Probably the most important detail of note for any fetish family type is that not all of these families are sexual in nature. Yes, there may be bonded couples or more within the family, but not necessarily. Instead, these fetish families tend to build their own small community within the larger kink community to provide support, protection, and a sense of common purpose.
Probably the most recognized type of family is the leather family. Each leather family follows a different type of protocol from extremely relaxed to militaristic routines, tasks, and rituals. Typically each family has a “head of household” who is, essentially, the Dominant or Master. From there, a hierarchy will often develop with each person in the family knowing their role.
Many leather families have a strict process and protocol for new people to join the group. In many cases, there is a consideration period for both sides to determine if this is a good fit for everyone. Because the family already has its own bond as a cohesive group, most find it very important that a new member add to what works about the group. Some families are far-flung and do not live together or see each other on a regular basis. Others live together or near each other and spend time together every day or as often as possible.
Leather families are often less romantic or sexual in nature, although people may pair up or “play” within the family. Some families bond similarly to a birth family. Individuals within the family may refer to one another as brothers, sister, cousins, etc. While early leather families were made up of primarily gay men, over time this has widened to include people within the entire spectrum of gender and sexuality.
Primals let their inner animal out.
Being “primal” tends to denote one of two possibilities: animal play or a characterization of self within the kink community, not unlike considering oneself a Dominant, Master, submissive, or slave. Those who identify as primal usually focus more on the raw urges and emotions between them and a partner. This can lead to rough sex, which primal is most often associated with but also a relaxing of the vanilla “persona” and going with your base impulses and urges and behaving (both good and bad) in a more animalistic way: wilder, rougher, and untamed.
As a family dynamic, primals who form groups usually refer to themselves as “packs.” There may be a strong hierarchy with an Alpha as the head of the pack and various other roles fulfilled by other members. The family is primarily D/s in nature but tends to be less focused on protocol. The pack may identify with a specific animal, like wolves, or not. Like leather families, these packs may be more of a community of close friends and less romantic or sexual relationship-based.
A rubber pig out and about.
While rubber and latex fetishes are huge for many kinksters, the idea of a “family” is not something easily discovered by outsiders (namely, me). The love of rubber and latex does bond many people and communities are built around this mutual desire and admiration. While no sexual identity claims mastery over latex and rubber, gay men are predominant within the community.
Rubbermen, rubber pigs, and rubber pups are just a few of the designations of rubber and latex fetishists within the overall community. Rubber is often used in conjunction with animal play allowing it to have a role within primal packs as well as couples. It is also seen within leather families who share a common interest in rubber and latex. Like other types of families, rubber and latex fetishists who form communities may or may not have a relationship or sexual bond as well.
The main role of any family, regardless of protocols or common fetishes and kinks, is to provide support and community to and for its members. Many families are a safe space for people to explore their individual kinks, either with each other or with others outside the family. The head of the family has a deeper role than a Dominant or Master in a D/s relationship. They are responsible for the group as a whole, as well as in whatever way the individual’s need and agree to. As with any other part of BDSM and kink, communication is a key element to the success of a family.
Images: istolethetv & Aflickion & alexfvance on Flickr.com
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