“A young man stands at the edge of the Manchester ship canal. He steps forward, and in. The water, tepid from summer, rises up his shins, thighs. He begins to wade. He wants to vanish. Now he is up to his waist.
It is early afternoon at the end of August this year, days after another man injected him with seven times the dose of crystal methamphetamine he had agreed to take. Days after psychosis set in.
Minutes elapse. Two passers-by stop, spotting the unnatural sight. What are you doing? Do you need help? There is no response….”
You may not be terribly thrilled about the title of this video… but, as Gay Leathermen (and women) we must have a sense of humor about ourselves.
Many thanks to IML 2015 Patrick Smith for being a part of this fun video.
Here’s a great article on communication between the Dominant and submissive.
Improve The Breed – Communication For Doms
Here are some ‘pearls of wisdom’ for new Doms on how to establish a healthy Dom/sub connection. Some of these pointers pertain to more intense play, but are good suggestions regardless of the type of play.
1. Communicate. Probably the most important skill to learn as a Dom, is how to effectively communicate. As the leader it’s your job to keep communication an open, two-way street. Subs often shut down or disconnect. It’s not because they are being defiant. Sometimes it’s part of their subspace experience, and sometimes they’re overwhelmed by what’s happening. They may perceive what you are doing as abuse, or relate it to a moment of abuse in their past. It can happen at any time, even when doing something you’ve already done before with no problems. Here are some tips to developing good habits to facilitate communication between you and your sub.
2. Be yourself. Even though Dom/sub relations are technically ‘role play’ most people want to play with real people. Especially in the beginning, subs want to know an authentic, personal side of you, and know that you are someone they can rely on, and they can trust.
When a sub offers himself to you it is a big deal, and he’s offering himself to YOU, not some fictional character. He wants YOU to lead him through any challenges and adversity. He needs your help. If you’re trying too hard or doing something that’s way out of character, then rethink your strategy. Your sub will see how uncomfortable it is for you and his confidence may waver. So start slow and easy. That being said, if you’re trying something new and it’s backfiring or turning into a clusterfuck, just stop, say that it’s not working out, and laugh it off. Bonding comes from sharing both successes and failures. Handling failures well is just as important as enjoying success.
3. Establish endpoints, and checking in: Unless it is your lifestyle, it’s a good habit to establish things I call ‘endpoints’ and ‘checking in.’
Endpoints: An endpoint is simply defining the beginning and ending of a BDSM scene. Create a time, before and after a scene, for physical contact and communication. Be positive, affirming, calm, relaxed. Smile, use touch, eye contact, and say something like, “we’re gong to have a really good time today all right?” or “You did a great job today, thank you.” Simple common courtesy. And listen to what your sub has to say. Treat it like a ritual. Subs respond very well to this kind of consistency. It only takes a minute and it does a world of good towards building trust and camaraderie.
Checking in: Checking in can happen within a scene or can be used as a transition between scenes. It’s basically a short rest period – less than 30 seconds – where you ease up on stimulation, when a sub can regroup, verbalize his condition, think things out, relax a little, get ready for more. Think of it like a little chunk of aftercare inside of a scene. It’s a good time to re-establish a connection, check in with the sub and see how he’s doing. Speak with a comforting tone, be encouraging. Ask him “how are you doing?” Over a very short time he’ll become conditioned so that when he’s in this ‘safe zone’ he knows he’s physically safe from harm, and will come to relish those times and bond with you over them. It also serves as a reality check, allowing the sub to momentarily assert control if he wishes. When you’re ready to start up again, just say, ‘you ready?’ and listen to his response.
4. Handling meltdowns and catharsis. It will happen eventually. Especially if you’re involved with punishments or endorphin rushes, S&M and longer, more intense scenes. A strong emotional release….crying, or anger or fear. Grief, heartache, anguish, passion, joy, gratitude. A hundred emotions and powerful feelings all culminating together and overflowing. It’s like an unstoppable force that grabs hold of your body and doesn’t let go. At that moment, it can go either way: It can be a powerfully positive cathartic experience – something life-changing that your sub will be eternally grateful for. Or it can be devastating to him – something that will leave him scarred, erase all the trust you’ve built, and fill you both with regret.
The most important thing you can do as a Dom at that moment, is BE THERE. Stop extraneous stimulation. Make it quiet. Be physically close, but not obtrusive. If you do make physical contact, make it firm contact, like an anchor he can hold onto. Don’t be overly consoling…you don’t know what he’s thinking right now. Just be there, and say the words, “I’m here with you. I’m right here.” Say it just a few times, not over and over. Try not to say things like, “you’re ok,’ because he’s not. Instead, say “you’ll BE ok.” “I’ve got you.” I’m with you.” Realize that this is HIS experience, not yours. He needs to handle this himself. But he needs you there to witness it, and honor it, and honor him. By being present with him. That is all.
