Thursday, January 21, 2016

Het vs. Gay Leather, To Fuck or Not to Fuck

Back from MAL (Mid-Atlantic Leather), and this post will (mostly) be about my observations on the differences between a het-dominated leather con and a gay leather con… or, really, more about a difference I see between het and gay leather culture in general.  I’ll preface this by saying that this is painted in broad strokes and exceptions abound.

My first gay leather con was The Big One: IML.  I went in 2014.  I found there were no classes.  There was a contest less then half the people there cared about.  There were many parties, drinking, and mingling. And lots of sexy, fetishy gear on display.  This was a hook-up con!

This last weekend was my first MAL, but I knew what to expect.  I explained to my omega (this was his first gay leather con): “This isn’t SELF.  There are no classes; there are parties.  Guys are going there to hook-up and have lots of great sex.”  And that is what we found.

Rather than give you all the blow-by-blow of my weekend (which went very well, and I did hook-up with a couple of hot puppies including one very sexy rubber-clad Alpha who came back to my room and fucked me silly), instead I figured I’d reflect on some thoughts the experience brought about on the differences between the two “leather” (whatever the hell that means) communities I sometimes walk in (or, at least, adjacent to).  Specifically, I want to comment on three myths I find predominantly in the het community that don’t jive w/ what I see in the gay community.

Myth Number One:  You never drink and play

I have actually been to an event in Asheville (held at a bar that included a pair of St Andrew’s Crosses) where a couple of older, het “leather” people got vocally uptight about the younglings mixing play and alcohol – and even interrupted someone’s scene.

“These kids are just a bunch of sex and drugs hedonists!  Real leather folk know that you never drink and play!”

Right.  Do these people not know that the leathersex culture grew out of gay BARS?  You know… places where they serve alcohol?

At MAL they had three bars going in the lobby and another full bar set-up downstairs in the ballroom dance floor.  Alcohol was flowing like water.  And there was still lots of sex and lots of play.  And not to even mention the poppers…

Myth Number Two:  It’s all about honor and tradition

This comes up sometimes in the gay community as well, but I don’t see it stressed nearly so much as in het leather.  I am sooooooooo sick of hearing that leather is about honor and integrity and tradition.  B-u-l-l s-h-i-t.  First of all, as I’ve often pointed out, honor and integrity are things you should have, not b/c you are into leather, but b/c you’re a human being.  Second, as I’ve just as often pointed out, I know just as many non-leather kinksters who are extremely honorable and honest as I know leather people who are low-down, predatory scum.  I know ABDLs whom I would trust w/ my life and leathermen I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire.  Think someone is honorable and trustworthy b/c they have a leather vest covered w/ pins?  Well, let me tell you about the leatherman who was such a terrible, dangerous, abusive predator that he made himself so unwelcome that he had to buy his way onto the guest list of a leadership con by stealing money from another kink group and donating the stolen money the leadership con so he could come there and teach classes – on community leadership!  The mind doth reel…

Many, mostly in the het community but some (especially older) gay men as well, have this idealized version of leather b/c it allows them to put themselves up on a pedestal and look down on everyone else.  “Oh, you’re just a kinkster; you don’t know about honor and integrity.”  “Oh, you’re just a fetishist; you don’t value tradition.”

You can see me rolling my eyes, right?

Yes, honor and tradition were a part of gay leather, but not in the way most of these guys think.  As Hardy Haberman recently put it: “The honor part had to do with the fact that you had to trust the people you played with.  You had to trust that they knew what they were doing and that they weren’t misleading you.” (  This “honor and integrity” part is now just a basic, common sense tenet of BDSM, swinging, and ethical sluttery.  There’s nothing uniquely leathery about it.

The focus on tradition, as Hardy Haberman explained, was always an invented, mock tradition.  If you were into military fetish then you aped military traditions.  If it was outlaw bikers that turned you on, then you grabbed from that.  It was about aping the traditions that made your dick hard.

Myth Number Three:  It’s not about sex

Ah, the big one.

At MAL, you can stand in the hotel lobby late Saturday night and see guys getting hand-jobs in the crowd.  If you walk into the public restrooms off the lobby then you will find the row of three stalls literally shaking because guys are in each stall having sex.  At MAL, if you go to the observation windows on the top floor that look over the hotel’s room windows, then you can see guys in a dozen different rooms with their lights on and curtains wide open fucking and fisting – knowing that you’re up there watching them.  And if you walk the upstairs hallways of the hotel at night, you may stumble upon a one puppy giving another pup a blowjob in the hallway…

While on the straight side of the fence, kinksters and fetishists are separated out from leather (a distinction which doesn’t often make a whole lot of sense) and often looked down upon.  I’ve encountered leather folk actually slut-shaming their fellow kinksters.  WTF!?  “Oh, she’s only in it for the sex.”  WTF!?  We’re not a fucking church group!  BDSM is a sexual orientation!

