I am a leatherman. Leather profoundly shapes my understanding of my sexuality. My earliest recognition of my interest in kink came through Tom of Finland’s artwork. The first time I tried on black leather I had a “where have you been all my life?” moment, and the guy who let me try on his leather said “you look more comfortable in that in 5 minutes than some guys look after 5 years.” So what is it that I love about leather?
- Leather is a total sensory experience. It feels powerful. It looks fuckin’ sexy as hell. It smells heavenly. If you’re licking it, it tastes of dominance. And it even sounds sexy, making a slight creaking sound when you move in it.
- Because leather is tight and doesn’t stretch the way most fabrics do (although it does soften), it slightly constrains the wearer in ways that affect doms and subs differently. For doms, it tends to bring out our aggression, because you have move a bit more forcefully in it. For subs, it can create a faint sense of bondage that simply helps put you in the right mindset.
- Leather is simultaneously protecting and exposing. Because leather is tougher than human skin, it creates a sense that one is stronger and tougher than one truly is. But of course the classic leatherman clothing is revealing; chaps reveal the ass and the crotch, and leather jackets are commonly worn shirtless. The protective quality of leather makes exposing parts of the body seem less risky.
- Most of the classic leatherman look is drawn from Tom of Finland’s drawings, and Tom drew significant inspiration from military uniforms, so leather fashion subtly conveys a sense of hierarchy and authority to it. Put on a full leatherman’s outfit and it’s almost impossible to not feel some like you’re in charge.
- Leather makes people pay attention to you. At least in the US, when you go out in public in full leather, people will stare at you. So just by wearing it, you become the star of the show. (Incidentally, my trick for wearing leather in public spaces is to just act as if I’m dressed totally normally. I just go about my business and ignore the stares. It’s surprisingly empowering to do this, because people almost never actually say anything, so I feel like they’re responding to my control in a subtle way.)
- Add boots and a muir cap to the leatherman look and you’ve added about three inches to your perceived height. That just makes you a bit more powerful and intimidating.
- Wearing leather makes me feel like I’m connected to a tradition, that I’m part of something bigger than myself. Somehow that too makes me feel stronger, like I’m supported by all my leather forefathers and that I’m supporting all those who come after me.
- Because of leather’s association with kinky sexuality, wearing leather is a declaration of one of the deepest parts of my identity, a statement that I’m kinky and dominant and that I’m not afraid to admit it.
So what do you love about leather?
3 thoughts on “Why I Love Leather”
Hello from Montreal.
The night i walked in that leather bar, (the Stud) in Fort Lauderdale, and was swept off my feet by my Master Todd, i was off and running. Leather was a watershed moment for me. It was who i was. And upon first glance by my Master, He knew that as well.
i remember my first fitting. Working in the bar, in full leathers, as a young leather man. It was intoxicating. There is noting more sexually enticing, as tossing a red hanky, in the right back pocket of your leathers, and watch men, “make a fist, twist it left and right, look at your ass, and ponder, if i could take such a fist” i exercised my ability to sexually frustrate others.
i still own several leather pieces now, (in my 50’s) i could not go on with my life without having at least a couple pieces i still wear out in public. My straight friends don’t know what to make of me when i go out in leather. But like you said, it adds height, weight, and sexual tension to any social interaction.
God, i miss my Master and the Stud and all the men. They are all dead now. I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994. Only two of us survived that leather world, 300 others did not. i am one of them. i learned who and what i truly was under the watchful eye of my Master Todd. He saved my life, when all was very dark for sure. Thank you for all you do for us.
Jeremy in Montreal.
I had my leather awakening somewhat later in life, which means that I avoided the AIDS Crisis that killed so many weatherman. But it also means I missed a lot of the leather bar experience–only a couple years after I started exploring leather, Milwaukee’s last leather bar burned down and nothing has ever replaced it. So I’ve only gotten to experience that world in brief bursts, at things like IML.
Very nice analysis and I agree with all the points you make. The visual aspect seems to be particularly important for me. Not just the associations of leather gear (confidence, authority, a hint of menace) but the aesthetics of it, down to how it catches the light and blends in the shadows.