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"Healthy relationships are most easily formed between people who are themselves psychologically healthy. Leather, as well as any other kind of relating, is no place for immaturity, escapism, or dependence." Chapter 5

Partners In Power
Living in Kinky Relationships
by Jack Rinella

About the Book
181 pages, paperback
Price: $16.95

Click here to purchase Partners in Power (print edition)

Click here to purchase Partners in Power (Kindle edition)

Respected scene leader Jack Rinella has carefully explored how BDSM relationships fit into the lives of real people of all genders and orientations. From that research, and his own two decades as an active leatherman, he has assembled this sensible, readable manual about how kinky relationships really work.

You'll learn how to decide what you want from a relationship, find partners, distinguish between fantasy and reality, negotiate agreements to accommodate your changing needs and resolve conflicts, and much more.

"Steeped in aphorisms as real as Mom's apple pie, Jack Rinella's refreshing new book provides a wise and experienced appraisal for finding and living leather relationships in the world of 21st century BDSM." - William A. Henkin, Ph.D., co-author, Consensual Sadomasochism: How to Talk About It and How to Do It Safely

1. Leather Culture and Vocabulary
To begin this discussion, though, we need to first explore the "vocabulary". the language of leather, since one of the biggest problems that we kinky folks share is involves our (mis)use of language. As a subculture in America we have taken Standard American English and molded it for our own purposes.
2. Our Kinky Values
If we have no shared values, there can be no community of interest, no working together toward a common good, no shared events, shared pleasures, or shared living. But there is all of that, so there must be a few fundamental values that we hold together. That's not to say that we are in full agreement on
3. The Continuum of Relationships
What most discussions on SM and equality omit is the more important notion of fulfillment and satisfaction. The modern-day notion of equality demands some kind of conformity to a standard, to some approved benchmark of what is better. But in fact, many qualities are neither better nor worse. Is it better to be short or tall? Dark or fair? There is no ranking of real power or real service. Of itself, power is neutral. Their goodness, their rightness springs from the intention, the purpose of our hearts. The real benchmark is the standard of our souls.
4. The Archetypes of SM Relationships
Masters and slaves
Daddies and their boys
Tops and bottoms
Service Tops and Pushy Bottoms
Pro-Domes and Their Clients
Human Animals and Their Handlers
Fuck Buddies, Tricks, and Others
5. Know Yourself
Healthy relationships are most easily formed between people who are themselves psychologically healthy. Leather, as well as any other kind of relating, is no place for immaturity, escapism, or dependence.
6. Which Way Do You Choose
It is by considering our choices, and consciously weighing them against the standard of our self, that we can effectively manifest the authentic self, be it gay, het, or in between, living in a highly structured relationship or one seemingly without any definition at all. The result is up to the individual, who is and always should be both free and responsible. The questions take us back to knowing ourselves, the self unburdened of societal baggage, of expectations imposed by others. Once again, "To thine own self be true.".
7. Finding Partners
As I plunge into the details of this chapter, I'd like to give some advice about what is a person beginning an exploration of our culture ought to do. These suggestions reflect my own entry into leather in the '80s. I learned a lot by following these rules, though I never knew that's what I was doing.
1. Flex and Switch.
2. Own your freedom.
3. Ask.
4. Listen.
5. Don't be afraid to fail.
6. Read, watch, and attend.
7. Hang loose.
8. Take it slowly.
9. Volunteer.
10. Have fun.
8. Love in the 21st Century
Love comes in many forms, and much of what we consider love is little more than a warm feeling, affection, attraction or lust. These qualities are certainly helpful in keeping the home fires burning, but loving, the act of love itself, is quite different than being in love, the feeling of romantic attraction. For that reason, love is a dangerous and misunderstood word.
9. Monogamy& Polyamory
So why can't I have more than one lover? I can. I need not be "normal". It's certainly true that there are one-man men and one-woman women, as well as lots of hets who are quite content, in fact happy, with monogamy. There is no need for anyone to trash the one-on-one role model- the divorce rate is proof enough that long term monogamy often leaves something to be desired.
10. Groups and Families
The oldest coming together of leatherfolk is within the context, referenced above, called family. Such a family, usually begun by a charismatic and experienced player, forms an initial bond with one other, usually a lover, longtime partner, or submissive. From two it is a process of addition by trial and error, as others are attracted to their camaraderie, mutual support, and genuine good times.
11. Elephants in the Room
Abusers and Addicts
On-line Typers
Hopes and Heartbreaks
Changing the Relationship
Breaking Up
Love Conquers All
Long-distance Relationships
12. The Dark Side
One of the goals of Leathersex is to bring its participants into altered states of awareness, such as when a masochist is single tailed into bliss. One can easily postulate that sex itself changes one's awareness of reality. Certainly orgasms change our awareness, if only momentarily. Bondage, flogging, and fisting hold a great deal of attraction simply because they often bring one or both of the participants into highly pleasurable altered states.
13. Sacred Fire
Humans, then, can be seen as a unique collection of vibrations, some of which result in the very solid mass of our bodies, other vibrations, higher, more subtle, or on different planes manifest other aspects of our humanity. Think brain waves.
Appendix A: Resources
Appendix B: Bibliography

About the Author


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