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Consent Month Photo Winners

on Wednesday, 11 October 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

NCSF is very proud to partner with Arizona Power Exchange (APEX) in sponsoring Consent Month every September! APEX provides the consent bracelets and maintains the ConsentMonth.com website, updating the calendar and helping to spread the word about consent.

This year, 21 consent-themed events took place in September, with almost 1,600 people visiting the ConsentMonth.com website. Over 800 of our distinctive “Got Consent? / ConsentMonth.com” bracelets were distributed at these events.

We had a great showing this year with 9 photographs submitted for the Consent Month Photo contest. NCSF and APEX are thrilled to announce the winner is slave pattie’s photo entitled “Consent Brainstorm”. 

slave pattie describes her winning photo: 

"Three main words/statements that come to mind when I think of consent are: peace of mind, commitment from both parties to follow through on negotiations and clarity of what each other wants or allows."

CM 2017 Win 

 

The runner up photograph is “Together” by Archer who photographed APEX members wearing Got Consent? Bracelets.

 CM 2017 Run

 

See all of the photos that were submitted at http://consentmonth.com/consent-event-photo-contest/

 

NCSF and APEX thank all of the photography entrants, and will be using some of the photos that were submitted on promotional material for Consent Month and NCSF Consent Summits.

 

Participate in Consent Month next year, September 2018, by holding a consent event or submitting a consent-themed photograph for our contest.

 

 

Disaster Relief Funds

on Tuesday, 26 September 2017. Posted in NCSF News

To help the many people who have been hit hard by natural disasters in the past 6 weeks, NCSF has compiled the following list of charities that you can donate to:

Puerto Rico

ConPRmetidos promotes innovation by connecting Puerto Ricans abroad to those on the island. This local nonprofit also has a fund to help victims of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Unidos, by the Hispanic Federation is coalition of elected officials in New York and Puerto Rico who joined the Hispanic Federation, a Latino nonprofit, to launch this relief fund for Puerto Ricans affected by Maria.

AmeriCares is the relief and development organization is working with officials in Puerto Rico to provide emergency medical supplies, and has stocked emergency shelters with $1.8 million worth of medicine and supplies to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Caribbean Islands

Fund for the Virgin Islands is the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands collecting donations through this fund, which will be used both to support short-term relief efforts and to enhance the well-being of future generations.

Dominica Hurricane Relief Fund is how the Dominica’s government is collecting donations, through crowdfunding website JustGiving. Donations will pay for temporary roofing, blankets and non-perishable foods.

Mexico

Mexican Red Cross has been accepting direct donations online and has set up an Amazon Wish List for necessary items.

Direct Relief has staff in Mexico City and has pledged that 100 percent of its donations will go directly to relief efforts, including delivering medical supplies to affected areas.

GlobalGiving, a crowdfunding organization, has pledged that all money donated to its earthquake fund will go to recovery and relief efforts.

Fondo Unido México is part of the United Way network, and they have an emergency fund to help the areas affected by the earthquakes as well as the recent series of hurricanes.

Florida

GlobalGiving’s Irma Relief Fund is accepting donations here.

Organizations accepting donations for the welfare of animals include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Best Friends Animal Societyand the South Florida Wildlife Center.

Texas

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are asking for donations.

To help animals, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society. The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has set up an animal emergency response hotline (713-861-3010) and is accepting donations on its website.

The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund helps with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit its website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.

The L.G.B.T.Q. Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help people rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.

If you have additional charities that you have vetted and believe are worth supporting to help those who are in need, please add them in your comment.

 

 

September is Consent Month!

on Thursday, 07 September 2017. Posted in NCSF News

The Lawyers Are Coming and It’s a Good Thing

on Friday, 01 September 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

By Dick Cunningham

 

In its major project on revising the criminal laws on sexual assault, the prestigious American Law Institute is taking a hard look at consent as a defense in BDSM-related prosecutions. And NCSF is providing important input to that project.

