The year was 1989, and the alternative rock band the B-52's had a hit single on their hands that ultimately would sell one million copies and, in 1991, possibly inspire the beginning of the adult toy business on Maui.
It seems like a natural fit now--after all, the song lyrics included the line, "I've got a car as big as a whale"--but back then, adult toys were just beginning to come out from behind the counter and into the light of day.
"There was nothing to enhance adult pleasure before I came to Maui," said Lila Sherman, owner of Love Shack Maui located at 1913 S. Kihei Road in the Kalama Triangle.
Store Manager Nicole Church has worked at the Love Shack for five years. Here, she is pictured surrounded by many of the unique products carried by the store.
Sherman moved to Maui in December 1991 from her home in Los Angeles. She has been in the adult business for 33 years, both as a lingerie home party pioneer and as a sex educator.
"In Los Angeles, I was invited by the instructors in the city colleges to speak and answer questions in their classes and to be a resource to the teachers," she said.
"When I started on Maui, I started with a table, a rack of lingerie and a metal shelf. I was in a corner of someone else's store in the Aloha Marketplace, before it was the Aloha Marketplace. Little by little, I started expanding and taking over the store. But I had all my toys behind closed doors."
Fast forward from 1991 to 2013 and a lot has changed in the intervening years. Sherman's store is a thriving business offering a wide variety of creams, oils, lubricants, adult toys and lingerie.
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and until midnight on the weekends, Love Shack Maui is a warm, friendly environment where no one is made to feel out of place.
"My store has always been fun," said Sherman. "Everybody who comes in has a smile on their face."
The most popular items are toys for what Sherman likes to call, "The adult playground," closely followed by lingerie
To shop at Love Shack Maui, one has to be at least 18 years of age. But, the overall demographics of Love Shack Maui's customers may surprise you.
"We have men, we have women, we have young people--say 25 and over," said Sherman. "The young girls come in for our lingerie all the time. Most people who buy our lingerie are younger. Other than that, we have up to 50s, 60s--I've had 80-year-olds in here for the first time. And they tell us how we've changed their lives."
With her experience covering so much of the change in sexual attitudes, Sherman is delighted by the evolution of how people approach intimacy.
"I think that people's comfort levels are being changed. People are now allowing themselves to look outside this tunnel, this tunnel of discomfort. They're more open now to exploring, experimenting and experiencing."
"We see couples coming in completely distanced from each other and walking out together and walking out with smiles," she said.
"My best story is of a couple who came in completely separate, and as they walked out, we saw him give her little rear end a little pat. It just brings joy to our hearts."
Sherman found her career in the adult industry almost by accident. "I was in real estate since 1964, and I never expected to leave real estate. I was with a friend; this was with home parties. No one had ever heard of them--this was just a concept. My friend talked to me and put together a party, and I went and I bought some things that changed the energy for the moment between my husband and me," she recalled.
"For the first time in how long, there was laughterjoy and giggles, and I thought to myself, 'this has made such a difference for me.' I wanted to do it for others, and my friends decided they were going to go and start a party company."
"So, I was still in real estateI started doing a party every so often, and the parties took over and have taken offthat was 33 years ago."
Sherman has continued her home parties on Maui. "We have our Love Shack home parties, and that is a very much a part of our business," she said.
The Love Shack is a great place to shop for special occasions and holidays. "The big days are Valentine's Day, Halloween and Christmas. Those are the times that we really shine and get to share with people what we have," Sherman said.
Sherman likes to have fun, and she laughs and smiles easily. In some ways, she seems like the mother one might bring their boyfriend or girlfriend home to meet when the relationship begins to turn serious.
While, to some, her store may seem a bit racy, Sherman has never sought to push her views or products on anyone.
When asked about community resistance to her store over the years, Sherman said, "I am blessed. I just truly and humbly know that I am loved and appreciated on Maui. I wanted to honor everyone's comfort level. I started gently. I didn't shove anything in anybody's face. I just truly wanted to honor people's comfort levels."
According to Sherman, the economy is looking up and things are buzzing at the Love Shack. While the effects of the recession were felt, especially in 2009, it wasn't because the store was unpopular.
"People didn't stop having sex, they stopped having money," she said with a laugh.
Sherman wants her store to be a catalyst in helping to make intimate relationships happy and successful.
"First of all, when we're in a relationship for a long time, everything seems to take over and we forget one of the most important parts of our relationship, and that's the connection we have with each other. And enjoying each other in an intimate manner makes such a difference in all of your relationship," she said.
"Just think when you have been intimate with your darling how you feel the next morning. And how much closer you feel. What I want, what I'm hoping, is when people come in that they leave with their hearts laughing and dancing and allowing themselves, alone--or with a partner--to just celebrate this wonderful part of our being, the sensual, sexual part of who we are. I'd love to see us celebrate it, rather than many cases hide it and not acknowledge it."
Come on down to the Love Shack. Enjoy what they have to offer in a bright, clean, well laid out and friendly atmosphere. If you would like to call before dropping by the number is 875-0303.
You're always welcome, and as Sherman likes to say, "Love is a piece of cake and we have all the frosting."