LEATHER COMMUNITY ~ some history and terminology
For the serious Leatherman, the leather subculture denotes practices, styles of dress, and behaviour organized around sexual activities and eroticism. Wearing leather is one way that participants in this culture self-consciously distinguish themselves from other sexual cultures. The leather culture is most visible in gay communities and is most often associated with gay men ("leathermen"), but it is also practiced in various ways in the lesbian, bisexual, and straight worlds.
Many people associate the leather culture with BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sado/Masochism, also called "SM" or "S&M") practices and its many subcultures. But for others, wearing black leather clothing is an erotic fashion statement that expresses heightened masculinity or the appropriation of sexual power; love of motorcycles and independence; and/or engagement in sexual kink or leather fetishism. To have a leather fetish does not mean you have to participate in a hardcore leather “lifestyle”. Some of us just like the look, feel, and smell of leather. Some of us just like the look of leather on a male body.
The gay leather culture has existed since the late 1940s, when it likely grew out of post-WWII biker culture. Early gay leather bars were subcultural versions of the motorcycle club. Pioneering gay motorcycle clubs included Satyr, established in Los Angeles in 1954; Oedipus, also established in Los Angeles, and the New York Motorbike Club. Early San Francisco clubs included the Warlocks and the California Motor Club. These clubs, like the motorcycle culture in general, reflected a disaffection with the mainstream culture of post-World War II America, a disaffection whose notoriety---and therefore appeal---expanded after the sensationalized news coverage of the Hollister "riot" of 1947.
The 1953 film “The Wild One” starring Marlon Brando wearing jeans, a T-shirt, a leather jacket, and muir cap, played on pop-cultural fascination with the Hollister "riot" and promoted an image of masculine independence that resonated with some gay men in a culture which stereotyped gay men as effeminate. To that end, gay motorcycle culture also reflected some gay men's disaffection with the coexistent gay cultures more organized around passing, high culture, popular culture (especially musical theater), and/or camp. Perhaps as a result, the leather community that emerged from the motorcycle clubs also became the practical and symbolic location for gay men's open exploration of kink and BDSM.
The Leatherman's Handbook by Larry Townsend, published in 1972, epitomizes the association of the leather subculture with BDSM. This book also encoded what is retrospectively described as Old Guard leather culture. This code emphasized strict formality and fixed roles. Old Guard practices emphasize discipline, honor, brotherhood, and respect, and are said to promote a stricter lifestyle, education, and intra-community privilege based on successive ranks or levels.
The New Guard, or new leather (which describes an era in leather culture that started roughly around the early 1990's), embraced switching and a greater variety of approaches to eroticism. These clubs were less strict concerning traditional 'standards' within the Old Guard Community.
The 10,000 square foot, two-story Leather Archives and Museum, based in Chicago, has much information and details on the beginning of the leather subculture. In addition to activities in Chicago, the LA&M serves the leather world by preserving material from various leather communities and Clubs, and sends traveling exhibits around the country. hXXp://www.centerstagechicago.com/other/leather.html
Colors-of-Leather and Gay Leather History are 2 wbb sites that offer unique views on Gay Leather Men history as well.One from Clubs perspective and is an archive of Club Colors and logos and the latter from personal historical life stories.hXXp://www.aboutus.org/Colors-Of-Leather.com hXXp://www.cuirmale.nl/history/fetish.htm
24/7 (BDSM): A relationship in which protocols are in place continuously.
Animal transformation fantasy: Fantasy in which the focus is on the sub entering the altered mindspace of a different species, typically a dog, pony or horse.
Abrasion: Using something rough (such as sandpaper).
Aftercare: The time after a BDSM scene or play session in which the participants calm down, discuss the previous events and their personal reactions to them, and slowly come back in touch with reality. BDSM often involves an endorphin high and very intense experience, and failure to engage in proper aftercare can lead to subdrop as these return to more everyday levels.
Age play: Usually referring to Daddy/daughter or Mommy/baby role play. Does not usually include or imply aspects of incest, but rather the nurturing relationship of Parent/child or Teacher/student.
Anal torture: The BDSM practice of inflicting pain on the anus.
Animal Play: The sub acts or dresses like an animal (puppy, pony, cow, etc.).
Auctioned off: Dom/me auctions off the Slave to the highest bidder (usually supervised and for temporary use).
