SM Gays is a British group formed to encourage gay men who practice SM (meaning sadism and masochism) to do so safely. It was founded in London in July of 1981, and was patterned after Gay Male SM Activists (GMSMA), which had been founded in New York earlier that year.
A British police investigation called Operation Spanner culminated in the conviction of sixteen men for causing marks, bruises, cuts and other non-serious injuries during consensual SM sex; SM Gays provided the infrastructure that started Countdown on Spanner, which began in 1992 and helped organize and finance the men’s legal defense.
SM Gays is also noted for conducting many classes and demonstrations, and for publishing two booklets responding to the HIV epidemic.
In 1996, Countdown on Spanner received the Large Nonprofit Organization of the Year award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards; SM Gays provided the infrastructure that started Countdown on Spanner.
SM Gays was inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame in 2021.