve and change, so does the spectrum upon which they are measured. What was considered extreme in the past is normalized with the erosion of time—think about fashion trends or music from decades ago versus now.
Adult kink is no different.
“Anal toys as a category has become far more ‘mainstream,’” says Weinberg. “We’ve responded by expanding our backdoor offerings with new Thump It and Thunderplug plug lines, as well as powerfully vibrating thrusters from our Ass Thumpers line. Pegging recently entered the wider public consciousness thanks to boosts from pop culture media like the movie ‘Deadpool,’ and our Strap U line of strap-ons has a wide variety of harnesses, dildos and vibrators to meet that demand.”
In a stroke of premonition, XR Brands released its Tailz collection—faux animal tail anal plugs—into other collections, but the line’s popularity indicated to XR they had something special.
“By creating the Tailz brand, we were able to create focus and expand our selection—it’s been very successful for us,” Weinberg says.
Another frontier XR Brands has been a pioneer of? Sex furniture.
“Full-size sex furniture is something our customers have been asking for, so we’ve made some really functional, hard-wearing items for our Master Series Collection including the Obedience Extreme Sex Bench and pet play-inspired Kennel,” says Weinberg. “We’re also one of the few manufacturers of such pieces with retail-ready packaging.”
With BDSM, look for XR Brands to continue to develop its portfolio, cradled in its aforementioned Master Series Collection, hailed as the company’s “BDSM bread and butter.”
But it isn’t just the award-winning Master Series carrying the torch.
“OurStrict brand, which has a heavier restraints focus, also has some strong contenders; thigh, bed and over-the-door restraints are practical and effective, and our customers love them,” Weinberg says.
As past extremes shift toward normalcy, previously unthought of fetishes seep in to replace them. Weinberg points to CBT as an example of the extreme end of the recalibrated BDSM spectrum.
“Products favored by its practitioners include tools such as the Cock and Ball Crusher and Skewer Spiked CBT and Urethral Plug from our Master Series line, wickedly-designed devices that induce submission,” Weinberg says.
“Electro-stimulation, or e-stim for short, also fits the bill,” she adds. “Newer silicone e-stim tools like the Zeus Electrosex Extreme Twilight Comb are less fragile and travel better than older styles made of glass, but are intense conductors that can create extreme sensation.”