“I’ve never had an Asian,” said another as he pulled me toward him. I flushed in anger as I pictured him posting a photo of us with a sushi emoji next to my username, as I had once seen a white man do to a hapless Asian guy on Twitter.

Others were more subtle. I chatted with a sharp conversationalist who seemed a good match, also white, before I happened upon his Instagram and found nothing but shirtless selfies with East Asian men plastered across his profile. Duped again.

In Elaine Hsieh Chou’s novel “Disorientation,” the Taiwanese American protagonist begins to wonder if her white fiancé truly loves her after discovering his exes were all East Asian.

“The sad thing is, Ingrid,” says her Korean American friend, “you’ll never know for sure.”

I was lucky that the sexuality gods, in minting a kinky Asian queer, anointed me with a fetish fun enough to give me an escape from the cruelty of this racist reality. Latex fetishism is a predilection for form-fitting rubber clothing that’s shiny, slippery, slithery, sultry. Coming in every imaginable color, latex has captured the imagination of celebrity fashion and cyberpunk film. But most of the uninitiated have trouble understanding why we would willingly wear something that doesn’t breathe — at all.

It’s hard to articulate the electrifying sensation of a finger skating across the taut surface of latex, or the warm squeeze of a rubber-clad hand on your back. Many “rubberists,” as we call ourselves, prefer the all-encompassing stimulus of full-body compression, sometimes with attached hoods and gloves, trading porous, pockmarked skin for skin that’s pristine and pretend.

But latex’s allure also comes from the naughty nirvana of consensual dehumanization: the desire to become featureless and faceless, to vanish into the bliss of latex’s skintight embrace. It offers a chance to become, for a moment, someone different — something different. A second skin.


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