Bad pain: Good pain and bad pain are terms used lightheartedly by BDSM practitioners, signifying that whilst BDSM may include an element (often quite pronounced) consensual pain, there is a purpose to it, and some pain is consented to and accepted whilst other pain is not. "Bad pain" is pain which is outside hard limits, non-mutual or non-valued, not wished for, and of limited or no value in this context.
BDSM: Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism
Bottom: submissive or one who gives up control, or simply one who receives physical sensation from a Top in a scene.
Breath Control: The Dom controls the sub's breathing.
Butt plug: Much like a dildo, only shaped slightly differently. They come in a variety of sizes; some can vibrate.
Chastity: a form of erotic sexual denial or orgasm denial whereby a person is prevented from access to, or stimulation of, their genitals, save at the whim or choice of their partner, usually by means of a device (called a chastity belt or sometimes for men a cock cage) that prevents contact and is controlled by means of a lock by the partner.
CBT: Cock and ball torture
Collared: Submissive or slave who is owned (usually in a loving intimate relationship)
Collaring: The formal acceptance by a dom, of a sub's service. Also the Ceremony when a Dom commits to a sub (much like a wedding).
Consent: Mutual agreement to the terms of a scene
Consensual non-consensuality: A mutual agreement that within defined limits, or subject to a safe word or other restrictions, and commonsense, consent will be given as read without foreknowledge of the exact actions planned. As such, it is a show of trust and understanding and usually undertaken only by partners who know each other well, or otherwise agree to set clear safe limits on their activities.
Contract: A written-out agreement between the Dom/me & sub. It can be either formal or non, and is usually written after much negotiation by the Dom/me and the sub, outlining what structure, guidelines, rules and boundaries to the relationship are agreed upon by the two . It is NOT legally binding but should be taken seriously.
DM: Dungeon Monitor, a person who volunteers to supervise the interactions between participants at a play party to ensure their safety.
Dom: Man who takes control (from Dominant)
Dominant (dom/domme) (also dominatrix)
Domme: Female who takes control (contraction of dominatrix)
Dungeon: Usually referring to a room or area with BDSM equipment and play space
Edgeplay: SM play involving blood, permanent marking, knives, or fire, sometimes with a greater risk of danger.
Endorphin rush: Endorphins are the chemicals responsible for the "high" people often get from activities such as sex, or high-risk sports, and is the body's response to heightened or intense experiences of certain kinds. BDSM activities, especially those incorporating a degree of sensation play often cultivate the endorphin rush as part of their "payoff" to the sub. But also see aftercare for the care needed to ensure that subdrop does not occur afterwards as the body returns to normal.
Erotic sexual denial: keeping another person aroused while delaying or preventing resolution of the feelings, to keep them in a continual state of anticipatory tension and inner conflict, and heightened sensitivity. Also see tease and denial and chastity.
Fetish: A specific obsession or delight in one object.
Fire play: Using flammable liquids to create quick, fleeting instances of flame on the skin of the bottom. Risk of injury is increased and the Top should be learned with fire play skills.
Genitorture: Torture of the genitals
Good pain: Good pain and bad pain are terms used lightheartedly by BDSM practitioners, signifying that whilst BDSM may include an element (often quite pronounced) of consensual pain, there is a purpose to it, and some pain is consented to and accepted whilst other pain is not. "Good pain" is therefore pain that is mutually agreed, desired or permitted by the submissive partner to be experienced, and seen by them as of enjoyment or value.
Golden showers: Urinating on, or being urinated on by, another person.
Gorean: A BDSM sub-genre based upon the rituals and practices created within the world of Gor in the erotic novels by John Norman.
Gunplay: The practice of including actual (or simulated) firearms into a scene.
Handkerchief codes: visible signs to indicate to others your area of BDSM interest
Hard limits: What someone absolutely will not do, usually non-negotiable.
Harem: A group of subs serving one or more Dom/mes.
Impact play: Part of sensation play, dealing with impact such as whips and riding crops.
Infantilism: Parent/child or parent/baby role playing.
Knife play: Slow, methodical sensation of the bottom with the edges and points of knives, usually without cutting the skin. Fear of the weapon plays a large part in the stimulus of the bottom.
Limits: What someone "won't" do or is hesitant to do
Masochism: Act of receiving pain for sensual/sexual pleasure.
