The Purpose of Fetish
For men, fetish wear is worn for one of two main purposes: either for show, or for feel.
Men’s fetish wear for show is usually an outfit or item of clothing with extreme elements to its design that will ensure the wearer stands out from a crowd and looks different to the norm. If a guy slips on a full-body leather suit and strolls down the street in it, you can guarantee that he’s loving the attention he’s drawing. Men wear fetish items like these to illicit a response from their audience, and to make a statement about themselves. Some guys get turned on by the thought that everyone’s eyes are locked on them and their body, and in turn, there are some people who enjoy watching their partners dressed in fetish wear. Imagine dressing your lover up in an outfit that can make a whole room full of people turn their heads and stare jealously, while knowing that you’re the only one who can have them.
A good example of this kind of ‘for show’ men’s fetish wear are the PVC and latex suits you can often find in gay and BDSM clubs, where men and women wear them to make a statement and for the attention they attract. However, it’s important to say that men’s fetish wear doesn’t have to be this extreme or obvious – there are a lot more subtle variations for fetishists just starting out or those who don’t want to share their enthusiasm with complete strangers. Men’s thongs and posing pouches can be considered fetish wear too, and these days it’s not hard to spot a guy wearing one if you glance up and down a beach in the heat of summer. There’s a two-fold draw to wearing a thong in the sun, because not only does the tiny amount of material avoid unsightly tan lines, it’s a nice way to show off a man’s package to anyone who cares to look their way!
Fetish wear for feel is a slightly different approach to the concept. There’s no clear line between the two motives for fetish wear – in fact many of the guys who dress up in outfits they know will make people look their way find that the feel of materials like latex, PVC and leather or items that restrict their movement is just as important as the way it looks. But there are just as many who want to keep their preferences a secret, and even love the thought of being highly aroused in public without anyone having a clue what they’re wearing.
Many items are tailored to hide a guy’s arousal, such as chastity devices that lock the dick in place, or underwear with inbuilt dildos or butt plugs. These are perfect for wearing beneath normal clothes, and that’s the real beauty of them. The next time you pass a man wandering down the sidewalk with flushed cheeks and a smile on his face, pause to consider whether you would be able to tell if he was wearing a cock ring beneath his jeans, or a chastity device locking him in place. Lots of couples like the control they have over their partner with men’s fetish wear that restricts them, and can be worn all day – even at work or in a restaurant – without another soul knowing about it.
It’s that same loss of control that makes it so enjoyable for men to wear them, and an important part of the ‘feel’ of fetish wear is the sensation of being teased or having what you want denied to you.
The Origin of Fetish Wear
As corsets are currently considered a type of fetish wear or lingerie, many people believe that fetish wear has its origins in the late eighteenth century. However, wearing corsets wasn’t a niche market, and women wore them purely to shape their figures, so it could be argued that they were no more of a fetish item of clothing than any piece of underwear.
It’s more appropriate to say that the first people to wear fetish items were gay men in post-1940’s Britain, who started to wear leather clothes in public. This was meant as a statement, as it made them stand out and doubled as a label to proclaim their sexuality, whereas previously it had been a private form of dress only.
From that point, the use of leather and some bondage wear such as straps or metal studs became more common, especially at the end of the 20th century, as it began to be recognised as a label of homosexuality, both for men and women. However, despite how often this kind of clothing featured on catwalks and in fashion since then, it will always primarily be known to be connected with sexual activities and preferences such as BDSM and fetishes.
The Various Niches of Men’s Fetish Wear
The image that first comes to a lot of people’s minds upon hearing the words ‘fetish wear’ is the stereotypical man dressed from head to toe in black leather or latex – often they think of the ‘gimp suit’ featured in Pulp Fiction. However, this is just one example of a broad range of fetish wear for men, and although it has strong connotations with the BDSM scene, there are plenty of men who enjoy wearing leather, latex and PVC for the pure thrill of the feel of it against their skin.
Some men have taken to wearing PVC underwear around the office at work, content with the thought that no one knows what they’re wearing except them as they enjoy the tight, erotic sense of the plastic against their skin. Equally popular is the trend of men’s fetish wear in night clubs and on the gay scene, where being tightly wrapped in leather is as much of a badge of sexuality as it is to show off a hot, muscled body that a guy is proud of. Latex and PVC in particular hug the figure, so sometimes wearing them can be akin to walking almost naked through a public place. This is almost a kind of voyeurism, which is defined as viewing someone or being viewed whilst taking part in a private activity.
