Everything about leather is sexy. The warm, clean animal smell. The aesthetic and quality, from shoes to a handbag to tight leather pants. The sheen, the shine, the tactile sensations, the supple give of soft leather and the sturdy command of the tough stuff.
Leather! It’s such a common turn on it’s almost banal. Thousands of people are getting off right now—thinking about leather, touching leather, or fucking someone in leather. There are organizations, nightclubs, parades, and leather subcultures all based around the fact that so many of us are sexually aroused by leather.
Leather is a backbone of the BDSM culture, and there are also kinky folks who focus exclusively on leather. It’s essential to biker and rock ’n’ roll cultures and those turned on by renegades and rogues. For still more people who don’t identify with a specific fetish culture—dabblers like me—leather is a huge turn on, too.
Some people have a thing for leather boots. Others want to rub their pussies against a riding saddle. Some get off on hot leather porn, and for others, it’s Pinterest leather couture pics. From paper-thin kidskin leather gloves to raw slabs fashioned into paddles, leather consumes our aesthetic and sexual imaginations.
No one knows for sure, but here are a few theories and possibilities.
Some theorize that leather sparks primitive, collective unconscious memories, tying us to our ancestors. Killing animals was associated with virility and masculinity, and ensured survival. The association was, pardon the pun, fairly close to the bone, and we used the animal skins as well as the meat. Women would have been more receptive to sex, both as a motivator for men to hunt, and as thanks for bringing home the bacon.
Both would have been more sexual after meat than in a famished state. And both men and women would have been wearing animal skins and making love under a skin tent or on a leather blanket. All of those complex ties to food, procreation, survival, and arousal are deep seated, and may account for the nearly universal appeal of leather.
Leather is animal skin, but it’s often referred to as a second skin, and our nerves have an amazing capacity to feel sensations even when clothed in leather. Even as leather protects motorcyclists from scrapes of concrete road, it’s as sensitive as it is tough. We can process a great deal of feeling even clothed. This view is very simple: leather is skin, and since skin is arousing, so is leather.
We are visual animals and the visual cues we receive from leather elicit a wide range of positive responses and assessments. Leather accentuates curvature and muscle. It is luxurious. It is durable. It is classic. It exudes signals of health and vigor. Our very first clothes were leather.
Unlike synthetic products or floral perfumes or inanimate objects and plastic, leather is an animal product. Even after being tanned and processed, we can still inhale that heavenly scent. Some leather products don’t smell at all, but according to this theory, we can still pick up the scent beyond our consciousness. Those pheromones ignite our animalism on a deep level.
I’m not sure I’m satisfied with these explanations. They are all true, no doubt, but for me, can’t quite explain the intensity and depth of the attraction and response I get from leather. But who cares? The whole point of sex is to abandon our reason and succumb for a few heavenly moments to our most essential nature.