 

As many of you are painfully aware, courts throughout the United States have consistently refused to recognize consent as a defense in criminal assault cases that arise from BDSM incidents. Even though the ALI’s  Model Penal Code—which has been adopted by most states—says consent is a defense to assault unless “serious bodily injury” has occurred, courts regularly ignore that rule. They regard BDSM as violent assault and issue rulings that use of nipple clamps for dripping hot wax constitutes "serious bodily injury”.

 

NCSF brought this issue to the attention of the Sexual Assault Project, which has taken the issue very seriously.  This is important, because the ALI is one of the most prestigious legal organizations, and their Model Penal Code—of which the new sexual assault rules will be a part—is adopted by most states.  If they reclassify BDSM prosecutions as sexual contact instead of violent assault and if they clarify the importance of consent in the practice of BDSM, the criminal treatment of our communities will change dramatically for the better.

 

NCSF has been active in the Project’s deliberations, communicating with the Project Chair, submitting quite detailed legal analyses, providing education to dispel misconceptions about BDSM, and—beginning with the ALI’s annual meeting—attending and participating in the discussions of sexual assault issues. We have been making the following principal points:

 

• BDSM is intimate and erotic behavior and thus should not be prosecuted as a violent assault by one person against another.

• Specifically, BDSM belongs in the category of “sexual contact” crimes, where prosecution depends on the determination that consent was not given for the erotic contact. BDSM does not belong in the same category as rape, because penetration—if it occurs at all is not truly part of the BDSM activity.

• The project needs to be aware of the importance placed upon consent in the BDSM communities to understand that BDSM scenes may involve (as part of the fantasy) understandings that the usual expressions of unwillingness “no”, “stop”, etc. can be disregarded and instead prearranged “safe words” (“red”, “yellow”, etc.) may be used.

• The project also needs to understand that consent needs to be “informed consent”, not only in BDSM, but also in all sexual assault contexts.  By “informed consent”, we mean the participants need to agree (a) who will be involved, (b) what is agreed to be done and not done, (c) the potential risks, (d) where and how the bottom will be touched, (e) the location or venue where the acts will be conducted and (f) the procedure for stopping or moderating the acts.  

 

Our issues will be front and center at the mid-October meeting of the ALI Sexual Assault Project and NCSF has, at the ALI’s request, submitted detailed comments. And I, as NCSFs Consent Counts counsel have joined the ALI and will be an active participant in the October session.

 

Keep your fingers crossed. This could produce something very important. 

 

For more information about this important project, please consider attending the NCSF and TES Consent Summit in New York City on September 16 - https://www.ncsfreedom.org/press/blog/item/consent-summit-in-new-york-city

 

Re-Opening The Mark... Even Better Than Before!

on Friday, 01 September 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

What are We Raising Funds For?

We Need to Re-Open!

 

After 12 years of CPI successfully running The Mark as a private membership club with no issues or concerns, we were the target of a salacious "investigative news" story by a local television station this past July, which led to Metro Nashville closing us down, citing our non-compliance with a newly-enacted "sex club" ordinance.  As everyone who knows us can tell you, we consider ourselves a community center and about as far removed from the concept of a "sex club" as imaginable... but since the ordinance lists the possibility of nudity and sex within its definition of a sex club (whether they are the focus or not), we now are one, since we espouse both a body-positive and sex-positive culture.

 

The Zoning/Codes folks have actually been very kind, wonderfully helpful, and as understanding as possible.  Walk-throughs and inspections have returned no code violations, but there are costs associated with all this, we have no revenue sources to count on, and it appears that (under this new designation) we will have to complete the access ramp that we had started early this year for full-up ADA compliance.  Yes, we had intended to do this anyway this summer... now there is no putting it off! ...

 

Consent Summit in New York City

on Sunday, 20 August 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and The TES Association present the Consent Summit, an all-day event of workshops and discussions on consent in New York City. Attitudes are changing about consent, and it’s time to join in the conversation. Consent and the law, consent in power exchange relationships, and dealing with consent incidents–you can’t have sexual freedom without consent!

