There is an inherent power that goes with the word, leather.
Just stare at the word and see where your mind takes you.
Powerful . .isn't it? Make it black leather . .and it's even more powerful. Just the words black leather bring up an image in your mind. Strong. Seductive. Powerful. Masculine. Overpowering. Fearful. Dominance. Submission. Throughout history, leather has symbolized power. The Roman's used leather in their uniforms. It's primary purpose was to ward off the blows from weapons. Strong. Powerful. Yet imagine how it felt for the soldier wearing it. How it felt as he wrapped the leather straps around his body. Encasing and binding the muscles inside. Feeling the strength of leather, pitting its strength against his own bulging muscles. A protection .. and a bondage . .both. Visually, to the person looking at the soldier, the uniform along with the leather symbolized many things. Authority. Power. Hero. Protector. Defender. Intruder. Someone to be revered and yet someone to be feared at the same time.
The middle ages, with the swashbuckling three musketeers. Or pirates. Granted, Hollywood may have glorified some of those images. But what power those tall boots had over us as we sat in the theater. Would the image of Robin Hood wearing ballet slippers and a tutu with his tights have thrilled us equally as much? I think not.
The use of leather in the military has always had a strong, significant impact on both the person wearing the leather and the observer. The leather strap worn across the shoulder connecting to a broad leather belt. Does it serve any utilitarian purpose? or is it more symbolic.
And boots. Who can forget the pictures of men marching in cadence, wearing those tall, shiny black leather boots. Boots that came up to their knees. Their heavy heels creating an awesome drum cadence as they marched. Marched over anything and everything that came in their path. It is not by accident the military chooses certain styles of boot to convey an image. Shiny black boots certainly are not designed for rugged experiences. Yet they convey power. Great power. Scenes of the combat boot scaling a muddy hill. The rugged soles and heels grabbing and tearing at the earth. Power. Authority. Command. Those same boots, applied to another man. Standing over him. Pushing his body to the ground. Feeling the power of the man wearing the boots . . applied to the man under them.
A Leather hide at Tandy's has less of an impact then when it is crafted into The whip. The shackles. The bondage straps. The black leather jacket. The black leather chaps. The gloves. The body harness.
Who can forget the image of Mel Gibson wearing leather in "Mad Max", or Marlon Brando in his black leather motorcycle jacket in "On The Waterfront".
The leather's worn by motorcyclist's. Rugged. Powerful. Strong. Masculine. Able to withstand and protect assaults by weather or other hazards. Something very powerful and visual seeing a man dressed in leather. Depending how it's worn, the style and the symbolism creates an image of the wearer and impacts the observer.
Authority and control through the abuse of power and authority.
Reading the fantasy of having a tough biker, or an SS Officer, or policeman .. or whomever the fantasy man is . . Having him come into my life and wield his power over me, forcing me into bondage, slavery, own me, beat me, use and abuse me for his pleasure . . . All make for great erotic reading. In reality, if someone were to burst into my home and use that kind of power over me . . they will go to jail. Fantasy can be far removed from reality. To be chased down the street at night by some young homophobes, cornered, beat up . .and raped .. .Not a fantasy I would that I would call a "pleasant experience".
I recently attended a Drummer contest where one of the fantasies was that of a priest seducing a young boy in a confessional booth and having sex, forcing himself upon that boy. Well, that may make for a great fantasy for the audience, or one hand reading in a S&M magazine, but in reality . .You go to jail for doing that. For the incest survivor of that reality, there is a lifetime of pain, intense anger, conflict, and inner turmoil when that fantasy has become a reality for him. And for the perpetrator . . His fantasy becomes big newspaper headlines, humiliation, and jail with a felony record. Other fantasies of a Father having incest with his son . . seducing him . . raping him . . have horrible consequences. As I look back on some of these fantasies, I really question, "Though they are erotic in fantasy, in reality, would they be good for me?" There are some out there who have a hard time separating fantasy from reality. They make great newspaper headlines by their actions as perpetrators, and create a lasting impression in people's minds that spills over into what we may do in the privacy of our own space. There is no room in the leather community for abusive power to be used in that way.
In my studies of S&M activities, I have learned that not all abuse survivors become perpetrators . . but all perpetrators are survivors of abuse. They are compulsively re-living the loss of their innocence that they experienced and become a perpetrator.
It is a given in the leather community that the words "Safe, Sane and Consensual" are the guidelines in any activity you may engage in. No one has the right to be abusive to you, unless you are in agreement. No one has the right to participate in any unsafe or insane activity. This violates the fundamental code of ethics in the leather community. Drugs and alcohol can affect our thinking. Some activities should not be entered unless one or both of you are fully present and aware. If you find yourself in an environment that doesn't feel right . . get out as quickly and tactfully as possible.
