Tag Archives: Leather subculture

February 21, 2014

“So I’m curious, I’m not sure I understand the whole ‘pup thing’ can you explain it to me?”

“One is interested in pup play, I have seen pups in action and I have a few pup friends. Is the role of a pup dom/sub or its handler/pup? I am interested in this, but feel awkward asking information as I don’t want to ask stupid questions or offend anyone. Is pup play a turn on to people? How does one go about more info? I know you are in A-PAH, but I know very little about this. Please help, and thank you for your time”

“As a new puppy, with an even newer handler, do you have any advise for me (the puppy) & him (the handler)? Our roles, expectations, communication, etc.?”

Presenting the first 3’fer Friday! To be honest, it’s likely to be the only 3’fer Friday, but why not. I had three very similar questions, so I am bundling them up and presenting them to you all at once!

The whole “pup thing” is similar to the whole “boy thing,” “slave thing,” or “little thing.” What I mean is that it’s a way to identify, and a way to define yourself and your role within a family, be it Kinky, Leather, Poly, or all of the above. Many people who are into pup play take on the roles and characteristics of puppies in real life. For example, when I’m at home, I can be minding my own business doing my thing, and suddenly my pup will want attention. He will whine, growl, bark, pull on my clothes, lay his head in my lap, etc. until I’m paying attention to him. Once he has my attention, he’ll demand love and affection for a few minutes, then run off and do something else. If we’re out somewhere, he’ll wander off to explore on his own, but will circle around to make sure I’m right where he left me. If I’m not, he’ll search until he finds me, and then wander off to explore again. If he does happen to be standing with me when I move, and his attention is not occupied by something else, he will follow me to wherever my new spot is. If I happen to pick something up that he wants, he’ll follow me around to make sure that I share my treat with him. If I try to lock him out of the room while enjoying my treat, he’ll whine and paw at the door until I let him in. And all of those things are things he does while in human head-space.

When he’s in pup-headspace it’s a completely different ballgame! He chews on toys, he moves around on four legs, he wrestles with other puppies, and he generally does all the things that pups do when they are playing with other pups. His role, when he’s in pup-headspace, is to be my puppy. To give me all the things that a bio-canine gives me. Love, affection, devotion, and playful pup energy. My role, when he’s in pup space is to give him protection, safety, food and water, things to do, and social interaction. For us, puppy play is not sexual, and it’s not inherently a Dom/sub relationship (except that I am expected to control him to a degree as his owner.)

For the person afraid of asking stupid questions, I have long held the belief that the only stupid question is the one that’s already been answered. If by all reasonably standards, you should know the answer and you ask the question anyway, it might be a stupid question. Most people will not be offended if you ask a question, or even if you ask for clarification because you didn’t understand what they meant when they answered. As the pup community grows and expands, there has been a lot of information put on the internet about what pup play is, and what pup play means to the people participating in it. Read some of that stuff, and then show up at your local pup event and get involved. Ask questions and make friends.

Do you have an question for “Ask Daddy”? Send it to me, for a chance to have it answered in a future column.

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Ferbrary 14, 2014

“Dear Daddy Kenneth, Can a switch or a man who does not accept the roll of Dominant collar someone who is and has accepted being submissive? If the submissive is the babygirl/boy of one man does the switch need permission from the Daddy to collar his lover? If the submissive is also protected and has a play partner, do the protector and play partner have a say in these goings on or is it between the lover and Daddy.”

Collars are symbols that are given meaning by the people who are using them, therefore it is up to the people who are using them to decide when and how to use them. There are some commonly accepted meanings when it comes to collaring, but I’ve seen kinky people turn those meanings on their heads, and utilize a meaning that was better suited to their own situation. So a Switch CAN collar a submissive if he wishes, and the submissive accepts the collar.

I am not sure why the submissive in question would be interested in accepting a collar from someone who was not dominant, but that is between the two of them. If they want to use a collar to symbolize a relationship between them, they should. He should be aware that perceptions from outsiders are going to place him in the role of dominant, and he will spend a great deal of time explaining why he has a collared submissive when he is not dominant.

