What Does it Mean to be Rubber?

Identity is ever-changing, it may be difficult to understand where you stand and that is totally okay! Sexuality and identity is fluid, the most important part is letting yourself explore and learn what you feel the most comfortable with. 

In this article, we’ll tackle what it means to be rubber and what it entails to be a part of this community. 

What does being rubber mean?

Queer communities have a long history of subcultures. From bears, to otters, to butches, there are a variety of ways in which community members have created spaces to feel more like themselves. These subcultures are just another way in which queer folks can feel better represented and seen. 

The rubber community is a subculture that involves wearing or fetishizing latex clothing. Wearing latex signals their association and pride with their unconventional approach to sex. Rubber subculture is often related to BDSM practices and interest in sexual activities that involve wearing latex apparel. The queer community has close ties to the BDSM community and we often see them intermingle. This is why a lot of rubber community members are also a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Learning that you might be a part of the rubber community might be scary at first, but there are many ways to plug yourself into the community and learn to be comfortable with yourself.

if you’re curious about how you might identify, here’s what you should know about what being rubber means:

History of rubber culture 

The boom of the latex fetish began in the 1960s and early 1970s. The British TV program The Avengers is often seen as the catalyst for the movement. PVC boots, catsuits, and raincoats were just a few of the kinds of garments that began the rubber subculture. 

In 1972 a magazine called AtomAge was founded. It featured BDSM imagery and helped popularize and solidify these subcultures mainly within younger groups of people. In addition, latex became closely related to popular rock bands such as the Sex Pistols who were also huge influencers at the time. The rubber fetish was becoming more and more socially acceptable and popular. 

In the 1980s the rubber subculture took a turn and made its way into nightlife culture. Club kids and performers started wearing latex outfits and became pioneers of the rubber subculture. This also brought the rubber community and BDSM community closer. At this time the idea of wearing latex became more related to sexual practices and fetishization. 

What makes someone a part of the rubber community?

The one thing all rubber community members have in common is a love of latex itself. Other than that the way one approaches being rubber is completely up to them. Some rubber community members like to wear skin-tight latex outfits such as a catsuit often associated with the dominatrix community. Others might turn to gas masks or galoshes, it all depends on your preference. 

The rubber subculture refers to those who feel sexual gratification from feeling, seeing, or even tasting latex. A lot of community members describe wearing latex as a “second skin” which is why it is appealing to some. It may feel like you are naked when you are wearing latex even though you are not, which is a turn-on for some latex wearers. 

In addition, sex toys such as dildos or butt plugs are often made from rubber which may be another reason why it’s a material people often associate with sex. The sensory experience of touching latex is a big reason why rubber can be considered sexual. 

Truly the main thing that makes someone rubber is being an active community member. The rubber subculture can be seen represented at pride weeks and in safe spaces. In recent years, it has been very important to understand how sex can be more than just conventional. 

It’s also always a great idea to trust that members of the community know more about their identity than you do. Listen to rubber community members when they speak about their identity and don’t doubt or assume anything.  

Perspectives on being rubber

Being a part of the rubber community should be a source of pride. Being able to be a part of these subcultures can mean a variety of things including finding yourself and where you stand in terms of your sexuality and identity. It is important to remember that communities such as the rubber community face a great deal of oppression and unwarranted hate. 

There are a variety of myths and misconceptions regarding the rubber community that we are working on debunking. Because the rubber subculture is closely related to the BDSM community and explores a very sex-positive part of oneself this leads to unnecessarily negative connotations. The idea that rubbers are “all about sex” or that the community is “abusive” are lies and myths. Consensual sex is the only kind of sex accepted within these communities, non-consensual acts are NOT condoned in any shape or form. Sex positivity changes the cultural attitude we have that sex is “taboo” when in fact it is just another way we express ourselves. 

It is also important to note the intersectionality between the rubber community and the LGBTQ+ community, Although the rubber community is accepting of everyone we should always acknowledge those who pioneered the movement and who at first were marginalized and oppressed for expressing themselves. It is because of these brave individuals that we can have things such as rubber pride week. 

A great way to better understand the rubber perspective is to keep up to date with rubber news and follow individuals who are advocating for rights and policies that benefit the community. Reading about what it means to be rubber and be a part of this vast community is a great way to better understand the rubber viewpoint. 

The rubber flag

The rubber pride flag was designed by Peter Tolos and Scott Moats in 1995. This flag is not meant to represent any sexualities or gender identities. It is only meant to represent the rubber community as a whole. Regardless, this flag is often seen flying at pride week because a lot of LGBTQ+ community members also identify with the rubber subculture. The colors mean as follows: 

  • Black: The desire for the rubber/latex look and feel.
  • Red: The blood passion for rubbermen (gay men with a rubber fetish) and rubber itself.
  • Yellow: A drive for intense rubber play and fantasies. 

Bottom Line 

Being rubber can mean a lot of things, it can mean your love for the kink world, for rubber garments itself, or for sensory play. There is not just one way to approach being a part of the rubber community. Although there are many who don’t understand the nuances and layers that come with this multifaceted identity, there is nothing wrong with being rubber. You are the only person who can determine your identity.

Subcultures within the LGBGTQ+ community are an essential part of what it means to be whoever you want to be. That is why the BDSM community and the LGBTQ+ community have so many ties, because both communities value the idea of being yourself. 

If some of the ideas above resonate with you and you’re thinking of coming out, make sure the conditions are safe and have a plan of action regarding housing and food if things don’t go as planned. 
In addition, be sure to learn about the other identities that make up the LGBTQ+ community on our website or subscribe to the INTO newsletter to learn more. 

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