When the time is right, when things settle a bit, tell him “I’m going to untie you now and then we’re going to go rest for a while.” Expect another emotional release to return at some point, and again, use firm steady touch, like an anchor. Go lay down for a while with him. Cover him with a blanket. Warm him with your body. Hold him close and let him have his experience. When he is still, give him some time by himself to rest. He might fall asleep for a while. That is normal. When he wakes again, he might be really happy and energized, or kinda dazed and confused, or exhausted and hungry. Your boy just worked very hard for you. Be a good mentor and tend to HIS needs.
submitted by: – JocKDieseL
Most gay Leathermen and Leatherwomen have a second coming out in their lives that they define as “Coming Out Kinky”. A point where they decide they are not going to hide that part of their lives anymore. No longer ashamed of their interests and lifestyle. Everyone’s story is unique in it’s own special way. Here is one person’s moving and funny story.
“Guilty Pleasure” by Nmpc
“What are we listening to?”
The teenager flipped his hair out of his eyes. Tegan and Sara’s Body Work had just started for the second time as my iPod reached the end of the playlist and started over.
“Not a fan of lesbian duos going pop Evan?” I asked as I went over to find a new playlist.
“Do you like this stuff?” He asked scornfully.
I laughed at his self evident question.
“I take it you don’t?”
“Um, it’s okay I guess, my friends just don’t like it.” He went back to chopping green bell peppers for the salad.
“Does it matter what they think?” I asked.
Before he could answer the knife glanced off the smooth skin of the vegetable as he cut down. The blade sliced into his finger. Blood splashed onto the green cutting board. That summer our boss had introduced different colors for cutting different foods. Green for veggies, red for meat, white for bread, yellow for fruit, and blue for dairy.
The other kitchen supervisor sprang into action and ushered the now ashen faced boy to the first aid room. As I cleaned up the blood and threw away the peppers, I wondered if the question was unreasonable.
Of course it matters what your friends think when you’re 15, not much else does matter. I remember sitting in ninth grade science during work time going through each other’s iPods, making catty comments about other people’s music taste.
I remember labeling Britney Spears as Arcane Fire on my iPod, because Arcane Fire was “serious music,” while Britney was not and I wanted to be considered serious.
It took me until college to figure out that guilty pleasures are a method of cultural control. Serious music is indie rock and and folk music, pop music is a frivolous thing that queer people and girls like. We let the Pitchforks of the world declare a monopoly on cool, and until very recently cool were things that straight white men liked. Or things they absorbed from other groups when some sound was so undeniable that it could not be ignored.
Liking what you like and not being embarrassed to bring it up to anyone who asks for fear of seeming “unserious,” shouldn’t be so hard.
Yesterday I was sitting in a gay bar in Minneapolis. A drunk straight woman wandered over and began an unsolicited conversation about Robyn. Most people that know me well are aware of my devotion to Robyn, so we bonded over the perfection of Call Your Girlfriend.
Behind me on the wall were a collection of beautifully shot black and white photos of non normative sexual acts. She pointed to one of the pictures and suddenly we were talking about kinky sex. It was funny because she didn’t really seem all that confused or off put. It was refreshing, given the endless aggressions on queer people, both big and small, that run through popular culture.
The miserable rat pack of Seth Rogen, James Franco, and company turn out a stream of movies where gay sex is a punchline. Because gay people are fine, but our sex is gross, and two male characters being confused as lovers is funny.
I’m sure that these men are fine with the gay men that I’m sure are in their lives, but they clearly haven’t gotten over what culture has taught them about queer sex.
I spent most of last weekend at Twin Cities Leather Weekend. A number of people in my life asked me about what event was taking up my whole weekend.
There I was again, feeling shame about an immutable part of my personality and sexuality. I just referred to it as a general gay event, leaving out the word leather. Lying by omission to almost everyone.
The thing is I’m not really sure why. I spent time worrying about if pictures made it on Facebook. But who was I worried about? And why would they care?
Apparently I’m not as enlightened as I thought. I’d let the fact that a part of my sexuality falls farther outside of the norm than just being gay, and spent a lot of time and energy omitting that from any discussion of my life with straight people.
This weekend showed me that the leather community is going to be important enough to me, that splitting my life in half is not feasible or desirable.
So I guess this is a second coming out of a sort, odd as that may be.
I’m done feeling bad about being outside of normal.
Last night I found a piece of paper on the floor of the bar. On it someone had written “The Gospel According to Gaga.” It didn’t continue to reveal what those teachings are, but anyone below 30 has heard Gaga’s slightly hokey “Born This Way.” Of course she is not the first to preach radical acceptance in popular culture, but the song launched at #1 on the main American musical chart.
I guess there’s some hope for me. In the last three years I’ve lived at nine addresses in three states, truly believed I was going to die of cancer, but still met daring, magical people at every turn.
This time last year I lived in the wilderness of the North Cascades. This time next year I don’t know where I’ll be, or who I’ll be.
Hopefully I’ll have learned to give myself a break.
Probably not, but one step at a time.
Here’s a Throw Back Thursday photo of myself at Dore Alley Fair 2014.
