Body positivity the focus of Des Moines’ Zach Gillette and modern-day Bear culture

Zach Gillette, Mr. World Bear

Zach Gillette used to feel self-conscious and insecure about his weight, the lessening hair on his head, and the bursting hair all over the rest of his body.  Then he found the Capital Bears, where the motto is “bear is a state of mind.” “When I first moved to Des Moines, I was very timid. I wouldn’t take my shirt off in public,” he said. “After being involved in the Bear group, and the positivity that comes from this group, where it’s positive reinforcement all the time, now it’s hard…

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Informed consent is beyond sex, all about boundaries, and never forever (Column)

Consent Kink and Beyond by Bettie Rage

How many times have you made little Tommy give Grandma a hug, or scolded him because he didn’t want to give Aunt Sue a kiss? Or given into that hug at the family barbecue from the creepy neighbor that stopped by, because you didn’t want to seem rude? Remember how it felt when that person grabbed your ass at the bar? Ever been pressured into having sex with someone? These scenarios are all consent violations. I know I am guilty of the first scenario with my own children. It wasn’t until I entered the Leather…

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Surviving and thriving: a new family within the Leather family

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I have been to quite a few away-from-home events over the last couple of years and often have seen my Leather family posting about their “event drop.” But I’ve never really experienced it. I thought maybe I was broken, or maybe didn’t have my heart in it. Maybe that was why I was completely fine upon returning home from most events, ready to go with house duties, mom duties, work, and “let’s get it done.” This time is different, so very different. This time, I was helping kick off a…

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Happy headspace, with or without a handler, is the heart of human pet play

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I have a pet. A Pup. His name is Pup Who, and I adore him. I’m not talking about a normal pet, like you might have. Though I also own the kinds of pets YOU might own (cats and dogs), I’m talking here about the pets in my kink and Leather world. I’m talking about human pets. Like your pets, they are beautiful, loving creatures. They want to play, to be stroked, to cuddle, to be mischievous, to be kept safe. They are loyal and often full of service for…

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“We belong:” the Leather community’s pivotal role in Pride

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Every Queer person has seen these statements on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. • “That doesn’t belong here.” • “Think of the children.” • “This is a family-friendly event, and you have ruined it.” And my favorite: “What you do behind closed doors is fine, but I don’t want to see it.” We’re told to keep our queerness at home. It’s one reason we have Pride month. But every Pride season, another argument happens: that Leather, kink, BDSM, pet play, and the like should not be represented at Pride. In…

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Strong, sexy, busting stereotypes: “From My Lips to Yours” explores kink and leather

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The lightbulb moment. We’ve all had them, and mine was when a man walked up to me 21 years ago and asked to lick my boots. I have many loves and passions. Flowers (they are so beautiful, and bring a smile to my soul). Horror movies (can we please get some scary ones? come on!).  Make-up (I own enough of it to make you laugh or cry). Oh… and I am a Leather Woman that loves to play. In fact, I’m your current Ms. Iowa Leather. I’m an educator, and…

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Leather weekend, more pride events cancelled because of COVID-19

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Des Moines’ Iowa Leather Weekend in October is the latest LGBTQ-identified event to call off this year’s festivities in light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis and growing questions about why and how the virus is so contagious. Three other Pride events have also rescheduled: — CR PrideFest, originally scheduled for July 11 in Cedar Rapids — Capital City Pride, originally postponed from June 12 to July 11, and now cancelled altogether this year, and — Pride South Side, a Chicago festival for queer people of color, held for the first…

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E-stim adds new charge to intimacy

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OMAHA — Erotic stimulation through electricity sounds a little “scary” at first, says Bill Dudley, an experienced practitioner who presents workshops regularly.. “Any time you mention electricity people get a little bit nervous and rightfully so,” says Dudley, who will present a workshop on electro-sex during Sash Bash March 7. “But what we’re talking about here are implements and toys that have been specifically made for use on the human body – and more specifically with an erotic bent in mind.” Dudley says many tools in the “kink” world are…

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Sash Bash offers kink education in Iowa City March 6-8

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IOWA CITY — From electro-sex, to biting, to wax dripping, to pet play, the 5th Annual Sash Bash is pushing the envelop for kink in Iowa City. Coming March 6-8 and coordinated by 2016 Mr. Iowa Leather Rob Anderson, who lives in Cedar Rapids but works in Iowa City, Sash Bash takes place at the Studio 13/Yacht Club complex. The mostly male event already has about 100 registrants. “We’re drawing people from Kansas City, Lincoln, Omaha, the Twin Cities, all over the region,” says Anderson, who runs Papa Bear Productions.…

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