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Articles tagged with: polygamy

"Australian Judge: Polyamory Not a Sexual Orientation"

on Wednesday, 25 February 2015. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The Stranger

by Dan Savage

A woman lost her job after her employer—a social services org run by the Catholic Church—found out that she was polyamorous. She sued, claiming that poly is a sexual orientation and that her firing amounted to illegal discrimination, but the court found against her. Sydney Morning Herald:

 

Justice Salvatore Vasta dismissed the co-ordinator's appeal on the basis it had no reasonable prospects of success. He found being polyamorous was "sexual behaviour" and not sexual orientation, which involved something far more than how one behaved sexually. "Sexual orientation is how one is, rather than how one manifests that state of being. The manifestation of that state of being can take many forms," Justice Vasta said. He rejected the woman's argument that "sexual behaviour" was a subset of sexually orientation saying it could lead to absurd results. "If the contention of the applicant were correct, many people whose sexual activity might label them as sado-masochists, coprophiliacs or urophiliacs could claim that such is more than mere behaviour; it is in fact their very sexual orientation," Justice Vasta said. "If the contention were correct, then the illegal activities of paedophilia and necrophilia may have the protection of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984."

 

I kicked off a shitstorm when I wrote this in "Savage Love" back in 2012:

 

Poly is not a sexual identity, PP, it's not a sexual orientation. It's not something you are, it's something you do. There's no such thing as a person who is "a poly," just as there's no such thing as a person who is "a monogamous."

 

I devoted an entire followup column to poly folks who feel that polyamory is their sexual orientation. Later I offered this clarification:

 

If all people are naturally nonmonogamous—a point I've made about 10 million times—then from my perspective, polyamory and monogamy are relationship models, not sexual orientations. (And if poly and monogamy are sexual orientations, Lily, wouldn't going solo have to be considered one, too?) That was my point. Poly can be central to someone's sexual self-conception, and it can be hugely important, but I don't think it's an orientation in the same way that gay, straight, or bisexual are orientations.

 

Some poly writers were mollified, others were not—but I learned that many, many poly folks (but not all) strongly feel that polyamory is a sexual orientation. The writer and kinkster Jillian Keenan, for her part, has argued that BDSM—sadomasochism—is a sexual orientation. ...

"BDSM on the Web: Where There’s Still Profit in Pain"

on Sunday, 25 May 2014. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

XBiz

By Bob Johnson

At face value the proliferation of BDSM and fetish-themed websites appears to be a boon for webmasters, but getting into the pain game requires a lot more than slapping down some rough content.

Webmasters looking to cash in on what seems to be an ever-increasing interest in BDSM sites may be in for a bit of a shock.

Although the market is humming with new sites, blogs and conferences popping up regularly – thanks to the ad nauseum popularity of the “Fifty Shades” phenom that shows no signs of ending anytime soon — it’s not enough to simply gather some bondage content and watch the fetish folks beat a path to the door.

The BDSM niche today requires some keen massaging. Sites like DDF Network’s HouseOfTaboo.com has added a glamour model angle, while Crygasm.com — that claims it approaches extreme topics in a safe way —  drills down into a micro niche that operator Stewart explains at first blush might seem to be very extreme pain based content, but in fact it is porn for women aimed at showing the sexual catharsis many women feel when using the power of an orgasm to overcome feelings of self-doubt, stress or other negativity. “The result is a site that appeals to both hardcore BDSM extremists and very casual softcore porn curiosity seekers as well,” he said.

This kind of laser focus is essential in the burgeoning yet restrictive market segment that’s being embraced more and more with fans worn out by over-saturated vanilla and free Internet porn.

Even the big guns need to dance to the tune of change. Kink.com founder Peter Acworth told XBIZ that revenue from BDSM recorded content on the Internet is slowly decreasing for the fetish giant, a trend that started a few years ago despite the company’s efforts to revive sales and reduce costs. “The profit margins are not what they used to be,” Acworth said.

