Call it the next fetish frontier. Rubber, once thought queer by many in the leather scene, is quickly attracting converts as rubber fetishists don gear that surpasses cowhide in terms of the kinds of play it lends itself to.
The focus for the rubber scene in this city is the Toronto Ontario Rubbermen Network (TORN), which launched in June. The group began hosting monthly events at Alibi that same month with the hope of bringing together guys who are into rubber and rubber-related activities which include piss play, breath control and suspension.
“It’s a different feeling [than leather],” says TORN cofounder David Sproul. “You’re encased. You can’t wear rubber and not expect to be touched.”
“If you’re wearing rubber people are always touching you,” agrees fellow cofounder Colin Gerrard. “They want to slide over your crotch and ass. It’s a lot like patting a dog without asking. It might bite back.
“I like being fondled in rubber,” adds Gerrard. “It’s quite a turn on. I find it really sexual, more than leather. It’s tactile. I feel more intimate in rubber.”
Sproul discovered rubber two years ago when a boyfriend brought him home a rubber shirt by kinky clothing manufacturer Recoil after a trip to London.
“I wore it out to one of the leather functions at the Opera House,” he says. “Colin was up on stage in full rubber and I recognized him from TNT [Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity]. I just reached up on stage and grabbed his crotch. That’s how it all began.”
Gerrard, a transplant from New Zealand, lived in London, UK for seven years before moving to Toronto in 2006.
“In London there’s Gummi,” says Gerrard. Gummi means rubber in German and the London party is known far and wide to be a dirty good time. “Everybody in Europe knows what Gummi means.”
Gerrard has done his fair share of travelling to take in rubber events in various parts of the world. “I’ve tried the rubber scene everywhere,” he says. “Berlin’s the best.”
But he was disappointed when he arrived in Hogtown to find that it didn’t live up to its nickname when it came to the local rubber scene.
Although there have been rubber parties in Toronto in the past — in the late 1990s Duncan MacLachlan, a former Mr Leatherman Toronto, used to organize rubber events under the name Canadian Rubber Corps — there haven’t been any regular event for locals since. TORN’s monthly parties, which take place the third Saturday of the month from 4pm to 8pm, are filling that void.
“There’re rubber DVDs, rubber-themed European sex pig music, tunes by Butt Boys and dishes of Gummi Bears in keeping with the rubber theme,” says Gerrard. “There’s a third-level patio for socializing and smoking.
“We supply black latex gloves and lube people up when they walk through the door… Have you ever been up against anyone in rubber when the two of you are in rubber? That lube is inside and out. I can slip around in my rubber gear all night.”
Although the dress code allows for entrance with as little as a rubber jockstrap, Gerrard says, “We’ve seen jock straps, waders, butcher aprons, gas masks, puppy-tail butt plugs.”
What sorts of behaviour can rubber wear inspire?
“At the last MLT [Mr Leatherman Toronto] event at the Opera House I was wearing a rubber apron and my black elbow-length gloves,” says Sproul. “It wasn’t too long before I was up on the balcony with my fist up a man’s ass who was leaning over the railing. Then I went downstairs to the bathroom to clean my gloves off and ended up doing someone in the bathroom.”
But the appeal of rubber isn’t just in the outfits and accessories and the fun it can lead to.
“We hope to get a vac rack once we’re established,” says Gerrard. “We want a vac cube.”
A vac rack is a flat frame covered with rubber. A person gets inside and a vacuum is used to suck all the air from inside, leaving the person in the most incredible bondage. A vac cube is similar but with the cube the person can be suspended by the rubber.
The TORN parties — which are men-only, although the group is considering an annual mixed event — include demonstrations or themes.
“The last event we had a Saran Wrap scene,” says Sproul. “It was bondage suspension. A man was totally naked but for a rubber blindfold [and Saran Wrap], leaving only his nostrils and his cock and balls exposed…. At the first event Dart did puppy play and we had three puppies.”
The upcoming event, to be held on Sat, Aug 16, will be a “slime pool party” — a pool a few feet deep will be filled with lube for attendees to slip and slide in.
But the main event that night will be the first Mr Rubber Toronto competition, which will begin at 8pm.
“Once Dave and I formed TORN we decided it was time that Toronto too had a competition for Mr Rubber Toronto. Since there was already a Mr Rubber Montreal event, why not Toronto?”
But they discovered that Montreal-based men’s sex shop Priape was already one step ahead of them — the company already had plans in the works for local rubber competitions in Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg, so although it will be a TORN event the Mr Rubber Toronto competition will be produced by Priape.
Like similar competitions would-be titleholders will be invited to model their best rubber looks and talk about why they’d best represent the scene. The winner will be expected to participate in future fundraisers for TORN’s chosen charity, the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, and attend the Mr International Rubber competition in Chicago in November.
“By having this competition and our monthly events it will open the doors for any man who has a kink for rubber to feel part of the local rubber community,” says Gerrard. “It means instead of chatting with rubber fetish guys online our TORN Saturdays event will bring everything back to basics and give rubbermen a choice and also a chance to enjoy a social evening with fellow rubbermen — live.”