One less-discussed aspect of kink and fetish are fetish families - groups of people that come together for a common purpose or fetish. But what are they and how do they operate? Writer Kayla Lords explores three fetish families - the leather family, rubber and latex families and primal packs.


Probably the most crucial detail to note for any fetish family type is that not all are sexual. Yes, there may be bonded couples or more within them, but not necessarily. Instead, these fetish families tend to build their small community within the broader kink community to provide support, protection, and a sense of common purpose. Every fetish family will be slightly different and have their unique take on what "family" means to them and are bound to each other in many ways. Let's take a look at the three most common.

Leather families

Probably the most recognized type of family is the leather family. Each leather family follows a different kind of protocol, from 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.

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Many leather families also have a strict process and protocol for new people to join the group. Often, there's a 'period of consideration' for both sides, which is to determine if it's a good fit for everyone. Because the family already has its bond as a cohesive group, most find it essential that any new member adds to what works about the group. Some families are far-flung and don't live together or see each other regularly. Others live alongside or near each other and spend a lot of time together.

Leather families are often less romantic or sexual, although people may pair up or "play", some bond in a similar way to a birth family. Individuals within the family may refer to one another as brothers, sister, cousins, etc.  While early leather families were primarily formed of gay men, over time, this has widened to include people within the entire spectrum of gender and sexuality.

Scandinavian Leather Men Oslo
Scandinavian Leather Men Oslo. Image: Tjhook via Flickr Creative Commons

Primal packs

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, which can lead to rough sex. Primal is most often associated with but also a relaxing of the vanilla "persona" and going with base impulses and urges, 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 definite hierarchy with an Alpha as the head of the primal 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 primal 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.

Rubber pigs shows love of rubber with a cappie
A rubber pig out and about. Image: istolethetv via Flickr Creative Commons

Rubber and latex families

While rubber and latex fetishes are huge for many kinksters, the idea of a "family" isn't 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.

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 with animal play allowing it to have a role within primal packs as well as couples. It's 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.

Fetish families summed up

The primary role of families is to provide support and a sense of community to and for its members. Many families are a safe space for people to explore their kinks, either with each other or with others outside the family.  As with any other part of BDSM and kink, communication is a key element to the success of a family.


Kayla Lords is a freelance writer, sex blogger, and a masochistic babygirl living the 24/7 D/s life. 

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Are you in a leather family, primal pack or rubber family? Do you agree with our guide? Tell us in the comments below. Spanks for reading! 

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Cover image: torbakhopper via Flickr Creative Commons


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This is very educational. Thank you!

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