The Vanguard

Vanguard: NOUN: 

1. The foremost position in an army or fleet advancing into battle. 

2. A. The foremost or leading position in a trend or movement. 

    B. Those occupying a foremost position. 

The term Old Guard represents a set a standards’. A Code of Conduct if you will that a select few in the 
Leather Community chose to live by.  The year you were born or when you began your Leather Journey 
dose not determine whether or not you are Old Guard. It is how you live your life 

To put an end to the age old debate of Old Guard Vs. New Guard I recommend we replace both terms with The Vanguard.

Old Guard / New Guard
Leather Men’s Discussion Group 11/15/06
Presented by: Jay Hemphill, Michael Holeman and Travis Creston

We are here to discuss to what we refer as the Old Guard / New Guard.  But the history of BDSM is murky 
at best. But can be traced as far back 1000 BC. The Leather B&D Daddy/boy historically can be found 
long before the Romans and Greeks.  There are anecdotal reports of people willingly being bound or 
whipped as a prelude to, or substitute for, sex going back to the fourteenth century. BDSM-like behavior 
can be found in earlier cultures, such as the medieval flagellants. The physical ordeal rituals, of some 
Native American Societies, and it is a known fact that the Native American Shamans were gay/Bi-sexual.

1740 - Introduction of Black Leather and Chains in sex play, but only as a symbol of B&D and S&M in the  dungeons of France and Germany, possibly other countries as well, but Jay and I only have second hand information on these two.

Pre 1914 - In America, Brown Leather was the norm, most likely due to our iconic images of the Cowboy vs. the Indians were stronger. Even though the bad guy dressed in black, we stuck to the brown.  Some feel that BDSM can be traced back to gay male leather culture, which formalized itself out of the group of men who were soldiers returning home after World War II. (1939-1945).

The New Guard leather subculture is thought to have appeared around 1995 – 2000. However, there was 
a transition period between 1985 – 1995, where my peers and I would refer to the apparent changes as 
Old School and New Leather, which rejected the “rigid rules” and exclusion of women and heterosexuals of the Old Guard.

I choose these Dates carefully because in 1977 when I entered the Leather Scene my two mentors Master Jon and Master Mel felt that they were a part a of the New Guard breaking new ground. They received their training in the mid 1960’s as did my Daddy, Jay Hemphill. Master Jon’s training can be traced back four generations.

The New Guard label BDSM is a term refers to the sub-cultures described in the abbreviation “BDSM” itself:
Bondage & Discipline (B&D)
Domination & Submission (D&S)  
Sadism & Masochism (or Sadomasochism) (S&M)   

BDSM Play can include one or all:  erotic spanking, flagellation such as flogging ,whipping, paddling, 
sensory deprivation, movement restriction, and suspension.   BDSM is often played in neutral or nonsexual contexts. These activities are engaged in with the mutual consent of the players, without actual sex act or orgasm. I am not here to judge the concept, as an acquaintance informed me that “I wailed on the kid till I shot my load”.  I only smiled and then wondered what about the kid.  

From my perspective, a pleasurable BDSM experience depends greatly upon a competent top and the 
bottom attaining the correct state of mind, often referred to as a Bond.  Trust and sexual arousal help a 
person prepare for the intense sensation.

There is an emphasis on consent and “safe, sane and consensual”, and the idea of a safe word is that 
there is a risk involved. In a scene where a rape or forced acts appear to be non-consensual, words like 
“No!” or “Stop!” are not appropriate as safe words. If you are able to play the scene well, you should be 
able to do so with out using those words. In a scene, stop should mean just that, because what is happing at that moment in time should stop. There are also multiple levels of safe words, such as the safe word “green”, meaning that you are ok and can take more; “yellow”, which means please do not continue this scene further, or decrease the intensity, while the safe word “red” means “Please stop this and release me, right now”. If this word is used, you should take it to mean “You Fucking blew it and I hope you remember this, so you don’t ever make the same mistake the next time”. This should not be taken personally, but only just as a learning experience.

In situations where the mouth is gagged, or is otherwise incapable of speaking, without violating the scene, a non-verbal signal is used instead of a safe word. Such as clenching and unclenching of one or both fists, the dropping a bell or ball, or uttering three loud grunts in quick succession.  
In today’s world with HIV, safer sex is more than using a rubber. When someone is in bondage, you must see to it that they are safe from injury. Some basic first aid training should be required for everyone involved. For activities involving bodily fluids, hygienic precautions should considered in avoiding the spread of sexually transmitted diseases or blood borne viruses.  