In poly relationships, I am a big fan of keeping everyone in the loop, and respecting established boundaries. The submissive should ask the daddy what he thinks about the new development in the relationship, and how he thinks the switch should proceed. If the switch has a strong enough relationship with the daddy, the switch should talk to the daddy as well. If the switch is relatively unknown to the daddy, I would recommend that the switch let the submissive deal with the daddy.

As far as who has say in the relationship between the submissive and the switch, only the people in the relationship have say about what happens in the relationship. The play partner, protector, and daddy may all dictate how their relationships with the submissive go, but unless they are in relationships with each other that include the submissive as well (three ways or more ways relationships) they should stay out of the submissive’s other relationships, and focus on their own. They all have an obligation to respect each other and established boundaries, or get the fuck out, but no one should be dictating the the other relationships.

Do you have an question for “Ask Daddy”? Send it to me, for a chance to have it answered in a future column.

Do you like what you see on Ask Daddy Kenneth? Ask Daddy is a public blog, so you can share your favorite columns on your social media to introduce your friends to the column!

December 4, 2013

“So here is a question for ask daddy. Why are some people in the leather community (all groupings including pups, bears, s/m, etc) so judgmental of those who are wanting to learn more, and explore their options? I have found frequently, that when I ask questions to get a better understanding of who a person is, and what it is that they are part of/turned on by etc, that they do not want to share with me. Several have said something along the lines of  ‘we don’t need another poser/pretender in our world.’ I’m not pretending or posing. I have a real interest in many things. But I never seem to feel welcome since I haven’t been able to discover all that I like yet? Please help.”

If you are getting this response from many people in all types of groups, the issue at play may not be the community itself. It may be that the issue is your approach. I know for me, timing is everything. If I am out celebrating a friend’s birthday at a non-leather bar, it’s not the time to approach me to discuss my leather life, or my turn-ons. Doing so would be rude to my friend. Most leather groups that I know of have events that you can attend where their members are expected to be in attendance, and those events are usually publicized. That would be the time to approach people and ask them about their life, life-style, and leather interests.

Many times, leather people’s sexuality is tied in closely with their leather life, so casually approaching someone who is leather and asking them about that life, especially if it’s not in a leather-specific environment is tantamount to asking the lady at the bus stop if she prefers vaginal or anal sex while you’re waiting for the bus. I am going to go out on a limb and say that most of the time, you are not going to get the response you’re looking for.

Leather people tend to be the most judged people in their communities, and so they are pretty defensive when people randomly start asking them questions without taking the time to be friendly with them first. It’s a possibility that you are coming off as hostile and so the people you are questioning are responding defensively. My recommendation is that you stop trying to use people as your resources, and start trying to get them to share resources with you. The people you ask may offer themselves as a resource, or they may point you in the direction of people who are available to answer your questions. Change your approach, and instead of asking if a person is into fisting, ask if they know of a way for you to learn more about fisting. They may introduce you to a fister, or tell you where the local fisting group (if there is one) meets on a regular basis. When you get that information, show that you’re serious by following through and showing up at the next meeting. If this was the bus stop lady, you might be asking her to go to coffee with you.

Once you get into a leather space, or a space filled with leather people gathering, make sure that you are respectful of the people and the space. Don’t launch into a barrage of questions. Ask your questions when they are appropriate and don’t monopolize the conversation or any one person there. Be friendly and more often than not, people will respond by being friendly back. This is the coffee date with your bus stop lady.

Once you have established rapport with the people who you hope to learn from, then you can start asking about their interests personally. Again, be respectful and don’t come across as a creep who’s just gathering spank bank material. Don’t come across as a creep who wants to sleep with, or fist, or even date, every person you meet at these social events either. Keep reminding yourself that you are talking to people about intimate details of their sex life. Ask yourself how you would feel if a stranger at a bus stop was asking you these questions (or even someone you’re on a first date with.) Temper your curiosity to the environment your in, and respect the people who are there with you. Remember also, that a person can stop talking to you at any time, and they are not being rude. You may have inadvertently crossed a line that you didn’t see, and they are now uncomfortable with you.

