Illustrated Guide – Gay (and Leather) Semiotics

I like these pictures from Hal Fischer’s 1977 book Gay Semiotics – A Photographic Study of Visual Coding Amongst Homosexual Men, not just for how much things have changed, but also for how much they have stayed the same. Gaydar is an intriguing thing. Probably at some stage all gay men have wondered how it…

What’s the Difference Between Kink and Fetish?

Erotic is using a feather. Kinky is using the whole chicken. A few decades ago, those into BDSM or leather/latex, or many of our other pleasures, would have been described as “fetishists”. Now we tend to go with “kinksters”. It’s an example of linguistic fashion, but in this case it’s also more accurate. Even though…

How Real is a BDSM Lifestyle? As Real as You Want it to Be

by Joseph D. All sex is a power play. We like to deny it. We like to pretend that sex is birds and bunnies and bubbling brooks, that sex can’t be evil, nasty power dynamics, but that’s what makes it hot for people, whether they cop to it or not. Even the most vanilla sexual…

Illustrated Guide – Hanky Codes

Worn Out West has been a Castro Street (San Francisco) destination for leather and western clothing since 1980. They’ve moved to 2352 Market Street, but they’re still going strong. This is one of their hanky code fliers from back in the Castro days to help customers choose the right colours to fly from their pocket….

Quiz – Do You And Your Partner Share Hidden Fantasies?

Mojo Upgrade is an interactive sex questionnaire for couples. It presents a list of sexual fantasies to both partners separately and has them indicate their level of interest. After the couple has finished the survey, the site compares the answers. If you both gave a positive response to an activity, then the site shares it;…

BDSM Culture and Gender Identity

How do gender identity and BDSM collide, and does one influence the other? Obviously, we know that all dominants are not male and all submissives are not female, but could our BDSM roles influence our gender identity, and could our gender roles influence our BDSM identity? It’s important before we start thinking about it to…

Coming Out as Kinky – Open or Closeted in Public?

It’s said that kinky gay guys have two coming outs. First there’s coming out as gay, then, for some of us, there’s coming out as non-vanilla. Of course, neither of those processes are compulsory, that’s our choice. I’m oversimplifying, of course. I’m a gay, leather-identifying sadistic Dom in a polyamorous relationship. Close friends who’ve known…

A (Very) Brief History of Modern BDSM Porn in the US

Porn is rich in history and all kinds of things for discussion, but today I just wanted to do a quick rollercoaster-ride through BDSM in America, where it’s come from and why it looks the way it does. BDSM images date back much further than modern history, in fact it can be traced back for…

Why Japanese Hentai Manga Still Upsets the West

Japanese “manga” has many subcategories. There’s a wide variety of mainstream manga, but it can also veer off to darker places. Loli and shota illustrate underage characters, guro and vore are extremely violent and can include snuff, and hentai quite often shows consensual and non-consensual BDSM. It’s not hard to find any of those varieties…