Friday, April 10, 1998

Leather/SM and Drug Usage

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #75, April 10, 1998)

The leather/SM experience, for many people, includes the use of drugs. Alcohol is the most obvious because it's legal; some members of the community also use illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and crystal. Some people would add poppers to this list; others don't consider them drugs. And very few would add steroids to this list, since no one takes steroids to get high. Yet the fact remains that steroids are illicit substances that are used (and sometimes abused) for often questionable reasons and often with undesirable side effects.

Before I continue, a disclaimer: I am NOT speaking from experience here. My firsthand experience with drugs has been almost nonexistent. I drink only occasionally; poppers give me a headache, so I avoid them. I've never even experimented with any other drugs. But lest you think I sound too much like Nancy "Just Say No" Reagan, let me say that the message of this column is NOT that drug use is always bad, and it is NOT that no one should ever use them. I would urge, instead, responsible usage. I simply and respectfully ask that you consider these points about drugs and their relation to leather/SM sex and the community:

• There is nothing magical about leather or SM that makes drugs more acceptable or less potentially damaging or addictive than they would be in any other setting.

• Remember "Safe, Sane, Consensual" applies to drugs. Playing under the influence of excessive drug usage is neither safe nor sane. Drug usage can impair judgment; as a result of that impaired judgment an SM scene may go too far, resulting in someone getting hurt.

Tops/Daddies/Masters: You are responsible for your own drug use, but you are responsible for your bottom's/boy's/slave's drug use as well. If you give them any substance as part of a scene, you are responsible for knowing exactly what it is, how to use it, and how much of it to give. Any substance use during a scene must be by the consent of all parties involved.

• Bottoms/boys/slaves: You are responsible for your own drug use. You have the right to say no to anything in a scene which makes you uncomfortable, including drugs. If you choose to use drugs before or during a scene, it should be with the consent of your Top/Daddy/Master. At the very least, if you are using a substance, your Top/Daddy/Master needs to know about it for the sake of your safety and his.

• Leather/SM sex is not a competitive event. The use of drugs to allow yourself to "take more punishment," thereby impressing your Top or the crowd around you, is misguided. This isn't the Olympics; no one is keeping score. You won't impress other people, and you run the risk of being injured by trying to take more than your body can stand.

• The Leather/SM community values authenticity and reality; drugs are artificial. Whether it's the artifice of a steroid-bulked body, or the ephemeral high of crack, drug usage can represent either a counterfeit experience or a retreat from reality. The genuine high that comes from a chemical-free SM experience is something that is at best only dimly approached by chemical substitutes; at worst the chemicals interfere with the SM high and degrade it. SM is about being in tune and connected with your body, and savoring every sensation that the SM experience provides. Drugs can get in the way—they can put you out of touch with what's really happening and substitute their own sensations. One common-sense way to evaluate drug usage in connection with leather/SM sex is this: Do the drugs enhance the experience? Or do they detract from it? Are they a substitute for the real thing?

• If you think you might have a drug problem, you owe it to yourself to deal with it. If you need help, get it; many kinds of help are available. One community resource for questions about chemical use in leather/SM situations is Sober Leather, Minneapolis, MN.

Upcoming Leather Events

(Note: Due to a clerical error, last issue's calendar gave incorrect dates for the Minnesota Drummer contest weekend. Correct dates are listed below. We regret the error.) 

Mr. Minnesota Drummer/Drummerboy Trash II Party
Friday, April 17, 9 pm-close, Club Metro Underground, St. Paul

Meet the contestants and judges at this Leather/Sweat dance party. Also featuring a 50/50 raffle and a balloon break ($1/balloon wins whatever prize is inside). $5 at the door includes first drink free.

Mr. Minnesota Drummer/Drummerboy Contest
Saturday, April 18, Club Metro Underground, St. Paul
Doors open at 7 pm, contest starts at approximately 8:15 pm

Come see all the action as a panel of judges (including current International Mr. Drummer Jeff Adler) choose Minnesota's next Drummer titleholders. Admission is $15, or $10 if ticket is purchased at the Friday night Trash II party. (Members of Sober Leather, the Black Guard, and the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Ice Castle are assisting in the production of this weekend's events.) If you want to compete contact Colin.

Mark Your Calendar . . .

Saturday, April 25: Travel to Chicago with the Atons for a fun night in The Pit (at the Chicago Eagle). Call for more info.

Friday-Saturday, May 8-9: Mr. Minnesota Fantasy Contest. If you want to compete contact Dale.

May 21-25: International Mr. Leather Contest in Chicago. Up-to-the-minute details at

May 29-31, 1998: The Knights of Leather present Knights Tournament 10, a tenth-anniversary celebration that even includes a Birthday Party. Bring a new participant and receive a 10% discount on your application fee. For more information or an application write Knights of Leather, Minneapolis, MNor e-mail

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