Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Psychology of a scene


Gauge Stronarm and Rick Osmon assist Jorge Vieto, Jr. in his suspension. Photo: Courtesy Jorge Vieto, Jr.
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There are many misconceptions about what constitutes a leather sex scene. Most people outside the community see the stereotype of a hyper-masculine daddy beating the crap out of some helpless young man. Or the stereotype of someone who's unbalanced, living on the edge of society and sanity, and into something so bizarre it's unmentionable. I'm not talking about how straights see us, but our gay brothers and sisters, and their view of what we do when we go home with each other. Any community's stereotypes are based on some kernel of truth, but a real "scene" is so much deeper, cooperative, intense, and yes, magical, that to write about it would fill volumes. I don't have the word count, but I do know someone who recently engaged in a scene that I would defy anyone who sees it not to come out of it with a changed attitude.

Ritual, a new film by Jorg Fockele, is part of the HIV History Project, a series of films focusing on HIV+ stories and events. Ritual spotlights the Feb. 25 suspension ritual experienced by San Francisco's Jorge Vieto, Jr. This was Jorge's third suspension. What is a suspension ritual? It's when the subject has shark hooks hooked into his skin and suspended by chains. Each hooking ritual is different, depending upon the subject and their desired outcome. For Jorge, the focus was the release of negative energy.

People ask, "Why hooking?" Is it crazier than jumping out of a plane, or jumping off a bridge with a bungee cord? No, except it's socially acceptable to sky-dive/bungee jump, but to pierce the skin and hang by chains? The end result is mostly the same, and not about pain, but something deeper. Jorge knows that when he's suspended, there are at least 10 people there to take care of him. That's a huge difference from falling out of a plane.

For Jorge, the main reason for this is release. Not a sexual release. It's much deeper and profound than that. It's a release of the negative energies inside his body. Jorge hasn't had the easiest path in life. Coming from Costa Rica, he was seriously maligned for being gay. Here in the US, Jorge learned to embrace his kinky side, and he shared that with his family. Leather/kink folk "come out" not once, not twice, but sometimes three times. First we're gay, then we're "into leather/kink," then sometimes we're HIV+. This happened to Jorge. Lucky for him, he has a family that came around, on all three accounts. But the negativity still lived inside of him. It's no accident that alcoholism and drug abuse are rampant in the gay community, but that's a different column.

As Jorge explained, being kinky, "we're so far ahead of the curve, not just with letting go of shame, but with what society tells us what is wrong. We're enjoying something that society tells us we shouldn't enjoy. Boxing is socially acceptable, as is ultimate fighting. What's the difference? The biggest difference is that for us, it is more consensual. If I say stop, I'm not giving up like in boxing or ultimate fighting, for me it's just that I'm ready to stop. And I can stop at any time." In other words, kink folk experience a release unattainable to most.

For Jorge, this particular hooking ritual was special. Several of his family members, straight brothers and sisters, were there to experience it with him. When he was suspended, hoisted up by those chains, he shared that experience with everyone in the room. His release was their release. His younger brother didn't think he could handle it, but he showed up, and ended up releasing some of his own angst.

Jorge explained the incredible sensation of the eventual release. He would prepare himself mentally to ge

Rick Osmon assists Jorge Vieto, Jr. in his suspension. Photo: Courtesy Jorge Vieto, Jr.
t to that point, putting his trust in the people doing this, as well as the people who were filming. It's not about giving up control, it's about giving control to them.

The biggest thrill for Jorge was hearing the chains, the hoist, and knowing that every time he heard them, they would pull his skin, and pull his body up to the point that his toes would no longer support his weight. You have to give yourself up to that, and this is what gave him release. He was in control of going up or swinging back and forth. That might sound like some twisted kindergarten game, but think of it as each time you swing, some inner demon or angst is released and gone. Imagine how it would feel to get rid of not just your daily stress, but the angst and inner demons, the BS you carry with you that's buried deep inside. Why do people jump out of planes and other "dangerous" activities? Do you see what I'm getting at?

The next time you think about what we do when we go home with each other, think about why most leather folk seem more adjusted, and maybe you'll understand.

Coming up in leather & kink

Sat., May 8: Hell Hole Fisting Party. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Door closes at Midnight. $25 admission. Free clothes check. Touchup facilities available. For an invitation, visit

Sat., May 8: Back Bar Action at The Eagle Tavern (398 12th St.). Back-patio bar opened to all gear/fetish/leather. 10 p.m.-close. Go to: for details.

Sun., May 9: Castrobear presents Sunday Furry Sunday at 440 Castro. 4-10 p.m. Go to: for details.

Sun., May 9: PoHo Sundays at The Powerhouse (Dore & Folsom), begins at 4 p.m. Go to: for details.

Mon., May 10: Dirty Dicks at The Powerhouse (Dore & Folsom). $3 well drinks. Starts at 4 p.m. Go to: for details.

Mon. May 10: Dominant Discussion Group at the SF Citadel (1277 Mission St). Doors open at 7 p.m. Please RSVP in the week preceding the meeting to either of these addresses: DJ Mora, or A $5-$15 donation to the host, the SF Citadel, is requested. Go to: for details.

Wed., May 12: First SoMa Men's Club begins. Every Wed., the SoMa Clubs (Chaps, Powerhouse, Truck, Lone Star, Hole in the Wall, Eagle) all have specials for those who have the Men's Club dogtags. See your favorite SoMa bar for details.

Wed., May 12: Golden Shower Buddies, doors open 8 p.m.-Midnight, play til late. $12 entry, Buddies membership required, $8 for 6 months. If you like water sports, you'll love this unique party. Go to: for details.

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