WARNING If sexually explicit talk about sex, raunch and BDSM activities might offend you, then this part of the interview is not for you. Please exit now. Thank you.
Read Part One of this interview here .
Bob Leahy: I guess this is the point where we need to know more about Master Chuck, your Sir. Now I happen to have met him. He and I have both been involved in the AIDS movement, he as a negative man who was instrumental in getting the HIV movement going in Northern Ontario, I think. He was on the Board of the OAN (Ontario AIDS Network) for many years too. But anyway, you belong to Master Chuck, don’t you?
boy iain: My collar states that I am under the firm guidance of Master Chuck, so in that aspect I belong to him. It has been quite the ride, pardon the pun, and he has been quite an inspiration for my own involvement in HIV activism, volunteering with the ACT Gay Mens Outreach Program.
Now that’s a hard concept for some of us to get our minds around. Tell me what being owned by a Master involves?
I am actually no longer owned by Master Chuck, and with the change in dynamic from slave to boy I am not considered His property in the way a slave would be, but I can certainly talk about it from experience. Being owned means that, while I am responsible for my own well being and health, He also takes great care to ensure that from a Dom/sub perspective that I am valuable property. So in short, making sure I grow, that my value as a submissive, and as a human being is increased, not decreased or broken down as some would expect.
And of course, from a play perspective, that the sub knows how to play safely, what to look for in a top or dominant that we might play with, or even as a top or dom themselves, how to play safer.
You’ve called it “a relationship of voluntary servitude that you can walk away from at any time”. But you have a written contract, right?
I certainly do – all of Sir’s submissives have some form of contract or another. The contract outlines the expectations of the relationship and the behaviours on both sides of the relationship. It also states that either of us could walk away at anytime. It is completely voluntary.
Now I know Master Chuck is patriarch of a large poly(amorous) gay leather family. This type of extended leather family is relatively rare, right? Are there any others like this in Canada?
Not necessarily the size of Sir’s, but Leather families do exist in Canada and here in Toronto, I can think of four that are multi-generational in a similar vein.
The Dom/sub thing seems fairly complicated in the context of a family like this. For instance, the Master Chuck family includes doms, and you yourself have four subs of your own. So it sounds like switching roles isn’t just uncommon it’s almost required, no?
It’s all about creating balance. Some of us switch, some are primarily dominant and need some level of guidance (play or other), it’s other’s nature to be more submissive. So someone like myself, who had four subs over time, finding the balance between being submissive and dominant, or top and bottom, that helps someone to be satisfied is key.
So no, you don’t have to switch, because everyone has their own dynamic. That said, it’s often not surprising that a sub may become a dom over time. Although there have been cases where a dom becomes a sub.
In a family like this of many subs, isn’t there the potential for rivalry and jealousy? How is that handled?
Absolutely – and this is probably the question I get asked the second-most. The key is being self-aware and addressing the issue directly as it comes up. The one thing a sub wants more of is more time with their dominant.
I get confused by some of the names you use. What’s the difference between a slave and a boy – looking at your bio it looks as if you’ve been both, iain.
This question is so subjective between Dom and sub. What may look like Sir/boy between one couple may be Master/slave to the couple. The key difference, as I see it, is that a boy has more freedoms than a slave. There are those things I can get away with as a boy that I cannot get away with as a slave.
Now you also have a partner outside the family which you’ve been with for 14 years. I don’t know why but that REALLY surprised me when I learned about it. How does he feel about the relationship you have with your Master? And Master Chuck has a partner too, right?
My partner Scott was actually collared to Master Chuck at one point as his boy, and the dynamic continues today in a Daddy/boy dynamic, but Scott is also a covered Master in his own right with a boy and a slave of his own. And you’re right - Master Chuck has a primary partner of, around 25 years, Rocco who is into 1920-style Gangster scenes. Just to confuse things even more. ;)
This is the part I have a hard time wrapping my mind around. I mean open relationship are fairly common within the gay community, but this takes that to another level, another level of trust. And it is all about trust, isn’t it?
It is very much about trust but also communication. In the relationship Scott and I have, we both have a say in who we are involved with as a dom or sub. So as Master Scott took on slave-pup Kalen and boy craig; I had a say in whether or not he could take them on. Rocco has the same say with Master Chuck. Sir’s requirements for me to become His boy and also His slave had to be accepted by Scott, and Scott had to be included.
Master Chuck has said “I firmly believe that submission is a precious gift that doms should accept with humility; then use BDSM as a tool to reach the sub’s inner core and become one with our boys and slaves”. It sounds like there is almost a spiritual aspect to all this.
Very much so – it’s not all just about creating pain for the sake of pain. It’s so much deeper. As I alluded earlier, in a heavy play scene, crap can come up that causes us to get deeper into each other’s core and soul.
I guess an outsider might ask WHY do you this. WHY is this life such a good fit for you, when for instance in business you are very much in control. Do you know where that need to be submissive, to be of service to a master comes from. Or does it even matter? It just IS, perhaps?
