Latex and PVC fetishism

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RubberDoll performing at EXXXOTICA, Los Angeles, CA on 7 July 2010

Latex fetishism is the fetishistic attraction to people wearing latex clothing or, in certain cases, to the garments themselves. PVC fetishism and rubber fetishism are closely related to latex fetish, with the former referring to shiny clothes made of the synthetic plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and the latter referring to clothes made of rubber, which is generally thicker, less shiny, and more matte than latex. PVC is sometimes confused with the similarly shiny patent leather, which is also a fetish material. Latex or rubber fetishists sometimes refer to themselves as "rubberists". Gay rubberists tend to call themselves "rubbermen".

The terms "PVC", "vinyl" and "PU" tend to be used interchangeably by retailers for clothing made from shiny plastic-coated fabrics. These fabrics usually consist of a backing woven from polyester fibers with a surface coating of shiny plastic. The plastic layer itself is typically a blend of PVC and polyurethane (PU), with 100% PVC producing a stiff fabric with a glossy shine and 100% PU producing a stretchy fabric with a silky shine. A manufacturer's label may say, for example, 67% polyester, 33% polyurethane for a fabric that contains no PVC; or 80% polyvinyl chloride, 20% polyurethane with mention of the polyester backing omitted. The plastic layer is often textured to look like leather ("leatherlook", "pleather"), as opposed to smooth ("wetlook", "patent").


Men in latex gear marching down Whitehall as part of Pride London 2011.

One reason why latex or other tight shiny fabrics may be fetishised is perhaps that the garment forms a "second skin" that acts as a fetishistic surrogate for the wearer's own skin. Thus, wearers of skin-tight latex or PVC garments may be perceived by the viewer as being naked, or simply coated in a shiny substance like paint. Latex and PVC can also be polished to be shiny and can also be produced in bright colours, adding further visual stimulus to add to the physical sensations produced by the material. The tightness of the garments may also be viewed as a kind of sexual bondage. The smell of latex rubber is also a turn-on for some rubber fetishists, and such garments are usually impregnated with chemicals to enhance the odour.[1] Some rubberists also enjoy the idea of exhibitionism and some fantasise about going out in public wearing fetish attire. Some do this, especially in the more liberal areas (e.g., Berlin, New York, Montreal, San Francisco).[2]

A compelling reason that people are turned on by wearing rubber is its transformative abilities. As with any costume, a rubberist can imagine themselves having a new identity, especially one that permits a different code of behavior.[3]


Two women in handcuffs and latex miniskirts and tops.

Latex fetishism sometimes involves dressing up in the material; looking at it worn by sexual partners; or fantasies sometimes wearers of skin-tight or other latex garments, such as divers and workers wearing industrial protective clothing. Another common stereotype of is the image of a dominatrix wearing a skin-tight, usually jet-black, latex or PVC catsuit.

Some latex enthusiasts are also turned on by the wearing of draped latex garments such as cloaks. Other rubber paraphernalia, such as wet suits, gas masks, splash suits, Mackintoshes, galoshes, Wellington boots, rubber/plastic pants, and diapers are also often added to the scenario. Heavier fetishists often attempt duplicating all kinds of "everyday wear" into a rubber counterpart. Some PVC enthusiasts are turned on by PVC Hazmat suits and other forms of industrial protective clothing.

For hygienic reasons, many sex toys such as dildos and butt plugs are made from rubber or similar materials, and this is also a factor in rubber fetishism. Some rubber fetishists are also medical fetishists or have an interest in klismaphilia; medical gloves and catheters are made from latex, as are condoms.

A substantial industry exists to produce specialist latex or rubber fetish clothing garments for rubber enthusiasts.

Lots of latex or rubber clothes appear on websites such as eBay, and in recent years clothes made in PVC have been prevalent in young people's fashions, particularly in jackets, skirts and trousers. Several mainstream designers have made latex clothing. As fashions come round and round again, it would seem that PVC, latex and similar materials are appearing again in mainstream street fashions as well as continuing to be central to the fetish scene.

Among the numerous specialist rubberist magazines devoted to this fetish are AtomAge, Dressing for Pleasure, Marquis, «O», Shiny International, and Skin Two.

