3rd Quarter 2015
edited by Julian Wolf
In this issue
NCSF Membership Drive a Success
Incident Reporting & Response
Winner of Consent Month Photo Contest
Guest Blog - "What if You Get Squicked?"
Daily Flogger Satire
Castle Treue's "Cigar, Bourbon, & Leather Evening Fundraiser"
Coalition Corner: AIS
NCSF Membership Drive a Success!
As the plans for the coming year were laid out at the NCSF Coalition Partner's meeting this spring, everyone attending was asked what ideas they may have for boosting membership. On the spot, StL3, our coalition partner out of St Louis, MO, challenged two other coalition partners to a NCSF membership drive from their respective communities!
For their drive, StL3 held a contest with a grand prize of free accommodations in their host hotel for StL3's fall event, Spanksgiving! Spanksgiving is always the weekend before Thanksgiving, Nov 20th - 22nd. Rooms at the host hotel for StL3's events have sold out in less than 24 hours from when registration has opened, making this a coveted prize! Joining NCSF as an individual membership netted 1 chance to the drawing. Enrollment as a Supporting Member netted 4 chances in the drawing + a NCSF T-shirt + free breakfast buffet at the event!
And the winner was.... NCSF! Netting nearly 30 new memberships! Winner of the drawing was Veni_Vici on FetLife, giving her a free weekend stay for Spanksgiving! Congratulations! And thank you to all who participated and signed up for NCSF memberships during StL3's Membership Drive!
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Incident Reporting & Response - 3rd Quarter 2015 report
By Susan Wright
Director of IRR
NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response received 56 requests for assistance from individuals, groups and businesses in July, August and September. NCSF maintains the confidentiality of those who come to us for help. However we balance that need with the need to report the services we are providing and to provide the community with a record of where the need is the greatest. Here is a breakdown of the cases we dealt with in the third quarter of 2015:
There were 22 requests for resources and information involving kink and criminal law. In a sharp decline, only 3 of those requests came from people complaining about a kink-related assault/sexual assault who needed assistance in connecting with kink-aware victim services, and resources to educate law enforcement, investigators and prosecutors. We got 2 requests for information from witnesses who have been subpoenaed in a criminal trial. Another 3 were requests for referrals for kink aware expert witnesses in a criminal trial. 4 were requests for resources dealing with other kinds of crimes, and 1 involved sexual harassment because the person is kinky. 2 involved incarceration/parole violations. The remaining requests for information regarding criminal laws and kink/nonmonogamy did not involve charges being filed.
There were 12 child custody cases in the last three months. One case involved a Child Protective Services investigation that involved polyamory - in all there were 5 requests for information from poly parents facing child custody challenges. There were 3 requests for information and referrals to kink aware attorneys involving BDSM and child custody, and another 3 involving divorce and kink - 2 of these involved outing due to FetLife photos.
There were 10 requests for help involving BDSM and swing groups. 5 groups asked for advice on dealing with consent violations. 4 groups asked for assistance in setting up a club or dealing with zoning and local authorities/media. 1 group had questions about liability regarding house parties.
In an all-time low for NCSF, there was only 1 media incident this quarter. It involved a porn and sex ed convention in Dallas that was referred to us by Coalition Partner - they were getting attacked in the media for offering educational classes including some on the Lifestyle and BDSM.
Six professionals asked NCSF for information and resources to assist in them in providing their services. These included victim services, therapists, teachers and researchers.
There were 3 cases involving civil law: 1 by a group of authors regarding Amazon discriminating against kinky covers on their books; and 1 who needed a referral to a kink aware attorney because of an outing on FetLife; and 1 pro domme who needed assistance.
In another all time low, there were only 2 cases of discrimination. There was an employment issue because of educating about ssc BDSM at adult health center, and another person needed a referral to a kink aware attorney to deal with school disciplinary action.
Please join now or donate to support NCSF's direct services!
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Winner of the Photo Contest for Consent Month!
Thank you everyone for helping to celebrate Consent Month with NCSF and Arizona Power Exchange in September!
The winner of our Photo Contest for Consent Month is jonsnowsdirewolf who submitted his photo "Consent" to the contest.
Check it out! It's HOT!
We look forward to celebrating Consent Month with you in September 2016!
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Guest Blog - "What if You Get Squicked?"The Elephant in the Hot Tub
By Russell Stambaugh
For Kink Aware Professionals. Like everything on this blog, context matters. So if you find yourself acutely uncomfortable with a client's material, what you do depends on when, where, and how it comes up. Some of these suggestions will not be helpful in all contexts. Some even contradict each other. Apologies to Mies van der Rohe, who didn't first say 'The devil and God are both in the details.'