Masochist: Person who enjoys pain, usually sexually.
Mummification: Immobilising the body by wrapping it up, usually with multiple layers of tight thin plastic sheeting. Breathing and other safety measures must be appropriately taken care of, often by leaving the face (or at least the mouth and nose) open. Body temperature (maintained to an extent by movement) may also be affected so a warm environment and warm aftercare may be important. Mummification is often used to enhance a feeling of total bodily helplessness, and incorporated with sensation play.
Munch: A group of people that are into BDSM meeting at a vanilla place. Sometimes this is a club. You might see an announcement like, "This weekend's munch is at Denny's"
Needle play: Temporary piercings done with sterile needles of varying gauges, usually only for the duration of a scene.
Newbie: Someone new to BDSM.
OTK: Over the knee (spanking).
Painslut: A person who enjoys receiving a heavy degree of pain but may or may not necessarily enjoy submitting.
Play party: A BDSM event involving many people engaging in Scenes.
ProDom: Male professional dominant (charges money)
ProDomme: Female professional dominant (charges money)
Ponygirl or Ponyboy: Sub is dressed in a pony outfit, with mouth bit and anal plug with a tail. They are told to prance or behave like a pony.
Puppy Play: Sub is made to act like a puppy. Sub barks, whines, eats from a bowl, etc. Such play is almost never sexual, but rather focuses on the altered mind-space of bottom/pup.
RACK - Risk Aware Consensual Kink
Rape fantasy: The pleasurable fantasy of inflicting or being a victim to an act of consensual play-rape.
Sadism: The act of inflicting pain.
Sadist: Person who enjoys inflicting pain, usually sexually.
Safe, Sane and Consensual - SSC
Safeword - When a participant utters a safeword, BDSM activity stops.
Scat play: Feces play
Scene: A time period of BDSM activities.
Sensation play: BDSM play where the intent is to push people's sensory limits, thus exploring texture, sensory deprival, through to whips, flaggillation and edgeplay.
Session: A time period of BDSM activities with a ProDom/me.
Slave: Person who gives up a great degree of control in an ongoing D/s relationship, sometimes with few remaining limits. Often those who identify as "slave" have a great desire for being of service to their dominant, sometimes referred to as "service-oriented submission."
Slave Position: Also called The Pleasure Position. Sub is kneeling, legs spread, head down and hands on thighs, with palms up
Soft Limits: Something that someone is hesitant to do or nervous to try. They can sometimes be talked into the activity.
Subdrop: A physical condition, often with cold- or flu-like symptoms, experienced by a submissive after an intense session of BDSM play. This can last for as long as a week, and is best prevented by aftercare immediately after the session.
submissive, or "sub" for short. Person that gives up control either all the time or only during a scene
Subspace: A "natural high" that a sub gets during a scene or when being controlled.
switch: Someone who likes being both Dominant and submissive, either in one scene or on different occasions.
Tease and denial: keeping another person aroused while delaying or preventing resolution of the feelings, to keep them in a continual state of anticipatory tension and inner conflict, and heightened sensitivity. Also see orgasm denial.
Top: Dominant person either all the time or only during a scene.
Topping from the bottom: A submissive who nonetheless wants to direct the top.
Training: Either referring to a short period of time (a scene) or an ongoing effort of the Dom/me teaching the sub how to act. Can either be a playful thing or a serious thing, depending on the couple.
Vanilla: Someone who is not in the lifestyle. Alternatively, sexual behaviour which does not encompass BDSM activity. The term is sometimes used in a derogatory sense.
Wannabe: Someone who thinks or claims to be knowledgeable about BDSM, but is not. Especially prevalent with new Doms.
WIITWD: What it is that we do. A broad term referring to all forms of alternative sexuality.
Wax play: The Dom/me drips hot wax on the sub.
Note that some people in the BDSM community begin dominant terms with an upper case, for example: Top, Master, Dom, Domme, etc, as well as to begin submissive terms with a lower case, even where normally incorrect, chiefly in acronyms and abbreviations, such as D/s for Dom/sub.
In addition, high protocol refers to groups that adhere to strict roles and role-based rules of conduct, whereas low protocol refers to groups that are more relaxed. Old Guard refers to high protocol groups, particularly gay leather BDSM groups