Look, I’m not saying leather clubs don’t raise money for charities and do other community things… but that’s not what defines them as leather groups.  What defines them is the sex.  Not necessarily always genital penetration, but I mean sex in broad terms: bondage, domination, S/m, humiliation, foot worship, gear fetish…

One of the biggest differences between a men-only dungeon and a mixed gender dungeon mirrors a big difference between a gay leather con and a het-dominated leather con: the former in both cases has a lot more fucking going on.

Alcohol and drugs (at least poppers) are certainly not foreign to the leathersex scene.

It’s only about integrity in as much as that’s a safety issue and it’s only about tradition in as much as that gets you dick hard.

Sex?  Oh, yes.  It’s definitely about sex.  To evoke Hardy Haberman one last time:  “Leather, for me, was about rough, raunchy sex with men.”  And there you have it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2015 Year in Review, Part Two

Twenty more questions about my year...

21. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas day w/ Poet’s family, and this year it was extra-special b/c we had Hunter with us – a wonderful bonus!  We spent the weekend after Christmas at the Treehouse w/ a handful of our favorite friends, family and puppies, and New Year's we spent in Chattanooga w/ a few other members of my chosen family including one I hadn’t seen in a year b/c he lives in Japan.

22. Did you fall in love?
There are a couple of puppies I’m pretty found of… and I have a new girlfriend named Sally.  ;)
And I continue to fall more in love w/ my beautiful Owner every year!

23. Have any one-night stands?
Sex was very good this year!  Apart from pawesome sex with my regular partners (w/ the pug learning to top and the Dalmatian getting all dominant) I also had a bit of sexy-time w/ a very cute, new pup at the CAPEX Halloween party.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Agent Carter and This Week Tonight with John Oliver.  We also enjoyed Star Wars Rebels, Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and also re-watching The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I wouldn’t feel bad if something dreadful happened to Max’s ex.

26. What was the best book you read?
Non-fic:  Why Marx was Right by Terry Eagleton, Bark! by Justin St Clair, and Critical Mass by James Wolcott.
Fiction:  Hounded and Hexed by Kevin Hearne, The Killer Wore Leather by Laura Antoniou, and The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.

27. What was your favorite new music of 2015?
Discovered Electro-swing... and I’m looking forward to getting a copy of Hunter’s 2015 mix CD.

28. Best new podcast?
Serial was #1.  That was surprisingly gripping.  Also enjoyed discovering The Great Albums and Simply Scottish, and a promising late-entry just launched last month: Your Next Picture Show

29.  What did you want and get?
Um… locked in chastity?  Did I want that?  *Eyes Hunter suspiciously*

30. What did you want and not get?
I couldn’t convince my Dalmation to let me take him for a ride on the Ferris wheel.  That might be a euphemism; that might not…

31. What was your favorite film of this year?
Star Wars!!!  I also liked Mr. Holmes, Ant-Man and Fury Road.

32. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Forty.  Went to Frolicon, and this year Hunter was holding my leash… when he wasn’t busy beating Cuddles w/ a Gideon Bible.  And Loki and I got inducted into Mama’s Family.

33. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I didn’t get to visit IML/Woof Camp, MAL, Folsom, or MIR or any one of those big kink gatherings this year.  I’d like to try and travel to one big kink con (not counting our usual SELF and Frolicon) each year.

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
A latex bodysuit to go with my hood… and I look really, fucking hot in it!

35. What kept you sane?
Star Wars!

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Probably… Hayley Atwell’s Agent Carter.  Smart, sexy, and sassy!  My kind of woman!

37. What political issue stirred you the most?
Oh gods…  What can I say about the whole, damn clown car of “candidates” for the Republican presidential nomination?  On the other side is Bernie, whom I adore, who has one of the best records and consistently highest approval ratings of anyone in Congress, takes no corporate money, and who might be one of the few people who can pull this country back from the billionaire oligarchy we’ve become, yet Donald Joke Candidate Trump gets like 40 times the amount of press coverage.  That is screwed the F up!