Safety first, yours and theirs. Insofar as you can, do not back away from the material, and do not ask for details that you are not ready to hear and/or the client seems unready to discuss. You need the client to be able to observe their own responses, and for you to be listening to how it feels for them. Consent is critical in BDSM as it is in therapy. It is legitimate and often necessary to question the client about their consent when you reaction comes from ambiguity about whether they have agreed to whatever is disturbing you.
Ask yourself why you or the client are so offended. If the behavior violates your core values, or you are unwilling to do the work in understanding it in the client's terms, maybe you need to refer the client out to someone who can. If the discomfort is primarily the client's, then it may be resolved through therapeutic discussion. While the typical condition of human existence may involve some ambivalence, acute and intolerable ambivalence is a proper subject of treatment. Raw, unprocessed and out of control feelings do not advance the therapeutic process, and are signs that it may be premature to discuss disturbing material.
Give yourself permission to have your own feelings and do not rush to judge them a sign of inadequacy as a therapist. In order to use your own feelings in therapy, you must first have them and recognize them. Resolving countertransference is often a powerful resource in therapeutic change. It is often uncomfortable. Freud thought resolving transference was what therapy is all about, and countertransference was often how transference was first recognized. Even if you think your response is excessive, recognizing your feelings is the first step that can eventually lead to acting on them in ways that serve your client. If you have a strong therapeutic alliance with your client, any mistake you make is likely to be a point of learning for both of you, rather than ruin the treatment, if you deal with it honestly and directly.
Ask yourself if understanding and discussing the squicked material is essential to the treatment goals. Often a client's kink is not central to the goals of therapy. If your client complains they are deeply troubled by their desire, obviously the details of their fantasies and actions are essential to understand. If they went to an event one time and had a bad reaction, you could be doing yourself and the client a favor to let the client vent as they need to, and return as soon as you can to the primary contract for treatment. And if you do not understand the relevance on any material, squicked or not, ask your client what connections they see. If neither of you see the relevance, let it go. One sure characteristic of treatment is that if you gloss over important issues, they will come up again, so if it is important, you are likely to get another good chance to discuss it.
Get more information. This holds the promise of helping you clarify why you are uncomfortable, and possible increasing your understanding in ways that make your reaction more manageable. The question is often where to get good information. Be careful of using sources like porn and fantasy sites, where there is a strong stylistic tendency to exaggerate for effect. On-line sources - yes, I realize Elephant in the Hot Tub is one of those - vary in their objectivity and reliability. Different Loving 2ed by Brame, Brame and Jacobs is a reliable resource for starters. Look also at reliable sources on edge play. It is wise when doing this work to have colleagues whose opinions you trust. Sometimes professional listservs and forums can be helpful. Triangulate information from multiple sources, and don't simply cherry pick the information that suits your preconceptions. Do not take a poll on social media, or inadvertently out your client with specific information, even without names attached. Often edgy practices are rare or singular events, and public discussion creates the impression that people are being outed and confidentiality violated.
If you have such contacts, ask others in the kink community about how similar material is treated there. In this, you are not looking for advice, but trying to understand the context, contracting, consent, and community reactions to it. Kink communities differ, have their own micro-cultures and house rules, and are not unfailingly accepting or nonjudgmental. But understanding uncomfortable behavior in the likely context of the kink community can help you frame your own reaction, and perhaps, the client's.
Know your strengths and limits. That knowledge is crucial in deciding which of the strategies listed here are most applicable to any specific case. In the Goode Olde Days, therapists had 5 years of psychoanalysis to deepen their self-understanding. That was good, but by no means a perfect assurance of self-knowledge. Nowadays you can practically get licensed by reading a few good books. Self-knowledge is fragile, but is also the best defense.
Get quality supervision from someone who knows about the scary practices that are vexing you. That does not necessarily mean falling back on an old supervisor who is a fantastic clinician, helped in your training, but knows nothing about kink. It is generally unwise to try to clinic such cases on listservs where just anyone can chime in, both for reasons of confidentiality, and for reasons that people unfamiliar with such material are at risk of being made uncomfortable too, and may simply and unintentionally reflect widespread social prejudices. That may mean cultivating professional relationships ahead of time with people who have a wide familiarity with outliers among the populations you treat.
If you think your own reaction violates your core values, or reflects incomplete work on your part, by all means return to psychotherapy. Being made uncomfortable by someone's material is ultimately a problem you can walk away from. Be made uncomfortable with your own material is not.