While these materials have plenty of functions in promoting sex appeal and making a statement, it can’t be denied that they have a strong link to BDSM fetishes, mainly for the physical restrictions they impose on the wearer. All three materials are designed to be tight and to limit freedom of movement, and many men (and women) who enjoy a submissive role in sex have taken to wearing fetish wear to add to the loss of control they long to feel, either at the mercy of another person or that they have forced upon themselves. There are a few sexual niches in the bondage subculture which involve wrapping a person so tightly in an unforgiving material like PVC or even cellophane that they are completely unable to move, and while this is a more extreme practice than simply throwing on a latex thong in the morning before you go to work, it’s an example of how the love of restriction can be pushed to its limits.
Fetish wear has always had a foot in the door of fashion, most notably during the punk era of the 1980’s. Leather, PVC and latex were featured in fashion designer Vivienne Westwood’s punk line, and other supposedly fetish items of clothing have always had a place on the catwalk, particularly spandex, fishnet, stockings, garters, and even leather cat-suits. Recently, Lady Gaga’s unique fashion whims have focused on a range of latex rubber items of clothing designed and manufactured by Atsuko Kudo, a Japanese designer. While Kudo’s designs have been crafted to bring out the subtler, more elegant side of latex, Gaga has gone a step further, clad in fetish wear such as spiked bras vaguely reminiscent of some of Madonna’s wardrobe and leather straps and PVC. Her style aims to bring things that were commonly seen as perverse to the public eye and the forefront of her music videos, which adds to the risqué, controversial façade she presents.
Underwear & Swimwear
As mentioned previously, a lot of men’s fetish wear focuses around underwear, whether it’s to hide beneath ordinary clothes or to bare nearly all on the beach.
Men’s fetish swimwear is a steadily growing market, as guys realise that they don’t have to be confined to Speedos or board shorts and they can wriggle into some much more exciting things for a day in the sun. Obviously not all beaches let men wear thongs – and likewise not all guys enjoy the thought of an entire public beach staring at their ass – but a wide range of fetish swimwear is available, depending on where you’re heading and how much skin you want to have on show. Koalaswim.com has a good mix of outfits for the summer, beginning with the ‘Ass Market Bikini’ for the more shy fetish wear enthusiast, which covers a lot of the ass while still using a minimal amount of material. At the other end of the scale, the ‘Hooked Up’ is a lot more risqué and a little less likely to be found on your local beach or poolside. With only the cock and balls being covered by a material ‘pouch’, two straps run up and loop over the shoulders before being held in place at the small of the back by an ass hook.
You’re going to have a hard time getting any tan lines in this, but men are more likely to wear it for the constant gentle arousing feeling of the hook, and the very minimal covering it provides.
The internet can provide you with almost anything if you search hard enough, and fetish underwear for men isn’t any different. The majority is made from the tight restrictive materials mentioned before, but there is also a market for incorporating sex toys into them. Some items come with inbuilt dildos or anal plugs, which provide the wearer with constant stimulation as they move around and the intruding object responds to every step. It’s even possible to buy a thong that’s fully geared up to vibrate at random intervals, both against the crotch and through a vibrator that can be inserted into the ass.
Another popular item of fetish wear for men is the cock ring, which can be worn at the base of the penis, or around the dick and balls together. It traps blood in the cock and can keep it hard for much longer periods of time – which as you can guess has a long list of uses. Cock rings are most commonly used in private as a sex toy; as they can delay and even deny orgasms to men and the increased sensitivity to the penis makes for more intense sexual interaction. However, as fetish wear, they can also be used to keep a man in a state of constant arousal, and more practically as a device to wear ‘pouches’ in underwear and keep them in place without an additional strap between the legs to join the rear band.
Chastity devices for men can almost be considered a step further than cock rings. The devices are rumoured to have first been used in the 15th century to protect the virginity of young men and women, or to stop them from masturbation and temptation, but ironically they are now almost exclusively used as an extension of BDSM sexual acts. Men’s chastity cages usually have a band around the cock and balls, and then a fixed cage or tube that holds the penis in a flaccid position and prohibits the man from getting an erection. These are used as fetish wear because they remove a man’s control over his own dick, especially as most come with a padlock which can be locked and the key given to another person. Koalaswim.com’s range of chastity cages for guys come in either plastic or metal, and are designed to be perfect for wearing over long periods of time. They can be worn beneath certain items of their swimwear too, for any man who wants that extra thrill of restriction when they’re walking in the sand or lounging by the pool.
