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Gay Semiotics
by Hal Fischer
© 1977

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FETISHES
AMYL NITRITE
Figure 16
Amyl nitrite is a prescription capsule drug used in the treatment of angina pectoris (heart disease). Amyl nitrite, or "poppers" as it is known in slang terminology, is inhaled through either the nose or the mouth. After inhalation the user experiences a quickened heartbeat and the sensation of blood rushing to his head. Amyl nitrite is especially popular on dance floors and immediately prior to sexual climax. Since Amyl Nitrite is available only by prescription, manufacturers have created a number of commercial substitutes as well as a variety of inhalers. Although Amyl is used by heterosexuals, its immense popularity among gays has earned it the title "The Gay Drug."
LEATHER APPAREL
Figure 17
Leather symbolizes non-conformity within both the straight and gay communities. While black leather jackets, pants and caps are commonplace, black leather is also used in the manufacture of underwear and genital attachments. Briefs aare available in a variety of styles. Pictured on the left is "the cod box"--briefs with a removable snap-off cod piece. The male on the right wears a leather jock strap with a zippered pouch. Bikini styles and studded briefs are also available. Briefs and jocks are constructed so that sexual activity can occur without the wearer having to remove his underwear.
GAG MASK
Figure 18
The gag mask is constructed of a black leather strap and a two-inch interior gag which is contained in the wearer's mouth. The gag mask has two basic functions. First, it provides the wearer with oral stimulation while his partner is involved in other activities. Second, it keeps vocal participants quiet, an important consideration for S and M apartment dwellers.