This photo reminds me of an important life lesson I “re-learned” that summer. You see, I had a well known crush on these two guys for a long while. When we talked, my mind sort of fogged over. This happens when I am really into someone including the image/role that they portraying (“Totes Dom Top”) and the hot gear they are wearing. I got nervous and awkward around the 2 hot men flirting with me at the street fair as we drank warm beer…. freezing up several times in mid conversation. DERP!
I’ve done this all my life. I call it the “Peter Parker meets Mary Jane” syndrome. You remember that scene from Spider-man, right?
Right at 00:25
But, the lesson I re-learned… for like… the billionith time that summer? Sometimes, especially at kinky street fairs, S&M can just stand for… “Stand and Model”. Despite the flirting, they weren’t really into me. I mean, the fair was closing and I still had not been ordered to lick any boots or drink their piss! Wake up, Ruff!
I still look back and laugh at this experience. My pooooor widdle heart was broken that day! Awwww… Poor Ruffy. (Don’t worry, I got over it) And, yet, this still remains one of my favorite photos.
….You know, looking back, it really didn’t help that Daddy Richard had me in chastity for 2 weeks prior to that day at Dore Alley Fair….
Here’s a good article on Depression among Kinksters in the Leather Community. A subject that I relate to closely, I feel Depression is not acknowledged as often as it should be nor is it properly diagnosed at times. Symptoms can appear out of nowhere and stick around for months at a time and then suddenly go away. It can affect everything from your physical health, work and relationships.
It Fucking Sucks.
Learning about Depression and how it works helped me to understand my own and in return I can actually talk about it and share this article on my pervy little blog with little hesitation.
Don’t give up on people. Practicing *PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING* of others through education is the key.
Check out the FULL ARTICLE and some great links, too.
“There is a collection of maladies that inhabit our scene, as in all walks of life, that are either directly linked to depression or, as I like to say, are kissing cousins of it. Outright depression, ongoing clinical or temporary. Loneliness. Suicidal thoughts. Feelings of differentness or isolation. Being the newcomer and trying to fit in. All of these things, and more, are present within our scene just like they are in other sectors of life.
Consider also that kinky people can have shame about their non-standard sexual leanings that long outlasts any shame they may have felt as LGBT. That can be a contributing factor to feeling depressed too”.
FREE. Open to the public 18+
Much psychological research has examined identity and mental health factors of sexual minority men from a minority stress perspective. However, little to no research has focused on what makes leathermen a unique population in regard to these constructs. Alex Tatum is a doctoral student pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Loyola University Chicago, and he has devoted his time as a researcher to studying numerous sociodemographics, identity dimensions, and mental health traits that define this tightly-knit community. We invite you to join Alex as he discusses similarities and differences between leathermen and mainstream sexual minority men from a psychological perspective. Q&A will follow, during which attendees are invited to critically analyze presented data to generate possible directions for future inquiry.
Say hello to one of the most beautiful IMLs we’ve had yet, Patrick Smith. Check out those sexy eyes that just bring you in.
I can already feel a little healthy crush building. 😛
You can follow Patrick Smith in his journey as IML 2015 at the links below.
Go get em’, Patrick!
Join the Leather Archives & Museum for a pre-bar screening of three films “Age of Consent”, “DOG EAT DOG” and “pissies not sissies”
Come in GEAR, change into GEAR here, or come as you are.
FREE for Members of the LA&M
$5 Students / Seniors / Anyone in Gear (leather, fetish, uniform)
$10 General Admission
FREE popcorn for all
pissies not sissies
2004 – 13 minutes
DOG EAT DOG
2006 – 12 minutes
Age of Consent : The story of the HOIST, London’s first and only Gay Fetish Bar
2014 – 88 minutes
Free bag check will be available.
Check out this great article on Collars and what it can mean to someone.
A collar is well-known symbol within the BDSM community, but it seems that more and more often I’m seeing newcomers use the collar as simply another fetish accessory. They are unaware of the intense symbolism behind the collar, what it means, why it’s worn and why it shouldn’t be used as a prop. More…
Great article on growing older as a Gay Man reminding everyone that the fun doesn’t stop at 40. It only gets better. (Speaking from experience as well)
My 44th birthday is approaching. I sense shadows in the distance. They’re looming; ominous. I question what they are. I squint into the rainbow-hued sunlight, my hand perched at my brow to block the sun from my eyes. It’s then that I can fully see them: buzzards. The shadows are buzzards. They’re circling, soaring in a loop, waiting for me. They’re anticipating the death of my relevance and desirability as a gay man. Wait, what? What’s going on here? I won’t star in this scenario. I will not accept this! This is not my story. Yet sometimes when I allow myself to just wallow in the loneliness and depression that inevitably affects all of us from time to time as we get older, those thoughts run through my mind.
We all get older. At least we better hope we get older. The alternative is death. The older I get the wiser I get. I’m still learning, growing, changing. I’m making better decisions these days. It’s become less about right and wrong and more about choices….