Also, be on the lookout for pack or family behavioral clues. If the most dominant person present is hovering very close to you, watching you and your interactions with others, you may have crossed a line or be coming very close to one. Step back, (figuratively and literally) and give people their space and room. If the dominant personality interrupts your conversation by pulling you, or your conversation partner, away; you have definitely been perceived as a threat. This is the bus stop lady’s big brother coming over and putting himself between you and her. Don’t confuse this with the dominate personality’s genuine interest in your conversation. Personally when I am the dominant personality and am assessing a threat or potential threat, I start to close off and get very intense. When I’m interested in your conversation and want to be part of it, I’m open and usually just jump right in.On the other hand, no matter what group, culture, or sub-culture you’re talking about, some people are just assholes, so don’t let the behavior of the few influence your views of the many.

December 2, 2013

“Hey there Daddy Kenneth,

“Is it possible for someone with a casual interest in leather/kink to fill a title-holding role in the leather/kink community?

“[I recently attended a leather contest weekend] – it was an incredible event and I met quite a few very cool people. But I’m not a hard-core leather/kink person – I love it all, from bondage, water sports, fisting, fire play, flogging, CBT, etc. But I just don’t carry these fetishes around with me all the time – they’re a casual interest of mine that I pursue when I’m in the mood and with the right people.

“The majority of individuals I met at the competition seem to have deeply integrated their fetishes into their self-identification, and that’s something I’ve never done and don’t really see a need to do.

“However, I still enjoy being active and involved in these various leather and kink events, and I’d like to see them become more mainstream and accepted by the general population. I just feel like my casual approach to leather and kink in my personal life would be a deterrent from ever filing one of these highly visible roles.

“Or do most of these people feel the same way I do, but they just build a persona around a particular fetish for filling these roles in the community?”

I have seen newcomers to the BDSM Leather Scene win leather titles (because they studied hard, found the right contest mentor, and looked really good in the leather they recently purchased or borrowed for the contest) who went on to become integral to their local scene. I’ve seen title holders who were active before their contest disappear after their title year (or in some cases before the end of their title year.) Title holding is a test of your heart more than it is a test of your kinks, and unfortunately too many title holders are busy “preserving a public image,” fund raising or fulfilling their contact duties to actually participate in their favorite kinks or fetishes. It’s ironic and a tad sad that many title holders don’t get to do their favorite things while they are holding that title. So, in short, yes; yes it is possible for a new BDSM/Fetish/Leather person to hold a title, whether s/he is a weekend warrior, or a 24/7 community member.

The concept of “casual” vs “hardcore” leather people needs to stop. It is just another artificial divide that creates an “us vs them” mentality, and gives us an excuse to not reach out and talk to and mentor people. It’s a sign of laziness. Whatever it is that you do, whatever it is that you like, it is more “hardcore” than some people and less “hardcore” than others. Some folks who consider themselves “hardcore” won’t even consider a casual relationship with water sports, and even though all my formal leather is trimmed in yellow, I don’t piss on people when I’m at work. In fact, no matter how much it turns me on to piss on people, I rarely do it at all. I have to be at a dedicated water sports event usually, which I do once or twice a year at most (if I’m lucky.)

Whether or not you engage in your fetishes on a daily basis, a weekly basis, an annual basis, or only when Uranus is in retrograde, it is your fetish and you carry it around with you wherever you go. If being a leather person is in your heart and you believe in community, trust, honor, respect, family and support then you can be a part of this community. It really doesn’t matter what gear you have, or how big your toy collection is, or how often you engage in those fetish activities. I’ve seen a hot leather man in gym shorts and gym shoes pull off a hot impromptu leather scene with his partner’s bootlace and belt while the fully “dressed” guy with all the right gear and accessories stood helplessly by and didn’t know what the fuck to do.

The majority of people that you are going to meet at a competition are expressing a part of themselves that they only get a chance to express occasionally, so they tend to be “in the mood,” and surrounded by all the “right people.” To the person who is new to the scene, this creates a deceptive perception of how these people are in their day to day lives. I can go for weeks, sometimes even months without getting my rope out, and then suddenly one night I might tie up six different people. Is my interest in rope casual or hardcore? Sometimes our fetish-selves spill over into our mundane lives, for instance I wear my boots to – well almost everywhere.

