One of the first times I truly came to terms with my kinks was finding my first issue of Bound & Gagged magazine. You see, I grew up in an era without the internet. I know, you kids today… can you even imagine that? There was a time where if it wasn’t in a book, a TV, or a movie, you weren’t going to find it.
I was probably either too young or too shy to enter a porn store, but there was a chain of hip, independent record stores called Tower Records (now gone). They were actually a big deal for a while, even having a famous store off the Sunset Strip. While they obviously sold a great selection of albums, focusing mostly on alternative music, they also had a pretty large newsstand. And it was there I saw my first issue of Bound & Gagged. Number 45, to be exact.
This magazine opened up my eyes. I couldn’t believe there were so many people who were into the idea of gay male bondage. The magazine was full of true life stories, picture sets, illustrations, and even safety tips. Not to mention the insanely hot ads for Graphik video. They weren’t shy about feet, orgies, being used as a slave, or many of the things that I sort of take for granted now when I look for material for my blog. But at the time, it was virtually life changing. I was so nervous buying it, but something in me told me that I absolutely had to do it. It was as if I knew I really had no choice.
I bought many more issues. I don’t recall if I subscribed… I probably didn’t, as I think I was still living at home, and wasn’t sure if I could explain it (let alone have a checking account to mail in a payment). So I don’t have a complete set by any means. But I do have to say that it was probably one of the earliest, and biggest, steps in my kink life. (The very first? A small indie mag called Zack, by a guy named Rick Castro. More on that another time…)
The amazing thing is that the editor of the magazine, Bob Wingate, is still around and blogging. I even got a letter from him once, way before I ever began this blog and created my current identity. As I seem to recall, one issue stated they were going to film a bondage porn at The Lure, a bondage club in New York, and they were looking for extras. I was in Los Angeles, but I was coincidentally going to be visiting New York at the same time. Somehow I got the guts to write him asking him more about it, and probably mentioning that I was nervous, and had never done anything like that before. In fact, at the time, I probably hadn’t been tied up before at all aside from self-bondage, so that would have been quite a leap for me to dive into a bondage porn shoot right out of the gate.
I was flattered and amazed to get a typed letter response back from him on Bound & Gagged letterhead. I unfortunately don’t recall the exact wording (and I’ve sadly misplaced the original letter; I’m still looking for it), but it was a short but very gentle, kind response saying I had nothing to worry about, people were welcoming, and he hoped I’d stop by. As it turns out, I didn’t (I was just too scared, and believe it or not, but only recently out at the time, and New York in general was very overwhelming to me back then), but I never forgot that letter. It may be part of the reason I enjoy talking to newbies now. I remember what it was like, and how amazing it was to hear from a bondage icon. Not that I really think of myself as a bondage icon, but the sentiment still applies.