News
3 min

What counts as kinky?

Where bondage is hot but a het blowjob perverted

A few years ago I presented a piece of SM theatre to an audience of about 200 gay men, 10 percent of whom were leathermen. The scene involved a variety of acts of sadomasochism and a very brief illusion in which I appeared to be giving the reigning Mr BC Leather a blowjob.

The crowd went wild. They loved the whipping, the hot wax, the handsome young men whose bodies formed a bondage bench. The blood running down my chest and dripping off my nipples seemed particularly pleasing. But the blowjob? No. None of that. No way.

The voice of the audience changed radically in that moment. Then I was yanked away from him and the cheers and applause were almost deafening.

Saved. It didn’t really happen, did it? It just looked that way.

The words “kinky” and “perverse” came up quite a few times in conversations with audience members after that performance. It was kinky to be turned on while watching the SM. I was perceived as kinky, the things I did were kinky, my outfit was kinky. I took all that as a compliment.

The blowjob, however, was “disturbing,” “upsetting,” “scary,” and “perverse, totally perverted.”

I was left wondering why.

What counts as hot, daring and kinky in the gay community? What crosses the line to make something unacceptably perverse?

Was the simulated blowjob perverse because it appeared to be a heterosexual act–and therefore perverse, not part of us, of what we know as normal? Wait a minute, am I saying I consider heterosexuality perverse? Well, they do put some pretty weird things in their mouths…

More to the point, what counts as normal? It wasn’t so long ago that simply being gay, right here in North America, was considered perverse enough to warrant imprisonment, shock treatment, surgical intervention, even death.

These days, the larger gay community seems kind of mysteriously normal to me. Though I know very little about its members, I tend to generalize their sexuality as “vanilla.” I wonder how they generalize our sexuality in the leather community?

Does the larger gay community even know anything about us leatherfolk? Or do they simply generalize our sexuality as “perverse?”

Maybe they recognize the kinkiness inherent in our sexual expressions and applaud if not engage in our scenes themselves. Somehow, I doubt it.

I think back to the persistent voice I hear crying out from within the gay community against having drag and leather in the Pride Parade every year. Its rationale is built around acceptance. How can we expect the straight majority to accept us, to grant us equal rights, if we go around looking like that? Like perverts.

So shall we don now our gayless apparel, forget our history, abandon our integrity, and put on the Bland But Acceptable Parade instead?

For many years I have walked in the Pride Parade in full leather, carrying a snake whip and a cat-o’-nine-tails–both really exquisite instruments. I love the voice of that whip when I crack it, and it seems to get a lot of the folks on the sidewalk pretty excited, too.

And you know, when I swing that cat and ask for volunteers, people start shoving one another, vying for the opportunity. Well, men do. Women, gay and straight, grin at me and remain seated.

But the gay men run out and bend over, laughing, having fun, allowing themselves to be kinky for a moment or two.

What is it that draws some members of the gay community to cheer on the performance of SM theatre, to want their photos taken with us, to ask if they can touch our instruments of torturous pleasure, to bend over in front of thousands of onlookers so we can whack their asses–even as most recoil in titillated horror?

Maybe we represent some sort of fantasy. You know the kind I mean, the kind that has some beautiful bitch in six-inch stilettos with a strong arm and a whole lot of attitude dragging you by the hair, securing you to the bedposts, stroking your flesh with a whip that lands with superb precision, yes, right there, exacting your complete devotion, allowing you to beg her for more…

Or the kind that has you zipping up your chaps and buckling your harness, the leather accentuating your muscles, tight, black hide caressing your cock as you enter the bar. And you see him, this perfect boy, this boy who will do anything to please you, Sir. A slight nod and he’s there, kneeling, shivering with that aching anticipation, existing only for your pleasure.

Or maybe you just like our outfits.

I find it somewhat chilling to discover that I myself am hard-pressed to determine exactly what’s perverse for me. I wonder if that’s proof positive that I’ve reached a depth of depravity where nothing seems perverse anymore?

It’s possible I’ve achieved a state of pure acceptance, but I think it’s more likely that I’ve just normalized perversion beyond all useful meaning.

Actually, wait a minute: I forgot about the poo people. I do find their pleasures rather perverse. But that’s because I’m such a compulsive neat freak, so the laundry factor alone seems beyond the pale.

Watersports, on the other hand, don’t faze me in the slightest. Unless you lie down in the urinal before asking if the lights should go out. Then again, that’s more a question of good manners, or proper protocol, than perversion.

Still, I suspect a lot of people would dismiss urinal play as utterly perverse before they even get to the question of the lights. But for me, it’s all about the lights.