The cowboy is an icon, a hypermasculine, towering paragon of Manhood. The jaunty smirk staring across a rolling plain; the spurs glinting above a steed's taut haunches; sun-bleached chaps; sunburned noses.
This article is part of an ongoing series in which Ravishly editor Katie Tandy explores the psychology behind a fetish, and writer Jetta Rae DoubleCakes crafts a piece of erotic fiction that reveals how it would manifest in a sexual encounter. Color Me Kinky refers to the "hanky code," a system in which certain colors connote one's sexual interests and proclivities in public spaces. Previously we've written about Foot Fetish (coral), Mommy Play (mint green), and Blood Worship (Burgundy), among others.
Stay tuned for more science-smut next week, but right now? Revel in cowboy fetish.
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Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies, don't fence me in. Let me ride through the wide open country that I love. Don't fence me in. Let me be by myself in the evening breeze. Listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees. Send me off forever but I ask you please. Don't fence me in.
We owe these immortal lyrics to Cole Porter and Robert Fletcher, who "co-wrote" the lines during something of a disjointed collaboration, shall we say.
Cole Porter was a wealthy, semi-clandestine homosexual songwriting genius—who, though he became severely injured from a horseback-riding incident—was certainly no cowboy. He followed his rides with stiff drinks and ribald repartee with the tickling ivories, while wearing his preferred velvet smoking jacket. (No slopping of the pigs or shucking of the corn here.)
Robert Fletcher on the other hand (who is largely uncredited with writing many of the lyrics Porter eventually canonized, as Porter typically always wrote his own) was decidedly more cut from the leather-fringed cloth, as it were. Trained as an engineer, Fletcher was also a miner, a surveyor, and a Montana history buff. Often referred to as the "cowboy poet," he published a poem called "Open Range" in the collection Corral Dust in 1934; it painted a picture of "city life" encroaching upon him, leaving a creeping feeling of claustrophobia and captivity.
To make a long, rather sordid story short(er), the poem found its way onto Porter's raconteur radar and he decided to buy "the lyrics" from Fletcher for $250 in 1934; rumor has it he simply loved the cadence and the underlying message of freedom. He intended to use it in a pending Western funded by Fox, but the project was shelved. Cut to 1940; the now uber-famous Hollywood Canteen was in production, and needed a song. Porter dusted it off and penned "Don't Fence Me In," sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. It went to #1 in 1945.
The point is, America was hungry as hell for this kind of love song, a ballad to appease our wilder and woolier ways. No matter that Porter barely used Fletcher's original lyrics—actual lyrics by an actual cowboy about life on the actual range. The people wanted the pastiche, the beautiful amalgamation of all the myths. They wanted to imagine that they—should they want to—could stride from their front porch, toss their ice tea aside, and ride into the sunset. They wanted to embody the Man who embodied the bastardized American dream. No wife, no career, no little white fence. No red-faced boss or teeming streets. It served as a largely mythical, but deeply compelling cultural counterpoint to the industrialization of the East that championed three-piece suits and all that goes with them—namely blaring alarm clocks, crowded subways, and a dull aching malaise.
This is all to say that the science and psychology of Cowboy Fetish is less nail-downable than, say, Armpit Worship or Mommy Play—it is instead a palpable combination of socio-cultural archetypes run through the delectable meat-grinder of kink and eroticism, resulting in a leather-clad fetish that boasts a hearty membership.
While Porter probably smelled money, I'd like to think he had a sweeping—if shadowy—love for sweat-soaked saddles, assless chaps, and the glinting tip of cigarette trotting across a moonlit prairie.
The cowboy is an icon, a hypermasculine, towering paragon of Manhood. The jaunty smirk staring across a rolling plain; the spurs glinting above a steed's taut haunches; sun-bleached chaps; sunburned noses. Cowboys wield guns, rope calves, quaff whiskey by the glass growler-full. They swagger and spit. They make ardent love to golden-hearted whores before tipping their hat and heading back to the border. They trounce bandits and battle Indians. They're this absurd—and undeniably arresting—manifestation of virility, of cartoonish masculinity. They're brooding, barbaric, cunning, and cold. They're squinting into the sun and we're dropping trou. If you're into that sort of thing.