But Kink has a plan that involves “re-platforming” Kink.com to reinvigorate sales by including the ability to bundle content arbitrarily (via performer, via tag, etc.) so it will be possible to subscribe or “follow” a performer and receive all of his/her content. Kink will also be tagging all of its content with BDSM toys used, and will be entering the novelty market in a more serious way (i.e. fans will be able to buy items used in shoots), according to Acworth.

And although the knee-jerk reaction by those new to the genre would be to push the limits of content to new extremes in order to titillate new paying customers, Acworth said in fact his company may be “retiring” some of its most extreme lines in favor of appealing to a more mainstream audience.

Kink’s also investing time and effort in KinkLive.com, which he said is growing nicely and is expected to continue over the next few years.

Another Internet giant and genre pioneer, Wastleland.com’s Colin Rowntree agrees that the current marketplace for BDSM continues to be strong, but it’s "different" than it was just a few years ago.

“Due to a lot of ever-evolving restrictions by the credit card associations on what can and cannot be shown in an S&M film, a lot of the ‘extreme’ content producers found it very difficult to create realistic and compelling BDSM content and moved over into simply "rough sex" genres,” Rowntree explained. The change in some ways has actually decreased competition and has, “thankfully” taken BDSM film making back towards its roots of "safe, sane and consensual,” according to Rowntree.

But some companies are still pushing the envelope — perhaps to get the edge others don’t want to touch. And terms like "slave,' tortured," "humilated," "brutal" and more are often bandied about on a site to lure in customers. ...

FETISHWEEK Report: Facebook Deletes Dozens of BDSM Pages Over the Weekend

on Sunday, 07 July 2013. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Dirk Hooper Photography

Last weekend Facebook removed dozens of BDSM-related pages from the site.  The group BDSM Against Censorship lists nearly 100 groups affected by the ban, but there are unquestionably more groups and pages that have not made the list.  Since last weekend a few of the groups have successfully gone through the process of petitioning for reinstatement, but the vast majority have not.

Michelle Fegatofi, author of Bdsm Basics for Beginners – A Guide for Dominants and Submissives Starting to Explore the Lifestyle, lost her group BDSM International last weekend.  The group had over 35,000 members and has not been reinstated by Facebook.

Fegatofi describes how she learned about the fate of her group.  “The only notice I received was a little bubble notice saying it was unpublished and could be appealed, which I have done. The reason was a vague reason saying I violated Facebook regs by having nude, lewd or violent sexual pics posts. Which I did not!”

Facebook did not make a public statement about the reasons for removal of the BDSM groups.  Michelle Fegatofi and others in the BDSM Against Censorship group believe that Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, writer and activist Soraya Chemaly and Jaclyn Friedman from Women, Action & the Media were either directly or peripherally responsible for Facebook deleting BDSM groups through the hashtag Twitter campaign #FBRape in May 2013.

In a post on their Facebook page, Woman, Action & the Media explains they were not responsible for the Facebook crackdown, “We’ll say this again clearly: WAM! is fully in support of consensual BDSM pages, and have told Facebook explicitly that we oppose their crackdown on these pages. Please ask anyone claiming to attribute a quote to the contrary to us to provide a source for those quotes. They are false, plain and simple.”

Whether the BDSM groups and pages on Facebook were collateral damage from a campaign about violence against women or a decision by Facebook corporate to cut down on adult content, the results are the same; many groups will never return and all BDSM groups on Facebook are at risk from this point forward.  If owners of BDSM pages and groups decide to stay on Facebook then they must assume that their groups can be shuttered at any time. ...

" Polyamory Advocate: Gay Marriage 'Blazing the Marriage Equality Trail'"

on Tuesday, 25 June 2013. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Supreme Court decisions on marriage unlikely to directly impact status of polygamy, other multiperson relationships

US News

The U.S. Supreme Court could rule any day on challenges to two laws blocking legal recognition for same-sex marriages – the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's voter-approved Proposition 8 – but advocates for polyamorous couples say "marriage equality" for that minority group is unlikely in the immediate future.

Anita Wagner Illig, a longtime polyamory community spokesperson who operates the group Practical Polyamory, is unsure of the direct impact of a ruling that would legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.

