MIR 2012: Recap

My first Mr. International Rubber weekend was quite an experience to remember. I’ve been wanting to attend it ever since I first heard of it many years ago. This year, due to changes to my original travel plans, and the encouragement of my partner, I was finally able to make it happen.

The contest itself is obviously the main event, and it was a lot of fun to watch. There’s only so much you can get from the still images from past years posted on the website. The venue was packed to the rafters and it was standing room only on both nights, and some people decided to just watch it on the TV in the foyer/bar area outside. I was a bit late to catch the introductions on the first night, but the shower scene ‘Wet Rubber’ round was lots of fun, with the contestants’ sexy fantasies being read by the MC while they did their best to act it out while under a running shower on the stage.

Me at Jackhammer on Saturday night

Part 2 of the contest on Saturday night had the contestants picking out gift bags, each containing a random set of innocous items usually found at home (including one food item). They have to then be creative in using it on the volunteer ‘demo pup’, who was none other than @pupstriker. It was hilarious seeing what they got up to, and as there’s no clean up between contestants, the stage was getting progressively messier and guys slipping and sliding all over the place, and making use of tools and toys left behind by previous contestants.

It really seemed like all 12 contestants were having a blast, and it was a fairly relaxed atmosphere. RubberJason took home the title of Mr. International Rubber this year, and he deserved it with his great personality and the effort he’d put in to his outfits and on-stage presence. I loved some of the others too and my vote went to the super cute and super sexy RubberInuki.

Apart from the MIR contest on Friday and Saturday nights, there were a few other things going on during the day. The kink market was like the ‘hub’ where people met up to hang out, socialise, do a bit of shopping at the market stalls, and watched demonstrations in the demo pit in the middle of the hall.

I also attended a couple of the workshops. It was interesting hearing the founder of International Mr. Leather, Chuck Renslow, speak about how S&M and fetish has evolved over the decades that he’s been involved in it (yet some things never change!), and the challenges the community faced (and still faces) to varying degrees with the law, public perception etc. He did lament that the Internet (and sites like Recon and Gaydar) is destroying the community and that many of Chicago’s leather bars, as well as leather bars in other cities around the world have closed down because of it. I disagree on that point, as the Internet was how I came to learn about my fetish for rubber, and meeting lots of other people who are into it as well, from all over the world, all at a time when I was young, naïve and terrified of what might happen at my local leather bar if I should step foot in there on my own.

The other workshop was on fetishism in comics by Tom Kelly, a comic book illustrator. This was a fascinating discussion on the origins of the superhero comics in the 30s and the idealised human form (both male and female) as well as the uniforms and the dual lives/identities most of them play. Some of these comics seem to have rather sexual undertones and reference to bondage and domination despite being made in very conservative times, and subject to the scrutiny of the Comics Code Authority. One has to wonder if there were some repressed, kinky writers back then!

Lube wresting in the demo pit

Sunday afternoon was pretty laid back, with many nursing hangovers and lack of sleep from the previous night of partying. Sunday night was Slushies and Showtunes at Sidetracks which was fun, but very, very crowded. After that, as per MIR tradition, we moved on to a club called Berlin for ‘Madonnarama’, all Madonna, all night for a bit of a dance. By that point quite of few people had already called it a night but I stuck around and besides, Berlin was just across the road from the hotel I was staying at so it wasn’t too far to go.

Throughout the weekend, and the week after that I stayed on in Chicago, I’d met up with some friends I knew, and met lots of other new people, all of whom share my fetish interest in rubber. While I’ve been to events like Beyond (a fetish dance party in Melbourne) and Folsom Europe (in Berlin), this is the first time I’ve been to a rubber-only contest/event. It was liberating just being able to walk around in gear pretty much all day and night that whole weekend. It was also kinda interesting that overall, the whole weekend felt sexy but not overly sleazy, as was my past experience at Folsom Europe. The difference between the US and European fetish scenes perhaps? There was certainly much more of a ‘community’ feel about this, and something which I’ve long felt is missing in Australia, particularly amongst the rubberists.

