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Articles tagged with: Kink

"A look into the polyamorous community in the Fargo-Moorhead area"

on Monday, 16 May 2016. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

WDAY 6

By Amy Unrau

Fargo, ND (WDAY/WDAZ TV) - Love can be felt and described in a number of ways and to many, its often defined as a relationship between two people but an age old practice is seeing a new movement in the Red River Valley that challenges the social norm.

The polyamorous community is now reaching out, showing that they are here, should be accepted and that it's more common than you may think.

 

Game night with family and friends can bring a lot of laughter and love but for many in this room, love has broader boundaries than many traditionally think.

 

“None of this, I have to have a secret life in my head,”

 

“Yes, I have played wingman for my husband. It's a thing.”

 

Kurt Mesford and his wife, who's asked to be called Ashton and have her identity hidden, share a view on love that's not the norm.

 

“At the moment, I don't think we have,” said Kurt.

 

“We don't have anyone shared,” said Ashton.

 

“That would be convenient.”

 

“I know!”

 

“Then they could just show up at the house and hang out with whoever's there.”

 

“I don't share your taste in women.”

 

“I know.”

 

“We're attracted to very different types, I guess.”

 

They're polyamorous, which means many loves.

 

Each currently has five relationships, a dynamic they're open with in their church where Ashton teaches Sunday school, with their family and friends and with their young daughter Haven.

 

“She doesn't know anything more about our love life than she would if we were monogamous,” said Ashton.

 

With the unique family dynamic, Haven has had to explain it to friends.

 

“I just say one person loves more than one person that's not in the family,” said Haven.

 

But she loves her parents as well as all of their partners, including one of Ashton's boyfriends, Andrew Tyson.

 

“If you're married and you're falling in love with a second person, your options are to either cheat or grit your teeth an bare it. Polyamory offers another option,” said Tyson.

 

As a once monogamous married man, Andrew has made polyamorous activism his passion with the recent creation of a group called PolyAware.

 

He estimates about 1,000 people in Fargo-Moorhead are polyamorous and he wants others who are interested to know there is a place to learn more and feel accepted.

 

“Monogamy is so present and engrained in our culture that people never really question it. It's rare that you find someone who questions and wakes up one day and says 'huh, I wonder if I really should be monogamous', because they don't realize they have other choices,” said Tyson. ...

"3 Insights About Kinky and Nonmonogamous Sex"

on Monday, 02 May 2016. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Science of Us

By Debra Soh

Kinky sex has been around for eons, since long before Richard von Krafft-Ebing popularized the terms “sadism” and “masochism” in 1886 with his seminal work, Psychopathia Sexualis. But for a long time, it hasn’t really been spoken about in polite company. Only recently, with the wildly popular Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, has kink — generally defined as BDSM, which includes bondage, dominance and submission, and the consensual use of pain and humiliation for pleasure — earned a sort of mainstream acceptance. People are now willing to test the waters more than ever before.

 

Naturally, this is an area rife with misinformation and stigma. That’s part of why the Alt Sex NYC Conference, held last week in New York, was so important. The conference allowed researchers, clinicians, sex educators, and community members to discuss the most up-to-date research on what is known in the field as alternative sexuality (a term which encompasses kink, consensual non-monogamy, polyamory, and non-traditional relationship structures). For a population that has long been misunderstood and marginalized, the sharing of this information was much needed. Presentations ranged from myths about non-monogamy to best clinical practices when working with individuals from the community.

 

In honor of the conference — I streamed it remotely from Toronto — here are three key insights from the scientific study of kinky sex and non-monogamy.

 

(1) Swingers don’t get more STIs than everyone else

 

“Consensual non-monogamy” is an umbrella term referring to relationships in which partners agree that romantic and/or sexual relationships with other people are allowed. This includes swinging (which is primarily sexual in nature), polyamory (which is primarily romantic in nature), and open relationships (which are a mix of both sex and romance).

 

A frequent theme throughout the conference was the preconceived notion that monogamy is associated with better sexual health. It is widely believed that monogamy prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and many people will say fear of getting HIV is their main reason for not “opening it up.” In theory, this makes sense, considering how nonmonogamous couples are exposed to a greater number of sexual partners (and if those partners are also nonmonogamous, then their partners, too, by proxy). In actuality, though, this isn’t the case, as research has shown that rates of STIs do not differ between monogamous and consensually nonmonogamous people.

