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Announcing the Launch of the Kink Knowledgeable Program!

on Monday, 05 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

NCSF is proud to announce its affiliation with KinkKnowledgeable.com, the first comprehensive online academy for kink curious professional counselors, social workers and psychologists.

The Kink Knowledgeable Program came out of the publication of Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist. Recognizing a vacuum in the therapeutic training community for clinical professionals working with atypical sexualities the co-authors, Caroline Shahbaz and Peter Chirinos, developed the Kink Knowledgeable Program to address this gap and misinformation.

The Kink Knowledgeable program provides a comprehensive integrated combination of online education, coaching and clinical supervision to meet the demands of psychotherapists and other professionals who are looking for informative sex positive training about BDSM.

From kink aware to kink knowledgeable, this program teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced competencies so behavioral health professionals can confidently function as subject matter expert witnesses and treatment providers to sexual minorities. It teaches best clinical practices by subject matter experts using a state of the art eLearning platform to provide exceptional ongoing continuing education for psychotherapists in the USA and internationally.

Kink Knowledgeable is offering a substantial discount to the first 25 members of NCSF. Contact us now for more information by sending an e mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Wonder Woman Has Always Been Queer—But You Won't See That in the Movie

on Thursday, 01 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Glamour

BY EMILY GAUDETTE

 

Though Wonder Woman has existed since 1941, no one seems to agree on what she prefers sexually. She’s dated Superman and her primary boyfriend, Steve Trevor, and she’s flirted with Batman; in recent comics, she's alluded to sexual relationships with other Amazons. She wears bondage-style wrist cuffs, but her primary weapon is a rope she uses to bind people. She’s both a classic BDSM submissive, appearing tied up as often as she does in her first comics standing, and an archetypal dominant, tall, and powerful woman. So, what’s her deal when it comes to sex?

 

Wonder Woman has deep roots in the BDSM community, partly because her creator, William Moulton Marston, infused her with his own sexual curiosities. In addition to being a cartoonist and psychologist, Marston experimented with sex positivity, building a life with his legal wife, Elizabeth, and their girlfriends, Marjorie W. Huntley and Olive Byrne.

 

In fact, Wonder Woman was sort of the quartet’s collective baby: Olive, a grad student, published a paper titled 'Don’t Laugh at the Comics,' in which she quoted Marston. Because of Marston’s quote about comics as an art form, the company that eventually became DC Comics hired him as a writer. Marston wanted to create the first superhero to use love rather than physical combat, and Marston’s wife Elizabeth urged him to make that hero a woman. The character was based on Olive, and Marjorie helped with coloring and inking. Diana Prince, Amazon royal of Themyscira, using what DC Rebirth writer Greg Rucka calls “loving submission” to subdue foes, was born.

 

Later, Marston would comment, “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power.” He envisioned Wonder Woman’s coded-feminine traits—like patience, empathy, and kindness—never detracting from her power or authority. It was a tricky tightrope to walk in the 1940s, and Wonder Woman’s comics are still complicated today.

 

This week, Wonder Woman will make her big screen debut, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot. However, the film doesn't delve too deep into Diana's sexuality, though the comic that Rucka and his co-creator, artist Nicola Scott, created does. It's significant because they co-wrote Wonder Woman during DC's Rebirth, which effectively means their version of Diana wipes out prior canon—like the New 52 comics—and redefines the character across all books. In other words: As of 2016, Wonder Woman definitely likes men and women.

 

 

Rucka ignited an online controversy when he confirmed that his Diana was queer. What’s more, he said Wonder Woman had always been queer, an idea he doubles down on now. “I still think it’s an absurd thing to get up in arms about,” Rucka tells Glamour. “People knew. Creators knew. Actually, it’s a very small percentage of people who got angry, but it’s amazing what you can do when you have eight Twitter handles.”

 

All Scott and Rucka did was suggest through dialogue in their comic that Diana had romantic and sexual relationships with women while she grew up on the island of Themyscira. When Gal Gadot was asked about her character’s sexuality, she said she wished it had been explored in the film and playfully suggested Halle Berry play Wonder Woman’s love interest in the sequel.