You may not believe that bondage could be counted as a form of fetish wear, but just because it is designed to restrict and restrain doesn’t mean that the subjects are ever completely immobilised. Basic forms of bondage like hand cuffs, leather straps and even ball-gags can sometimes be seen in public, especially in clubs dedicated to sado-masochistic practices or sometimes those just for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clientele. However, kinbaku is a form of rope bondage that originated in Japan, and because of its nature, does not entirely restrict the subject and can therefore be warn beneath clothes or while moving around in public.
Western forms of bondage are generally either used for decorative purposes on another’s body, such as binding them into a position and tying rope around the genitals. Kinbaku – also known as shibari in the west – focuses on restricting the bottom and genital area, and ensuring that there is constant pressure placed on the erogenous zones. Kinbaku designs for men almost always have rope tied around the dick and balls, sometimes holding them in a position that is uncomfortable or provides stimulation with any form of movement. Rope often crosses or pinches the nipples, and is sometimes designed to provide very few positions that the subject can move into without being uncomfortable or stimulated. Much like the chastity devices, kinbaku focuses on denying pleasure and teasing the recipient at the whim of whoever’s controlling them.
With all this talk of denying orgasm and restriction, it’s easy to forget that the way a guy looks in fetish wear can be just as important as the way he feels. Heterosexual and homosexual men have just as much choice as women when it comes to sexy beach wear and underwear, and the same applies for fetish wear for a night out. More importantly, an interest in fetish wear can bring people together, and many websites have events for that very purpose – to allow likeminded individuals to meet and share their passion fetish. Let’s face it, it can feel pretty lonely for a guy who’s discovered they’re into fetish wear but has no one in their lives they can discuss it with, let alone who shares their interest. These events can be the perfect place to start a budding romance with someone you know is into the same kinds of activities as you, or simply a way to have fun and – just for a night – let your fetishes define you.
Leatherclubs.net is a perfect example of a good community based on sexual preferences and fetishes, and features links to sites all across North America. Each site usually has membership, and more importantly, a list of events. New York annually hosts the Miss Rubber World competition, which only allows entry to guests who are dressed head to toe in rubber or leather otherwise they’re turned away at the door. Strict dress code aside, fetish communities tend to be very welcoming to new members, and they create a friendly and exciting environment and feeling of belonging. Many existing fetish enthusiasts have suffered a lot of criticism about their clothing choices in the past, and are very happy to offer support and guidance to guys and girls just starting out in the area.
New England plays host to the ‘Fetish Fair Fleamarket’, which draws fetishists from far and wide to shop for fetish wear, sex toys and BDSM items, and gives people a chance to explore and learn about the lifestyles of other members of the fetish community. San Francisco is the location of the Von Gutenberg Fetish Ball, the Skin Two Rubber Ball is hosted ever year in London where guests must come in perverse fancy dress and can view the latex fashion show case, dance the night away, or retire to the ‘dungeon’, and even Leeds in England has a couple of events for connoisseurs of fetish. On TheFetishParty.com, events are listed by month, and it’s a good starting point for anyone who’s interested in getting involved in the scene.
So, hopefully a few misconceptions ad stereotypes have been cleaned up in regards to men’s fetish wear! It’s not as simple as sex toys or latex, and it can be worn by anyone, whether gay, straight or bisexual. For men, fetish wear can be anything from a sexy outfit to draw the eye to an important style that defines a person, their sexual orientation and their interests. It can be a secret guilty pleasure concealed beneath everyday clothes to be enjoyed alone or with a partner, and it can be a step towards voyeurism that aims to shout out to anyone and everyone what turns a person on. Fetish wear can be a restriction, restraint or tool for submission, or it can be a form of sexual empowerment for the wearer.
If you’re interested in fetish wear, my best advice is to get out there and explore every aspect of the niche to see what turns you on. Maybe in a year’s time you’ll be slipping into a butt plug and latex cat-suit to be the guest of honour at New York’s Rubber Ball, or maybe you’ll have found an exciting new activity for the bedroom!
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