 

The similarity in STI rates between the two groups exists for a few reasons. First of all, nonmonogamous people are more likely to engage in safe-sex practices, such as discussing their sexual history and being tested for STIs (roughly 78 percent compared to 69 percent of monogamous folk). When engaging with other partners sexually, nonmonogamous people are also less likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol — substances that can impair one’s judgment and lead to high-risk (or condomless) sex.

 

By contrast, monogamous couples don’t tend to follow these sexual health practices. They typically stop using condoms as soon as they decide to be exclusive with each other, and don’t often get tested for STIs or discuss their sexual-partner history before doing so. Needless to say, going exclusive doesn’t get rid of any STIs that are already there. This would also suggest that rates of STIs in monogamous relationships are, in fact, underreported.

 

And although consensual non-monogamy may appear to be driven by reckless passion and spontaneous sexual encounters, a great deal of thoughtful planning and preventive measures are involved. These relationships revolve around consent, transparency, and communication, and — at least in the best cases — any “extracurricular” sexual activities are discussed between partners well in advance to ensure that personal boundaries are respected. ...

"Asking For A Friend: Is Polyamory Just About Having More Sex?"

on Friday, 08 April 2016. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Polyamory can come with many partners and many misconceptions. Newsy's Cody LaGrow asks a polyamorous unit what it's really all about.

Newsy

By Cody LaGrow

Caroline is married to Josie. Caroline is also in a committed relationship with Adam. They share one house and two kids, and they all call the shots under the same roof. This is a polyamorous relationship.

 

Polyamory, the philosophy or state of being emotionally and sexually involved with more than one person at the same time, comes with many misconceptions. Caroline, Josie and Adam cleared up questions many may have about polyamory.

 

Newsy's Cody LaGrow: Do you think monogamy is unrealistic?

 

Caroline: "No. I hate the idea of polyamory and monogamy being pitted against each other. Obviously, one thing that makes polyamory different than monagamy is, in theory, you are having sex with multiple partners. But it's not just about sex. You are loving multiple partners. And that's really what polyamory is about. It's about love. And that expression of love usually leads to sex."

 

Cody: How often do you hear that you're having your cake and eating it, too?

 

Josie: "You hear it ... and that it's just different. I think a lot of people view us as these weirdos on the fringes of society, but to us, it feels weird to not have a choice. And just sort of default to monogamy because that's what everybody does."

 

Adam: "I found that monogamy, sort of, constrained my ideas about love. Like, I needed to find the one person for me. That is a huge thing to go about doing."

 

Caroline: "What do we in society call 'the one'? The one romantic person in your life, the one sexual person in your life, your best friend, the one person who is going to give you financial security, the one person who is going to give you family security, who you're going to have children with, who you're going to build all of these things with. And I think in a lot of societies and a lot cultures, we rely on more than one person to do that." ...

"Can You Be Asexual, but Also Enjoy Kink?"

on Monday, 15 February 2016. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Cosmopolitan

By Angela Chen

At first, Lily Zheng saw kink as a way to have great sex. "I thought of it like an escalator: First I would do bondage, then this and that, and then at the end, I would have the most fulfilling, amazing sex ever," said the Stanford University junior, who is also co-president of the university's kink club.

 

But when the sex at the end turned out to be a disappointment — "I was just lying on the bed, checking out my nails and thinking, 'This is silly and not fun'" — she realized that she wasn't interested in sex so much as the dynamics of dominant and submissive relationships. For her, sex is a tool in service of those relationships, not something she cares about much for its own sake.

 

Zheng is part of a growing community of asexuals, or people who are not sexually attracted to any gender, who are attracted to the kink scene because they like touch, relationships, sensation, and power dynamics — all reasons that have nothing to do with sex itself. Many say that because kink focuses so much on negotiation and consent, this environment feels safer than traditional relationships, where sex is usually expected. Still, says Zheng, identifying as both asexual and kinky initially felt like "a huge contradiction" because of the stereotypes around both subcultures.

 

Kink is often broken down into the four categories — bondage, domination, submission, and masochism — and has become more popular recently, thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey. But while its roots were in explicit sex, it has become more about general "connection," with people "having entire relationships where explicit sexual contact wasn't a part of it," according to BDSM educator Mollena Williams-Haas.

 

Asexuals, or "aces," often divide attraction into three categories: aesthetic, romantic, and sexual, with the last one being the most self-explanatory. Aesthetic attraction means finding someone physically attractive without necessarily being sexually attracted. Romantic attraction or romantic orientation (often broken down into homoromantic, biromantic, heteroromantic, panromantic, and so on) means wanting to be in a romantic relationship with someone regardless of whether you want to have sex with them.

