History and explanation of latex fetish

Shiny Happy People: An History & Explanation of the Latex Fetish

Latex. Is there anything more kink-coded than a beautiful person clad entirely in oil-slick rubber?

It’s such a quintessential image in the fetish and kink scene that I probably didn’t even have to describe it completely, you just know what it looks like.

Latex has been around for decades, and its popularity doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The history of how latex became one of the purest kink aesthetics is a bit of a mystery so let’s lube up and slide right into it!

 

How did Latex clothing become so popular?

Despite its appeal in sexy cyberpunk scenes, latex is actually a totally organic material! It’s made from a sticky fluid that is similar to sap that lays underneath the bark of rubber trees. The fluid actually looks a bit (okay a lot) like semen. 

These pervy rubber trees are native to South America and Africa, and European colonizers began to find their own use for the natural resource they’d pilfered.

Rubber was used for tires, chewing gum, sports equipment… What’s important for us and the history of it as a kinky material is that it began to be used for weather-proofing outerwear. Suddenly you could wear a raincoat or the sexiest footwear at the time, rubber rain boots, and no longer be soaked to the bone in a storm!

Technically fishermen wearing the traditional yellow raincoats and rubber boots are actually wearing as much latex as the gorgeous latex fiend you keep seeing on Fetlife. You heard it here, folks: fishermen are the original rubber enthusiasts.

Is anyone else hard?

Sometime in the early 20th century, certain individuals began to be drawn towards rubber. It wasn’t just a practical desire to stay dry for them, but more of an attraction that captivated them in a way nothing else could. 

For these enthusiasts, latex had seductive properties, nearly an aphrodisiac in and of itself. They were usually in the United Kingdom and Germany (of course), but in secret, people started to explore more intimate experiences with latex. 

Diana Rigg of “The Avengers” is definitely an early fetish-wear icon

These latex lovers began corresponding with each other by letters, and magazines began advertising latex clothing in discreet ways to fetishists. In the 1960s and 1970s, latex was seen as a futuristic and exciting material, worn by superheroes, spies, or in science fiction movies.

However, it was the punk world that finally blew it up and made it, ironically, more mainstream than before. With designers like Vivienne Westwood producing clothing for popular bands like the Sex Pistols, latex was firmly rooted in alternative counter-cultures for good.

 

The Difference between PVC, latex, & rubber

As I’ve mentioned, latex is technically called a “rubber kink”. Rubber enthusiasts sometimes call themselves “rubberists”, and they even have their own pride flag as it is arguably just as fundamental to their experience of sexuality as anything else.

latex/rubber pride flag

Latex is often confused with PVC, which is a similar material exclusively by look.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a fabric that is covered in a kind of pliable plastic coating. It’s weatherproof, cheaper to produce, and easier to work with. You’ve probably already worn PVC, especially you’ve ever had a cheap Halloween costume that had some fake patent leather! 

Visually, when buffed to a shine, latex and PVC look incredibly similar however in practice they’re two very different beasts. Oftentimes kink clothing is labeled as “latex” when it’s actually PVC; if it’s surprisingly cheap in price and doesn’t require a lot of elbow grease (or literal grease) to get into… it’s probably PVC.

PVC and latex are different in how they can be used to make clothing.

Latex clothing is notoriously expensive, a full catsuit can easily cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars whereas a PVC one might be only a fraction of the price. 

Why is latex considered a Premium Material? 

Besides the price of the material, latex can’t be sewn like PVC! In order for someone to produce latex clothing, the different panels have to be cut and glued together kind of like a kinky science fair project. 

Latex requires more upkeep than PVC as well. Latex is usually matte until it’s polished, whereas PVC is shiny from the start. It’s easily punctured by fingernails or jewelry, and repairs are sometimes difficult or impossible.

While latex is also much stretchier than PVC, it is notoriously difficult to put on, requiring either talcum powder or literal lube to slide into. (Lube! No wonder it’s the sexiest material.) 