Until recently, she noted, "the polyamory community has expressed little desire for legal marriage," but now more options seem possible in the future. "We polyamorists are grateful to our [LGBT] brothers and sisters for blazing the marriage equality trail," Illig said.

[RELATED: Timing of Gay Marriage Ruling No Surprise to Court Watchers]

Illig believes there is indeed a "slippery slope" toward legal recognition for polygamy if the court rules in favor of nationwide same-sex marriage, an argument typically invoked by anti-gay marriage advocates. "A favorable outcome for marriage equality is a favorable outcome for multi-partner marriage, because the opposition cannot argue lack of precedent for legalizing marriage for other forms of non-traditional relationships," she said.

But Illig concedes, "there will be quite a lot of retooling of the legal system necessary to establish marriage equality for marriages of more than two people. A marriage of two people of the same sex requires a lot less in terms of adapting today's systems, such as Social Security, for example, to accommodate it."

"It is hard to predict" the possible legal side-effects of the Supreme Court rulings "since [the cases are] about official recognition rather than criminalization," George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told U.S. News.

Turley is representing the polygamist Brown family, which has four wives and one husband, in their challenge to Utah's cohabitation law. The Brown family stars in TLC's "Sister Wives," which records the family's day-to-day life, as well as their flight from Utah to Nevada after local authorities began to surveil them and openly mull felony charges. ...

"BDSM: Where dungeons can be sexy and pain is a good thing"

on Friday, 22 February 2013. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The State Hornet

The mood is set: lights are dim, candles are lit and the champagne has been flowing.

You are lying on the bed, waiting for your lover to return when, to your surprise, he or she pulls out some handcuffs. You’re feeling adventurous so you let them lock you in. He or she asks if they can flog you…you have no idea what this means.

BDSM or bondage/discipline, Dominance/submission and sadomasochism/masochism carries a stigma of violence and pain. It’s frowned upon in mainstream society although most people don’t realize they are already interested in it.

The use of handcuffs or blindfolds – even spanking - is a form of BDSM and is commonly accepted as rough sex. According to the 2005 Durex Global Sex Survey, 22 percent of people admitted to using handcuffs or blindfolds during sex. Nineteen percent liked spanking during sex, also known as flogging. The survery involved 317,000 people in 41 countries. Twenty percent of people have used some kind of bondage utility and five percent identify as being involved in the BDSM community.

Dungeon owner Brittany Delta said the biggest misconception about BDSM is that it’s serious.

“People think there’s no humor in it - they are dead wrong,” Delta said, “It’s whips and chains, yes, but it turns to wrestling and Stone Cold Steve Austin head locks. It’s lots of fun.”

People assume those who are into BDSM must have a psychological issue and desire to inflict pain onto another person. Charles Moser found, via survey, “There is no evidence at all supporting the theory of BDSM practitioners having any special psychiatric problems or even problems based solely on their preferences.”

Researchers presented data in 2007 to the World Congress of Sexology which showed that “BDSM is simply a sexual interest attractive to a minority, not a pathological symptom of past abuse or difficulty with normal sex.” Although some members of the BDSM community joke that they all have problems that brought them here.

Delta said she’s learned to accept others for who they are through owning a dungeon. ...

"Bondage photos rock B.C. RCMP"

on Friday, 06 July 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Toronto Sun

VANCOUVER -- B.C. Mounties are once again in damage control after graphic images of an officer engaged in violent bondage sex scenes were made public.

“I am personally embarrassed and very disappointed that the RCMP would be, in any way, linked to photos of that nature,” B.C.’s acting RCMP commander Randy Beck said in a statement Thursday, adding Mounties are conducting a code-of-conduct investigation.

Beck was responding to explosive photos allegedly showing Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jim Brown in various bondage scenes that were at one point posted on the Internet but since removed.

Some of those images obtained by QMI Agency depict a woman tied up, choked and slashed with a machete by a man identified as Brown, who apparently styled himself as the “Kilted Knight.” The scenes often appeared to involve simulated torture, with Brown in a dominant position.

Former RCMP consultant Dr. Mike Webster, speaking from his Denman Island, B.C., office Thursday, said he’d heard from at least two Mounties who knew about the racy pictures from a website Brown apparently ran nearly two years ago.