Latex look-alike materials[edit]

PVC and vinyl are two other shiny materials used for clothing from regular street wear (raincoats) to PVC Hazmat suits and other forms of industrial protective clothing. As with latex, these materials became more noted as fetish material in the 1960s and early 1970s. During that era, boots and garments made of PVC and vinyl were made and worn in public areas to some degrees. In the media, the most obvious was the British TV programme The Avengers.[4][5]

Numerous underground fetish production houses were started, which published magazines such as "Shiny", "Shiny's International", "Rubberist", "Dressing for Pleasure" (both of these publications later merged with each other), noted rubber fetish author Helen Henley and others of this time frame.[6][7]

Fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges have used PVC in their collections.[8] Since 2010, the PVC has been the target of fashion not only for the female public but also to the male public.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the Batman film series, Batman's costume is of rubber; in Batman Returns, Catwoman wears a rubber catsuit.[11]
  • The artwork of Allen Jones has been strongly influenced by the imagery of rubber fetishism and BDSM.[12]
  • The English television and radio personality Zoë Ball wore black PVC pants in one of her appearances on English TV program called Shooting Stars.[16]
  • The 1990s pop group Spice Girls frequently wore PVC outfits in their presentations.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greigh, Julian. "Latex Fetish". Julian Greigh's Dark Passions. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Greigh, Julian. "Latex Fetish". Julian Greigh's Dark Passions. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Top Six in Fetish". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Chapman, James (2006). Inside the tardis : the worlds of Dr Who ; a cultural history. London: I. B. Tauris. p. 57. ISBN 9781845111625. 
  5. ^ Adams, Guy Sangster. "Television Review: The Avengers – The Complete Series 4". The Cultural Pick. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  6. ^ 3xL. "Helen Henley: Pussy in Boots!". Lust, Love & Latex. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Henley, Helen (2000). Enter with trumpets. Clemmons, NC: Renaissance E Books. ISBN 1929670311. 
  8. ^ "Fetish wear is all the rage at London fashion week – in pictures". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Turra, Alessandra. "Z Zegna Men’s RTW Spring 2016". Fairchild Publishing, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  10. ^ adithyasampath100. "Scooby Doo, Funny Velma". You Tube. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "The Dark Knight Rises: Catwoman Anne Hathaway banishes the dark side in dazzling white". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Allen Jones". WRP Fine Art. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "The Style Essentials--Audrey Hepburn Gets Modern in 1967's TWO FOR THE ROad". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  14. ^ 456dgs. "Fran Drescher Latex Jacket And Dress". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  15. ^ Hermanson, Tove. "Who Inspired Michael Jackson’s Fashion?". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  16. ^ LiquidAngel. "Zoë Ball in vinyl trousers". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  17. ^ PVC VINYL LATEX. "Erica Durance red pvc HD". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  18. ^ Mccormack, Kirsty. "From catsuits to tracksuits! The Spice Girls plan to auction off their memorable outfits (but Victoria will keep some for baby Harper)". Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Prunes, Mariano. "Ivete Sangalo Multishow ao Vivo: No Maracanã". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  20. ^ DAILY MAIL REPORTER. "Sorry, didn't recognise you without the PVC catsuit! Matrix star Carrie Anne Moss dresses down in comfy sweat". Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  21. ^ Reporter. "Kate Beckinsale gets back to work in PVC for Underworld: New Dawn". Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  22. ^ DROZDOWSKI, CHRISTIE. "10 Times Jennifer Garner 'Alias' Fashion Was On Point — Girl Can Rock Any Makeover". BUSTLE.COM. BUSTLE.COM. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  23. ^ "Video and pictures: Britney Spears' PVC and sexy secretary comeback". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Kilby, Penelope. "Keeping it raunchy! Age defying Kylie Minogue makes debut on The Voice Italy in skin tight PVC skirt and bondage style top". / Daily Mail Australia. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  25. ^ OJOMU, NOLA. "Pink perfection! Rihanna rocks beaded PVC coat and lilac mini dress as she attends special screening of her new film Home". Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  26. ^ THISTLETHWAITE, FELICITY. "Lady Gaga flaunts her curves in PVC ranting about 'society's view of beauty' online". Northern and Shell Media Publications. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  27. ^ ThePVCfan. "Thalía in vinyl leggings". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  28. ^ POWELL, HANNAH LYONS. "The new must-have wardrobe staple? That’ll be PVC". Condé Nast UK. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 

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