Recon member Perfectolad is passionate about fetish and kink. In an ongoing series he'll be writing about topics that matter to him. Here he talks about his fetish for smoking:
Socially it seems smoking is more divisive in some circles than taking drugs – I have friends who'll cheerfully snort a few lines chopped up on a toilet cistern of a pub, but who think smoking is repellent and positively a turn off. So why does it turn some fetishmen on?
For clarity, I'm massively into smoke play. I have been for years and was hugely relieved when the smoking age was raised from 16 to 18 in 2007, I was just on the right side of adulthood.
I've found there aren't many fetish guys on the fence about the subject; rather it's two distinct camps – for and against. Those against make fair points; smoking smells, it's bad for you, it's a burn risk around expensive gear and is costly to indulge. Those for? Well they just think it's hot as hell.
Smoking transcends several different fetish tribes – it's not uncommon in leather, scally or skin guys, and can be found in skater, punk and many other fetish interests. Traditionally seen as very masculine, some guys use a cigarette or a fat cigar as a prop; the finishing touch to a look, and others see it as an intrinsic part of their sexual makeup.
I'm one of the latter, along with many other fetishmen all over the world. The fact Recon has a tribe for smokers with thousands adopting it on their profiles proves the fact. YouTube is rife with smoking videos and there are countless smoking accounts on Instagram with images and videos posted with the hashtag #gaysmoker. It's not just cigars and cigarettes either, pipes are appearing to be gaining popularity too – not something that does it for me personally, as I associate them with the nice rosy-cheeked chaps who carefully tended their allotments behind my childhood home.
So, what is it guys into smoke play actually do? Well, like most sexual interests, there are many variants; it's not just about sparking up and watching each other smoke. For me, it's mainly smoke sharing, or smoke exchange as some call it; hauling deep and then locking lips with another guy who inhales my smoke down. It's intimate, intense and powerful. You feel slightly breathless afterwards, and there's a distinct rush, both sexual and physical. Personally, I think the experience is enhanced being in full leather, with a fellow leatherman, us both creaking as we embrace. For me, each fetish is complimentary and completes the other.
There's a subset of guys who get off on performing ashtray service – literally being a human ashtray, with someone tapping their cigar or cigarette ash into their mouth, or on their body. Note however, this kind of play should only be controlled by any experienced smoke Dom; ash should only be tapped once it has gone cold. It's not about causing pain or stubbing out smokes on people. Others still like preparing cigars for their Master and lighting them.
Some strongly favour cigars, or gars as they're sometimes referred to in the community's vernacular, over cigarettes. There's a definite propensity for this in the BLUF community; an Asylum (a premium brand of cigar in vogue at present) or two proudly poking out of the breast pocket of a Langlitz padded Columbia leather jacket is a common sight at leather events. For many of these men there's an element of dominance, of superiority and exclusivity to smoking.
I spoke with SMOKINLEATHER about this; as a familiar face in the London smoke community and the founder of MASTERY, the event which markets itself as being for Sex, SMoke and SUBmission, I was keen to get his perspective.
"I definitely think there's a correlation between masculinity and power with smoking," he commented. "I think cigars and cigarettes are two distinct fetishes in themselves; generally you'll see BLUF men with cigars and scally or skin smokers with cigarettes; not always of course, but there are certain looks and personalities which lend themselves to one or another. Personally, I'm into both, and there are occasions when you can't dedicate the time to a leisurely cigar, so a cigarette is the more practical choice."
I'm also into both – sometimes a cigar suits the mood better, and suits itself to the type of play you're indulging in. Got a sub at your boots or worshiping your leathers? Cigar for sure. Pleasantly sloshed in the warm sunshine on the streets of Berlin during Folsom Europe in one-piece bike leathers and Sidis? Cigs feel the better fit.
"Some see the journey from cigarettes to cigars in smoke play as a mark of progression in the fetish," continued SMOKINLEATHER. "It's personal to everyone though and a lot of guys do switch between the two. Smoking is powerplay – the imagery of the chavvy bad lad or the coolly superior uniformed leatherman ticks a box for many subs in particular."
This is something I would agree with for sure, but I'm always surprised the number of guys who get off on participating in smoke play who don't smoke in any other context. As a regular smoker for whom the fetish is part of my daily life as much as my leather is, I've never been able to separate it. I suspect that it's the taboo aspect of smoking that appeals to these men; socially frowned upon by many, connotations of rebellion and doing something they consider wrong. As smoking has become more socially unacceptable, the more appealing it seems to have become to some fetishmen.
The ritual of cleanly cutting a cigar's tip or using your teeth to remove a cigarette from a fresh deck in a single, well-versed movement is satisfying to both perform and watch. The ways you hold your cigar, inhale your cigarette, exhale columns of smoke, flick open a lighter or extinguish your spent smoke are all part of the experience.
Brands matter too – for cigarette smokers its generally about Marlboro Reds, referred to as simply 'Reds' by most. Low tar or light cigarettes just don't get the same respect in the community. Whether it's the macho imagery of the Marlboro man used in the brand's advertising from the mid-50s right up to '99, or the clean masculine red and white packaging, which was available in the UK up until 2017, it's hard to say. The price point may have something to do with it; the cachet of smoking the premium brand runs parallel to those who like to be dressed in only the very best fetish brands.
It matters equally for cigars – some guys won't be impressed by you pulling out a €4 cigar picked up in a Bulgarian tobacconist when you were there on holiday in 2016. As mentioned, the likes of Asylum offer much more gravitas.
For me, I'll always get off more smoking with someone who's genuinely into it and for whom smoking isn't just an extension of their gear fetish. SMOKINLEATHER summed it up nicely at the end of the chat I had with him when I was researching this article; "It's got to be part of their persona in life, not just their sexual persona." And I would agree with that – it's a difficult one to fake.
Smoking may be on the wane in society as government initiatives and e-cigarettes convert people to a healthier way of life, but love it or hate it, I think it'll always have a place in the fetish world.
If you'd like to attend a MASTERY smoke fetish event, visit masteryonline.co.uk for details of upcoming events.
If you'd like to write an article related to your fetishes or the scene, send your ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org