9:30 am – 6pm on Saturday, September 16th 

@the LGBT Community Center, 208 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011

Register here: https://nationalcoalitionforsexualfreedom.wildapricot.org/events

Along with Carmen Vasquez as Keynote Speaker, other experts including Judge Rudy Serra, Kate D'Adamo, David Stein, Lia Love, Russell J. Stambaugh, Sar Surmick, Judy Guerin, Kevin Carlson, Graydancer, Heather Gardner, and more will headline the Panel Discussions and Workshops:

Consent & the Law

Consent Activism: Past, Present and Future

Consent in Power Exchange Relationships

Train the Trainers: How to Talk About and Teach Consent

Consent Violations Survey

Towards a Better Understanding of Consent Incidents

During the Luncheon there will be exciting breakout groups led by knowledgeable Moderators:

Fetish/Sex Workers - Mistress Leigh

TNG – Jewel

Event/Party Producers – Zero

Power Exchange and M/s – Ashley

Special Needs – Dr. Michael Aaron

Hypnosis – Jaden 

Tickets:

All day event with luncheon - $50

TES Members all day event with luncheon - $40

Students and Seniors - $35

All day event with luncheon and Pay It Forward* - $75

*Pay It Forward allows those who are economically advantaged to assist people who are not. It's a reminder to all of us that money can create barriers between us. If you need a scholarship to attend, please contact NCSF to find out more - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Don't Let Congress Censor the Internet

on Wednesday, 09 August 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Electronic Frontier Foundation Action Alert

There’s a new bill in Congress that would threaten your right to free expression online. If that weren’t enough, it could also put small Internet businesses in danger of catastrophic litigation.

 

Don’t let its name fool you: the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) wouldn’t help punish sex traffickers. What it would do is expose the Internet content platforms that we all rely on every day to the risk of overwhelming criminal and civil liability for their customers’ actions.

 

SESTA would erode one of the most important laws protecting free expression online. Under current law, an intermediary (like a social media platform or a message board) can’t be held legally responsible for the content created by its users for purposes of enforcing certain laws affecting speech online.

 

SESTA would extend more criminal and civil liability for sex trafficking to content platforms, thus making opening or running such a platform an extremely dangerous venture. The law would affect any company, organization, or individual that hosts content created by someone else on the Internet: social media sites, photo and video-sharing apps, newspaper comment sections, and even community mailing lists. Small Internet startups would become vulnerable to extremely costly legal threats. So would web platforms run by nonprofit and community groups, which serve as invaluable outlets for free expression and knowledge sharing.

 

There’s a similar bill in the House. With many lawmakers showing their support for these bills, it’s crucial that Internet users tell them how damaging the bills will be for free speech and innovation on the Internet.

 

Tell your members of Congress: sex trafficking is a real, horrible problem, but these bills are not the solution.

Guest Blog: When You Have a Kinky Therapist

on Tuesday, 11 July 2017. Posted in NCSF News

by Nicole Guappone 

I first started seeing my therapist nearly three years ago. I wanted someone LGBTQIA+ friendly, sex-positive, and poly-aware. Kink was not a big part of my life yet. Still, the intake coordinator matched me with someone based on my requests and I’ve been with her ever since. A few months after I started seeing her, a friend invited me to an open house at a local dungeon. The next time I saw my therapist, I told her I went, and she listened just like she always does, until there was a pause in the conversation. “OK,” she said, “it’s time for The Conversation.” (That’s how it sounded, like The Conversation was capitalized.)

            In the interest of honesty and disclosure, my therapist revealed that she is a member of that dungeon and that this is one of the challenges of working with kinky clients and also wanting to remain in the local scene herself. Some therapists choose to stop playing in public, others will travel out of state to go to events. But some don’t want to give up the community they’ve already fostered in their area, and that’s understandable.

            So what’s it like having a therapist who is kink-identified? I, personally, really like it. It can be hard enough being kinky and dealing with all of the complex emotions that play can bring up, so it feels good having a therapist who “gets” it. As someone who likes to push her own boundaries and play with emotional edges, having a therapist like this is especially helpful. Is having a therapist like this also tricky sometimes? Absolutely. If you’re looking for a therapist and want one who is kink-identified or end up with one who is, here are a few things to keep in mind. 

 

1. Maintain Boundaries

One of the magical parts of therapy is that you get to spend an hour talking about yourself. Therapists interject, they help you process, they do their job. But the sharing is one-sided—that’s part of the deal.