 

But even open-minded fans who took Wonder Woman’s queerness in stride have trouble pinning down her sexual style. First of all, the desires of an always-changing character are hard to pin down, and nothing makes people more nervous than a woman they can’t quite figure out. In Marston’s early comics, Wonder Woman is bound by ropes, hung upside down, and held prisoner—temporarily—by supervillains. “She certainly is wearing bondage traffics from the get-go,” Rucka explains, adding, “There’s no way to get away from that. People want to giggle and blush about it, but it’s there. Marston was coming from a point of view where he could tell this was vital to the character’s message, her sense of trust. Her loving submission was a good, good thing, but now, it’s just not something I’m interested in exploring.” In Rucka and Scott’s new comics, Wonder Woman takes on a more dominant role—both physically and conversationally. Even her partner, Steve Trevor, appears in Rebirth comics as Chris Pine plays him in the film: confused but charmed by Diana’s eccentricities and determined to prove himself to her. ...

More to Love: Polyamory in the Real World

on Wednesday, 31 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

WTTW - Chicago Tonight

by Erica Gunderson 

A 2016 study by the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy suggests that as many as one in five single Americans report having engaged in consensual non-monogamy, or the practice of having two or more romantic partners.

 

Indeed, non-monogamy is experiencing a cultural moment in media recently, showing up as the subject of New York Times think pieces and as a plot driver in television dramas. Proponents of polyamory say that it’s simply about bringing more love and honesty into their relationships.

 

But when those relationships bump up against everyday life, does more love mean more complications?

 

Below, Q&As with Rami Henrich of Lifeworks Psychotherapy and Caroline Kearns of Chicago Polyamory Connection.

 

 

 

How would you describe your family and how it came to be?

 

Rami Henrich: I have been in a poly relationship since 1983. I was married in 1976 to a man, and I met my partner, who is a woman, in 1983. My husband was okay about opening the relationship to include my partner. Over a period of some time, we decided to all live together. We have lived together for 26 years. I think in the community, we’re kind of seen as the elders because we’ve really made it work. And ours is a very specific constellation – we have a more or less monogamous poly relationship – none of us goes outside the three of us. None of us is interested in that – but if any of us wanted to do it, we’d talk about it. I have my primary relationship with each of them, and their primary relationship is me. So we three have raised children together. My husband and I birthed two children. My partner Cindy isn’t considered a parent, but a family member. We raised two kids together but I didn’t know anything about polyamory. We were slashing through the institutionalized bushes together, school issues, how do you tell the kids, family, friends. It was a big coming out process over the years.

 

Probably like the early ‘90s was the first time I heard the word “polyamory.” It was really interesting to me to find out there was a community doing something similar to what we were doing and we weren’t alone. We joined a Chicago poly meetup group, and after I had gone to a book club or two, I saw something on their site saying they were looking for a therapist to facilitate a support group. My partner and I started facilitating that group once a month now for eight years, and we had 1,000 to 2,000 people come through that group. I was shocked the first day that I said that I would do it, within 24 hours we had 20 people signed up with a wait list of 10. Over the years I would say somewhere between 25 and 45 people a month show up for those meetings. It’s created an extraordinary community – before Lifeworks became Lifeworks, some of those people started seeing me in my private practice, so it was a natural direction to go in because the poly community created a demand for support. I had always wanted to find a way to help marginalized communities. It found me.

 

How did you realize you wanted a poly relationship?

 

RH: For me personally it was that I loved somebody other than my husband – I thought, why do I have to choose? I’m kind of a deconstructionist by nature – I would think to myself, why do I have to choose, who says I have to love my father more than my mother, my sister more than I love my brother? Some people come to that early in life – why do I need to say no to this one and yes to that? Who makes up this binary system around our loving? I found myself wanting to be with more than one person – I did early in my life come to a group in Boston where it was allowed and was accepted – I was a hippie, what can I tell you – it helped to shape the way I thought later.

