I caught up with my Twitter-buddy Leonard James to talk underwear.
When did you first become interested in men’s underwear?
I remember being turned on by the sight of myself in a jock when I was 13. The sight of myself drove me crazy, and I’d run home every day after school to beat everyone else home so I could wank for an hour in my jock, in front of the huge living room mirror. I couldn’t get enough of me.
How have you continued to explore the sexual side of men’s underwear over the years?
When I was 27, I was seduced by a male hustler I met hitching cross-country. It was just something he wanted to do. He left his underwear on the floor one day and it had an intoxicating body odour. It wasn’t rank or anything, it was a delightful, sweet smell that drove me crazy. Even after he washed it, the odour of him would remain.
When he wasn’t around I would beat off smelling it, which was funny, since he would insist on sucking me off everyday anyway. He didn’t have to do that, I would have let him stay just for the company, but he always wanted to have sex with me. For a straight boy, he was awfully good at getting me going — he had this habit of taking off his shorts by lying back and raising his legs over his head so I could see his smooth, baby ass and his balls hang. Talent, you can’t beat it!
I was disappointed when he left since it meant I wouldn’t have the smell of his underwear to excite me anymore. He didn’t even leave one for me.
I’d been wearing boxer shorts, but when I turned 30 I started lifting weights and I started getting turned on by my body again. I stopped wearing underwear altogether. I got so into it that I went from 130 pound scrawny to a 175 pound muscle boy. I loved being around other lifters!
Back then, it was all guys and nobody wore shirts, just small shorts. I miss those days. That led to problems though, since guys were drawn to me just for sex and I tend to be more relationship-oriented.
I did get to date many porn stars, including a few Colt models, though. They were always disappointing sex. They’d started being athletic young, so their personalities never seemed to have developed. The porn guys seemed to think that just being there was enough and that I should be excited just by their presence. They did porn but were sexually un-creative and unimaginative. I’m a pretty square guy, but I had the chance to develop emotionally with values and varied interests, so those guys didn’t impress me much.
I was surprised to find myself desperately in love with a skinny but bubble-butted dude who was a biological engineer at Berkeley — I lived just down the street. I soon developed an attraction to his habit of wearing tiny, ripped jean shorts in his off hours, with white athletic socks. Sometimes his balls would hang out of them, or part of his ass when he bent over, which drove me crazy. I started imitating his dress.
Mostly I really liked being naked. Sometimes, I would sneak into the university gym at night — as an employee I had keys — and do an extra workout nude. I got seen, but the guys were impressed so I was never reported.
Things were a lot looser then.There was a lot of nudity about. I even used to go walk up in the hills above the university nude. It was great. When people saw me naked they seemed to be relieved — as if I’d given them permission by doing it — and would also take off off their clothes. My freedom appeared to also free them.
It wasn’t until I was forty, though, and living in Portland, that the underwear thing really took off. I don’t know why, it just did. Suddenly I found myself going through porn shops for sexy undergear.
There was also a catalogue from San Diego called Undergear and I started buying a lot of stuff from them. Once a year they would have a clearance sale and I could get the past year’s inventory for a song. I would fly down every August. I could load up — since it was the larger sizes that didn’t sell and I was now 200 pounds of beef — I would buy 20–30 pairs of skimpy underwear.
Then something happened and I got greedy for more sexual stuff. I’m an artist, so I started designing my dream underwear. I met a man who made leather stuff and I took him my drawings. He loved them because they were challenging to do. So I designed harnesses and leather underwear and he made them — some of them I still have.
About that time I also got the idea to have my nipples pierced. It seemed the next step in my sexual journey. Being a sociable guy with a wide variety of acquaintances and friends, a piercer who had heard that I wanted them done came to my job on my birthday and pierced them for free as a gift — right there at my post as people watched.
I still go to porn stores looking for stuff that might appeal to me. I go there once a month when they liquidate the stuff they haven’t sold. Again, being a large guy, it’s my sizes they often don’t sell, so I get my pick. I also found that sometimes Amazon has neat stuff for really good prices, and I’ve bought some pretty slinky stuff from them.
