History of Leather in BDSM

There’s an entire subculture formed around leather and it mostly about dressing/fashion styles and sexual activities that include leather garbs such as pants, jackets, vests, etc. And what’s so special about wearing the leather is that it allows practitioners of alternative lifestyles to distinguish themselves from a prevalent, mainstream culture. Therefore, it’s no wonder that leather earned its rightful place within the BDSM world, but also in some other related niches that are connected to an alternative lifestyle to some extent – the ones who are into biker dating, for instance, are fond of leather fashion too.

Perception of leather

In the beginning, the leather was usually associated with gay community but as the times passed by, it started enjoying high popularity in numerous other non-mainstream circles, mostly the ones that praised BDSM lifestyle. On the other hand, leather has also been accepted and promoted by countless influential rock’n’roll celebrities, so many vanilla people come to love it not only for the sake of fashion but also because it was related to freedom, sex, danger and a youthful energy. Moreover, leather became not only a fashion statement but rather a natural extension of one’s edgy personality as well as readiness to step beyond the boundaries of the known. From there, we can easily conclude that it acquired some sort of erotic and sexual properties so it’s not a surprise that many BDSM practitioners developed love for it as well, and made it a part of their sexual identity. Finally, the allure of leather is so huge there are even people who simply enjoy the sense of leather against their skin but don’t think of themselves as fetishists or BDSM practitioners.

The origins

Gay leather culture is a predecessor to BDSM leather culture and it dates all the way back in the late ‘40s. Namely, the homosexual community clearly wasn’t satisfied with the fact that others usually perceived its members as feminine and weak, so leather came as a perfect means to carry out their unique cultural revolt, especially after the famous The Wild One starring Marlon Brando came out in 1953. In this movie, Brando is sporting a leather jacket, tee, and jeans. Nowadays, the leather is mostly associated with a BDSM culture, yet we have to notice it’s so big that we can talk about several huge sub-communities here, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight BDSM practitioners. The lines are getting even blurrier when it comes to leather kinksters and leather fetishists as well as bikers and various other peeps who prefer aggressive sexual styles that often understand the use of leather accessories.

Leather in the world

Nowadays, there are numerous kink and fetish communities associated with leather in Europe and Australia that gather young men and women, and London is one of the cities with the biggest BDSM leather scenes in the world. Amsterdam and Berlin don’t fall behind either, especially the latter with whopping numbers of fetish clubs that are open during the entire week.

On the other hand, there are many cities that host so-called Leather Pride events, including San Francisco, Berlin, New York City, Chicago, Washington, and Amsterdam, just to mention a few.