 

What was the coming-out process like?

 

RH: In the beginning I was very cautious about who I told – I had a difficult time letting my parents know about it, because I thought they might try to take my children from me, which they didn’t. My mother at the time said “good for you that you have all this love in your life.” It was such a gift. My father didn’t understand what I was talking about. My siblings in particular, they were open but they still took a long time to wrap their heads around what was really going on here. If we didn’t tell people in our lives, our friends, our neighbors, they wouldn’t know – they saw the three of us coming and going but nobody ever really asked us what’s going on. I say that in our neighborhood we all have “white picket fences,” but ours is quite crooked. It wasn’t until I was interviewed for a north shore magazine where I spoke professionally about  what was going on, that our neighbors were like, oh, so that’s what’s going on. And I think we’d be surprised to find out how many crooked fences there are. ...

The Not-So-Secret BDSM History Of Wonder Woman

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

OPB

by April Baer

Comic book stores are pulling out the stops for next weekend, offering any number of events and special issues to coincide with the premier of the new Wonder Woman feature film.

 

 

One store in Portland will peel back the curtain on Wonder Woman’s secret history as a bondage queen. (Come on. What did you think those bracelets and lasso were really about?)

 

Multi-disciplinary artist, comic book fan, and kink enthusiast Coral Mallow will give a lecture May 31 at the Portland comic book retailer Books With Pictures, covering some lesser-known facts about Wonder Woman’s character origins and history.

 

If you caught Jill Lepore’s 2014 book “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,”you’ll know where this is going, but if not, brace yourself. With straps. And possibly ropes.

 

Turns out, Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston was a man of broad-minded politics and wide-ranging tastes. A psychologist and inventor and avowed female supremacist whose claims to fame include the creation of the lie-detector test, Marston was very interested in the dominant and submissive currents in human sexuality.

 

As he created Wonder Woman — a hero just as capable of solving disputes with compassion as with strength — he farmed in imagery and scenes that betrayed some of his interests. (When you start looking at the art in the old comics, it’s like Marston can hardly get through an issue without ladies tying up ladies.) ...

Is Kinkphobia a Crisis in the Mental Health Field?

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Qualitative studies show that kinkophobia is pervasive in the mental health field

Psychology Today

by Michael Aaron

Last week, I published an interview with Portland-based psychotherapist Galen Fous on the nature of the unconscious, mythology, and Jungian archetypes as they relate to sexuality and specifically, kink-related expression. While I would consider this piece to be intellectual and certainly highly conceptual in nature, I could not find anything even remotely objectional about it. The piece addressed sexual practices that have been shown to be highly prevalent in society and covered well-worn academic concepts such as classical mythology and Jungian psychology. Indeed, the interview was well received in most circles, except for one—psychotherapists. In fact, the reception in the mental health field was so negative and highly charged it lead to blatant censorship and needless pathologizing. While on the surface it may appear to be a meaningless squabble within professional circles, I thought this incident was especially important to address as it speaks to a lingering and unaddressed potential bigotry which still exists pervasively within the mental health field—kinkphobia.

 

Before getting into the substance of the issue, let's first address whether kinkphobia is even a word. I know that in today's political climate, sometimes the word "phobia" is thrown around to shut down conversations and prevent open debate, even if it is between reasonable and well-meaning actors. So let's take a look at the evidence to determine whether or not "kinkphobia" is even a "thing." According to Webster's dictionary, the term "phobia" means "an exaggerated. usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation." Further, in 2013 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) 5, the psychiatric handbook, depathologized kink (what they called "paraphilias") and created two categories—paraphilias (which are not pathological) and paraphilic disorders (which are pathological). According to this latest version, paraphilias are consensual and create no internal distress that could otherwise be attributable to societal stigma. Therefore, according to the DSM 5, kinky activity between two consensual adults is not pathological.