If you chose to try to become a leather title holder, you will have to remember a few things: Title holder exist to support their community, not the other way around. Your community will expect you to become a visible advocate for them, that’s why they usually give you a patch to put on your vest, a medal to put around your neck, and/or a sash to wear. They want you to wear these things and represent the title they’ve given you, and answer questions. Get yourself a mentor, get yourself some gear, get yourself a platform and go have fun! Remember that competing and making friends is half the reason to do it, winning is just the other half.As for mainstream acceptance: I think this is one of the cases where tolerance is better because sometimes they don’t want us, and we don’t want them. It also makes it somewhat sexier to be part of something that is “dark” and “dirty.” It tickles me when people are afraid to go to the leather bar, because we’re all scary folks in leather. It preserves a part of the fantasy for me.

November 4, 2013

“Over the course of the past 20 years I have seen the Leather BDSM scene go from just that to a more relaxed, stand and model scene. Hearing leaders in the Leather community preach against what we once stood for, allowing a Leather bar to become a drag show on weekends, etc. How do we as a Leather Community get back to where we were.”

Is “Where we were” such a good place to go back to? Let’s look at a few examples of what I mean. Traditionally “Pretty boys” were not invited to the party. I happen to like attractive young men, and some of them are pretty damn kinky, but we’ll never find out because they are too “twinkish,” to “gymish,” have too much product in their hair, are too young to understand our traditions and codes, etc. Traditionally, women were not invited to the party. I happen to know a few kinky woman that can take a beating better than some men and I know, and dish out their own level of pain and fun. Traditionally, drag queens were not invited to the party. I happen to know some men who are very kinky and deeply imbedded in the Leather/BDSM scene, who happen to put on dresses and wigs to make money, or raise money for charity.

While I will agree that the people I am talking about above are the exception to the rule, we never know when the person I’m talking about will grow up to become the next Jeffrey Payne, the female equivalent of Guy Baldwin, or take of his wig and dress and morph into the next Chuck Renslow. By discouraging them now, we could be shooting ourselves in the foot in the future. Who is going to carry on our most sacred traditions if we don’t grab that hot stand and model boy in a poorly fitting harness, and a) teach him to wear it, and b) teach him what wearing it means to us. Of course, we encounter a few problems with this: Many times the “price of knowledge” is sex. The potential leather man says “I don’t want to sleep with you” and the current leather man hears “I don’t want your knowledge, I don’t care to learn it.” The problem with having a “Good Ol’ Boys Club” is that when all the old members die, their sacred traditions and knowledge die with them. The problem with “charging” admission and making potential new members pay with sex, is that they may reject us and our knowledge because they are not physically attracted to the teacher.

We were once an exclusive, dark and secret, underground, loosely organized (if at all) “community.” The problem is, the secret’s out. Documentaries have been filmed about us, tourism boards recognize some of our biggest events as major money makers in their cities, bdsm searches on google pull up hundreds of thousands of resources – everything from blogs of practitioners to critiques of “recent, popular novels.” The truth is, that pretty boy I mentioned earlier, he may grow up and become very skilled, very kinky, and one of the most sought after men in the scene. The question is, which community is he going to belong to? The one that charged admission, or yelled at him when his first attempt was not perfect? Or the one he created himself because he couldn’t find what he was looking for when he went to the leather bar the first time.

On another note, having been a Stand and Model person before: Sometimes it’s an invitation for you to start a conversation. People don’t always know who to approach, and what to say. You, the leather bar regular, know who’s new, so why not get him talking?As for the drag shows in our leather bars: It’s simple math. If Jessie Mya Jewels can bring in a crowd of 20 followers to watch her perform, and they have three drinks each, at $4.00 per drink (seems to be the Phoenix average, based on my own personal research) the bar brings in $240 for allowing Jessie to be there. If Kenneth Anthony brings in four friends and they have two drinks each, then the bar brings in $32 for catering to Kenneth. Who should the bar cater to? Kenneth may be a leather man in a leather bar, but is he supporting the bar in the same way he expects the bar to support him? Food for thought.