I think it’s something that just IS. Admittedly, I know I could walk away and try and become the biggest baddest top in the city, but that’s not me. I am probably much more top oriented, I don’t care much for huge amounts of pain, but I like to submit. Just as Sir is 98% top, and 2% bottom – and being dominant is quite central to His core.
This whole area is fascinating. I think I could ask question for days, but I also want to ask you about the intersection between the leather community and HIV. Now both you and Master Chuck, both negative, are very much in to educating others in the leather community. I know that some of the workshops you’ve been involved with include dealing with risky sex issues, right?
For sure. In fact, from the very beginning of our interactions, we talked about so-called taboo topics of sexuality. We’ve talked about barebacking and the fact that while yes, I would love to experience it, the reality with HIV, Hep C and other STIs is that it’s not a risk that we are willing to take. We have also talked about the fact that in my past, I have barebacked.
We also have talked about using so-called taboo language such as me begging, “Sir, please seed me” as He’s fucking me. Sir has shown me, and others, how to eroticize safer sex, so when I am putting on a condom on His cock, or I see Him doing it, my ass is twitching.
We’re not afraid to talk about these topics, and use this kind of vocabulary in our play. I think it empowers us to make risk-mitigated choices in our play, and it makes it hotter.
Do you think there’s any special excitement associated with risky sex? In other words it’s hot BECAUSE it’s risky? And if so how do you deal with that?
I will admit that when I first looked at the Leather scene many years ago, I did make an assumption that if I got involved that it would mean that I would eventually become HIV positive. Today I realize the errors of that thinking and I know that stance could be considered pretty offensive. I feel embarrassed admitting that. People need to know that this is not the case.
There IS a special excitement associated with risky sex and what we do in Leather. It adds to how hot it is. By attending courses, learning from others who know what they’re doing you can learn heaps of to-dos, recommended don’t dos – and ultimately learn from a risk-mitigation standpoint.
There are a number of acronyms used in Leather. For instance, SSC – Safe Sane and Consensual, RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink and PRICK – Personal Risk Informed Consensual Kink
The main point of these is that it’s not just up to the top or Dom to manage the risks within a scene, but it’s also up to the bottom or sub to also know what they are getting into. From both sides, be aware of any risks in a scene. It’s a two-way street.
I’m not just talking about STIs here as well. For example, Master Chuck and I presented a seminar on electro play. If you have any form of a pacemaker in your body, electroplay/estim is not for you as a bottom.
Right. Lately we have heard a lot about pig sex or pig play in terms of HIV prevention. Define pig sex.
Pig sex is different things to different people. ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto) has been great at promoting discussion on so-called taboo topics and this is one of those topics. Pig sex, for me, is all about getting down and dirty and letting inhibitions go.
So for example, I had great fantasies about blowing someone in their office, and then more guys coming in to use my mouth and to blow their loads in a bukkake scene – all over my face, body, etc… Making that happen. Another scene might involve wanting to be blindfolded in the back of a pick up truck and having all of my holes used, almost spit roasted non-stop.
To me, it involves a lot of vocalization and body fluids – piss, cum, sweat and spit.
So is pig play potentially more risky than “vanilla” sex, do you think?
It all depends on the choices that are made, and what has been negotiated in the scene. I would consider raw sex to be part of pig sex. So while it can be riskier, it doesn’t have to be. Is it inherently riskier just because it’s pig sex? I think it depends on the choices and the negotiation.
Why ARE we hearing more about pig play now? I mean I don’t think I’d even heard the term two years ago and all of a sudden we seem to be hearing it everywhere.
There is a resurgence of guys wanting to get down and dirty in their sex play. I think there are a few considerations. For instance, we’ve lost three bathhouses in Toronto over the past seven years. Men like me are now going to the remaining four in the city so doing outreach may be a bit easier – sort of. However we miss doing outreach to the men who are no longer going to the baths.
There’s an online aspect in that there are lots of guys hooking up online, and I think some of those men are wanting to explore riskier activities. Those supposedly ‘vanilla’ sites are full of hungry men who are interested in pig sex, Leather and D/s.
Our men’s Leather and Kink community is somewhat growing slowly and there are more and more men getting into kinkier play it seems.
We want to keep a sex-positive vibe in our city, so while we want guys to play safer, we also want to keep the play hot, and let it get hotter.
It’s also a chance for those working in HIV prevention to find out what is going on in the city and with men who come to the city to play.
I think one year ago when I interviewed you we talked about the role of kink and you told me you personally were seeing an evolution in your sexual development and that you were getting kinkier. But do you think the leather community as a whole is getting kinkier also?
We are definitely seeing the introduction of new ways to play such as the introduction of rubber and other gear. In the electro seminar from this past weekend, we talked about a torture device that Sir created that’s made from unassuming household devices that is safe to use.
