The world of leather: understanding leather colour codes

A guide to the colour coding of leather.

HomoCulture Brian Webb

This article was published on September 21st, 2016

understanding leather colour codesThe gay community, all over the world, fosters and celebrates diversity. It is a culture within which there is an attitude of expression, exploration, pride and unhampered sexual evolution. Perhaps one of the most well known subcultures that embodies these principles is the wonderful world of leather and leather colour codes.

Leather, as a gay subculture, has been around for decades. Thought to have evolved from biker culture in the US around the 1940s, it emerged partly in response to a dissatisfaction at the effeminate portrayal of gay men at the time. The hyper masculinity of leather being a rebellion from the camp stereotype that surrounded, and still today continues to be attached to, gay male culture. Although often associated with BDSM its connection to the practice varies from purely vanilla and aesthetic to full blown extreme fetishes. For the newcomers to the scene (welcome), it can be difficult to navigate the minefields of traditions, connotations, inferences and regional differences involved in many local leather scenes. One aspect of the leather scene which carries with it the most consistency, and so is the simplest to get to grips with, is colour.

Leather Bulldog Harness

As newcomers to the scene overlook the meaning of colours more and more it is often more pertinent to the old schoolers and those seasoned aficionados of the leather world. Although the younger members of the community may not be so keen to learn the colour coded language of leather, rest assured that understanding and recognising these will make it much easier to spot those of similar persuasions to you. After all, if someone handed you the key to seeing who was into the same acts of satisfaction as your marvellous self, you’d surely be mad to not take them. So here is our introductory key, a starting point, if you will, to understanding the colour code in the wonderful world of leather.

understanding leather colour codes

Display: Although the colour code in leather generally follows that of the hanky code, the method of display varies. In general, you can safely assume a colour is coded if it is out of place, i.e. said man is all in black with blue studs on his collar, a yellow scarf on his wrist etc. If you notice it, its meant to stand out an is likely a display of the code.

Colours: Although there are countless variations depending on which part of the planet you are frequenting, the following are, more often than not, reliable no matter where you go:

  • Black: Fetish
  • Red: Fisting
  • Dark Blue: Anal
  • Light Blue: Oral
  • Yellow: Watersports
  • Grey: Bondage
  • Brown: Scat

Now you know the basic colours involved in the leather world and where to spot them. Take this knowledge and go forth, seek out those with similar tastes and expand your sexual horizons!

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5 thoughts on “The world of leather: understanding leather colour codes

  1. Benjamin Andrews

    I found it interesting that you state that you can color-code your leather to mean different things. My brother has been looking for somewhere to get some of these. I will keep this in mind while I look for a full leather harness to get him for his birthday.