How many pairs of underwear do you own?
Who knows? I have three drawers full, and a couple of tubs in my closet for the leather gear.
It seems silly to keep collecting the stuff, since I don’t date anymore, but I love buying it when I see something really cool — and I love it when guys at the gym forget to take their underwear. If it smells good I take it.
Which are your favourite brands of underwear?
I no longer have a favourite brand. I go for whatever appeals at the time. During the 90s I did have a thing for 2(X)IST, but they stopped being creative and just kept putting out the same stuff year after year.
Which styles of underwear do you prefer?
I have no preference for any particular style, though I do lean toward skimpy stuff and different jocks. I can sometimes be drawn to things like football padded leggings — but that gets a bit expensive, so I don’t have many of those. Plus, they tend to slide down in the back and I’m always pulling them up. Annoying.
What are some of the next steps in continuing to explore your passion for men’s underwear?
I really have nobody to talk to about the underwear thing. Not that I don’t want to talk about it, it’s just that no one I know shares my interest. I went on a site a couple of years ago and there was this guy who advertised wanting to swap underwear. I was excited — the thought of getting someone’s used underwear with their smell on it appealed to me. I sent him about five pairs that I’d lost interest in. He sent a thank you note, said he liked them, but never sent me any undergear of his own. I was pissed, as you can imagine.
I’m getting on in years now. I was stabbed by a crazed meth-head on a bus five years ago, and it’s taken all this time to heal and I’m only now getting back to the gym. I’m swimming every other day to lose the fat I gained while recuperating. I can’t believe it’s taken so many years, but I was cut open from groin to sternum and was laid up for a year with in-home nursing care in a hospital bed. I had to learn to walk again. I had no idea how much we use our abdominal muscles to walk. I’m still in pain, and the doctors say that I always will be. Worse yet, I’ll never have a flat stomach — even if I get down to a six-pack.
So, I’m conditioning myself to get back into lifting weights by swimming. I’ve changed my diet and lost 20 pounds in the last two months, but I still have a way to go. I do prefer being over 200 pounds but I have to build it up in muscle again. I’m also having to bear the embarrassment of having the humongous scar up my front. But it doesn’t matter, I still have to get on with life. Maybe someday someone will be attracted to me just the way I am, but I have to accept what has happened to my body first.
In the photos, I was already 64 and a bit pudgy — but I do like a little extra on me, just like I do on my men. Dating lean porn guys and models was unappealing on another level. Being with a lean guy is more like cuddling up to a rock — I don’t like it. It looks good, but it doesn’t feel good. I like a little give in a guy. I like cuddling into muscle covered in a bit of extra. A bit of fat on a butt makes me drool.
We want to hear your opinion
Welcome to planet Akeron
Sandy Pianim from Recon sits down with body modfication specialists Alex and Yan to talk tattoos and fetish.
Tattoos & Piercings are a fetish interest we rarely get to shine a light on at Recon. So, when we met this French couple during Fetish Week London 2017 we knew that we’d eventually sit down with them to discuss what it is about body modification that makes them tick. Welcome to planet Akeron!
Alex and Yan are so distinctly different from everything around them in Nice – the sunny city on the French Riviera where they are based and run their tattoo and piercing business, Akeron Body Mod – that their impact is all the more powerful. As rare fetish visitors, we’re greeted with warmth and excitement, though this greeting would extend to all. “We wanted to create a safe space for anyone… for fetish people or not. To offer them the opportunity to do body mods, tattoos, [and] piercings in a non-judgemental place – which is very important and to help people with their journey.” Alex tells us.
It’s evident that the pair have been on quite a journey of self-discovery together and regard themselves as aliens, which is fitting given their appearance.
“When I met Yan he only had one tattoo and two piercings” Alex says “So I helped him modify his appearance. I’ve been into body piercing and modification since I was 14 and I got my first heavy body mod when I was 18”
Yan recounts his first piercings “I did my first piercings myself, my labret and naval, I was like 16. [Though] I also had my ears pierced when I was 12.”
