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Handkerchief code or hanky code (also known as bandana code and flagging) is a way of indicating, usually among gay male casual sex-seekers or BDSM practitioners in the leather subculture in the United States, Canada and Europe, whether they are a top or bottom, and what kind of sex they are seeking, by wearing color-coded handkerchiefs (bandanas), usually in the back pocket. The hanky code was widely used in the 1970s as a "secret" gay code that was intended to go unnoticed by non-gays, but general awareness of the code has gone increasingly mainstream.

There is no universally-recognized, "official" color code, and regional variants of the code exist. However, there is widespread consensus on the meanings of a handful of colors, based on decades of precedent in the gay communities of many different countries -- such as yellow for watersports; red for fisting; and black for SM. Also, generally speaking, it is understood that a hanky displayed in the left-side pocket signifies a preference for taking the "top" or "dominant" or "Master" role, while the right side represents the "bottom" or "submissive" or "slave" role.

Today the bandanas are worn almost exclusively in the rear trouser pocket, on the left side of the body for tops and on the right for bottoms, just as tops wear their keys on the left belt loop and bottoms on the right. In the past bandanas were also worn tied around the neck (with the knot positioned on either the left or right side); around the ankle (when wearing boots or when undressed); hung from the left or right side of the belt, or on other parts of the body.

While, for the most part, hankerchief coding is obsolete, the colours and representations from this method of communication are often modified for other purposes, such as the creation of pride flags and symbols.


- submissive / brown with
Worn on left Colour Worn on right
heavy SM dominant heavy SM black heavy SM submissive
likes to take videos/pictures videography black velvet likes to be in videos/pictures
likes black submissives black black with white stripes likes black dominants
safe sex dominant safe sex black and white check safe sex submissive
likes to milk / milker milking holstein likes to be milked / milkee
likes to bite biting fetish houndstooth likes to be bitten
latex / rubber dominant latex / rubber / gummi charcoal latex / rubber submissive
business suit fetish dominant businesswear fetish grey flannel business suit fetish submissive
bondage dominant bondage grey bondage submissive
voyeur (likes to watch) voyeurism white velvet exhibitionist (likes to be watched)
wants a handjob jo white will provide a handjob
rimmer rimming beige rimmee
ejaculates into condoms condom collection cream drinks ejaculate from condoms
likes to spit gob fetish pale yellow likes to be spit at/on
likes asian submissives asian yellow with white stripes likes asian dominants
is well endowed hung mustard likes well endowed men
likes to urinate / watersport dominant watersport yellow likes urine / watersports submissive
two people looking for a third threesome gold wants to be in a threesome
is chubby chubby apricot is seeking a chubby person
smokes cigars cigar tan likes cigar smokers
wants toes / feet worshipped toes / shrimping coral likes to worship feet / toes
up for anything all fetishes orange not up for anything at the moment
two-handed fister (giver) 2handed fisting deep red two-handed fistee (receiver)
blood fetishist dominant / cutter blood play fetish maroon blood fetishist submissive / bleeder
fister (giver) fisting red fistee (reciever)
nipple torture dominant (giver) nipple torture dark pink nipple torture sumbissive (receiver)
spanking fetish dominant / spanker spanking fetish fuschia spanking fetish submissive (spankee)
dildo dominant (giver) dildo light pink dildo submissive (receiver)
likes drag queens drag queen lavender is a drag queen
navel worshipee / dominant navel worship mauve naval worshipper / submissive
armpit worshipee / dominant armpit fetish magenta armpit worshipper / submissive
piercer / piercing fetish dominant piercing fetish purple piercee / piercing fetish submissive
fucker / dominant penetration navy blue fuckee / sumbissive
police uniform fetish - wearer / dominant police uniform fetish medium blue police uniform fetish - submissive
likes 69 position oral sex 69 robins egg blue anything but 69 position oral sex
wants oral sex oral sex light blue wants to perform oral sex
naval uniform fetish - wearer / dominant sailor uniform fetish light blue with white stripes naval uniform fetish - submissive / likes sailors
seeking oral sex from caucasians white oral light blue with white dots likes to perform oral sex on caucasians
seeking oral sex from asians asian oral light blue with yellow dots likes to perform oral sex on asians
seeking oral sex from latinos latino oral light blue with brown dots likes to perform oral sex on latinos
seeking oral sex from blacks black oral light blue with black dots likes to perform oral sex on blacks
air force uniform fetish - wearer / dominant flyboys airforce blue air force uniform fetish - submissive / likes fly boys
aquaphilia (sex in water) dominant aquaphilia aqua aquaphilia (sex in water) submissive
cock and ball torturer (cbt) dominant cbt teal cock and ball torturee (cbt) submissive
military uniform fetish - wearer / dominant military fetishcamoflage military uniform fetish - submissive / likes servicemen
military uniform fetish - wearer / dominant military fetish olive drab military uniform fetish - submissive / likes servicemen
performs sex for food / hustler dinner lime green buys food for sex / john
hustler / for rent / sex for money hustler / john kelly green john / buyer / pays for sex
daddy / dominant daddy hunter green orphan/child / submissive
geek / nerd worshipee / dominant geek/nerd fetish argyle geek / nerd worshipper / submissive
military uniform fetish - wearer / dominant uniform fetish khaki military uniform fetish - submissive / likes servicemen
scat dominant scat brown scat submissive
seeking a latino submissive latino brown with white stripesseeking a latino dominant
has foreskin / uncut / dominant foreskin fetish brown lace likes foreskin / submissive
headmaster / roleplay dominant roleplay school brown corduroy student / roleplay submissive
extreme sex - taboo / dominant extreme/taboo sex burnt umber extreme sex - taboo / submissive
cowboy worshipee / gear - dominant cowboy fetish rust cowboy worshipper / gear - submissive
blood fetishist dominant / cutter blood play fetish white with blood stains blood fetishist submissive / bleeder
park / public sex dominant park sex red and white gingham park / public sex submissive
motorcycle gear dominant motorcycle fetish chamois motorcycle gear submissive
yiffee / animal roleplay dominant yiff fur yiffee / animal roleplay submissive
tattoo fetish worshipee /dominant tattoo fetish leopard tattoo fetish worshipper / submissive
boxer short fetish dominant boxer shorts paisley boxer short fetish submissive
muscle worshipee / dominant muscle worship gold lamé muscle worshipper / submissive
celebrity / star fetish dominant star / celebrity silver lamé celebrity / star fetish submissive

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