Tom of Finland and XR Brands Rise to the Occasion

LOS ANGELES—As any gay man growing up in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and beyond can tell you, the most iconic artist and illustrator of those times was Tom of Finland. Born as Tuoko Laaksonen in 1920, Tom was indeed from Finland. He began illustrating hyper masculine gay men in sexual positions that in the ’40s were considered taboo and too racy for his time. Yet his art endured and found an audience of gay men throughout the world by showing that gay men were strong, sexy, fearless and, most of all, enjoyed pleasure. Tom of Finland’s body of work stretches over five decades and includes more than 5,000 individual works, mostly in the distinctive black and white of pencil and graphite. He has been and truly remains a gay man’s icon.

So why not start to promote the iconic Tom of Finland name in the adult products industry? The Los Angeles-based Tom of Finland Foundation, founded prior to the artist’s death in 1991, decided to look into other avenues to continue his legacy and expose a younger gay audience to Tom of Finland’s hunky, horny and hung men.

Along comes XR LLC, the well-established manufacturer of every imaginable sex product in the industry today. “We were approached by the Tom of Finland Foundation to develop a lubricant that would bear the iconic artist’s name and deliver on the integrity and strength he promoted through his positive images of gay men in the world,” explained Randy Alvstad, CEO of XR, based in Huntington Beach, California. The fruits of the collaboration were displayed on January 11 at a private party in the Tom of Finland Foundation home, a museum and archive that preserves the artist’s legacy.

“We were honored to be contacted by such an important legacy and thought ‘Why stop at just lubricants? Tom of Finland stands for strength, power, and the ultimate in masculinity when it comes to positive imagery for gay men.’ We couldn’t resist and proposed going well past just offering lubricants.”

XR started with a variety of lubricants: water based, silicone and hybrid formulas, all packaged in steel bottles with a steely Tom of Finland illustration gracing every bottle. Joined by an easy-to-use Deep Throat Spray and a jar of slightly numbing fisting cream, XR was well on its way in further dovetailing the iconic artist’s imagery with products suited for the adult gay men’s market.

XR continued with developing products that capture the strength of Tom of Finland’s illustrations, recently releasing more than twenty different products to satisfy the most hardcore kinky player in the Tom of Finland world.

“Each product allows customers to touch and feel the experience that every Tom of Finland illustration evokes, continuing this long-established legacy of strength and power,” Alvstad said. “XR LLC’s entire Tom of Finland line evokes the images of big cocks, heavy SM play, ass fucking, and many of the other themes Tom of Finland presented in his provocative and shameless artwork. In fact, every Tom of Finland product sold has a collector’s reproduction of a Tom of Finland illustration which is definitely an add on to all of the products. We’re even including a Tom of Finland dog tag with every item to let the buyer proudly state ‘I am Tom of Finland.’”

But just re-creating the tools Tom of Finland uses in his beautiful and strong illustrations wasn’t enough. “We realized that the younger generation, while being turned on to the cuffs and restraints that are invoked in Tom’s artwork, may have different values when it comes to using the heavy cowhide leather which was most likely in use when Tom thought of his fantasy (or reality) illustrations,” Alvstad explained. “So we thought in order to introduce his hard play to that audience, we would create products that exude strength but were made in leather-like neoprene, inside and outside of the cuffs and collars. We feel we have succeeded in doing this.”

In fact, the products are all vegan, meaning there is no real leather used in making these items—although one would never guess by holding and experiencing these tools of the trade. “We also thought that by making them out of heavy-duty neoprene, the cost would be affordable to young gay men to allow them to investigate and invest in their BDSM, Tom of Finland inspired fantasies,” Alvstad said.

XR didn’t stop there. The wildly popular and recurring image in many of Tom of Finland’s illustrations is the leather-capped character Kake, who wielded a huge cock that brought pleasure to many men who experienced it, either with their hands, mouths or anuses enveloping his mighty man meat.

“We couldn’t resist re-creating Kake’s cock, in all of its proportions, in both steely-gray 100 percent silicone composite and with a less expensive TPR model,” XR product developer Michael Merrill shared. “We took Tom of Finland’s illustrations and literally blew them up so they would be 3D in order for us to get the correct proportions and shape so men could actually experience what Kake’s cock would feel like. They are so beautifully realistic that Kake seems to come alive though the strength of his mighty cock. I am sure gay men will absolutely be ecstatic that they can experience their fantasy in real life with Kake’s realistic cock.”

Adding to the XR collection are several variations of anal plugs both in the traditional plug shape as well as very phallic anal plugs, echoing the visuals created by Tom of Finland that explore dildo play. All of the anal plugs offer vibration in several different sizes, all made in classic black silicone, of course.

And Tom of Finland’s illustrations usually showed men with prominent nipples, caused by incessant nipple play between male partners. In order to replicate the effect seen in his illustrations, XR created very masculine barrel nipple clamps, weighted with 4 ounce removable weights for the ultimate in nipple torture and play.
Several other items will be rolled out by XR in the coming months, with proceeds of every sale going to support the non-profit Tom of Finland Foundation.

“Every purchase supports the work, profound impact and legacy this gay men’s icon had in the world of sexuality. XR LLC is proud to be associated with such a world wide presence of a man of his stature and well as be able to support his work for generations to come,” shared Alvastad. “To continue the promotion of healthy sexuality for gay men around the world is truly an honor. Long live Tom of Finland!”