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Cinch’ing it up, sexy.

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jul 23, 2010 in Leather, Toys, Uncategorized

Since I got one of these from the amazing Suki at OhMiBod, I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it (and have had it come in handy twice, when it was the only condom within reach – woohoo!). I also had a few folks talk about how rockin’ it is, so I wanted to put the info out on my blog for y’all to find it (or see it, if you’ve never done so).

This is the Lovebuckle. It’s a brushed metal, sexy, wide belt buckle with a cut out in the center that holds One Condoms – my personal favorite (and most highly recommended) brand. There are tons of designs, so finding one that matches your mood, your outfit, or your destination is just half the fun. The belt comes in a pretty good size range for a bunch of body types, but you can easily remove the buckle and pop it onto your favorite belt from your collection. Also, you can get the PINK belt. Not wussy pastel pink, but in-your-face, hot-to-trot pink.

I first came across these when I was doing some lectures at Brown University’s Sex Week last spring; turns out the folks at OhMiBod really understand what sex positive is about, and sent some amazing gifts to be raffled off & given away to students who attended the Sex Week events. I love to support the companies that support sex positive empowerment – so it’s my great pleasure to wear this belt and recommend OhMiBod to my friends.

And when you see me wearing it? It means I’m looking for some safe, sexy fun … I mean, how much more clear can you be about the concept of safer sex than wearing a condom on your belt?

 
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What Is Leather Worth?

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Oct 22, 2008 in Leather, relationships, teaching

My friend, Edward Dain, is one of those people that I love to listen to, and to read. I hang out at his home a few times a year with his family, we mutter on the phone about the trials and tribulations of life, and I send him adult movies from my collection to share with his partners…so I guess you could say that we’re friends. He’s also one of my more thoughtfully prolific FiendsList members on my ComatoseJournal, so I get to read his processing on occasion, and a while back, I asked him to expand on one of his posts. He graciously agreed to do so, and he sent it to me a few days back. I wanted to share it with you all, so this week, he is going to challenge your brains, instead of me. I’m putting his bio & contact info below the essay, so if you’d like to contact him and carry forward the discussion, please feel free to do so!

What Is Leather Worth

Without falling prey to some sort of fannish worship of that which never was, I do find some of the values of “Old Guard Leather” (as a variety of people describe them) to be important on a personal and a community level – and congruent with the values held by the people who had a strong impression on me when I was first entering the Scene. These values continue to be equally, if not more, important to me now as well. Some people might say that this makes me an elitist. I say that it takes more than words or a membership card to be part of the tribe.

And before anyone thinks that I am in any way or sense claiming to be “Old Guard Leather”, let me give them a virtual slap upside the head. I would likely give an Old Guard Leatherman hives – I am so far afield from that community (or even the not-so-New Leather either) that it is rather amazing that I even identify as a Leatherman. But that’s also a function of time and space. There is no Old Guard now. The few that survived passed through a hell of blood and tears and were irrevocably changed as a result.

It is a different world now, the community that defined them is gone, and I was never part of it.

For those of you who want to follow along at home, I would suggest reading Guy Baldwin’s essay, “Old Guard”: It’s Origins, Traditions, Mystique and Rules“, his presentation at the 6th Leather Leadership Conference, and Joseph W. Bean’s essay “Old Guard? If You Say So”. Those are decent enough places to start.

These values are what speak to me-

Clothing: Leather was the marker, but you had to earn it. Collars, Covers, Flagging, it all has its roots here. Oh – and don’t scare the old ladies.

Do you know why I don’t wear more Leather? Because unless I’m riding, I haven’t freaking earned it yet. Boots and belt are the basics, and I skate by with the jacket and gloves because I ride and do rough body play. My slave Keris has been in my service for over almost two years now and has one piece of Leather other than her chain – though truth to be told, she deserves another piece at this point. I’ve just been looking for the right one.

And if you can’t wear it where you work, it has no place on the street. If you have a question, then change when you get to where you’re going.

Chain? Yes, you read that right. Not all Leather is made of dead animals. Instead of a collar, she wears a custom-made chain around her waist. Much easier to explain, hide, or otherwise pass off in a vanilla setting – instead she gets complimented on her “industrial jewelry.”

