What is “Old Leather”?
Old Leather refers to the stricter, more formal and military-inclined subculture of BDSM gay leather.
Old Leather is also called “Old Guard”. Old Leather/Guard relies on strict protocols and rules. The reason why Old Leather has strong and close ties with the strict decorum elaborated in the military is because of several gay men during World War II, who were extremely affected by military culture, focused on hard work and discipline. The military also served as the first major setting where they experienced immense homosexual exposure.
After the war, these gay men wanted to find a way where they can continue socializing with their fellow masculine gay comrades. Upon learning about the extreme machismo exuded by motorcycle clubs, gay men started their own bike clubs. Since leather was common riding wear, it naturally fits the culture.
From there the leather subculture branched out. It now includes lesbian, straight, and other sexual identities as well. New leather is more casual, less strict adherents to leather subculture and does not practice many of the protocols observed by old leather people.
Dos, Don’ts & Tips
- It’s advised to find a mentor into Old Leather.
- There are many different clubs and groups one can contact for information and mentoring.
- Many cities have chapters of leather subculture groups or bars where aficionados can meet.
Related Practices & Fetishes
Bootblacking is a common fetish or acts done throughout the leather subculture. Boot worship can be done in and out of Old or New Leather and is a common practice in BDSM leather relationships.