 

Aces don't experience sexual attraction but some aces have a sex drive and enjoy having sex, some are sex-repulsed and don't enjoy it at all, some really love touch and sensation but dislike penetrative sex, and so on.

 

Still, asexuality is often conflated with being celibate, prudish or, as Zheng said, pointing to another stereotype, "hating to be touched." So it can be confusing when people encounter someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction or isn't interested in sex, but is still very interested in the kink scene.

 

Lauren*, a writer in northern California, says she is involved in kink because she likes "sensation-play, interactions, complex human relationship, a balance of power and control and trust." Lauren has been "tying up my Barbies since I was about 3, which is probably a warning sign" but found later that she was not really into sex, and has since had many kink partners that she's never been sexually attracted to.

 

Instead of being into BDSM for the sex, she says, "I appreciate this ability to step outside normal social strictures and explicitly say, 'We are going to very carefully negotiate the way we interact with each other to be safe and careful with each other.'"

 

Not all contact during a kink scene is sexual because it often depends on the person and the context, according to Lauren. For example, cuddling with one person can be sexual, and not at all with another. And aftercare, or the contact after a scene, typically should not be sexual at all. "It's kind of like you picking up your cat, and you're hanging out and bonding — you're having very intimate contact, but very explicitly not sexual and sometimes to the point that being sexual would make that really uncomfortable and would be undesirable," she adds. ...

"ARE NON-MONOGAMOUS COUPLES HAPPIER?"

on Saturday, 26 December 2015. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Maxim

by Ali Drucker

Bob Dylan had it right when he said "The times they are a changing." While a few decades ago the idea of a polyamorous relationship may have been largely unheard of, more Americans than ever are accepting of the practice (although a majority still oppose it) and psychologists estimate that up to 5% of Americans are in consensual, poly relationships.

 

This is potentially for good reason. A recent study published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior is perhaps providing further proof that less traditional configurations of love and sexuality may have some benefits we hadn't yet considered.

 

The study, which compared "mate retention behaviors" between monogamous and consensually non-monogamous (CNM) couples discovered that when it came to satisfaction with the primary partner, both types of relationships reported equal levels of happiness.

 

But non-monogamous couples did express a notable difference in one key area: communication. According to the study, "...Monogamous participants reported less satisfaction with the amount of communication and openness they had with their partner compared to CNM participants’ reports of their primary partner." Despite the idea of "sharing everything" with your partner, polyamorous couples tend to be more open and sharing than their monogamous counterparts. I guess communication really is that important. ...

"A polyfidelitous family fights to keep their kids"

on Saturday, 17 October 2015. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Out in SA

by Marco Aquino

After the housing crash of 2008, James Lowe, a former construction worker, moved to San Antonio from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. With him came Elizabeth. The two were close friends at the time and hoped to find a better life in San Antonio.

 

James, 34, and Elizabeth, 27, have since married and now have four children between them. Elizabeth is expecting her fifth child with James.

 

Elizabeth considers herself mainly lesbian but says that James is the exception to that rule. In 2011, when Elizabeth first came out to James, he revealed that he felt he had the capacity to love more than one person. Shortly after enrolling at San Antonio College in 2012, the couple met Audrie, 22, and Ashley, 21. Eventually, the couple’s friendship with the two women evolved into a romantic relationship between the four.

 

Today, they are in what the four call a polyfidelitous relationship, and all share the same home. They describe it as a “partnership between four people.” “It’s not an open relationship,” James explains. Each individual is fully committed to the others and has equal standing in the relationship.

 

Ashley has one child with James, and Audrie is expecting her first. James has five other children from two previous relationships, bringing his total number of biological children to 10. The four say they enjoy having a large family and see nothing wrong with it.

 

“I fell in love with the children first,” Ashley said. “Then with the ladies, and then with James.”

 

“Gradually, over time we all kind of grew to love each other, and we decided that our relationship just kind of worked between us,” Audrie said. “The kids really liked me and I fell in love with the kids as well. We just really worked as a family unit.”

 

Audrie and Ashley say their relationship with Elizabeth and James is ideal because they are both bisexual. “Living in a country where monogamy is the norm, I’ve always had to choose between a man and a woman and I’ve always had to struggle with that,” Audrie said. “This is definitely more natural to me.” Audrie and Ashley were legally married in July of this year.