 

 

If mental health clinicians continue to pathologize kink, even though the DSM has clearly stated it is not abnormal, then according to the dictionary definition, this fear qualifies as both exaggerated and illogical. Using this line of reasoning, mental health professionals who still pathologize kink do qualify as struggling with kinkphobia. With this all in mind, let's take a look at the reaction that Fous' piece garnered, in his words:

 

"Yesterday I was banned without notice from the Depth Psychology Alliance, a moderated Facebook group for Jungian oriented therapists. I had posted a link to an interview I had done recently titled, “The Personal Erotic Myth and the Rise of Fetishsexuality.” I included this quote with the link.

 

'When engaged consciously and allowed to express and embody with a consenting partner, these fierce explorations of our taboo, wild instinctual edges can offer a profound sense of empowerment and acceptance, as well as a full-body, soulful, exquisitely spent bliss from either side of the power exchange.'

 

The group’s moderator accepted the post. Several positive comments were made. The third was an agitated comment from a therapist who stated that Kink is only a pathological expression of “someone incapable of love and intimacy,” and made a reference to how harmful it was to women and relationships when men want that kind of sex.

 

I replied that her view was outdated and an insult to the millions of men AND women engaging in consensual Kink. I said I felt her views were similar to and as inaccurate as those held by therapists in the 1950’s about homosexuality. She was rather livid that I would dare compare the “courageous struggle of gays and lesbians” to pathologically disturbed people engaging in Kink.

 

Several more people joined the thread, all favorable to my POV, and some challenging the other therapist over how judgmental she was being. I was getting excited at what I thought would be a very informative discussion about Kink within a professional psychological model I was very much at home in.

 

I was about to reply to someone’s comment and got notice the post had been removed. I intended to contact the moderator to ask why and discovered that I no longer had access to the group. I had been banned from the group without explanation nor notification.

 

In response, I started a new thread on my Facebook page titled “Kinkaphobia - Are you a sex-therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist suffering from Kink-phobia? Help is available. Get treatment now before you harm any more patients that you have shamed, judged or diagnosed as suffering from a psychological disorder or addiction based on your moralistic, outdated, unsubstantiated, harmful beliefs about Kink oriented clients. Shaming is not therapy.”

 

One of the replies to this thread was from someone in the DPA group who disclosed that right after my post was taken down, a new rule about posting was created.

 

'Any content determined to be inappropriate, in poor taste, or otherwise contrary to the purposes of the forum will be deleted and the poster risks being removed from the group.'

 

She commented further, “The article you posted was totally relevant to Depth Psychology. If an equivalent article regarding working with gay clients were posted and a commenter said 'Homosexuality is only a pathological expression of someone incapable of love and intimacy" - we would never accept that as a reason to delete a post. I am pretty pissed about this.'

 

I am too. And I hope this begins a wake-up call within the various academic, clinical and alternative therapeutic communities to become educated about Kink oriented sexuality and stop shaming and pathologizing client’s seeking to come to terms with their sexual truth."

 

 

Without going further into the politics of this particular group, I think it is important to note that dozens of other individuals stepped forward in Fous' Facebook thread to state that they too have been pathologized and discriminated against, both as colleagues and as patients, by kinkphobic mental health professionals. Based on my research, their experiences are not unique. Indeed a 2008 survey of kinksters by the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom (NCSF) found that 39.3% of total respondents (346) were discriminated against by mental health practitioners. Here were some of the comments: 

"The therapist refused to continue to see me until I acknowledge that I was being 'Abused'."

"I was told by a licensed psychologist that I was a sick individual and that if I did not get help immediately, and change the way I lived, that I would never have a productive life, and that I would never find any happiness. By fitting into the 'norm' I would be a more socially 'productive' person, and I would be able to live a 'normal' life."

"Mental Health Professional said I was psychologically unsound. That no one in their right mind would consent to 'those types' of activities."

"I have been told that I am not a suitable patient by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who was being contacted for therapy services. She believed that my sexual practices were contrary to health and she would not provide me therapy if I chose to practice." ...

Was The Tea Party Born in This Dominatrix’s Indiana Fetish Dungeon?

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

In 2007, a battle with Indianapolis authorities over the legality of her basement fetish dungeon drove Melyssa Hubbard to political activism, and founding the Indiana Tea Party.

