David Castillo

Freeing Myself from Sexual Repression

Filed By David Castillo | January 19, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Creating Change conference, leather, LGBT civil rights, LGBT rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, sexual freedom

Those moments when we realize that we are always learning are the most humbling and most important for me.

I've been out of the closet since I was 22 and it's safe to say that I'm very secure in my identity and very open-minded about sexuality, which I have explored ad nauseum. I have always carried this open-mindedness as a badge of honor given the often sex-negative society we live in today. Imagine my surprise this past weekend when I discovered a new side of my sexual awareness I never knew existed. I had a sexual awakening.


Fittingly, my sexual awakening happened in the Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend exhibit hall, which was on Capitol Hill and within a stone's throw from the U.S. Capitol. I had never been before so I was excited about what was in store for me, but I certainly didn't think I was going to tap into an unexplored area of my sexuality. To be sure, there was a lot to take in, and I saw many things, (the most intriguing for me was the leather cocoons) which I had only ever seen online.

While casually strolling through the many rooms in the exhibit hall, I found myself captivated with all the live demonstrations going on, especially the wrestling demonstration. Picture two attractive and fit men, both in singlets and both quite obviously aroused, wrestling for passersby as a crowd begins to form. It was certainly a spectacle. Of course, grabbing attention is the point of any expo, but I was completely turned on and it wasn't only because of the demonstration itself, but because I was also engaging in voyeurism. And, I wanted to do more of it.

I love my leather-loving friends, gay and straight alike, but I never considered myself part of their community. When I left the hotel Saturday, I started to think more about this since I had just had such a great time. I had automatically written off an entire sex community early on after coming out (and before, I guess) because I didn't think it could offer anything for me. And, worse, I realized that I had even been critical of the leather community (and more broadly, the BDSM community) for promoting what I viewed as risky behavior. I had unwittingly repressed a part of myself and I had never thought twice about it until just this past weekend.

I had repressed my very own sexual freedom.

I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about it. I am, after all, a product of a society that is still debating the merits of discrimination for certain minority groups, especially sexual minorities. To wit, some of America's most prominent and influential citizens have been instrumental in codifying this kind of oppression through legislation in other countries. Can we say Uganda?

As I reflected on this new awakening I started to drift into the politics of sexual freedom as they currently stand in our own country and what life can be like when we celebrate sexuality and recognize it as a basic human right. In a couple of weeks, many of those at the helm of this movement will converge on Minneapolis for Creating Change, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's annual LGBT equality conference. Included in this conference is a day-long institute dedicated to sexual freedom and the integral role it plays in the ongoing fight for equality.

To keep the momentum going, Team Columbia and VenusPlusX.org will be hosting a free two-day sexual freedom mini-conference right next door at the Hotel Ivy (it will follow the day-long Creating Change institute and is free to the public and conference attendees) and it will include workshops, political caucuses and live- demonstrations. Attending either would be very beneficial for any LGBT rights advocate looking to make an impact.

Educating Americans on how sexual freedom is an essential part of their daily lives that should be cherished and celebrated is certainly a tall order. If, however, the LGBT rights movement can keep sexual freedom as one of its many driving forces, it could have a far more profound impact on society than it has ever realized.

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Chitown Kev | January 19, 2011 7:07 PM

That is a very hot picture.

I actually began to have a very similar experience sexual awakening after I got sober.

When I was drinking, I was pretty vanilla on the sex tip; I wouldn't say that I was judgmental but I did view a lot of sexual activities as just being...well, weird.

After I satyed sober for a while and got back into having sex, I did experience the desire to do quite a few things...even once, just to say that I had done them.

Some of the things I continue to this day, some of them were just a one-time thing.

I wish you'd told me you were going! We were going to go, but didn't end up checking it out after all. I know I could have drug Jerame out of the apartment if he'd known you and Jim were going with us.

I'm with you, David. I'd have been captivated at the wrestlers too. Leather's never done anything for me sexually, but it was quite the topic of conversation at our house last weekend because of MAL.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

I have lived in Chicago, home of IML for the last 30 years.

At this point a lot of us are really tired of the mass of sex tourists each year. My gay doctor told me about the huge spike in STD's after IML weekend.


I googled LEATHER COCOON and it showed me a Leather Lounge chair... Can you describe one for me, Please?

SCVMalcolm, the LEATHER COCOON he's referring to is more commonly called a sleepsack.

I was there for my first time and got my very first harness. Like you, I have only recently started exploring it and understanding it was more of an osmosis than an intellectual effort.

It took a while to actually find the right harness. Something about dressing up in it and seeing others dressed up in it has a community creating feeling. There are many communities around a costume concept. The fascination with clothing associated with sexuality makes for an alternate self-image. An image that feels much more free and powerful.

Finding something that you feel "accents" you in this genre is challenging and at the same time satisfying. I think it brings out both a voyeuristic and exhibitionistic side that goes along with all kinds of "pageantry". A lot of people focus too deeply perhaps on one sense and forget some very fundamental meanings. For me, I wasn't sure I liked the look at first. It seemed a bit hard. I didn't want to look hard but I've also seen some very attractive softer types in leather which loses it.

The excitement of the event for me began and ended with a feeling of freedom. I went to a blowoff (peruse your nearest search engine in another tab if you're reading and don't know but it's basically not much more than music and lights patrolled for good behavior but light on the clothing) dance afterwards that was a room packed with almost naked men who were surprisingly well-behaved for spending that much time so close together. It was unending and pure visual stimuli for the sensual side. (Think of that scene from the Matrix but a little more LGBT centric)