Cowboy fetishists tend to land squarely in the gay men camp, often breaching into the leather scene. They want the brute strength. The bulging muscles. The feeling that this guy doesn't take no for an answer and he doesn't have to. Now, don't get me wrong. Plenty of straight ladies love them some taut denim over the bulge, but it seems by and large, the true devotees are sporting the bulge themselves. From the pointed boots and the glinting buckles to getting bent over in the barn, it's a testosterone-fueled wet-dream.
Ah, but therein lies the rub. (And boy does it feel good.) The subversion of conventional hypermasculinity—the transference of this palpable "manliness" ostensibly intended for women—to a man-on-man tryst is decidedly taboo. And as we all know, kinks are often part and parcel with societal forbiddance. A cookie you weren't supposed to eat is alllll the sweeter.
You didn't think I could talk about all this without conjuring the glory of Brokeback Mountain, did you? The Guardian called it "Hollywood's last taboo" for god's sake. Two cowboys making love?! Sure, some West Village twinks or Castro denizens or even some naughty boys in Berlin, but gay cowboys in Wyoming?! Now THAT is truly taboo. It's just. not. done.
Queer cowboys getting it on successfully champions the notion of being man enough to take a man. So without further ado, let's saunter on down to the corral, shall we?
With him, every step was a warning. The hardwood floor beneath me cradled a cacophony that, being the only sound in the building, being emboldened, began to nudge and needle me. He’s gonna fuck you hard, faggot. You’re gonna be someone’s bitch tonight. This was the cost of being “a man”—the nerves, the anxiety, being under constant inspection. I’ve been fucked by my fair share of macho muscle mavens—none of them would pass as “a real man” by the standards of any other. One likes his ass played with. The other gets pedicures after the salon closes.
They all enjoyed pumping my ass full of “their seed,” telling me how much of a “bitch” and “worthless scum” I am for liking it. After a while it’s enough to give a man pause. My wife locks my cock in a cage so I can’t get in any dick measuring contests. I just don’t have time for that shit, in my age. I cruise Craigslist with a bit gag in my mouth to condition myself: I will not be a man to these fuckers. I’m an animal. Livestock. A fuckhog. I’m beneath it all—their games and their boots.
I feel him behind me. He's knelt down—his callous hand is caressing my cock through its cage. They always love that part. He sees the the shudder of my ass—freshly shaved from a day ago when I was still a man. He lets out a giggle and catches it mid-gasp, massaging it into a baritone sigh. He's dragging something along on the floor, a soft droning beneath the backbeat of his boots.
He kicked me, softly, more of a push. I rolled over on my back. I jutted a knee into my ribs and yanked my wrist.
“Shhhhhh. This’ll only take a second, girl.” See what I was talking about, with this shit?
He works quick, grunting, tying my wrists together. An excitable muscle presses against my thigh telling me he was naked save for the boots. He’d told me he grew up on his farm—on the drive over I imagined some of the other boys watching him work out in the field and feeling confusion. Poor bastards, laying awake at night, unable to make heads or tails of it, caught between a lust without words and the “stable relationship” without wiggle room.
On our wedding night, my wife unlocked me from my cage and said I could make love to her after I sucked off her boyfriend. Happiest night of my life.
He has a finger inside me now; he's jerking at the rope around my wrists with the other. I thrash—not out of habit, but to alleviate the growing desperation between my legs. He almost giggles again. His breath crawls along my hungry skin.
One of his filthy fuck-me-boots comes down on my chest, pinning me to the floor, as his fingers continued to linger and tickle my asshole. Another finger slides in. My hips buckle—I began to fuck his fingers. His muddy hairy knee comes against my cheek, my hands jerk above my head, as I fuck myself on his fingers, gasping for air and hoping he doesn't break any of my ribs in the process.
Vet bills are expensive.
I feel a sharp, cold prick in my side. The spur; for a brief moment I think of being cut, of being gored open by the pinwheel at his boot—of having to explain to my wife that I was such a desperate fuck-pig, I let a stranger on the Internet lock me up in his spare room and cut me with fucking farm equipment.
My cock ruptures, spewing cum through the holes in my cage. I bit down on the gag and cry a little—I'm not in pain, I'm just a crier. He lifts the knee off of me and looks over the mess that's come forth from the cage—maybe it was his first time seeing this happen in real life.
He licks and bites his lips. He hadn’t blindfolded me all that well—he turns his attention back on my asshole, as if checking his handiwork.
He really needs another man to throw his arm around him and say, “It’s okay to be into opera and lick up come from another man’s chest and still be a real man, I promise.”
But I’m just an animal. Not my problem.