 

Elizabeth says she is aware of the potential for unhealthy relations that a polyfidelitous relationship may bring. “I don’t think anyone is going to argue that,” she said. “There are people who have been in poly relationships and have had bad experiences. It just happens to work for us.”

 

While the four express satisfaction with their relationship, they say outsiders have been meddling in their family. The family is in a legal battle to keep custody of their children.

 

The trouble began in August 2013, when Elizabeth’s parents came from Ohio to visit. “One of the main reasons I had moved to Texas was to separate myself from them, because they were kind of controlling,” Elizabeth said. During their visit, Elizabeth’s parents had hoped to convince her to move back to Ohio and bring the kids with her. They offered to buy Elizabeth and James a home in Ohio and to provide childcare. At that point the couple had already made the decision to become polyfidelitous and were committed to Audrie and Ashley.

 

“Before they left we all had a meeting at their hotel,” Elizabeth said. “I felt that we needed to be honest, knowing that we were considering moving to Ohio, and accepting these things from them so that the kids could be closer to their grandparents. They had already been told by members of our old church and were very concerned.”

 

That meeting between James, Elizabeth, and her parents did not end well. Her parents were infuriated. “They told us if we continued in our relationship then the offer was off,” Elizabeth said. “My mother accused me of being controlled by the devil.”

 

“When we turned down their offer for money, they took that money and sued us,” James said. “They went and got a condo here in San Antonio to bring a suit against us [for custody of Elizabeth’s four children].”

 

Elizabeth says her parents have made false claims against the family, and that her parents believe James is controlling and manipulating the women in the relationship—a claim the women deny.

 

“[Elizabeth’s parents] said that there was broken glass everywhere, and feces and urine everywhere,” James said. “They said that I abused the children. They accused me of being some sort of manipulative mastermind and that I had everyone around me under some kind of mental control. They made it all about me.”

 

Elizabeth’s four children were taken from their home and sent to live temporarily with their grandparents. The family has been investigated by Child Protective Services, and a court appointed psychologist has met with the family. “CPS ruled everything out and the court-appointed psychologist had given note that she found no evidence of abuse and neglect,” James said.

 

“We were really encouraged by that,” Elizabeth added. “We thought that would be it.”

 

Nonetheless, a jury ruled against the family, giving custody to Elizabeth’s parents. Elizabeth’s parents have since moved back to Ohio. A judge has allowed the children to visit their parents unsupervised for up to six weeks during the summer. At the time of this interview, the children were visiting their parents at their home in San Antonio.

 

The family is going against advice to stay silent. “We were told to hide because our culture isn’t ready for our type of relationship,” Elizabeth said. But they now believe it is necessary to address misconceptions about what the family is and is not. The four want to make clear that they are not polygamists and are not involved in any type of religious cult. ...

""Love a la Carte" Movie Launches New Mobile App & Polyamory Dating Site"

on Tuesday, 21 July 2015. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Benzinga

For the first time ever, "Love a la Carte," a "do-it-yourself" (DIY) motion picture, extends the cinematic experience for its audience with the creation of a real world mobile application and online polyamory dating website. Leading the way for micro-budget indy filmmakers in breaking new ground to entertain audiences is Emmy award winning writer-producer-director and Love a la Carte, LLC CEO, Tim McSpadden. "The movie 'Love a la Carte' is an honest comedy about cheating monogamists keeping their marriage together, for better or worse, with an online polyamory dating website," says McSpadden. "Conceiving a real-life website and mobile app of the same name that is mercilessly satirized in the movie was the next step for the 'Love a la Carte' brand."

 

The cheating lifestyle continually spawns schadenfreude headlines and heated debates. Philandering politicians and celebrities propagate the mobile hook-up culture, heroic athletes allegedly deflate footballs to win games and salacious online dating websites generate millions of dollars promoting adultery. Exposing via cinema the nuanced justifications some monogamists make for sampling unauthorized polyamory is fertile ground for a comedy-fantasy. "There are 3 versions to every story you hear about why someone cheats: Their version, your version and the truth," McSpadden says. "Our 'Love a la Carte' movie shows you how the internet has impacted having affairs and why this lifestyle might be affecting your own relationship right now. Our dating website is where you can experience firsthand what was lampooned in the movie. Our mobile app is how you can stay connected with this brand of entertainment - all for free."

