Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rubber = Gay?

On the Fetlife discussion board, a straight guy posited a question about why latex is always associated with gay by more uninformed/uneducated/dim people.

WTF is it with rubber and gay?!?!? [therapy session]

Every frikkin' time I mention to people I know I like WEARING latex the first thing that comes out of their head is, "Oh, I didn't know you were gay."

Any other amusing / frustrating / annoying assumptions that the great unwashed leap to when you reveal your kinks?


The responses were funny and interesting. It's a light topic, but I never really thought of it as an issue for straight guys but it probably is for some.

Here are some of the responses:
* Latex and gay have been correlated because gay community seems to tend to go further. No shy half-way (again, it's stereotype, most of them aren't).
So when they dress sexy, they delve in the deepest pits to retrieve what's more extreme, what can shock mainstream people, and so on.
And since that's the most obvious element to differentiate a gay when they show themselves at Gay Prides, many people just keep the association "latex = gay".

* Rubber makes me submissive, and I feel more submissive to a man because I see my fetish as a perversion, so by being used by a dominant man makes me feel even more submissive and perverted and therefore more stimulated.

* In my experience, more men have a fetish for rubber than women. I don't know why this would be. I love it for the reasons that women don't (it's clingy, shiny, skintight, gripping, smelling etc).

* A lot of people think anything kinky means you are gay. I don't know if it is because gay men tend to be higher public profile about their kink or that some people just have a negative attitude about anything sexual.

* My worst ever prejudiced reply to me revealing my kinkyness, came from my own girlfriend at the time: "So have you ever murdered someone?"

Needless to say that relationship ended in complete disaster.

* I am certain that pride parades has a lot to do with it. For a lot of people - me included when I grew up - for a long time the only exposure to fetish gear has been news footage of pride parade. So in those people's mind, the association is made.

* My observation is that Latex fashion is acceptable for women to wear, there are many female 'role models' who wear latex, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady gaga etc. But no men. You never see hetro men decked out in latex in any of the media.

However you do see a constant association with gay men ('only gay in the village', etc). There is a general perception that only gay men wear rubber i think.

In the shop, the most common statement by a guy is 'I don't want to look gay'

* Latex is associated with straight women and gay men and the men who love them. Always has been and probably always will be, even though by numbers there are certainly a lot more straight guys into latex than gay guys. Weird world we live in.

* Certain types of rubber and latex clothing have been adopted by the gay community to replace leather. I know latex is expensive, but leather is more so. Gay rubber is often heavy and nearly always black, usually with heavy rubber rain boots. OK, I know this is generalization, but it's true in general. Note the ads on eBay often read, "Rubber, Gay, Fetish" in the description. It is no wonder than non-rubberiest might associate rubber and gay together. As one gay real rubber fetishist noted in a commentary in this group, his non- fetish friends freak out when it is suggested that they wear rubber for other than play time. This is what separates the real rubberiest from the rubber costume wearing gay (or other) non fetishist. This includes most women who wear latex as fashion rather than as a fetish.

The second-to-last comment is mine, mostly to the point that someone had said that more guys are into latex than girls. I didn't agree with that so felt compelled to interact.

My take? Gays have been 'out' with their fetishes and kinks since the 70s therefore anything kinky and male would probably be associated to gay men by the unwashed masses since the visuals have been around for awhile. Pride parades, gay shops with window displays are where a lot of straight people get their perceptions of gay men so that makes sense.

Straight guys that are into latex seem to me to be ashamed or secretive about it, most likely because for them, any latex role is usually a submissive one (how many visuals of rubbergimps do you associate with a dominant female towering over them?). For straight men, any perception of their masculinity being any way soiled by submissiveness is a BIG no-no. Therefore, it's kept on the down-low. Gay men don't give a shit and tend to flaunt it because they know what they're looking for and aren't afraid to say/show it, therefore, the exposure factor.

What about the more men than women idea though? If you look at online rubber fetish porn, it is female, female on female, transvestite male or dom female on submissive or TV male. I know of like, 7 gay rubber fetish videos so that doesn't even register statistically. I guess this is why I have the perception that there are more women into latex than men; the stores cater a large portion of their inventories to women, any media references to latex are always with women, the big pan-sexual events (eg. Torture Garden, Montreal Fetish Week) glorify the females. The only man I've seen in the media in latex in the last few years is Jake Shears, and he's gay!

It may be true that there are fewer women than men that classify themselves as rubberists, but you wouldn't tell from our culture. Are the women that are 'into' latex exclusively there to turn on the perverted straight guys into latex themselves, hiding behind the computer screen? I would like to think there is more genuine interest than teasing or revenue generation on the straight side, but then I can't figure those breeders out anyways LOL.

Although, for consideration it may be true there are percentage-wise more gays into rubber than straight guys, going back to my theory that percentage-wise there may be more gay guys into fetish because in our formative years a lot of us had to project our sexual urges onto objects rather than people because we couldn't be honest and open about who we really are/were, thus we ended up fetishizing more than straight guys because they were too busy chasing pussy.


1 comment:

David said...

Interesting question!

My own experience is the same as yours: there is a much higher incidence of female latex than male, at least online and in porn. At mixed Fetish events, Markets etc, i have also noticed that it is predominantly the women and the gay men who ever dress in rubber (in fact, who dress in fetish gear at all: it's often sad to see these spectacularly dressed het women, and then notice their shuffling male partners in the shabby clothes they might go to the pub in...)

The reason? i think you got it right about rubber being seen as a predominantly submissive material: it is deeply sexual and sexualising and incredibly revealing - it simply turns the wearer into a sexual object ready for play. Women have always been seen as sexual objects (even when they are dominant), so have few problems with it - likewise gay men. Straight men need to assert their masculinity, and for them, that means dominance - which in turn puts them off the sexualising objectification of rubber...

Interesting point about why so many gay men might be fetishists too! i know i certainly channeled my own early urges into objects and gear because i had no suitable men or gay male role models. i also knew that the men that i *did* fantasise about where 'normal' and would treat my advances with disdain - and likely even punishment. Such imagined Alpha Male Dominance probably also fed my submissive tendencies - so it was win-win on me turning into the perverted little puppy that i am today ;)