“(In one) series of picture, he comes upon a woman on the street. He stalks her, he captures her, he takes her somewhere, it’s a private location, he wraps her in cellophane … he puts his feet on her, he cuts her, she bleeds,” Webster said.

The psychologist, who worked with B.C. Mounties for more than 30 years, said the latest scandal is another severe blow to a force plagued by misconduct complaints in recent months — everything from allegations of sexual harassment to an officer accused of stealing cocaine.

Beck, meantime, explained the Coquitlam detachment commander found the images in December 2010 on a personal flash drive, but the pictures didn’t initially meet the “threshold” to be considered a violation of conduct — the images were deemed staged.

It wasn’t until March this year that a “code of conduct” investigation was opened when the photos were found on a personal website.

After the images went public Thursday, Beck said an “external” police agency would be asked to independently review the Mounties’ code-of-conduct investigation.

Brown has been placed on administrative duties.

The officer had “a very small role” in the investigation of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton, according to the Missing Women Inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal. ...

""Fifty Shades of Grey" a big hit in the suburbs"

on Saturday, 24 March 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

CBS

The erotic book, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is now a best-seller because women who can't put it down are sharing it with just about everyone they know.

The novel by British author E.L. James tells the story of a virginal college student seduced by an older chief executive officer. The book's being called "Twilight for moms."

But there's nothing PG-13 about it. Sari Cooper a sex and relationship expert, said of the book, "The more graphic domination, submission sex scenes, I think that's why it's creating more of a buzz. What woman are saying is, 'This is so hot.'"

Mostly through word of mouth, the novel and its two sequels, "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed," have topped the New York Times e-books chart.

Cooper said, "When women enter their late 30s or their 40s, they come into their own sexually, they're more willing and confident to start thinking about what they want, especially if they've been in a long-term relationship. So maybe it has hit that group and they happen to be at that age, so that they're really willing to be able to talk about it." ...

"BDSM and the Law"

on Tuesday, 26 April 2011. Posted in Media Updates

Femdom Magazine

...Having BDSM “depathologized” is one of the many projects on which the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is working.  According to its website (www.ncsfreedom.org), “NCSF is committed to creating a political, legal and social environment in the US that advances equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternative sexual and relationship expressions. The NCSF aims to advance the rights of, and advocate for consenting adults in the BDSM-Leather-Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory Communities.” Susan Wright, the coalition’s spokesperson, explained that even the change to paraphilia doesn’t provide protection.

“Right now, paraphilias (unusual sexual interests) are often diagnosable as mental illness. One of the criteria is: is the behavior ‘obligatory’?” Wright said.  “Many people who do BDSM believe it is their sexual orientation and can no more stop doing BDSM in their sex than homosexuals can stop having sex with same-sex partners.”

She noted that the group is seeing progress, fostered in part by  a petition drive and survey of more than 3,000 BDSM practitioners to prove to the American Psychological Assciation that the DSM is being used against Americans in ways the association never intended.

“The proposed changes in the DSM from the paraphilias subworkgroup now differentiate between sexual behaviors and mental illness so that paraphilias – sexual sadism, sexual masochism, cross-dressing and fetishes – are considered sexual behaviors and not mental illness,” Wright said. “The final result won’t be announced until 2013, but NCSF is very hopeful that the APA has now seen the light. We are already using the proposed changes successfully in family and criminal court to help BDSM practitioners.”

Wright said that the group is seeing a change simply in the way the current U.S. presidential administration approaches the subject and prosecutions.   Conservatives seem more focused on issues of socialism instead of alt sex.

“The Obama administration is also instructing the Justice Department to not pursue obscenity charges the way the Bush administration did,” Wright said.  “That means that businesses that deal in sexual images and text have some breathing room, just as they did under the Clinton administration. That allows the alt sex community to grow stronger when businesses can grow.”

One business sector who feel particularly persecuted are pro-Dommes.  As Wright noted, for pro-Dommes in the United States, the danger comes more from local enforcement agencies than federal ones, where, depending on the opinion of local officials, domination for pay could be treated as prostitution. ...