Old Guard leather

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Old Guard leather (or simply Old Guard) was a term coined in the late 1970s to differentiate the mores of the majority gay leather scene from the more relaxed New Guard leather style which was emerging.

Gay male BDSM leather culture had grown out of post-WWII biker culture. The early gay male leather subculture is epitomised by the Leatherman's Handbook by Larry Townsend, published in 1972, which essentially defined the Old Guard leather culture. This code emphasized strict formality and fixed roles (i.e. no switching). Very few lesbian women or heterosexuals were visible during the early emergence of gay male leather subculture.

The leathermen of the 1960s and 1970s (now known as Old Guard) were one of the first well-organized and partially-public subcultures based around what would now be called BDSM.

Some BDSM people with no connection to or knowledge of Old Guard leather now claim to be members of it, or even "Old Guard trained." These assertions are often similar to the myth of Ancient European Houses, involving claims of highly secret BDSM organisations of great age which a prospective submissive may be admitted to. Equally, there are claims that the "Old Guard" is the origin of BDSM practices, as though bondage, Master/slave relationships, sadomasochism and discipline never existed before about 1950: in truth, all of these things are probably as old as human sexuality and documented, in various forms, hundreds of years ago.

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