Discuss your discomfort with an experienced and open client. This is their work too, and to the extent that they can cooperate in understanding together what your discomfort means, the client is an important resource. Ultimately, you are responsible for your feelings, but when they are a reflection of the client's conflicts, showing the client you are comfortable with discussing your own discomfort can be good role modeling, and help them achieve important insight. When you lack a trusting relationship and good working alliance, discussing your own discomfort can be disruptive and drive away a client. It is wise to out-refer to someone better able to help. If a client is gaming you in a way that feels manipulative, make sure that you take steps to ensure your own safety. BDSM edge play, that is play that is known to be more dangerous and transgressive in the kink community, is mostly unsafe to discuss with severely personality disordered clients and clients with weak observing egos.
Therapy is a great way to fight social problems and social injustice in the world. But it operates under ethical guidelines that put the client first. Perhaps you can bring your own reaction into balance better by confronting some of the root problems that make you uncomfortable through teaching, advocacy, or direct social action and philanthropy better than through your psychotherapy with any one client. This is a special subset of my final suggestion:
Make sure that you are adequately supported in the clinical work you are doing. This may include your primary and secondary relationships, your institutional setting, your fees, office, training and other aspects of the context of doing treatment. It may include proper organizational affiliations, and friends who do similar work. And it includes collecting referrals and biblioresources that support the psychotherapy you are doing. All of these factors make it easier to understand intense and/or unexpected client materials if they suddenly arise and help you use them to better serve your clients.
That is a starter list, but it is far from exhaustive. Perhaps you can think of good coping strategies or additional resources I have left out. By all means, include them in the comments section.
Finkelhor, D., Araji, S., Baron, L., Browne, A. Peters, S. D. & Wyatt, G. E. A Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse. Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc (1986). 276 p.
Richters, J., De Visser, R. O., Rissel, C. E., Grulich, A. E., & Smith, A. (2008). Demographic and psychosocial features of participants in bondage and discipline, "Sadomasochism" or Dominance and Submission (BDSM): Data from a National Survey. The journal of sexual medicine, 5(7), 1660-1668.
Andreas A.J. Wismeijer PhD, Marcel A.L.M. van Assen PhD: Psychological Characteristics of BDSM Practitioners. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 10, Issue 8, pages 1943-1952, August 2013.
Patricia A. Cross PhD and Kim Matheson PhD in the book "Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures" (2006), published simultaneously as the Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 50, Nos. 2/3.)
"Psychotherapeutic Issues with "Kinky" Clients: Yours and Their's" by Margie Nichols, PhD in Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures ed. P Klienplatz and C. Moser (2006) published simultaneously as the Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 50, Nos. 2/3.)
2015 Russell J Stambaugh, Ann Arbor, Michigan. All rights reserved.
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New England Leather Alliance, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, donated $1,000 from their Fetish Fair Fleamarket #44, held in February 2015.
Leather SINS, a Coalition Partner of NCSF donated $3,000 to NCSF from their recent Kinky Kollege conference in Chicago.
De Giotto Rope, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, donated $150 from proceeds they raised at TES Fest in July in Piscataway, New Jersey.
TES in New York City, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, donated $300 from the funds they raised with the Dunk Tank Contest at TES Fest over the 4th of July weekend in Piscataway, NJ.
Dr. Elisabeth Sheff of the Sheff Consulting Group in Georgia donated $100 to the NCSF membership group.
As part of The Tenth Anniversary Celebration of Nashville's and Middle Tennessee's Kink Community Center -- The Mark -- CPI raised $1000 at its Annual Vendor Fair this past September to support the NCSF. CPI/The Mark has proudly been an NCSF Coalition Partner since 2005, has hosted the NCSF Annual Meeting in 2013, currently serves as the printing/distribution center for NCSF print literature, and looks forward to another decade of symbiotic service.
Castle Treue, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, raised over $1,000 at their "Cigar, Bourbon, & Leather Evening Fundraiser" in August in the Greater Cleveland area. (See Barak's story about the event in this newsletter!)
Les Bon Temps in Mobile, Alabama, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, donated $303.50 raised at their Spring Fling.
The BDSM Writers Con, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, raised $623 at their conference in August in New York City.
Behind Closed Doors, an event sponsored by Arizona Baja Leather, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, raised $395 by passing the hat at their event in early October.
AdventuresInSexuality.org (AIS), a Coalition Partner of NCSF, raised $600 at their recent COPE conference in Ohio (See Barak's story about the event in this newsletter!)
Long time supporter and NCSF member, Marc DePaul, donated $1,500 to NCSF!
We can't do it without your support. Thank you for joining NCSF!
Numbers count when we advocate for you, and the bigger we are, the harder our voice is to ignore. There is no other group that fights for kink and nonmonogamy like NCSF does. We help people in need, groups under siege, and businesses opposed by sex-negative bureaucracy.
We can't do it without your support. Thank you for joining NCSF!