 

Audiences can watch the DIY movie "Love a la Carte" for free for 30-days on Amazon Prime Instant Video or with their subscription to the service. The movie is also available on iTunes/Apple TV and Google Play which is also where the "Love a la Carte" mobile applications can be found and freely downloaded. To find "love now" and contact other "Love a la Carte" lovers in their area, people can sign up for free on LovealaCarte.com. The website is also a landing point to find other links connected with the movie, such as watching the film along with the cast and for other news worthy articles connected to the "Love a la Carte" experience.

 

Sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee called the movie "Entertaining & Refreshing." Mandy Payne, a Top 10 ranked Amazon Hall-of-Fame reviewer (out of more than 26 million reviewers) gave "Love a la Carte" 5-stars on Amazon Prime Instant Video and said its "a gritty story about the realities of marriage and midlife, all the while never losing a steady undercurrent of dry humor." Winner of the "Most Original Screenplay" award at the 2014 Universal Film Festival, "Love a la Carte" also played at the Cannes Film Festival market & American Film Market the same year. The soundtrack for "Love a la Carte" was engineered by 2014 Grammy nominee Russ Marsden of Big U Music in Phoenix, Arizona. It features 17 songs from recording artists across the globe such as VH-1's jump start ASCAP songstress Janice Kirkwood and the Phoenix New Times weekly "Best Up & Comer of the Year," Youceff Kabal. Also taking a turn as an actor in the movie is Raj Suri, who produced Doritos' 2014 million dollar winning Super Bowl commercial. ...

 

"Baltimore Eagle, a landmark gay bar, nears reopening despite struggles with the city"

on Thursday, 25 June 2015. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Baltimore Business Journal

by Sarah Meehan

When the Baltimore Eagle reopens in the heart of Station North, it won’t be your grandfather’s leather bar.

Charles and Greg King, along with John and Robert Gasser, are working to revitalize the storied gay bar at 2022 N. Charles St., a space they hope to reopen by the end of the year.

The project has been in the works since 2012. it has come with several hurdles, the biggest of which was losing its liquor license earlier this year. But as the Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners prepares to turn over with three new members, the partners on the Baltimore Eagle are optimistic their license will be returned and the project will progress as planned.

The liquor license for the Baltimore Eagle was effectively killed April 9 when the Baltimore liquor board ruled it had expired under the controversial 180-day rule, part of state liquor law that says a license expires after it has been inactive for 180 days.

Under the current liquor board’s rule, liquor licensees have been subjected to strict — and sometimes unequal — interpretation of that policy. The Kings and Gassers say they were among the licensees treated unfairly when they had their license pulled, and they are appealing the decision.

Developer Ian Parrish, president of Investors United, bought the Baltimore Eagle building in 2012 and closed the club shortly after because of health and safety concerns. But the plan was never for the Eagle to remain closed permanently. Parrish brought on the Kings and Gassers as new operators to run the bar with plans to gut the building and start from scratch as part of a $1 million overhaul.

The Kings and the Gassers, collectively doing business as Four Crazy Guys LLC, all relocated to the Baltimore area to run the business.

“Well actually, I hope we’re not crazy for believing in this,” said John Gasser, who plans to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the project.

Charles King was looking for a change after spending nearly 20 years in the casino industry, and he jokingly mentioned the idea of opening a bar to John Gasser, who recently retired from the medical field after 20 years. When King connected with Parrish and discovered Parrish was in need of an operator for the bar, the concept became a reality.

“All these gay bas are closing and we’re about to open one, so we must be out of our ever-loving minds, right?” Greg King said. “But there’s still a place for gay bars.”

For years, gay bars didn't have to stay up to date or rethink their business plans.

“They never got stale because they had a captive audience,” Greg King said. “If you were gay and you wanted to go out, you went to a gay bar, so they didn’t have to do anything to stay up to date and continue to attract your business. We know that that’s not the case anymore.”

The operators know they compete not only with other gay bars, but with every bar. But they also see it as especially important to restore the Eagle as other gay bars, including Mount Vernon’s iconic Club Hippo, close around them.

“There is a real opportunity there, not just to have a business that makes us all happy and successful, but also to reestablish a very important landmark LGBT bar that was beloved by its patrons in its heyday and actually have a positive effect on the LGBT community.” John Gasser said. “The loss of these venues is a problem for the LGBT community. What could be better than to bring something back like that?”

At its core, the Baltimore Eagle was for decades a gay leather bar. The partners in its revitalization want to retain that history, but they also want to create a place that’s more inclusive of the larger community. Plans for the Eagle’s second coming include a sports bar and restaurant in the main front area “for everybody — gay, straight, bisexual, everybody,” Charles King said. ...

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