surprised when I say that there weren't a whole lot of
Leather folk in the small city where I came out as a Leatherman.
I got a lot of my early SM experiences because I traveled
for a living. In my home town there were two guys who
showed me ropes and taught me about the business end of
there was a lot more to my "education" than
raw sex. Fact is, most of it came from books and magazines.
My first leather-style relationship used Mr. Benson,
(Bad Boy Press, New York, 1992), a novel by John Preston
as a guide. My slave at the time was expected to live
and care for me as Jamie would for Mr. Benson.
everyone else, I had read Larry Townsend's Leatherman's
Handbook, (LT Publications, Beverly Hills, 1998).
Truth is, I'm old enough to have read the first edition.
Its scenes turned me on; its instructions (revised for
the age of the plague) are as valid today as they were
then. Years later, the things I was only reading about
have been proven true by experience.
Stambolian's Male Fantasies/ Gay Realities, (The
Sea Horse Press, New York, 1984) wasn't exactly a book
about Leather, but his chapter interviewing the masochist
(which I quoted a few weeks ago) gave me a perspective
on dominance and submission that helped overcome my fears
of being a top. The book is good for anyone coming out
and has occasional passages that refer to Leather.
of the most important books in Leather Lit is Urban
Aboriginals, by Geoff Mains, (Gay Sunshine Press,
San Francisco, 1984). Geoff originally wrote this as a
Master's Thesis but don't let that stop you from reading
it. He's done thorough (if now a bit dated) research into
gay SM. His understanding and explanations include physiology,
psychology, sociology and a lot of real hot men.
won't pass Leather Lit 101 without reading Urban Aboriginals.
it comes to authors I've read and re-read, John Preston
tops the list. His work is erotic, informative, and instructional.
His fiction holds one's attention, causes positive, groin-centered
reactions, and gives the mind explanations, insights,
and ideas all at the same time.
already mentioned his classic, Mr. Benson. I
Once Had a Master, (Alyson Publications, Boston, 1984),
is another of those books that originally turned me on
to Leather. It is primarily a novice's journey into Leather.
It's a good chance to see how one character, in this series
of short stories, becomes progressively more accustomed
to seeing himself as a Leather man. His fictional journey
is not uncommon for each of us and so holds meaning.
the Love of a Master, (Alyson, Boston, 1987) and In
Search of a Master
(Kennsington, New York, 2002) make wonderful reading
as well. Not only are they great stroke books but they
have plot, character, humor, and insight. They present
the world of the "Network". Here the fictional
wealthy buy and sell men and women who have freely indentured
themselves as sexual submissives.
who would sell their sexual service are trained and groomed
to please the most demanding request. It is all properly
covered by contracts, rights are protected, intimate pleasures
sold. Slavery in America? I can't help but believe that
it happens. I'd like to get an invite to the Auction (and
of course the necessary funds to do some bidding).
for a Master, also by Preston, (Alyson, Boston, 1986)
is the story of a party the narrator held in San Francisco.
It reads as if it could be true, and if it wasn't, then
it should have been.
bit more esoteric (but far less fictional) is Jack Morin's
Pleasure & Health. Anal eroticism is hardly
limited to the Leather scene. This book, written by a
Ph.D. gives lots of ideas and practical suggestions. It
answers questions that most of us are too shy to ask.
the area of purely delicious erotica and a bit further
from mainstream Leather is the Beauty trilogy by Anne
Rice writing as A. N. Roquelaure. The Claiming of Sleeping
Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, and Beauty's
Release (Penguin Books, New York, 1983) will keep
all of you warm this winter, no matter how cold the Chicago
Preston's fiction, the Beauty trilogy offers sensuality
with insight. It is pure fantasy set in some ancient European
Kingdom where the Aristocracy surrenders their young adult
princes and princesses to sexual slavery. These books
offer a fictional, but enlightening, viewpoint on pain
and pleasure, submission and desire.
Nights by Leo Cardini (First Hand Books, Teaneck,
NJ, 1990) is a series of short stories about what may
have been Leather's hottest bar. It's set in the days
when sleazy sex was still safe, and there is plenty of
sleaze to go around. Fiction, but more truth in it than
most Sunday school teachers will ever believe.
book by Larry Townsend, Master's Counterpoint,
(Alyson, Boston, 1991), proves that good SM can also have
a good story line. This mystery novel, complete with sex,
psychology, and realistic narrative, has enough SM to
make my list, but will be appreciated by the mainstream
set as well.
books that should be mentioned, but don't rate as high
on my list are Leather Blues by Jack Fritscher
(Gay Sunshine Press), Corporal in Charge of Taking
Care of Captain O'Malley, (Gay Sunshine Press, 1984),
Leathermen Speak Out, edited by Jack Ricardo (Leyland
Publications, San Francisco, 1991), and The Brig
(not for the faint hearted -- and out of print anyway).
may be near the end of my list, but Leather
Folk, edited by Mark Thompson, (Alyson Press,
Los Angeles, 2001), is very near to my heart. As a reviewer
in Manifest Reader wrote "It's sexy, startling,
informative and challenging. Its starts where we live
--in our leathers-- and takes off on an explanation of
the realms where sex magic meets spirituality."
of these books can be ordered at your favorite bookstore.
1992 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied
in any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay,
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