In some kinds of BDSM play, the “top” (usually a dominant partner) applies sensation to the “bottom” 
(usually a submissive partner) by spanking, slapping, pinching, stroking or scratching with fingernails, or 
using implements like straps, whips, paddles, canes, knives, hot wax, ice, clothespins, bamboo skewers, etc. The sensation of being bound with rope, chains, straps, cling wrap, handcuffs or other materials can also be part of the experience. The tools of BDSM play encompass a wide variety of items from specifically designed implements to ordinary household items.  In the mid-nineties, the Internet provided a way of finding people with specialized interests around the world and communicating with them anonymously. This brought about an explosion of interest and knowledge of BDSM.
Every one should keep in mind that in the Gay man’s world, we are two men who like sex. The Concept of being a TOP or BOTTOM should not be etched in stone. Perhaps we should think along the Lines of 
“Mental Top”, “Mental Bottom”, “Sexual Top”, and “Sexual Bottom”.  We use the term top and bottom in 
reference to whom is more or less in charge of the relationship, and who fucks whom. But if we stick to that idea, we steal from the straight world across the board. We then ridicule the top that likes ass play or likes to be fucked. What’s up with that? I will take a man who is into “HOT SEX”, and all that it entails, over a top any day.

I hate to break this to you but, in my opinion, just because you are a Leather Top does not automatically make you a Daddy, Sir or Master, just as being a Leather bottom does not necessarily make you a boy. Unless you are in a role play, but even then, it requires more, attitude, headspace, and  your whole makeup and DNA structure of what makes you.

There is nothing wrong with being versatile or “switching”.  In the Leather world, you have Versatile Tops 
and Versatile Bottoms and yes, there is a difference. For the sake of argument, I will just say mental head space, Technique and Style. A switch may be in a relationship with someone of the same primary 
orientation (two tops), so switching provides each partner with an opportunity to realize his BDSM needs with each other as well as with others.

Today’s Society in general dose not dress up. Suits and ties are a style of the past, for the most part, as is etiquette and manners.

This is why The Old Guard is so frowned upon.  True Leather like chaps and such were not worn in bars 
after about 1960. We developed a style know as bar wear. This has ironically come under attack by the 
New Leather Crowd.  In the 1970’s, the Old Guard wore real Motorcycle Chaps, Vests and Jackets. Most of them rode motorcycles, and so they wore protective footwear like boots. However, not all did. The New Leather (now known as the Old Guard) wore what is commonly known as Bar Chaps, Bar Vests, and if there is such a thing, a Bar Jacket. Oh yes, let’s not forget the footwear BOOTS. A real Motorcycle Jacket is meant to withstand wind chill factors that make it impossible to wear in a bar for any length of time. And what ever you do, don’t get me started on Hats.

It is my personal feeling that if today’s New Guard would take the time to seriously look into the ways of the Old Guard; they would find their place in the Leather Lifestyle much more interesting. I often hear people 
say they don’t have time for the training and workshops. I say if you truly have a fetish, then you would 
want to learn every nuance of your alleged interest. If most of the people would spend less time fighting 
the traditions and more time adapting them to their personal way of life, they will find that putting together 
Hot Sex, Respect, Etiquette and Manners is really a good thing.  

The New Guard should keep in mind that the traditions took centuries to develop. They evolved from many 
experiences and part of the training included the why something was a certain way.  The most important 
thing that you learned was to Adapt, because nothing is black and white. There are all the spectrum's of 
the shades of grey that must be added to the mix.

A very basic example of this is; when a boy is collared if means he is under the responsibility of another, 
that he has given himself to that person Mind, Body and Soul. To even speak or lay a hand on this person 
when his Daddy/Sir/Mentor in the vicinity with out the permission of his Daddy/Sir/Mentor is a flagrant 
disrespect for the iconic symbol of the collar. To do so in jest is would be considered even more severe.  It 
is for this reason that those who know and respect the symbol of the collar feel uncomfortable with those 
who wear a collar yet have made to such commitment.

An extreme example is one on a more personal level.  I was helping with the set up of an event at Daddy’s 
bar when I was accidentally hit in the arm by a chain link cat of nine tails.  I was shocked by the incident, 
and was just about to turn and say something in the form of an apology for getting in the way when felt the 
links striking me again down my back.  I whipped around and gave the person an, are you crazy look.  To 
my surprise this person seemed startled, that I did not enjoy what they had done and not an ounce of 
apologetic at all.  Accidents in a public place like the bar happen I know and I would like to think when I was 
hit in the arm it was an accident. In my own mind I hope out of embarrassment the person struck again to 
make it appear they had more control of their environment than they did.

The Pleasure/Pain Principle
Those who we refer to as Old Guard feel that you must Take Responsibility For Your Own Actions.  Come 
what may, realistically deal with each situation as it happens.  When it come to BDSM lets face it things don’
t always end up as planed.  There is always going to be two or more versions of what happened 
depending on the number of players, but ultimately the one not tied up must take 60% or higher of the 
responsibility because they are in charge of the situation and they are the ones whom the person tied up 
is trying to please. The body is screaming please for god sake stop but the endorphin rush has kick in. 
while being encouraged to take one more your mind is in a Sexual Sensual Overload and the thought of 
pleasing the person you trust will not hurt you, you will gladly to places you have not gone before.   The 
one in charge knows he has this person in a sensual frenzy and if he has taken the time to establish a 
bond with him should know at what point he is at physically and mentally now and what state he will be at 
physically and mentally when the endorphins where off.  The reason for this is because he will have to 
provide to required amount of after care which can take a couple days depending on the bruising and or 
lacerations. Administrating to the persons physical conditions is not only sensual but helps to deepen the 
bond between you. The scene is not completed until all parties concerned are satisfied with the results. If 
they are not now is the time to understand what went astray. This must be done as you don’t want to continue 
settling with a second rate scene.  