And I still flag the way I learned 20+ years ago. It’s hard-coded into my kink – but that is a whole different story.

Manners & Protocol: Bottoms defer to Tops, but “time in grade” is worth more than titles, offices, and leather worn. You give your respect to your elders because they’re your elders “unless and until” they prove that they don’t deserve it. Be polite. If you aren’t then you’re not worthy of respect yourself (even if that other guy was an asshole). The titles that matter don’t come with a sash. Keep your hands to yourself unless given permission otherwise. Don’t be stupid and overindulge in substances, and don’t give the community a bad name for that or any other reason.

Yeah, this sort of thing struck home is a humorous manner when a mutual friend put some tooth-marks on Keris without asking permission soon after she started wearing my chain and my blood-pressure went through the roof. I laughed at myself as I watched the reaction, but it was still there.

And it would be there again if it happened again.

Values and Characteristics: Honesty. Reliability. Honor. Integrity. Generosity of time and spirit. Trustworthiness. Responsibility. Respectful for self and others. Being of sound mind. “A life that worked” aka “Financial Stability”. “Genuine and Personal” “Sense of humor”. Camaraderie. “A sense of appropriateness and good manners.” Wanting to do more than just watch.

Another piece that many people don’t seem to get is the notion that your behavior reflects on those people around you. If Keris acts poorly in public, it’s a poor reflection on me, on our Household, on my Leather Family, and on the Scene. Same thing for me. Same thing for Phoenix, my spouse. We’re part of an organic, dynamic network of Leatherfolk – in a way that many, perhaps most, people in the Pansexual Community just don’t relate to.

What you say and what you do is who you are.

It is just that simple.

Your place in the Leather Community is only as strong as the Leather Family you have. They are the ones who decide if you belong, not you.

It’s more than going to the local Eagle and owning a full set of leathers, a flogger and some nipple clamps.

Leather doesn’t end at the door to the dungeon. If you can take it off at the door to the dungeon, then it’s just a sexy costume – and that’s not Leather.

All of this created and creates a culture of exclusivity instead of the false inclusivity of much of the modern Scene. In theory, and often in practice, there was little or no place for the Five Geek Social Fallacies – because it was dangerous to let the wrong people in. You couldn’t be a member of the in-group until you proved that you were worthy of membership by displaying these characteristics. It also required hunting out the right places and the right people – something that wasn’t anywhere near as easy as it is now.

Similarly, attitude and experience trumps technique. As Gayle Rubin puts it, “Paint By Numbers BDSM” isn’t Leathersex – and that certainly isn’t what I learned I learned and it isn’t what I practice. For those of you who might be wondering, I had never read through or owned a “how-to” book on BDSM or Leathersex until I started graduate school. Aside from a handful of passages from The Leatherman’s Handbook that I had read over the years, all my learning came from three places – doing, being done, and reading porn (I read The Story of O and the Kama Sutra when I was around 10 or 11, I bought a copy of a Marquis de Sade reader when I was 16). Oh, that’s right – I also had the entries, such as they were, on kink from The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex. They were certainly informative… not! There was also a big book titled Erotic Art of the East – lots of nice shunga in there as I tend to recall.

Technique is the most easily learned and the least important part of Leather and BDSM. You can teach a monkey technique. You can memorize safety acronyms until you can recite them in your sleep. Attitude is part of an intrinsic learning process not any sort of extrinsic validation of skill.

Sweat. Blood. Tears. Cum. Screams. Moans. Laughter. Growls.

This is where you learn attitude.

Not in a book.

Not taking a class.

Not watching somebody else.

By having your life in someone else’s hands.

That’s what Leather’s worth.

Your life.

The life of your partner.

The lives of your Leather family.

Copyright 2008 by Edward Dain

“Edward Dain” is the long standing pseudonym for a “squicky, neoshamanistic, Ordeal Path, Leatherman.” Also known to describe himself as “so Queer I can curdle milk”, he’s been actively and knowingly kinky long enough to be embarrassed when people ask him when he started – given his tender age of 39. Currently holding a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, he just defended his doctoral dissertation, an interdisciplinary clinical guide to BDSM for mental health counselor. You can reach him at edain (at) squirrelsnest (dot) org.

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