It Pleases the Gods: the Rise of Rubber Fetish

The following is a re-post from our good friend Rubber Rants. Though this article is not specifically about superhero fetish, it sheds some light on how the fetish world evolves over time, and how new communities find their place in the pantheon of kink. We consider rubber part of superhero fetish, so we think you'll enjoy this essay.

For more posts and Tumblr images, please visit Rubber Rants (NSFW).

It Pleases the Gods: the Rise of Rubber Fetish

Rubber Rants

Standing on the top of the Mayan temple—surrounded by hundreds of miles of jungle filled with the wails of howler monkeys—I stand and listen in awe as my guide describes how, a thousand years ago, naked teenage boys were tightly wrapped in rubber straps, laid on the stone alter in front of me, and tortured for hours “to please the gods.”

A reporter covering a story in Central America, I’m lucky enough to have a notepad to cover my awkward boner. I hate myself for thinking that those are my kind of gods.

Rubber comes from the sap of trees native to the Americas. By the time Columbus “discovered” it, groups like the Mayans had been using it for thousands of years. But, it didn’t take long for the Europeans to put it to use in everything from wine flasks, to shoes, to raincoats.

From the very beginning, rubber’s biggest bonus has been its versatility. Its ability to play to man’s imagination. But, aside from pleasing some gods, its use in fetish was relatively limited until WWII caused an explosion in its use as gear. The war and post war demand for the material also promoted new synthetic forms of rubber that could hold up to more wear and tear.

As the as the post-WWII leather clubs grew, so did rubber fetish. But price was a problem. Back then, rubber fetish was mostly just based on what you could get your hands on…items that just happened to be made out of rubber but had another purpose: a fireman’s coat, fishing waders, medical gear, diving gear, or the bicep-length gloves designed to go up an animal’s ass.

Pieces that were specifically molded or tailored for fetish were rare, expensive, and flimsy. So, it’s no wonder that the first dedicated rubber clubs were formed by relatively rich kinksters, like the 25 or so members of the New-York-based “Five Senses” (started in 1964 and quickly renamed “The V Senses”)—so called because the members were obsessed with the feeling, look, sound, smell, and taste of rubber.

Author Pablo Greene may not be in rubber, but the hot rogues flanking him sure are

Author Pablo Greene may not be in rubber, but the hot rogues flanking him sure are

Today, things are very different. Rubber is the fastest growing market segment for traditional fetish suppliers like Mister S. It seems like a new rubber fetish supplier pops up every week. Because it’s become a fashion staple (thanks to entertainers like Katy Perry and Rihanna), mass production of new, durable forms of rubber is making supply streams (in a variety of types and colors) cheaper and more available.

And, the “new guard” of kinksters is eating it up—because it fits the new guard mentality beautifully. As opposed to the seriousness of the old guard leather rules, rubber is impossible to take seriously. It covers you and yet reveals every curve of your body. It conveys cold when you’re cold. Heat when you’re hot. And, you’re going to sweat your balls off either way. You can piss on it, wrestle in the goop of your choice, or buy it molded in unlimited shapes ranging from puppy hoods to Reagan masks (if that’s what does it for your particular BDSM scene).

And my personal favorite: the stretchy, elastic constriction that makes it the perfect bondage material.

That definitely pleases the gods…

For more info on the history of rubber kink, pick up Tim Brough’s book: “Skin Tight”.