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Direct to NCSF members, courtesy of satirical BDSM webzine, The DailyFlogger
Donald Trump Declared "Politician We'd Most Like To Beat"
The Daily Flogger
In a recent poll of BDSM practitioners likely to vote in this year's Republican primary, Donald Trump was found to be the politician that most BDSMers would either like to beat or see beaten (depending on their own proclivities).
The results had Trump as a runaway favorite outpacing all other Republicans by a 10 to 1 margin, with Rick Perry and Rick Santorum each garnering 5% of the vote respectively. Trump received an impressive 90% of the vote and many felt compelled to write in their own suggestions for various tortures, with "sewing his mouth shut with a hungry rat inside" being the most common.
Trump's camp did not return our calls, but it is reported that Trump himself referred to the BDSM community as "losers" and "total degenerate, mostly coming from Mexico."
Read more at the Daily Flogger website.
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Castle Treue's "Cigar, Bourbon, & Leather Evening Fundraiser"
By BarakNCSF Coalition Partner Rep for AIS
What a wonderful evening! While the gathering wasn't huge, it was just the right size. Small enough to be intimate and personal, but large enough to generate over $1000 for the NCSF! Approximately 30 people came out to the Castle Treue's Fundraiser. It was called "Cigar, Bourbon, & Leather Evening Fundraiser." And true to the title, there was much of all three.
We made a weekend of it, packing up our motorcycles with several days of essentials, clothing, and gear. Starting fairly early, we spent the 2 days prior to the event, riding across and through the scenic secondary highways in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. But... that is fodder for another story.
On the third day, we pulled up to Castle Treue, and were greeted warmly by our hosts, Master Eric and slave tender. As we were escorted into the bustling residence, we were quickly offered refreshment - even though we were quite early. The home was alive with activity. Apparently all the members of the Leather House were in attendance to serve and host. And Host they did!
As the remainder of the attendees/guests arrived, each was made to feel welcome and comfortable. A quick announcement signaled the "start." The evening's events were summarized, and then the tastings began! With an admission donation, each person received three bourbon tickets and one cigar ticket. Each Bourbon ticket was good for a half ounce taste of a featured Bourbon. Full pourings of the favorite (or any) could be had for another donation.
Next to the Bourbon, a large tray of cigars was displayed. For your cigar ticket, or another donation, you were invited to pick from the varied selection. One of the house members was there with cutters, and your cigar was prepared as you liked. A good smoke was most appreciated after a long day in the saddle - as was a small taste of the high quality spirits.
Intermittently, Master Eric would pause the proceedings to auction off one of the numerous donations that the House had compiled. There was a wonderful Photography package, a travel basket, a handmade cigar and liquor roll, and many other wonderful auction items.
With the entire proceeds being donated to the NCSF, it looked to be a generous evening.
Background music was floating through the air, as we made friends, shared stories, and smoked good cigars. All too soon, it was 11pm. The announcement was made - but while the official event had come to a close, that didn't mean we would have to leave! We were all invited to stay as long as we wanted, but at 2am or so, the hosts would be going to bed...lol. Once again the hospitality of Castle Treue shined through the night.
It was a pleasure to be invited to such a well-organized and intimate event. Personally, I want to thank Master Eric and slave tender and all the members of Castle Treue for such a wonderful evening. And as an NCSF Board member, I want to thank Castle Treue, and all the attendees, for your generosity and the donation of all the proceeds to the NCSF.
Furthermore, I would like to welcome Castle Treue as a new NCSF Coalition Partner!
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Coalition Corner: Spotlight on Adventures in Sexuality (AIS)
Things have finally settled down and are back at the busy AdventuresInSexuality.org (AIS) pace. This gives us a moment to reflect on some fund raising for the NCSF. It was wonderful to have an NCSF presence at AIS Events, and The Central Ohio Perversion Excursion (COPE) was no exception. BebeBlueEyes kept the interest up at the NCSF table... and people were very curious about what the NCSF is doing now!
During the closing announcements, there was a special drawing for the NCSF. The split was $279 for the winner and the same for the NCSF. AIS stepped in a matched the NCSF part, then rounded it up - to raise a total of $600 for the NCSF! We are pleased to be a fund-raising force for an organization that takes our sexual freedom seriously.
AIS is tremendously pleased to be a Coalition Partner for the NCSF. We have directly benefited from their defense. While we hope not to need them in the future, we will continue to raise funds for the NCSF for those who will! We believe the assistance provided by the NCSF is invaluable for the kink/leather/alt sex communities. We are proud to support them!
Barak & Sheba
Adventures In Sexuality, LLC.
See our list of Coalition Partners at the NCSF website!
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NCSF publishes the Updates to provide readers with a comprehensive look at what media outlets are writing about these topics and to urge everyone to make comments that dispute stereotypes about alternative sexuality. NCSF permits and encourages readers to forward these Updates where appropriate.
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