38. Who did you miss?
Loki and Randolph

39. Who was the best new person you got to know?
Met several new pups and Handlers last year (Justin, Coyote, Sprout, and more), and I also enjoyed getting to know Gator a little better

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:
Okay, so I’ve finally gotten around to taking the “Strength Finder” test my best friend bought for me… like… 6 years ago.  It doesn’t rise to the level of a “life lesson,” but it was interesting.  Ma’am had already taken it.  Kitten is an: Input, Adaptability, Connectedness, Strategic, Intillectitisn.  I have 3 of 5 strengths in common w/ her.  I’m a: Maximizer, Input, Ideation, Intillectitian, Strategic.  As a Maximizer I like to polish things, coach others along, build on strengths rather than focus on weaknesses, I like to give others recognition (while helping them to shine)… editor, show-runner, curator, mentor, coach, teacher…  Instead of being the king, I’d rather be the guy behind the throne giving the king advice.  Input is a big one Kitten and I share.  It’s about collecting and finding new things.  We both like to learn and explore and try new things and make discoveries (new music, a new author, a new restaurant, etc.).  Ideation and Intellectition are very similar.  Basically Ideation is the love of new ideas and Intellectition is the love of deep ideas.  And I think “Strategic” is more what I would call creativity b/c it’s about finding alternative ways to precede and testing different ways of doing things.  That’s what I see as my creative side.

Also not a “life lesson” either, but a particularly exciting new idea I found this year (Input and Ideation!) came from the podcast On Being w/ Krista Tippett, specifically the interview with Helen Fisher on “Sex, Love and Attachment.”  There were two points that I found very interesting.  One was about how, while the divorce rate is going up (and everybody talks about that) it is mostly b/c life expectancy is getting longer.  The average time a marriage lasts hasn’t changed much: about 15 years (about how long it takes a couple to raise a kid).  Second: The nuclear family is kind of an abnormal blip, and it turns out to be inferior to the extended family model: economically, environmentally, and in terms of social-psychology.  It all-around makes more sense to live as an extended family.  Because our society is so much more mobile nowadays (I think the average American moves like every 6 or 8 years or something) we are no longer bound to form an extended family of our literal, biological relations who all live in the same village or neighborhood with us.  The increased mobility has meant that we are ever more seeking out places to live with people and cultures that suit us.  Fisher speculated that this is leading us towards a new model in which we live in what she calls “associations” – or what I would call “chosen family.”  I also conjecture that polyamoury is going to be come more common among millennials…

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Year in Review, Part One

20 Questions About My Year

1. What did you do this year that you'd never done before?
Entered long-term chastity w/ Hunter holding the key.  For a good chunk of 2015 Hunter allowed me to cum, on average, only once every 22 days (w/ the longest stretch being 34 days).  My Alpha is getting very good at turning his wolfhound into an adoring puddle of submissive goo. 

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
“Do a new comic book review each week for Thoughtful Mirth which I started in September of this year.”  Yes!  At least I kept it up through to this September and took the last 3 months off.  I want to pick this up again and do this again next year.  My real resolution, though, is that, this summer, I want to write a couple of adventures for a new game system my friend John is developing.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Poet has a new nephew.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My 19-year-old cat, Di.  We were together for half my life, and I miss her.

5. Did anyone close to you get married?

6. What places did you visit?
Vacationed in Savanna with Ma’am, Poet, and Cuddles; visited LaFortress for the first time in years, went up to Williamsburg to see the Hermione, and then later I went to the Myrtle Beach with Hunter.

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?
I’m thinking of getting the Dainese latex body suit from Latexcatfish…

8. What day from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Star Wars!

9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Well… I am fairly proud of a painting I did of Shdwkitten in steampunk garb which hangs in Poet’s living room.  And while not really my achievement, but after years of being more or less alone as a puppy in the Carolinas, I’m happy to see the NC-PAH group now coming together.  We had two pup moshes at the Woodshed, a picnic, some classes and demos...  And I’ve had a small part in helping this along.

10. What was your biggest failure?
Me?  Fail?  Never!

11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Only a prolonged cold that lasted for like 4 weeks

12. What was the best thing you bought?
My latex body suit – I love the look, feel and smell of it!

13. Whose behavior merited a celebration?
A nod goes to my old friend Max for helping us build a deck and helping renovate my mom’s house to make it handicap accessible.  He was our general contractor of 2015.

14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Max’s (now ex-)boyfriend who turned out to be a nasty piece of human garbage.

15. Where did most of your money go?
Buying three air tickets to Scotland for next August!

16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Star Wars!!!  And also, at RenFair I got to pet three wolfhounds.

17. What song will always remind you of this year?
I don’t think it will remind me of this year, being such a late contender, but recently I’ve really liked Disturbed’s cover of “The Sound of Silence.”  Partly as a result of listening to The Great Albums podcast I've been listening to more whole albums recently, I guess, rather than singles...

18. Compared to this time last year, you are:
Last year I said: “Beta to a wonderful pair of omega pups.”  Now: Beta to a new Alpha who was-my-omega, Hunter.  LOL

19. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Some home improvement things including lots of yard-work, and I got a little behind on revising on the book I’m writing w/ Max.  I’ll also add hiking and just being outdoors more.

20. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Can’t really think of anything… so I guess that’s good.  *wags*