            This professional therapist/client relationship can feel a little tainted if you suddenly know this personal thing about them—they’re kinky!—and it kinda feels like when you were a kid and you ran into a teacher at the grocery store. Teachers look so strange outside of the classroom…

            And now that you know one personal thing about your therapist, you might want to know more. Dominant or submissive? Relationship status? Biggest fetish? Guess what? It’s none of your business! Sure, at some point probably everyone who’s had a therapist has wondered about their therapist’s life. Every once in awhile you might even feel like you’re obligated to know more because you reveal to them your deepest, darkest secrets and vulnerabilities. It’s only fair, right?

            If you like your therapist and have been working with them a long time, it’s totally natural to be curious about what they’re like outside of the office. But trust them—their lack of sharing is for your own good. In training, therapists learn how to keep their personal biases from affecting their work with clients. You and I (most likely) haven’t had those lessons. So even if you know your therapist is kinky, understand that you know because it’s relevant to your professional relationship. It is not an invitation for more questions or prodding into their personal lives.

 

2. Negotiate and Plan Ahead

It’s a word we in the kink world all know. Negotiation! It’s important to hot, healthy scenes and/or non-monogamous relationships. But you just found out you might run into your therapist at the dungeon. Now what? Chances are, they are used to having these conversations, so they will probably tell you how they prefer to handle it. Maybe they like checking in before they go to events to make sure you don’t run into each other. Maybe they’d rather not check in and just bail if you happen to walk in while they’re there. But…what if one of you is already engaged in a scene? Have you broken the “rules”?

            There are no simple answers and there are always ethical guidelines. Some things are personal preference. Others, well…probably you don’t want to let the accidentally-seeing-your-therapist-in-a-scene-thing happen. Therapists have their own thoughts about all of this and they talk about it amongst themselves frequently—not even just kinky therapists, but any who may worry about seeing clients outside of the office.

            But I’ll tell you how my therapist and I handle it: It’s an ongoing process. If I know I’m going to an event this weekend, I’ll usually bring it up in session or at the end of the session. This in no way obligates her to tell me her plans, but now she knows mine. If she makes plans another weekend, sometimes she checks in with me before we end our session. We don’t even have to do this too often, usually only if specific events are coming up that the other is likely to go to.

            Despite the nature of your relationship with your therapist, it can still feel awkward talking about this stuff with them, especially when you’re being extremely cautious of those boundaries I mentioned earlier. But remember, it’s a sacrifice your therapist has chosen to make if they wish to stay active in the local community and it’s something you need to be OK with if you like seeing a therapist who can better understand this part of you.

            Some therapists and clients get specific, i.e. clients go to the club or events held on Friday nights and their therapist takes Saturdays. Or, one person takes odd-numbered dates, the other, even. That might work for some, not for others. Just find out what works best for you.

 

3. Process Together

This is something else that may be a personal choice. Typically, if my therapist and I run into each other at a non-play event or a conference, the next time we see each other in the office, we’ll start with that. The first time we ever ran into each other, both of us freaked out a bit and we processed together in our next session. She asked how I felt when I saw her there. I asked her how she felt when she saw me. We figured out how to best navigate those situations. I prefer—and she appreciates this—giving her at least a smile and nod of acknowledgement when I see her.

            Even still, no matter how many times we have this conversation, it’s always a little awkward. Processing doesn’t have to be long and drawn out; just take a few minutes at the start of a session if you like. I know that my therapist values this processing and it seems like it’s something we both need. Even if the conversation is awkward, I’m comfortable enough trying to navigate it with her. Ideally, you should be able to talk to your therapist about anything!

 

 

Being kinky and having a kinky therapist can be a blessing and a curse. Maybe a kink-aware therapist is all you need or want, especially if you don’t really plan to talk about your kink in session. But if you like to push yourself and your boundaries with your play, to learn about yourself and your partner(s) through play, it is amazing to work through these things with someone who understands kink on a deeper level. It’s just one more type of negotiation you learn how to do, and in the end, it’s all worth it.

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