I’m so glad I made the trip to Chicago for MIR and it’s inspired me to try and improve things when I get back, and whatever small ways I can. Quite a few people I spoke to also suggested I come back for IML, which is a much bigger event, but also has a significant rubber presence these days. Definitely something to think about.

MIR 2012: Arrival

After an epic 24 hour trek around the world, I’ve just arrived in Chicago tonight. Feeling tired, dirty and hungry, I made my way straight to the hotel to check in, since it was nearly 11:30pm, I asked reception if there’s anything open for food and was directed to a diner across the road where I got myself a big, greasy burger with more chips than I could finish.

Went back to the hotel room, had a nice hot shower and poured myself a glass of wine, and fired up Recon and Twitter to see if anybody’s around (was surprised not to see rubber men all around the hotel and on the streets). Granted, I only just crossed the road and back, so no surprise there, and MIR hasn’t even officially started yet.

From the lack of engagement and responses, I guess some who are already in Chicago are probably out having a drink somewhere (or at private play parties in their hotel rooms ;) ), and others may still be en route. I need the sleep anyway so I’m calling it an ‘early’ night (even though it’s already 1:30am local time, by body clock is well and truly fucked up by the jet lag, I’m sure).

Can’t wait to see what the rest of the weekend holds.

The Ugly Truth About the Bareback Brotherhood

I came across the #BBBH hashtag on the posts and bios of some guys who follow me on Twitter, and I didn’t think much of it at first. One day, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to investigate. What I found turned out to be shocking and disgusting.

The Bareback Brotherhood is an online movement that claims to be a social group of men worldwide who believe that raw, unprotected sex is a natural and legitimate choice, and their members should “Fuck more. Fear less. Regret nothing”.

Obviously, the notion of barebacking is not new to me, and while I do not engage in it myself, I have never judged people who wish to do it, and it is up to the discretion of two consenting adults who would engage in it. The problem I have with the Bareback Brotherhood is that it is promoting irresponsible behaviour though channels that would appeal to young, insecure and impressionable gay men.

The Brotherhood says that bareback sex has been demonised and marginalised, but this is for a good reason. While many sexually transmitted diseases are treatable these days, there is still no cure of HIV/AIDS. I grew up in the 80s and 90s being bombarded with health warnings and messages about the dangers of catching HIV and how it is basically a death sentence. Those warnings certainly helped, and with better public awareness, the increased use of condoms and safer sex practices, HIV infection rates dropped to its lowest around the late 90s and early 2000s. Alarmingly, this has started going up again in the last decade, particularly among younger people who’ve received far less of the safe-sex message. The BBBH isn’t helping by encouranging casual unprotected sex, with its strong drive using social media. They to have a big presence on Twitter and Facebook as well as their own website. This gives an ominous new meaning to ‘going viral’.

On their website (which I refuse to link to), they’ve got a list dispelling ‘myths’ about barebacking, and thus justifying their existence, all of which are just hogwash. Lame excuses like claiming it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’ and comparing it to drinking, smoking and eating junk food, all of which pose certain risks to our health. While it may be true that smoking kills more people than AIDS, you’re also more likely to die from smoking than skydiving, but you wouldn’t go skydiving without a parachute, would you? You can also choose to stop smoking but you can’t just stop having HIV whenever you like. So much for ‘choice’.

One of the scariest things about this movement is the endorsement of stealthing. From their own “Top 10 Tips for Stealthing” page:

“The act of stealthing or a stealth fuck is somehow assuring that it appears as “safer sex” to one party involved in the fuck but, in fact, the other party has conspired to assure sperm will be deposited in the ass of the bottom.”

