Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Celebrating our Kinkiness

Leather


Donna Sachet gets a kiss on the hand at last weekend's roast, held at Beatbox. photo: Rich Stadtmiller
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This week's column is about celebrating our kinkiness. Obviously that means I'm assuming you who are reading this consider yourself kinky. If you don't, keep reading anyway. You'll hopefully find this interesting.

When we choose to celebrate being kinky, one of the first things that comes to many people's mind is why are some of us into leather, BDSM or otherwise kinky in the first place?

The truth is, much as we don't know why someone might be gay, lesbian or some other orientation, we don't really know why people are kinky. If you look at the entire body of research to date, there's no definitive reason why someone's sexuality edges towards the more radical and non-mainstream. Casual theories abound, but no one really knows the answer.

There are ongoing attempts to delve into questions like this. Richard Sprott, a psychology professor and researcher, and the Executive Director of Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternatives Sexualities (CARAS) (www.carasresearch.org ), has been conducting a study on kink identity development.

"The results, so far, of my study on kink identity development is finding a lot of people who have images or stories that influenced them early in life, like 5-8 years old, that are often their first kink memories," said Sprott. "Others seem to have an experience of a 'Door Opens to Oz' moment later in life when they are exposed to kink and it hits them like 'seeing color for the first time,' but no early 'kinky' memories. There aren't many studies of sexuality and how it begins, though."

My own opinion is that ultimately it's not really important why we're kinky. If we are and it works for us and we're happy, why does it really matter? We like what we like.

I recall a lunch I had many years ago with Guy Baldwin and Dr. Robert Stoller, a psychoanalyst and world-renowned sexuality researcher. During the lunch I asked Dr. Stoller what percentage of the population he believes is kinky.

Without missing a beat he said, essentially, "everyone is kinky." He then went on to explain that during his research he found that everyone he studied had something kinky about them.

So, who knows? Maybe every person reading this really is kinky in some way. It's something to at least ponder.

With all that said, those who are not just occasionally kinky but identify intimately as a part of the leather or kink community may not know why they're kinky, but they sure do enjoy it. I recently asked some friends what they enjoyed about being a kinkster (my preferred word these days) and why they choose that as an identification.

Here are just a few of their reasons why they celebrate their joy in being kinky.

Richard Sprott, renowned psychology professor and researcher and Executive Director of CARAS.

"I believe in moving sex out of the shame and shadows."

"For as long as I can remember I've been turned on by various fetishes and fantasies that others would call perverse."

"It is integral to my sexuality."

"I was born that way."

"It connects me with more of the people I feel connected to."

"No other type of relationship works for me. I get bored far too easily and quickly without the spice of kink. It's who I am at the core of my being."

"Because most of the kinksters I have met demonstrate remarkable self-awareness and courage in the pursuit of their sexuality and fetishes."

"It's a lifestyle I've embraced and has accepted me and loved me. It's something I cherish, love and respect, and I couldn't be happier for it. I am a leatherman to my core."

Those are just a few of the many answers I received. So my advice to anyone who has kink as part of their identity, or simply enjoys some kink now and then, don't worry about why you like what you like. Just be responsible and ethical when you do it, and celebrate in the joy and fun it brings to your life.

 

Oh, Donna

Speaking of celebrating, there was a recent celebration of one of our local San Francisco community treasures, famous drag queen and community icon extraordinaire, Donna Sachet (www.donnasachet.com). A large crowd of people came together at Beatbox for the fourth annual Community Roast/Tribute produced by Ray Tilton. Donna Sachet was the much loved target of an onslaught of comedic and touching comments from an array of notables.

For those wondering why I'm including this event as part of a leather and kink column, the event itself is created by and supported in large part by the leather community itself. But even more importantly, Donna has been a tireless supporter of the local leather and kink community. Whether it's being an MC at our events, raising funds for us, or simply showing up to lend her star power to an event, she has never hesitated to not only embrace, but fully support, leatherfolk. She deserves mention here.

Donna is such a popular person among locals that those who love her and would want to participate in a roast of her is countless. But those who did end up roasting her were an amazing collection of well-known and respected people who joked and lovingly made fun of Donna, the person our own city legislators often refer to as the "First Lady of San Francisco."

Among the roasters were Senator Mark Leno, Supervisor Scott Weiner, Bevan Dufty, Sister Roma, current and former Empresses and Emperors, Lenny Broberg, members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, and many more (apologies for not naming everyone – it was a long list). Each and every roaster, while poking fun at Donna, clearly displayed the communal love and respect we all have for her.

Donna, you have always been a class act. You are tireless in your efforts to help others while entertaining us all. You have my profound respect and admiration.

