One man's fashion accessory is another man's fetish, and that's a fact. Take gloves, for instance. Sleek, tight, great-smelling black leather handwear. In this ever-so-varied world of ours, it should come as no surprise that there are men who eroticize gloves. They may not be as much of a favorite as boots or jockstraps, but those who love gloves adore them with a passion.

"My boys all have to wear gloves when they have sex with me," says the Gloveman, a beefy, imposing top who likes to play in full leather, "and I wear them, too. There's nothing like being stroked and jacked off by a pair of gloved hands."

That's a fairly easy pleasure to imagine; the idea of smooth leather against naked flesh might be a turn-on for many of us. But Gloveman has taken it a bit further - he absolutely fetishizes leather gloves. Just the idea of fingers encased in leather grips him, grips him hard. Whatever else his partner wears - or doesn't wear - bare hands are not an option. He's even been known to give gloves to his bottomboys, demanding they wear them whenever they play.

It helps to grasp the difference between a "fetish" and a "taste." When someone's a bona-fide fetishist, his particular fetish, whether body hair, gloves, or fireman's galoshes, is practically a prerequisite to getting it on and getting off. Isn't that limiting? Sure, but in the case of black leather gloves, it's harmless enough.

"Sometimes it's hard for potential partners to take me seriously. Some of them just humor me...until they feel my gloved hand on their hard-on."

So where does this sort of kinky lust come from? Shrinks theorize that fetishes are often rooted in childhood experiences, and Gloveman has no argument with that. "It goes back to when I was a little kid and used to watch cowboy movies. Seeing all those butch, heroic cowpokes wearing gloves made a mark on my tender psyche, I guess. I wanted to grow up to be like them, and when I put on gloves, I am." What, no cowboy hat, too? "There's a limit," he smiles.

Like other sorts of clothing fetishes, gloves can be incorporated into play in a variety of charming ways. Glove sniffing, glove kissing, gloved spankings...those five-fingered fetish objects are pretty damn useful. Often in S/M scenes, they act as a signifier of authority. And in these viral days, they can even be read, puckishly, as condoms for the hands. (Actual latex gloves, with their brisk snap and hospital overtones, almost demand a medical-based scene - play doctor, anyone? Then there are those big black "opera-length" rubber gloves used by fist-fucking tops. And, hey, someone somewhere is no doubt doing mitten play. Cool, huh?)

What gets each of our cocks hard is, of course, very much a matter of individual taste, probably rooted in childhood, transformed throughout our lives, and even mediated (as in the case of cowboy movies) by mass media. When it comes to specialized tastes like Gloveman's, the real trick is finding someone who'll play along. And there, as in so much of the world of kink, online cruising plays a part. "With the right screen name and cruising profile, it's much easier to find someone into it, or at least curious to try," says Gloveman. He strokes his handsome, bearded face with his tightly gloved hand and smiles.

This article is one of the SpeakingOfArticles.