A vintage leather dominatrix outfit from the Yva Richard catalog (c. 1935).
Different kinds of leather.

Leather is a substance made from the tanned hides of animals, particularly cows. Leather has been used in the past for such purposes as armor, clothing, containers, upholstery, and many other purposes. Many of the functions it once served are now more often fulfilled by synthetic materials, but leather remains in common use for shoes, boots, belts, bags, etc.

Tanning is the process that permanently alters the protein structure of skin to transform rawhide into a material that is strong but pliable, and does not easily decompose.

Leather in BDSM and spanking contextsEdit

Leather clothingEdit

Leather clothing and accessories (usually made from black leather) were a common feature of the early-to-mid twentieth century gay male scene, derived in part from the biker subculture. As the early BDSM subculture was in significant part a development of the gay male subculture, it borrowed many of the leather trappings.

Fine leather, as a luxury item, had also been a common feature of the Victorian brothel scene, and from this source, too, entered the BDSM subculture. Leather attire became a sufficiently common marker that the term "Leather Scene" was a common alternate term for the BDSM and/or gay fetish subcultures. Much fetish clothing is commonly made of leather, and the fetishism for leather is called leather fetishism.

Leather implementsEdit

Many spanking implements such as crops, straps, tawses, floggers, whips, and some paddles (see leather paddle) are commonly made of leather.

Indeed, a "leathering" is an alternate term for a whipping or beating.

"The leather" is a nickname used for the irish school strap.

See alsoEdit