 

Mr. San Francisco Leather contestants: 1. Chris Humphreys 2. Daniel DeLage 3. Gerald Borjas 4. Stephen Shute 5. Steve Jirgl 6. Trevor Black

Leather Alliance

Yet another big celebration of kink is taking place this coming weekend. It's the Leather Alliance Weekend. The weekend consists of a number of events including educational sessions, the Mr. San Francisco Leather contest, the San Francisco Leather Community Awards brunch, a Mark I. Chester benefit show, a Victory Beer Bust, a closing dance party at Oasis, and more.

The weekend is considered a highlight in the local leather and kink community's annual calendar and I highly recommend locals take advantage of this wonderful weekend of activities.

Ava Schmidt, the President of the San Francisco girls of Leather and the current Chair of the Leather Alliance Weekend, wanted to be sure everyone knows about one of the newest aspects to the weekend, Leather Alliance apps (for both Android and Apple) created by Erik Will, Chairman of San Francisco Leathermen's Discussion Group, and Schmidt. The app not only replaces the weekend's printed program, but it will stay up to date with Leather Alliance happenings throughout the year, making it an incredible ongoing resource for locals.

Access the weekend's site at www.leatherallianceweekend.org on your phone and you'll be prompted to install an iOS or Android version.

The Alliance has done a really great job of trying to offer something for everyone amid the weekend's events. Kudos to the Alliance for continuing to produce this great weekend. It's truly appreciated.

 

Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. You can reach him at www.bannon.com.



Leather Events, March 5-22, 2015

There's always a lot going on in the San Francisco Bay Area for leather and other kinksters.

 

Thu 5 – Sun 8

Leather Alliance Weekend 2015 @ Various Locations

Huge weekend of seminars, Mr. SF Leather contest, Community Awards Dinner, the Victory Beer Bust, and more. Please note that the weekend includes many events not listed separately in this calendar. See website for full details and schedule. www.leatherallianceweekend.org

 

Fri 6

(Bitter) Sweet Sex @ Center for Sex & Culture

An evening to support City of Wounded Boys & Sexual Warriors, a major retrospective exhibition and book by SF radical sex photographer Mark I. Chester. 1349 Mission St., 7:30pm. www.sexandculture.org

Boots Leather Cigars @ SF Eagle

Social gathering for men into boots, leather, uniforms and cigars. 398 12th St., 9pm-midnight. www.sf-eagle.com

SCCLA Bar Schmooz @ Renegades Bar

Informal social where friends, prospective members and anyone else who wants to relax, laugh, talk and hang out with like minded people, 501 W. Taylor St., San Jose, 9pm. www.renegadesbar.com

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members, 4058 18th St., 9:30pm. www.castrocountryclub.org

 

Sat 7

Mr. SF Leather Contest @ Hotel Whitcomb

Contestants compete to be the next Mr. SF Leather. 1231 Market St., $20 in advance, $30 at door, 8pm. www.leatherallianceweekend.org

 

Sun 8

Community Awards Brunch @ Beatbox

These awards have been honoring the groups and individuals who create and support our communities through events and projects since 1965. 314 11th St., Noon-3pm. www.leatherallianceweekend.org

Compound @ Oasis

The official closing dance party of the Leather Alliance Weekend. $10, 6pm. 298 11th St. www.sfoasis.com

 

Mon 9

Ride Mondays @ Eros

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St. www.erossf.com

SF Ring: Predicament Bondage with Knotty Brent @ Eros

Free BDSM demos and discussion with hands-on participation in a confidential and intimate environment. 2051 Market St., 7:30pm. www.sfring.org

 

Wed 11

Golden Shower Buddies @ Blow Buddies

A men's water sports night, Golden Shower Buddies, $15 with membership, 933 Harrison St., 8pm. www.blowbuddies.com

 

Fri 13

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members, 4058 18th St., 9:30pm. www.castrocountryclub.org

 

Sat 14

Daddy @ Powerhouse

A party for daddies and the boys who like them. Leather, gear and trashy looks encouraged. 1347 Folsom St., 9pm. www.powerhousebar.com

 

Sun 15

Defenders/SF St. Patrick's Beverage Benefit @ SF Eagle

Benefit beer bust with homemade corned beef and cabbage with homemade Irish soda bread. 398 12th St., 3pm. www.sfdefenders.org

Lucky in Leather @ World Famous Turf Club

Join Alameda County Leather Corps for a fun St. Patty's evening with food, fun raffle prizes, hot entertainment, and fisting of the leprechaun! 22519 Main St., Hayward, 3pm. www.acleather.org

 

Mon 16

Ride Mondays @ Eros

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St. www.erossf.com

 

Wed 18

Handball Academy presents "That's Disgusting!" @ Center for Sex & Culture

A panel discussion about the dynamics of shame and overcoming fears of rejection. 1349 Mission St., 7:30pm. www.handballacademy.org

 

Sat 21

LDG Tour: Home Dungeons of San Francisco @ Various Locations

Advance tickets are required for this event. Have you ever wanted to see the creative dungeons guys have created in their homes? This is your chance! 5pm. www.sfldg.org






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