We are seeing that when ideas are shared, people get that, “I didn’t know how you can do that!” With sites such as FetLife having over 500,000 kinky men and women members, ideas are definitely going to get shared.
You’ve talked about the eroticization of safe sex. Can you give an example?
Absolutely – so the main concept here is getting a guy so horny and wanting to get fucked, that his ass is twitching, for example, my ass might be teased with a finger or even a hard cock, and I’ll rub back and forth on it, teasing my hole, getting me hornier. There have been times where I’ve nearly cum just from that.
Next thing is Sir orders me to put the condom on Him. It doesn’t detract from the energy of the scene, I’m still horny because I know that fuck tool is going to be shoved up my ass and Sir’s going to be pleasured using my ass.
With repeated use, it all becomes second nature. Pavlovian Response training, *GRIN*
You are very much about condoms and so is Master Chuck right? But is there a fair amount of barebacking going on in the leather community, do you think? And I’m not talking about poz-on-poz sex. I’m talking about guys who aren’t using condoms, by choice, for any number of reasons.
Master Chuck and I are within our relationships, all about condom use. Within our sex play, showing others how that eroticization can happen and that it doesn’t have to be a drag is important.
We’re not so naïve to believe that the “always use a condom” message is going to be effective. It’s not. The message needs to change, as does the way outreach is done. We also recognize that the OAN (Ontario AIDS Network) and ACT are ahead of the curve on messaging as well. Not many ASOs across the world have a guide designed specifically for BDSM!
We know men out there are barebacking and we know they will continue to bareback – and that is not a judgement, it just is. There are ways men can reduce the risk. For example, one example we use in outreach - using lube creates a slight barrier and reduces the chance for tears where using absolutely none creates a higher risk of creating more tears and entry points for the virus. Using just lube is still significantly riskier than using some form of barrier like a condom.. Looking after your health in general. Communication of status and being open and honest is also important. Unfortunately, we also know too well that stigma against positive people happens all too much.
One of the most powerful seminars I have ever attended was at CLAW (Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend) produced by Dave Watt. Dave is the creator of Mr. Friendly and is based in Michigan. At CLAW this year he brought together people who have risky sex, people who are safer sex advocates and even people from the porn industry who create so-called bareback porn. It was AMAZING to bring together all these people to talk about perceptions and messaging. It was agreed that in that session, messaging in the US and tactics have to change.
There seems to be a lot of talk about “risk mitigation strategies” lately. I’m not sure whether that’s another name for harm reduction or not. But give me an example of risk mitigation strategies in the kind of scene that you might have found yourself in.
It is very much a harm reduction strategy. Here is a perfect example - you’re at a sex party with all kinds of guys sucking cock and swallowing cum, meanwhile there are hard potato chips being offered as a snack, which can create cuts in the mouth for entry points for any infection.
If I know I’m going to be sucking cock, I am watching what I eat during the day.
I want to talk about the role of poz guys in your community. I worked on the HIVStigma.com campaign a couple of years ago with Brian, and one of the themes we explored in that campaign was how difficult it was for people who were HIV to disclose their status to sex partners. How does that issue pan out in the leather community, do you think? Any different?
I would hope that men in the Leather community would be a bit more open to playing with men who are positive. As I mentioned earlier, I had my own misgivings and misconceptions about Leather and I am glad I have grown. I’d hope my Leather brothers are willing to be self-aware enough to grow in similar ways. I suspect that the topic of status comes up more within negotiation depending on the play that people get into.
Does the issue of stigma pan out differently? Honestly I don’t know.
Have there been openly poz leather title holders?
Is it common for people in the leather community in your experience to be poz friendly, wiling to have sex with HIV-positive men?
I would hope so. If someone were to give attitude to one of my friends who happens to be poz, they would certainly get an earful quickly if not from me, then from others in the community.
This is a VERY hypothetical question, but how do you think your life would change if you suddenly found out you were HIV-positive. I’m thinking about your life as member of the leather scene and the Family in particular?
I know I would have the support of my family around me. My community would rally around me because we do that for each other. My collar with Sir would not change and my relationship with my partner would not change. As with any life changing experience, there would be the standard emotional reactions that anyone who finds out they are now positive today would have.
Iain, you’ve been so forthcoming, and we’ve covered a lot of material. It’s been fascinating. THANK YOU! Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you very much for the opportunity to allow your readers to learn a bit more about Leather. As much as we may be mysterious, or different, we’re really a bunch of really interesting people who value deep connections.
You’ve been extremely generous with your time and I’ve probably asked you all kinds of questions I shouldn't have, so sorry for that, if I have. But again, thank you so much for doing this. We really appreciate you talking to PositiveLite.
boy iain's blog is here http://boy.mathan.ca/ On twitter boy iain is here: @mathan416
Master Chuck’s blog is here: http://masterchuck.ca/blog/
See also LeatherSIR Canada http://www.leathersircanada.com/