For more information on how to take care of latex clothing and how to put it on, check out our quick guide on the subject.

 

What makes the latex fetish so appealing?

So with all that being said, why is latex such a popular fetish? And it goes without saying that those who love latex love it a lot. But why?

Sadly outside of a pathological lens, kinks aren’t super well-researched. Studies have shown there’s a possible link between exposures to particular enjoyable sensations in youth. For those who like latex, they often share experiences around seeing their favorite superheroes wearing latex supersuits. 

Heck, just think of how many millennials have the image of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns burned into their mind.

ME-OW

The Look of Lust

Firstly, the look of latex is a huge turn-on. As I mentioned above, the punk scene adopted latex early-on and the popularity only grew as goths came onto the scene.

Musicians like Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails or Marilyn Manson wore latex with abandon, causing people to swoon with shock or awe. 

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or movies like Queen of the Damned popularized the shiny aesthetic of PVC and latex. Side note: there’s also the continued connection between these materials and vampires!

All of this makes sense: latex is undoubtedly a very striking aesthetic. It is form fitting in a way no other material is! A hot person becomes even hotter as they teeter on the border of wearing clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination. 

Sensory Overload

This leads us to another important reason for its continued popularity: the sensory experience. 

It is a multi-sensory experience for latex lovers. Sight, smell, feel… latex has it all!

As latex is a tight squeeze, many enthusiasts describe the feeling of being gently compressed to be incredibly pleasurable, like a big sexy hug. The consistent pressure of latex can be a sensual reminder to the wearer that they’re participating in a sensual/kinky experience.

Sensations feel different when felt through the barrier of latex, and this is a big appeal for the fetish (think of rubbing your finger along a latex balloon).

Many people even find the particular smell of latex rubber to be the biggest turn-on, and they immediately associate it with their most debaucherous experiences. 

Personal Bubble

Latex fetishists share an appreciation for the feeling of having a barrier between them and the rest of the world, while also being on full display.

A popular “look” in latex is a full catsuit with a hood, a head covering similar to balaclavas only made entirely out of latex. The person is entirely covered and anonymous, and somehow closer to being naked than anything else. Which is a great way to lose your inhibitions, mixing anonymity with being nicely revealing.

It’s a paradoxical outfit, like a reverse story of “the emperor’s new clothes”. 

Feeling the Squeeze

While many people might balk at how restrictive it can feel, for enthusiasts this is only one of the pluses.

It acts like a full-body bondage, a constant reminder while wearing it that this is a sexy outfit for sexy purposes. It isn’t a fabric to be ignored!

Some people take the bondage element even further with a “heavy rubber fetish”. It’s hard to describe this, but it’s essentially a full dive into the science fiction world as well with vac-u-beds or other devices that use latex as a bondage device instead of just clothing.

 

Try it before you buy it!

Now that you know of the history and reasons behind latex, should you try it?

Try buying smaller pieces ( Check out our article on fetish-wear! ) to see if you enjoy the experience before running out to get the catsuit of your dreams. Gloves or thigh highs can help you get used to the experience of wearing latex.

Not only does this allow you to test the waters, but these pieces can be more seamlessly integrated with your regular non-kink clothes. Now you’re getting more bang for your buck (literally)!

Getting one or two accessories like that can also allow you to test your sensitivity to latex. Latex allergies are pretty common, and it would be a real sin to find out your beautiful new hood is giving you contact dermatitis. 

If you already know you have a sensitivity to latex, fear not!

PVC can sometimes scratch the latex itch without actually giving you one ( Check out our favorite pieces and brands here ). 

Don’t forget to think about the climate you live in! If your town or city is hot and swampy most of the year and air conditioners aren’t popular, you might realistically only be able to wear latex only once in a while.

Ultimately whether you choose to wear the world’s certifiably sexiest material as a kinkster or as a goth is up to you! 

Enjoy!