This is outright deception and breach of trust of the partner. They even go as far as describing ways to ‘stealth’ successfully, including deliberately weakening and damaging condoms, using specific formulations of lube that look and feel like cum in a spare condom as proof that they ejaculated in it, and ways to distract the other guy from their insidious actions. If HIV is actually transmitted intentionally by the stealther, this is actually a criminal act in many countries.

The Bareback Brotherhood claims to be “a group without judgment and with mutual respect for all, no matter sero-status”. Yet they insult us by calling us ‘Condom Nazis’, and that ‘plastic is terrific for storing food or protection on the pitch’ (even though most condoms are made from latex). They have no respect for our choice to use condoms, and how can I have any respect for anybody who is going to deceive and force someone else into their misguided, deceptive, and self-deceptive beliefs against their will (dare I say, like the Christian right, who also happen to condemn the use of condoms), and most likely while in a compromising position.

I wonder how many of the BBBH members are HIV positive ‘giftgivers’ (I really hate that term) looking for HIV negative ‘bugchasers’ who are purposely seeking out to be infected with HIV, so that they can continue having unprotected sex. Some of these guys would even consider seroconversion to be a ‘relief’ as they no longer have to constantly worry and be diligent about their actions as they are now part of a ‘club’ where they no longer need to consider safe sex. This is a myth, there are still plenty of other STIs that need to be avoided, and if someone is already HIV positive, this can seriously complicate treatment. This is a very twisted view and a form of self-harm, besides being irresponsible to themselves and the guys they have sex with.

Drug research has advanced to a point where HIV is not as life threatening as it used to be. While there are many people successfully ‘living with HIV’, it is not a walk in the park. Being HIV positive involves frequent health checks and tests, and the currently available treatments often have uncomfortable side effects, which require yet more drugs to counteract. The cocktail of anti-retroviral drugs aren’t perfect – they have to be tuned to the individual, and they don’t work indefinitely. They need to be ‘re-tuned’ when viral load or symptoms return, and they are now known to promote the development of new, drug-resistant strains of HIV.

While not all Bareback Brotherhood members are stealthers, nor are they all HIV positive, it gives the impression that such a disgraceful act as stealthing is okay, and is even condoned by this cult-like group. All this just for the thrill of the chase and the selfish satisfaction of cumming in someone’s arse against their will or knowledge. Is this some kind of alpha male dominance thing? Insecure men wanting to mark their territory by ignoring all protocol just to have it their way? The website has a whole section of blog posts contributed by members and editorialised ‘if needed’ on stealthing, and one recent piece entitled ‘San Diego Top Stealths His First Bottom’ in particular made me sick in the stomach.

Being paranoid of being infected with HIV or other STIs, I always insist on using condoms, and I do not ever want to be a victim of stealthing. Yes, ‘victim’, as it is non-consensual, akin to rape. Knowing that there are people who might actually attempt this makes me feel even less inclined to engage in casual encounters, cementing my views on how I would prefer to get to know someone well before even taking my pants off. Instead of being ‘limited’ by the use of condoms, I find it liberating because I am able to have control and protection of my health. Besides, I do not have a problem with being covered up in rubber.

BBBH founder Mark Bentson’s opinion on HIV status disclosure is extremely misguided and it is never okay to lie or not disclose your HIV status if asked. For someone who claims to be intelligent, he has some very sick and twisted ideas. Barebacking in and of itself is not a bad thing, but it remains the right of the participants to make a well informed decision. Lying or telling the other person what they want to hear is not an acceptable way to get what you want. There certainly is a sero-bias amongst gay men, but this is deliberate misdirection of the point and there are other ways to tackle the issue of acceptance and decriminalisation of being diagnosed as HIV positive. Throwing away all care and responsibility only gives more opportunities for the virus to spread and mutate, delaying the search for a cure.

Mark, his cohorts, and his 2000+ and rising followers are spreading misinformation and a dangerous message to gay men everywhere, that barebacking is somehow safe again, and we should embrace our natural instincts, but in doing so, they are just be undoing everything we’ve achieved in the last three decades to get us to this point where the pandemic is at a manageable level and the hope that we may one day eradicate it.

