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Start Your Business Success Stories

Selling Sexy: 7 Surprisingly Saucy Startups

Selling Sexy: 7 Surprisingly Saucy Startups XDress.com caters to cross dressing men who want lingerie that is both flattering and fits well. / Credit: XDress.com

You've heard of a sexy business plan? Well, these businesses took that idea literally. Very literally. Here are seven businesses that have found success with sex-oriented businesses you've probably never heard of before.

Wooden (sex) toys

The name of this business really says it all. WickedWoods manufactures adult toys out of the United Kingdom, creating its custom-made products from an unlikely material: wood.

The self-proclaimed "Savile Row of adult sex toys," WickedWoods' sexperts hand carve bespoke pleasure items from sustainably sourced hardwood. Fancy a pair of high-gloss cherry handcuffs? How about a custom collar to match your black walnut bedframe?

Of course, WickedWoods asks customers to send over their preferred cuff or collar sizes when ordering. But if the buyer's sex toy of choice is a bit more intimate, the company also utilizes a unique tool, the "girthometer," to ensure a perfect fit.

Communicative condoms

Condoms are generally seen as necessary tools, not conversation pieces. But one unusual business, Say It with a Condom, looks to change all that with its hilariously packaged contraceptives.

Whether you want to remind your partner that foreplay is a good thing, or you wish to reinforce political views before consummating a relationship (Obama condom, anyone?), Say It with a Condom likely has the right rubber for you.

The company's first condom package, created during the U.S. presidential election of 2008, featured the likenesses of candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

Say It with a Condom has since expanded its offerings to include hundreds of novelty condoms with perfect ice-breakers for awkward sexual situations. The company also turns condoms into a unique marketing platform, letting customers design their own promotional prophylactics.

Novel nudity

At one time, "stripper" may have been considered an unusual occupation, but those days have passed. To qualify as strange these days, a stripper has to seriously stand out. Centerfold Strips, an upscale exotic dance service based in New York, understands this well.

The company specializes in providing customers with entertaining novelty acts that are as unusual as they are erotic. Would you like the servers at your next event to be topless lesbian little people? Or perhaps you'd prefer a senior citizen striptease? You can even hire a buxom blonde known as the "Fantasy Mermaid" to float around topless at your next pool party. 

If you're looking for more family-friendly entertainment, the company also books several unusual entertainers who keep their clothes on. The famed DJ Chef, for example, will cook you and your guests dinner while simultaneously remixing your favorite records. [Crazy Companies: Bizarre But Successful Business Ideas]

Pleasure on the go

Whether you like to keep your most intimate possessions on your person or you're afraid of what the cleaning lady will think if she opens the nightstand drawer, this next weird business might be for you.

Crave, a San Francisco-based startup, makes sex toys for women, designing and manufacturing discreet, luxurious pleasure items specifically for travel. Complete with classy leather pouches to hold them, Crave's products look more like fancy USB storage devices than sex toys. And, actually, some of the toys the company makes do include USB storage. Talk about multi-purpose tools!

And if you're a "wear my orgasm on my sleeve" kind of gal, this sexy business has you covered. Its line of "foreplay jewelry" is designed to be worn in public or during intimate encounters.

The business of sex

For some people, sex is all business. Eric Amaranth is one of those people. This New York-based sex coach makes a living teaching his clients about sexual intercourse and self-pleasure.

While his sex coach title isn't all that novel, Amaranth's coaching strategies are a far cry from the hands-off approach used by many sex experts. While Amaranth does offer traditional talk sessions for couples working on sexual issues, he's better known for his more, shall we say, bare-skinned approach to sex therapy. 

For $240, a couple can invite Amaranth over to watch them in the act. He'll provide guidance, expert tips and, of course, sex toys. Those with a bigger budget can spend the $7,000 it costs for a full-fledged sex life makeover. Amaranth is also available for bachelorette parties and woman-only salons, where he'll answer even the most intimate coital questions that you and your girlfriends can throw at him.

Say yes to sex

This next business isn't so much strange as it is strangely specific. Started by two friends, both former Pfizer employees, Yes manufactures 100-percent organic personal lubricant products.

Co-founders Susi Lennox and Sarah Brooks said they started the company after spending years learning about the harmful effects of chemicals on the human body as employees of Pfizer's Drug Safety division. They also worked at Pfizer when Viagra launched, and learned quickly just how well sex sells.

Their business, Yes, became the first-ever company to create a full range of certified organic, plant-based personal lubricants. And Yes' products are still among the only certified organic personal lubricants on the market.

In addition to being health-conscious, this sexy business works to remain discreet. All of its mail-order products are delivered in unmarked envelopes and boxes, ensuring that only your partner knows how much the green movement turns you on.

Lingerie for men

Could your underwear drawer use a pop of bright color? A hint of sheer lace? Or perhaps your closet is missing a sexy schoolgirl costume. Whatever your wardrobe lacks, this next seductive business has the right stuff for you ... if, that is, you happen to be a man.

XDress makes lingerie just for men. Founded in 1988 by the last people on Earth you might expect to found a men's lingerie company — a female ex-diplomat and a petroleum geophysicist — XDress manufactures about 90 percent of its sexy products (which include a full range of sex toys, costumes and lingerie) in the United States. From full-body latex catsuits to barely there lace undies, this business caters to every taste, as well as to every sexual preference.

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Elizabeth Palermo
Elizabeth Palermo

Elizabeth writes about innovative technologies and business trends. She has traveled throughout the Americas in her roles as student, English teacher, Spanish language interpreter and freelance writer. She graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University. You can follow her on Twitter @techEpalermo or .