I dislike the words "Top" and "Bottom". I find them too confining and restrictive in where my head and heart may lead me. Though they are commonly used, for my discussion, I prefer to use the words "Dominant" or "D", and Submissive or "S".
For me, the world of leather is all about power. The giving and receiving of power. And it is a gift. Truly a gift, that deserves to be respected, valued, and not to be abused. Whatever power I feel as a "Dominant" (D), is a gift of power given to me by the "Submissive" (S). What I do with that gift, is up to me and how I relate and connect to my (S). If I abuse that gift by selfishly carrying out my own whims and could care less about relating to my (S) and his needs. That gift may be suddenly retracted. Nothing creates a more impotent feeling for the (D) than to hear the word "NO" from the "S" in response to an order. Anyone who abuses that gift of power does not deserve to receive it.
There are some (D's) out there who feel they have some regal authority, granted to them by some benevolent being that puts them in charge. To be Lord and Master over this subject kneeling before them. It is their sovereign right to rule as they see fit. Well, all kings who are unjust and unfit to rule will be toppled. All it takes is a simple "NO" from the (S). And all their power is gone. Humiliating and Impotent.
The power is in the gift, freely given by the (S) to the (D). And it's all about trust around that power. Trust by the (S) that his gift will be valued and not abused by the (D). Trust that when the (D) is givens this gift, he will use it wisely. With that kind of trust, intimacy develops. When valued and used properly, it creates a symbiosis and synchronicity between the (D) and (S) which becomes spiritual in nature and both parties become as one. For those who have experienced this kind of union, you know of which I speak. For those who have never had this experience, it is something worth striving for.
I view myself as a Master Musician creating a beautiful symphony.
The finer the instrument I play on, the greater the masterpiece of music
that we create together. For it is the instrument that gives me the
notes to create the symphony. Without the instrument, I am a foolish
conductor, waving my wand in the air to an imaginary orchestra,
. . and create nothing but emptiness and silence.
Guy Baldwin (Mr. IML) once said at a Living in Leather seminar, "I'm only into the kind of pain that I am into. One person's pain may be another person's pleasure. You will discover things you find repulsive as well as things you find intriguing. I guarantee that your buttons will be pushed . . at least once during this weekend. Be tolerant of other's interest's and actions, as they shall be of yours. Take what you like, and leave the rest" We have a very diverse community with many and varied interests.
Some seek their interests and roles out as a total way of life. A 24/7 relationship . . (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Others want that activity only in the playroom, and lead a different life away from that scene. A (D) or (S) in the playroom, but equal partners in the real world. I cannot do to you what you do not want me to do to you. You're only into the kinda' things your into. And the two players are creating their own symphony . . deciding on the notes, the tempo, the volume, and the intensity.
I've always loved the way leather looks, feels, smells, and tastes. I like the rush I feel when I put it on. My fascination goes back to 8th grade in Junior High school . . I couldn't take my eyes off of a guy's motorcycle boots and jacket. When he walked by me in the hall my heart would race and my palms got sweaty. and my groin responded . .an embarrassing, unconscious reaction. Got my first pair of engineer boots and found them sexually exciting. And when I put them on, . . Well, I felt that rush and that power. And it was within me. But, I thought I was "weird" with no one to talk to about these feelings . . . It was only later, much later that I discovered there are others like me out there. And I was no longer alone . . and I no longer felt "weird".
There are many benefits to being in a long term relationship. One of those benefits is to develop a trusting relationship with your partner that allows you to explore your fantasies. As the trust grows between the partners, you have the freedom to go to your deepest, innermost places . . become vulnerable, and learn so much about who you are. Hopefully, you have a partner who allows you that kind of freedom, where you can approach your partner and say, "You know what I'd like to try tonight?" And the two of you open a door and explore a new room . .together. Nothing destroys trust faster than to have a partner say, "You want to do what? Are you crazy?"
Having had the benefit of having an 8 ½ year leather relationship, I discovered that many of my fantasies had their roots in my childhood. Not that the actual scene replayed my childhood, but the symbolism of associating power, pain, and control . . with love. Many of us never got the kind of love that comes from a nurturing parent. Somehow, the abuse we received gets linked with the concept of love. And somehow that becomes sexualized and erotic and it feels good. And that's O.K.. As long as the exploration is "safe, sane and consensual" . .that's o.k..