Daily Beast

by VINCENT CARUSO

“On top there is the Goddess Diana,” she had finally revealed to me. Having just picked me up from a cafe in downtown Indianapolis, we were now parked solemnly facing the nearby Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. Pointing to a silhouetted figure crowning the towering structure, she elaborated, “the great goddess worshipped in ancient Ephesus in the Bible was installed very purposefully in this spot by the Freemasons.”

“My entire experience—and a lot of it was supernatural—led to the discovery of the great archetype Goddess Diana.”

I sat nodding reservedly beside my hospitable instructor. This information, esoteric and cockeyed, ought to have been alien to me, but it was perfectly familiar. I had, after all, read it in her book.

I first met Melyssa Hubbard about a year prior to this rendezvous at an Indianapolis brewery about a mile from where we met this evening.

I was in town to write about the launch of a nationwide network of regional meetups organized by conservative noisemaker Breitbart News, on the heels the Trump campaign’s recent rise to a lead as impervious as it was unanticipated.

Breitbart had all but hitched themselves to the Trump Train, and I had hoped to capture what I thought would either be an improbable weather-vane for the Republican Party or, at least, a snapshot of insulated right-wing ephemera.

It would ultimately be both.

Apocalyptic lamentations of the loss of national identity, invitations to condemn CNN and hermetic D.C. elites, and vivid anecdotes conveying the gravity of border violence and mass immigration were the dominant themes propounded by the speakers.

But the most lasting impression was made by a dialogue shared between myself and a woman who flagged my attention on my way out.

“I like your outfit,” Hubbard said in passing, with a detached listlessness that could have meant sarcasm. She introduced herself, “My name is Melyssa, I founded the Indiana Tea Party.”

Hubbard didn’t look like the Tea Partiers I’d been acquainted to through various media segments covering the massive rallies years earlier. And unlike the morose orators who had just taken the stage, my interlocutor evinced a frisky, free-spirited demeanor, tempered by a natural nonchalance.

 

Authoritatively donning a black fitted blazer and leather boots, Hubbard bore the appearance of a dissident art teacher.

“I was a dominatrix for many years,” she interjected, snatching relief from my stiff small-talk. “That’s how I got involved in this whole thing.” She quickly filled in the blanks, explaining that a battle with the city over her the legality of her basement fetish dungeon drove her to political activism.

“I founded the Indiana Tea Party,” she repeated. “But I’m no longer involved now that it’s been co-opted.” Co-opted, she meant, by Republican Party elites.

The backstory, she pressed, was detailed in her memoir, amusingly titled, Spanking City Hall: Dominatrix to Political Activist. As I signalled my exit, she pulled a copy from a small bag of Spanking City Hall hardcovers and assigned me my travel reading. ...

It's Polyamorous Polysaturation — Unconventional Relationships Abound On TV

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

NPR - All Things Considered

by NEDA ULABY

Let's look at some of the buzziest shows on television in the past year or so, shall we? What do House of Cards, Girls, I Love Dick, Orphan Black, Transparent and The Magicians have in common?

 

Every one of them has featured unconventional romantic or sexual relationships involving more than two people.

 

Exhibit A: the arrangement between the fictional president of the United States and First Lady on one of Netflix's most popular shows, House of Cards. The most powerful couple on Earth enjoyed a joint affair with one of their Secret Service protectors. The two also regularly pursue separate romantic interests.

 

Exhibit B: I Love Dick's entire premise rests on a couple's shared crush on a famous artist (named, of course, Dick). And the lead character in Girls gets pregnant after a fleeting relationship with a man in an open relationship. (It's also worth mentioning the failed threeway turned bonding experience between two of the main characters.)

 

On the other hand, Orphan Black's three-ways tend to feature evil clones. A university professor on Transparent insists on non-monogamy with her much younger girlfriend. In The Magicians, polyamorous marriage is literally magical. And a new show called You Me Her concerns a suburban married couple bringing a girlfriend into their relationship.

