vegankink

Vegan Subs and Dommes Aren’t Playing Around With Leather

How to be a cruelty-free beast in bed

The intersection of leather and sex has almost always been as much of a political statement as it has been a kink. Case in point: Throughout modern Europe and the U.S., the social organization of people in the leather community (for example, leather bars) has been synonymous with the creation of queer spaces where folks have had the freedom to express their transgressive sexuality safe from stigma and legal consequence.

That leaves vegans in the interesting position of honoring that tradition while also incorporating their own beliefs. (A quick refresher on those beliefs: Vegans abstain from animal products of any kind, so the idea of having a cow-hide-assisted orgasm doesn’t exactly get them off.) And so, I asked a few vegan kinksters how they get creative when it comes to their floggers, crops, collars, cuffs and other BDSM accessory needs, the vegan variations of which are hard to come by (no pun intended) and typically very expensive when they do exist in the marketplace. Their answers involved everything from school and kitchen supplies to a material that might be sitting in your garage right now.

Bicycle Tubes Turned “Hobble Belts”

JB, creator of Black Ship Specialty, a line of cruelty free vegan bondage gear in Minneapolis: In my younger years, I adhered to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle in an effort to contribute less to the suffering of the world and its creatures, as I was very familiar with the leather/fur industry’s despicable history of the treatment of animals. I decided to try to create an alternative to leather products out of bicycle tubes, which, as a cyclist and bicycle mechanic, were in abundance. I started with belts, wallets, guitar straps, etc., until a friend suggested that I try to make items for a craft fair at our local rad queer-positive, sex-positive shop, Smitten Kitten. I got a lot of positive feedback there, and I saw I could help offer an alternative to mostly made-in-China leather, so I opened a specialty shop of my own to sell to animal-loving customers around the world. As for my products, the best-selling product by far is my “hobble belt,” followed by various cuffs.

A Cane Made of Telephone Pole Wire and Other “Pervertables”

Lux Lives, fetish model: I avoid as many products as I can that use animals, so my sex-toy shopping habits are shaped by that. I’ve very rarely seen vegan clients (at least that I’m aware of) and have never received a specific request for vegan sex toys but they get ‘em anyway! I’ve used — and own — floggers, crops, canes, paddles, cuffs and whips made of materials like silicone, wood, metal, plastic, rubber and PU/PVC leather. Two of my favorite vegan materials are paracord and recycled tires.

Unfortunately, though, there is only so much one can do. For example, many vegan sex toys are ultimately products of oil, and the oil industry is obviously destructive to humans, animals and the environment. This is a big reason why I’m such a fan of “pervertables.” Recycling and repurposing existing objects is one of the more ethically harmonious ways to get vegan sex toys.

My wife Eliza is also a vegan kinkster and deserves all the credit for her ingenuity with “pervertables.” I can’t bring her to the Dollar Store or Home Depot without coming home with something weird that made her horny, such as wooden spoons, pieces of raw bamboo, a cane made of telephone pole wire, a flogger made of recycled tire, some plastic tubing and a shoehorn. A good wooden spoon is humble, but tried and true! I like the thuddy sensation and the marks they leave. The most brutal pervertable we’ve had is probably an old umbrella cane. It gave me the biggest bruises of my entire life, and that’s saying something!

A Zen Buddhist Clapper

Eliza Casey, Lux’s wife: Because I’ve never been particularly wealthy, I’ve always preferred DIY sex toys or “pervertables” over any specific brands. One of my first “pervertables” was a strip of thin bamboo I took from a wild bamboo forest years ago. Bamboo makes for great canes. Almost all of my toybag is DIY and has been for years. Some of my favorites are a length of thin vinyl tubing, doubled and taped into a sort of carpet beater shape; a short and thick bamboo piece; and a zen Buddhist “clapper” given to me by Nina Hartley. I also have in my current stash a thin stick for closing blinds, rubber bands and a long novelty eraser.

I play with many non-vegans, and people frequently comment on the variety of unusual toys in my bag. I think that’s a great sort of evangelism that resembles how I try to spread vegan ideas about food, too: Giving people positive reasons to be curious about sourcing materials as ethically as possible.