When the nuts are full, the mind is empty. (Rinella p. 16)
This incredible and powerful quote in Jack Rinella's Partners in Power tells us that this book is not simply a book on creating leather relationships.
This insightful and brutally honest tome allows the reader to both examine the world of leather and self reflect.
After and during the time that I was reading this wonderful book, I began asking myself questions.
While I have no idea how many individuals are a part of the culture, it is clear to me that this is a culture. My understanding of this group of individuals was that is was rife with domination and coercion.
Underestimating the power of play and that all human interaction is based on agreements, my assumption was that one side had all the power while the other(s) simply surrendered. Negotiating a continuum of power sharing is not coercive when people state their needs and desires honestly.
When viewed with a more knowledgeable and discerning point of view, my understanding of what constitutes relationships and the multitude of ways individuals relate, form alliances and offer care is now been recreated and deconstructed.
Apparently, I knew nothing about this world and the ways people within them relate. Much of what I found shocking was how similar the mores and tools used in this culture could be borrowed and if successfully implemented into more "mainstream" sexual and relational units could make all involved parties happier, healthier and generally more productive.
Many of our relationships, especially those that are emotional or sexually intimate are rife with assumptions, lies by omission , manipulation, fear of truths and full of doubts.
Within the leather culture if a person is unclear as to how they like to play, after some honest self examination and experimentation, things can get pretty clear, pretty quickly. If flogging or fisting isn't your thing, you more than likely will figure this out after the initial attempt or perhaps a short time later.
Many of us in unions without leather often spend inordinate amounts of time denying our truths and our deepest darkest secrets and desires.
In our efforts to be "nice" people, we cloak ourselves in lies about our desires and then wonder why we're miserable.
Being vague helps nor excites anyone.
Part of what makes the community a safe place includes such things as a "safe call" which all cruising queens would be smart to adopt. This involves checking in with certain pre-determined persons pre and post a cruising escapade. This once again calls for an inordinate amount of honesty. Sharing with friends that you will be on the prowl and will call at certain times to let him/her know where you are is a smart decision and can prevent bashing or possibly death.
Partners in Power is a critical examination of what is required to be a part of a community that is still ill-represented, misunderstood and in no way viewed as an organism that has figured out how to sustain itself by consistently adapting itself to new "players" who are interested in experimenting, testing all types of personal limits and being honest about the results that get discovered once the nuts are empty.