As Chris quite rightly pointed out – “This entire discussion would be somewhat moot in a world where HIV doesn’t exist. But it does.”

The actions of the Bareback Brotherhood are arrogant and selfish, very much like a petulant teenager engaging in high risk, attention seeking behaviour, and in spite of all rational thought or concern for their own long term health, or that of others. In fact, it pretty much ticks most of the diagnostic boxes of psychopathy. Mark Bentson is creating controversy for the sake of drawing attention to himself, feeding his egotistical self-esteem, spreading lies and putting lives at risk.

If you belong to the Bareback Brotherhood, I hope that you have a long, hard look at yourself and realise that this mindlessly selfish and sinister group is not advocating a simple right of choice, but a practice that is ignorant, irresponsible, and has serious repercussions. If someone you know (in real-life or Facebook friends, Twitter followers) has #BBBH in their profile/bio or frequently uses that hashtag in their posts, challenge their reasons and their understanding of what they think it really stands for, or just remove/block them outright as they don’t deserve the visibility they seek.

Finally, I would like to bestow the Darwin Award to Mark Bentson and hope that he will ‘breed’ himself out of existence, and all his #BBBH followers along with him.


So, I’ve let this blog rot and it has been years since the last post back when it was originally hosted on Blogger. I’ve imported all my blog posts from the old site into WordPress on this domain now. Surprisingly, I still sometimes get feedback and messages about stuff I wrote all those years ago, and it seems like the one about the Aneros has gotten quite a few people interested in trying it. I should probably write a follow-up to that ;)

Things have been fairly quiet for me on the fetish front for the past couple of years. I had been in a unhappy relationship leading to a messy break-up a few years ago. I wasn’t happy at work then and ended up in depression without even realising it. I stopped going to to gay and fetish dance parties because I was fed up with the pretentious scene. I hardly enjoyed myself at those events, and never get what I want out of them, often going home feeling empty and sorry for myself.

Since moving up to Sydney around this time last year, things have gotten MUCH better. I’m actually feeling quite upbeat nowadays. The job I moved up there for has been good and everything I hoped for. My partner ‘A’ also moved up here with me, and I’m glad he did. I’ve also got a bit more free time and have been pursuing my other hobbies and interests such as photography.

The Sydney rubber scene is dismal, there aren’t a lot of venues and events catering to the fetish community. The Sydney Leather Pride Association organises some stuff, but I’ve only been to a couple of things so far. It also doesn’t help that there isn’t a permanent venue like a local leather bar where one can just go out in gear for a few drinks and hang out with their friends or meet new, like-minded people.

I haven’t been in touch with my rubber fetish very much in the past few years, but one thing I decided to do this year is to attend Mr. International Rubber in Chicago. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time now, and it’s always been pushed back due to finances or other conflicting plans. I got my MIR weekend package tickets as soon as they were publicly available online, and am now organising the other aspects of the trip. I’ve really excited about it and can’t wait for November. I’ve been to Folsom Europe in Berlin a couple of times, and Chicago seems like a long way to go for this, but MIR is an event exclusively for rubber fetishists and I’m looking forward to meeting guys from all over and finally connect with a community that is sadly missing in Australia.

This past year has seen a whole lot of changes in my life, and I’m sure this trip will also revive the development of my rubber fetish and opening myself up to new experiences.

Vacuum Packing

A Japanese artist has made a couple of projects titled “Vacuum Packing!” and “Vacuum Packing! Heartbeat“, which as it’s name suggests, involves vacuum packing a person completely in rubber, in suspension. While vac racks/beds are known for rubber fetish uses, this is the first time I’ve seen this in the mainstream. Well not really, as it’s an art piece/installation, but you know what I mean. :) What really interests me about this is how the entire body is held in suspension rather than lying on your back, and that the rubber is coming from all directions forming a 3D cocoon rather than being squashed flat in a vac rack.