The New Guards reply/comeback to such to such a statement seems to be that we take “Our roles to 
seriously” and that perhaps we should just “Lighten up” and “Relax”.

Additional terms we should all be aware of:

Aftercare: The time after a BDSM scene or play session in which the participants calm down, discuss the 
previous events and their personal reactions to them, and slowly come back in touch with reality. Failure to 
engage in proper aftercare can lead to one’s unhealthy physical, emotional and mental being
     Auctioned: auctions off the Slave to the highest bidder (usually supervised and for temporary use)
     Bad pain: is pain which is outside hard limits, non-mutual or non-valued, not wished for and it has no 

     BDSM: Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism

     Bond:  The link between the Tom and the Bottom.

     Bottom: submissive or one who gives up control, or simply one who receives physical sensation from a 
Top in a scene.

     CBT: Cock and ball torture

     Collared: Submissive or slave who is owned, usually (but certainly not exclusively) in a loving intimate 
relationship. A Daddy/Sir may have multiple persons collared.

     Contract: A written-out agreement between the Dom & sub. It can be either formal or non-formal, and is 
usually written after much negotiation outlining what structure, guidelines, rules and boundaries to the 
relationship are agreed upon by the two. It is NOT legally binding, but should be taken seriously.

     DM: Dungeon Monitor, a person who volunteers to supervise the interactions between participants at a 
play party to ensure their safety.

     Dungeon: Usually referring to a room or area with BDSM equipment and play space.

     Edgeplay: SM play which pushes the limits of the persons involved. This can be particularly dangerous 
activities such as fire, electricity, or cutting, but sometimes is not dangerous at all.

     Erotic sexual denial: keeping another person aroused while delaying or preventing resolution of the 
feelings, to keep them in a continual state of anticipatory tension and inner conflict, and heightened 

     Good pain: consensual pain, there is a purpose to it, and some pain is consented to and accepted and 
seen by them as of enjoyment or value.

     Handkerchief codes: visible signs to indicate to others your area of BDSM interest. Old Guard 
sometimes put the handkerchief on their boot, rather than in their pocket, around their wrist or arm.

     Hard limits: What someone absolutely will NOT do, non-negotiable.

     Impact play: Part of sensation play, dealing with impact such as whips, riding crops, paddles, floggers, etc.

     Knife play: Slow, methodical sensation of the edges and points of knives, usually without cutting the 
skin. Fear of the weapon plays a large part in the stimulus of the bottom.

     Leather Master: A Top or Bottom who has taken the time to learn every nuance of their sexual and 
sensual interest physically, mentally and emotionally.  The first hand exchanging of skills and techniques to 
this day is truly the best way to learn.  

     Limits: What someone “won’t” do or is hesitant to go beyond.

     Painslut: A person who enjoys receiving a heavy degree of pain. I have only met one person who 
claims this title not sure if it is a real word.

     Play party: A BDSM event involving many people engaging in Scenes.

     Puppy Play: Acts like a puppy. Barks, whines and eats from a bowl, etc., focuses on the altered mind-
space of bottom/pup.

     Rape fantasy: The pleasurable fantasy of inflicting or being a victim to an act of consensual play-rape.

     Sadist: Person who enjoys inflicting pain, usually sexually.

     Safe, Sane and Consensual - our new credo

     Safe word - When a participant utters a safe word, BDSM activity stops.

     Scene: A time period of BDSM activities. It should be well thought out, keeping in mind however that 
there are variables to consider.  If the bond can sustain the scene, is the physical and mental energy level 
of each person involved holding up? Do not let you ego get in the way here as it is critical for the top as 
well as the bottom to be honest with themselves and each other.

     Soft Limits: Something that someone is hesitant to do or nervous to try. They can sometimes be talked 
into the activity, or preferably it may be negotiated at a trial or beginner level into a scene.

     Submissive, or “sub” for short. New Leather term person that gives up control, either all the time or 
only during a scene.

     Switch: New Leather term. AKA Versatile: Someone who likes be both on the Top and Bottom, either in 
one scene or on different occasions.  In other words their in to Hot Sex and Hotter Scenes.

     Top: Dominant person either all the time or only during a scene.

     Training: Either referring to a short period of time, or an ongoing effort, depending on the couple.

     Twink: A virgin to the Leather BDSM and wants to try. AKA newbie (I hate to break to you guys, virgin 
means virgin. Once you have a taste, you can not claim you are a twink or newbie.)

     Vanilla: The term means mainstream sex and is sometimes used in a derogatory sense.

     BDSM may or may not involve sex of any kind. Although the names of the Marquis de Sade and 
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch are attached to the terms sadism and masochism respectively, the question 
remains as to whether their ways of life would meet with modern BDSM standards of informed consent.