We asked them what they like about modifying themselves and Yan explains, “For us it’s not a real fetish, It’s a way of life. We don’t think about it, we live for tattoos and piercings. It’s a passion for us. It’s a way of freedom”
The themes of freedom and self-expression are evident in their desire to have more done. “As you get older you discover yourself and try a lot of things. It wasn’t fashion.” Trying to find the words to describe how they enjoy pushing their limits in English, Yan jokes “We like to stretch holes! Sometimes on Sunday we don’t have anything to do then it’s like ‘Oh why don’t we do some scarification today? OK!’ Or a new piercing or a new tattoo.”
They must have a lot of free Sundays, as they’re covered head to toe with a variety of modifications. This approach also gets us wondering if they had any limits. Alex says, “Everything I said no to when I was younger, I ended up doing anyway, so never say never. We don’t like limits.”
How this lack of limits translates into their sex life seems a salient point, so we ask what their other fetish interests are. Alex discovered his love for rubber and bondage from some guys he met on Recon in Nice about five years ago. He also mentions that he loves deep throating. “I would say it’s my main talent in life!” Yan interjects jokingly, referring to the movie Alien, “And I’m a face hugger!”
If you’re wondering how they manage to have sex with all their piercings, Yan fills us in, “It’s horrible to fuck with all our piercings. You cannot suck. There is always something that goes wrong…” Alex interrupts with his disagreement of this, but Yan continues “He’s lost a lot of piercings. Always losing piercings!” Alex concedes this point. “I used to have some high Monroe piercings with tiny balls when I did them. Maybe one or two days after I got them, Yan was fucking my mouth, the balls came in and it went so bad! He can’t help himself. He likes to make me suffer. He’s a bit of a sadist.”
Not only have they evolved together with regards to their body modification, but Alex continues with telling us how Yan helped him evolve sexually. “When I met Yan, I was mostly top and then he forced me into being a greedy bottom. I discovered anal pleasure with him. I’m very thankful for it because now I enjoy it from both top and bottom. I would never have imagined being here four years ago. It’s constant evolution.”
Alex has a list set out in his mind about what he wants his next evolutions to be. “I want my labret cut again, I would love my conch removed, I would like my eyes touched up, my tongue split a bit more, my nipples removed, my naval removed, and my dick implants with some silicone work. Not silicone injections, silicone implants… bits and ribs. I would like a lot of silicone work on my arms as well and facial scarification, more facial tattoos done… a lot of stuff.”
One might think that even after all they’ve done that the pain associated with these procedures is second nature. They both exclaim, “Of course we feel the pain!” Alex continues, “I don’t enjoy pain at all, I’m just willing to get through it for the results.”
The couple have to deal with people’s perception of them and whilst we hang out we notice people’s reaction to them more and more. Yan reasons, “The fact is that we haven’t invented anything, it’s just modification that has been around for thousands of years.” When they feel like people think they’re odd or scary Alex’s response is, “…I say thank you. It’s definitely not my point to be scary, but if that’s the perception from others then ok, I don’t care.”
One of the most noticeable reasons why people stop and stare could be due to their most dramatic modification: their eyes. “In a lot of sci-fi movies what makes the difference between humans and every animal or extra-terrestrial thing is the eye colour. It definitely changes you. It takes the humanity away, and that’s what I really like about it” says Alex. Yann adds, “The day after, it felt like we were reborn.”
Alex’s shares his view with us. “We don’t live for other people. I can understand their reaction, as they’re not used to seeing people like us, but we’re here to open minds.” Yann adds, “And that we are free, it’s a free country, it’s important for us. Some humans are not free today. People cannot be themselves. We are lucky to be here and to be free, together as gays. We can do what we want so we have to enjoy it.”
We love Akeron’s spirit and energy and encourage people to go to Nice to visit them and their shop or reach out to them on Recon or social media with any tattoo, piercing or body modification questions and queries.
Photos by Joaquin Bielsa for Recon
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