It would be hot to be completely encased in either one of those devices, particularly the ‘Heartbeat’ which appropriate sounds (*ahem*) could be pumped into the person inside.

EDIT: looks like the two links above are now dead, and I’ve removed them. However, it appears Kink Engineering sells Vacuum Cubes in addition to Vacuum beds too. I might have to save up for one! ;)

The Aneros

Some months back, someone told me about the Aneros and so I looked it up and reading about it intrigued me, so yesterday I went out and bought one. It was rather expensive for a ‘toy’ but from the testimonials and reviews on other sites, it seems to work as advertised, and then some.

The Aneros itself looks like a fancy butt plug, but it’s actually a specially designed prostate massager. Its base has a little knob which presses against your perineum. Once inserted into your anus, all the different parts just lock-in on the right places, stimulating the various erogenous zones simultaneously.

I had the evening to myself, so I followed the instructions carefully, and as excited as I was about trying it out, took my time to relax and get into the mood. The steps call for being in a relaxed state, and aware of the sensations that you’re feeling. When you’re comfortable with the Aneros inside, you’d start contracting your sphincter muscles. Learning how to control your muscles is key to using the Aneros, as it is completely controlled by contractions of your sphincter. The harder you clench it, the deeper it goes. It’s a marvel how this all works. After a bit of practice, I found that I was stroking my prostate with the Aneros, and it felt really, really nice.

This relaxation, breathing and muscle control is very similar to Tantric sex and Kegel exercises.

Just by lying there and massaging my prostate completely hands-free, I reached a state of complete ecstasy and was writhing around on my bed. It was an orgasm I’ve never experienced before, one that was continuous and in waves, rather than a single explosion. As it was non-ejaculary, there wasn’t a refractory period where I normally can’t masturbate again for a few hours. So I just carried on and reached that peak a few times. I was dribbling pre-cum too which doesn’t normally happen for me.

I managed to control myself and keep my hands of my cock till the very end, but will all that stimulation going on elsewhere, it got really hard, really quickly, and timing the strokes with the movement of the Aneros inside, the feeling was unbelievable. With the prior muscle practice, I was found it easier to control ejaculation and maintain the euphoria you’d normally get that few seconds before you cum. When I finally let myself go, my whole body was shuddering, and your sphincter normally contracts repeatedly and so this makes the Aneros stroke the prostate continuously, resulting in mind-blowing orgasm and a huge load of cum which ended up all over the place.

Needless to say, at the end of the hour-long session, I was completely drained, but very satisfied. Even now, the day after, I’m still feeling the pleasurable sensations around my prostate when I contract my sphincter muscles, as if the Aneros was still in there. No argument that is is one of the best things I’ve bought so far. I can’t wait for the next chance I get to use it!

Coming Out

3rd August 2005 – The fateful day that I finally spilt the beans.

My mom had been visiting and staying with me, and the week before, she had met S at a dinner I had organized. In the following days, while just chatting to her, she kept mentioning that some of her closest friends are gay and how amazed she is when they show her glimses of their lifestyle, and how different it is in reality to what the media stereotypes homosexuals to be. I had no idea why she was telling me all of this.

On Tuesday night the 2nd, I was freaking out. I had been thinking of coming out to mom for a few months now, trying to figure out the right time and place, and thinking of what to say. She was staying with me, so i didn’t feel comfortable calling up S on the phone to talk as the walls in this apartment are paper-thin. So I texted him and had him go online and chatted there.

S had already met her and enjoyed her company, and I believe the reverse was true too. He was utterly convinced she already knew about me being gay. But even still, I couldn’t help but to worry and get anxious about how she would react, and anticipating the worst. I finally decided I’d take her out to brunch the next day.

Wednesday morning. I was up early and at my computer. Mom came in the lounge room for a bit, then was on her way to the kitchen to make her coffee… I stopped her and asked if she’d like to go out for brunch. She was a bit surprised but said she’d have her coffee first, then wash up and change.