I don't believe in stripping a man of his dignity, etc.. Kind of like beating the spirit out of a dog or a child into submission. Who wants to have a dog slinking around in fear with his tail between his legs. Life is much more exciting to be greeted at the front door by my dog (a yellow lab) with her tail wagging, happy to see me, or run through a field with this loyal dog by my side, or have her curled up at my feet in the evening. Operating from a position of fear doesn't create loyalty, trust or devotion. It only creates more fear. Trust is a more important factor.
(D) & (S) roles are interchangeable. Most who have been on this journey have been on both sides of the paddle. Premature expectations are usually met with disappointment. The experience is a journey, with both people following a path. The journey is much more enjoyable when both travel the same direction. I had a boy fly some distance to visit me to explore a potential relationship. That night, he told me, "I want you to take total control of me . . and this is what I want you to do, and how to do it." An oxymoron of premature expectations. Enjoy the moment and explore . . .
We all struggle with guilt feelings around our fantasies and behavior.
Much of that guilt revolves around Judeo-Christian values that were imposed
on us during our childhood. Yet, these same teachers seduce alter boys,
walk the streets of Europe beating their backs with whips in self flagellation
. . or create a mock crucifixion . .which for me is a horrible masochistic
I can remember sitting during communion saying, "I am not so worthy as to gather the crumbs up from under thy table" . . and feeling so unworthy.
Naturally, when I'm licking someone's boots and groveling at their feet . . I'm so unworthy. And ironically, it feels good. The roots lie in my childhood. Do I feel guilty . .No. Not any more. I am the by product of a lot of things during my life. I have spent years trying to uncover the connections between my S&M activities and fetish's. Early in my journey I read a definition of a "fetish" . . as a pathological attachment to an object or piece of clothing. I felt so guilty, I threw my first leather motorcycle jacket into a GoodWill box. What a horrible mistake that was. There are many things that are pathological. Feeling sexual when I feel my leather jacket on my skin is not one of them. Guilty? No. So long as live my life with integrity and consciously do no harm, and try to leave the planet as a better place for my being here as I journey . . I think I have every right to live my life fully with dignity and respect . . and not miss a moment.
It's O.K. to explore and discover who you are, and what you're about. Just do it in a safe, sane and consensual way.
As I mentioned, many of our fantasies have their seeds buried deep in our childhood. A word, an action, or an experience may trigger something deep inside of us that we never knew was there, and may create a reaction that is totally unexpected. They may lose consciousness. They may become frightened or hysterical. Once, I casually mentioned the word "stupid" to someone during a play scene. He bolted from the room and disappeared. I later found him huddled naked in the closet. He had removed his clothes and hidden in the closet. Not what either of us had expected when we began the journey. However, I never, ever used that word again . .in any of our conversations. The seeds lay in this childhood. Someone else became terrified while blindfolded and shackled when I left the room. Hopefully, this will never happen to you . .but if it does, the following information may be helpful.
1. If the person is unconscious, check for pulse and respiration.
If there is any doubt, call 911
People who engage in breath control and other activities that play on the edge can seriously endanger their life. Poppers can trigger heart problems. Things we take for granted can go wrong.
Safety . .not only our own, but the person we are with is the top priority.
2. Turn the lights on . . speak softly . . call the person by their real name. If they are in restraints, blindfolded, etc. remove them immediately. Tell them what you are doing as you proceed, speaking softly and calmly, assuring them that they are safe. Your job is to end the scene and guide that person back to reality.
3. Ask . ."What do you need?" "How many I help you?" "Where are you?" "Talk to me". Let them guide and direct you. Though you may have played the role of a (D) . . that role is now over, and you are a helper asking for a sense of direction.
4. Always ask permission, before you do anything. "May I touch you?" "Do you want some water?" . . speak softly and calmly.
That all depends upon you and what you want to do with this
information. The Journey is all about you. A poet once said,
"Tis' not that I fear death so much, but to approach that time and discover
I have not yet lived." I know many who have not lived out their dreams,
caught up in a web of fear and attachments. This concept of not being
fully alive goes beyond "the power of leather." I had to leave everything
I had ever known in order to become everything I had ever dreamed of
becoming. Those who loved me, had plans for my ultimate destiny . .
and never consulted with me on what my plans were. I wasn't strong
enough . .then . .to hear them say . . . .
"I didn't know you were like that". Now I am strong . . and it no longer matters, for it has become my journey into self discovery, and not theirs . .
I strongly believe in wishes and dreams for those are the reasons to wake up in the morning and to be on the journey. As the dreams die, so dies the man. Don't let your dreams die. Your dreams can become your reality.
click on the candle,
and I will show you the power you seek.