 

As for reality TV, surprise! It's not to be outdone. TLC's polygamous hit Sister Wives was briefly joined on its home channel by a special called Brother Husbands, both about unconventional marriages. The channel further upped the stakes by introducing a throuple — three people in a relationship — on its bridal gown shopping show, Say Yes To The Dress.

 

I asked Nusrat Duranni, general manager of MTV Networks, if it was even possible to imagine so many unconventional relationships on TV even five years ago — when HBO's hit drama, Big Love, about a polygamous Utah family, went off the air. "I couldn't agree more," Duranni said. Based on conversations with MTV viewers, he added, there's probably not enough representation of unconventional and polyamorous relationships on TV.

 

Of course, pushing boundaries and titillating viewers is nothing new for television. Durrani remembers when networks in the 1990s used lesbian kisses on shows such as L.A. Law and Friends to goose ratings during sweeps week. "You can do that for a little bit, but I think it becomes old and tired and I think your audiences see through that," he said.

 

What's happening now, Duranni notes, is that many of these open relationships currently shown on television are an ongoing part of storylines, key to driving plots and understanding major characters. They're not just stunts.

 

"People have more and different kinds of relationships than just opposite-sex committed marriage," says Dan Savage, the nationally syndicated sex columnist and podcaster. "That's not all there is under the sun. In a way, it parallels debates about representations of gay people on television." ...

What Is FinDom? How Tech Is Shaping This Secretive Lifestyle

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

International Business Times

BY LEIGH CUEN 

Financial domination, aka findom, a bondage-discipline-dominance-submission (BDSM) fetish where the submissive, often called a “cash slave,” gets erotic pleasure from relinquishing financial control to a dominatrix, has gained significantly in popularity in recent years.

 

“Findom is currently the most popular category,” Sarah, the marketing director at the adult video site iwantclips.com, told International Business Times. “A lot of the top 50 [performers] will specialize in findom.”

 

Like many popular adult entertainment sites, iwantclips.com allows viewers to pay performers directly through the site. Findom has taken that idea to a whole new level, with Sarah pegging last month's top payout from a submissive at $93,000.

 

However, unlike cam girls and porn stars, financial dominatrixes often develop intimate, fiscal relationships with submissives beyond their screens. With a growing number of people using mobile payment options like Google Wallet and bitcoin to immerse themselves completely in the findom lifestyle, high-tech gadgets could shape the future of financial domination.

 

Read: Cryptocurrency Increasingly Popular, Safer Payment Option For Sex Workers

 

With her shiny black hair and voluptuous figure, Jasmine Mendez is one of the most successful iwantclips.com dominatrixes. This 27-year-old findom veteran in Boston was one of the first to take her fetish persona mainstream, starring in a 2016 episode of MTV’s True Life. After more than a decade in the business, Mendez claims to earn around $300,000 a year — her only job since high school. 

 

“I do a lot of cash point meets, usually around $500,” she said. “The most I’ve ever made at one of those is $20,000.”

 

This is one of findom’s most common types of interactions. A submissive meets his domme at an ATM, takes out money at her command, hands it over and promptly is left behind. Mendez has around 10 regulars, including one submissive who has been her cash slave for six years. “I have two who I am logged into their bank accounts,” she said. “I completely take control of their money and decide how much they get to keep.” She grants them an allowance and takes the rest.

 

Her boyfriend is also a financial domme. He has been working in financial domination for more than four years and goes by the online alias Mr. Grey, as in "50 Shades of Grey." He is one of the few straight, male sex workers in financial domination who welcomes tributes from both genders. “Everybody likes to be out of control,” he told IBT.

 

Mr. Grey started out by dominating women he met on FetLife, a fetish site that recently lost the ability to process direct payments through PayPal, Visa and Mastercard credit cards. Financial dommes are constantly looking for new mobile payment options to circumvent discrimination from the banking industry. “If you’re using PayPal, then you’re clearly new,” New York financial domme Godess Lady Petite told IBT. “They could freeze your account or cancel payments.” ...

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