We took a stroll down to a nearby cafe and had a leisurely breakfast, talking about all sorts. Work, family, my brothers. A few times I tried to steer the conversation to something which I could segue into my coming out. But it just didn’t happen. We finished breakfast, mom even had a second cup of coffee. We got up, paid and started walking back. We’d have to walk through a park on the way back and I thought that’d be a great place to tell her… but we walked, and we talked, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

It was literally 2 doors away from my apartment block when I just stopped in my tracks. It was now or never. I couldn’t get a better chance to do this, so I did. I told her, “Mom, I’ve got something to tell you.” followed by a long pause. I tried to remember everything I prepared to say to her, but I blanked out. I continued, “OK, I’ll just get straight to the point. I’m gay.” Her response? “That’s alright son… I kinda figured already.”

My head was spinning. The sense of relief was unbelievable. All the pressure released like air from a balloon. The only thing I could think of to say at that point, was to ask her “so what made you think so?” Her answer was that it was from her observation at how I was unable to commit to my previous (hetero) relationships. This would mean she actually figured it out before even I did myself!

Back in the apartment, while she was preparing some lunch for my brother, I continued talking to her about me being gay and I was so relieved that she is so comfortable with the fact. She even picked up that S was my partner, even though nobody said a word and during dinner we were both trying our best to hide it.

When I told S all that had happened, he said it must have been one of the world’s easiest coming outs ever. Almost a anti-climatic non-event, even. He was a little bit disappointed that there wasn’t more drama involved, but still proud of me for what I did. I have to thank him for the support and encouragement to finally be able to be honest with my own mom.

I told a few of my gay friends about this, including B, from way back. It was also his birthday on that day and his reply was “That’s the best birthday present I’ve ever got!”. Another friend in Sydney thought I was utterly mad for having come out to my mom. But having said that, he had his family staying over a couple of weeks later, and he too decided to come out to mom. Apparently I was some sort of inspiration for him to do so.

On hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have been as anxious as I was, but when you’re put in that position, you just can’t help to worry about what the outcome would be like. I’m out to my mom now, but still not to my brothers, nor to my ‘old’ friends who know me from school or uni life. They will all know, someday.

The Year That Was

Wow. What a year it has been. A big year of growth and transformation for me. Death and rebirth.

At the time I started this blog, I was in an emotional flux, and only starting to explore my rubber fetish in earnest. I’ve since acquired some rubber gear, enough to proudly say I have a complete outfit now.

I’ve also met some interesting people and found love amidst some thorny experiences.

There was a big gap in my blog posts after that, but during that time, S and I have gotten closer and guess what, he’s my boyfriend now. It kinda crept up on us. I didn’t realize or even expect he’d be feeling the same about me. We’ve shared a lot of experiences together, and even had very similar situations happen in our respective lives. I’ve had a family tragedy this year and S was there to give me the support I needed badly at the time. He understood what I was going through and gave me a reason to live and look forward to.

I am totally at ease around S, and we’ve done a lot of exploring of my sexuality and fetish. We’ve had the most mind-blowing sex ever. He’s introduced me to mild bondage with cling-wrap, the use of amyl and breath control. We’ve given each other the most sensual full body massages. I enjoy his touch and cuddles. And it’s not always about rubber, we also enjoy plain ‘ol vanilla sex. He is caring and sensitive, yet not pushy and demanding. He nurtures me without being constricting. We sometimes have differing ideas and preferences of fun, but we always work it out and accommodate each other’s wishes.

I’ve come a long way with the awareness of who I am and what I like, sexually. I’ve also realized love comes in all shapes and sizes and that it doesn’t matter what gender that person is. I have finally learnt what real love feels like and to further confirm that, I’m missing S dearly this festive season while we’re both away at our respective family homes. I’m counting the days till I see him again.