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Media Update – December 1, 2008

1. An Interview With A Real Life NYU Dominatrix
2. Modern Sex: Power-Play 101
3. Bloggers Strike Back over KOMO’s Sexphobic Smear
4. Behave! Toeing the legal line with a dominatrix
5. Rape or consent to sex?

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom — Media  Update
December 1, 2008

NCSF Media Updates represent a sampling of recent stories printed in US
newspapers, magazines, and selected websites containing significant
mention of SM-leather-fetish, polyamory, or swing issues and topics.

These stories may be positive, negative, accurate, inaccurate – or
anywhere in between.

NCSF publishes the Updates to provide readers a comprehensive look at what
media outlets are writing about these topics. NCSF permits and encourages
readers to forward these Updates where appropriate.

An Interview With A Real Life NYU Dominatrix
by Jessica Roy
NYU Local (NY)
December 1, 2008

Some people spend hours at shitty work-study jobs pretending to look busy
while actually browsing Facebook, but one NYU student – who goes by the
name Mistress Ava – wears leather, humiliates people and gets paid for it.
Here’s what she had to say about working as a dominatrix this summer.

JESSICA: What made you decide to work as a dominatrix?

AVA: I’ve always considered myself sexually open and so when, several
summers ago, I found myself living with a seemingly normal girl who worked
in this line of business, I was quick to become fascinated. I asked a lot
of questions and wasn’t freaked out by any of it and thus my curiosity was
piqued. When I came back to NYC, I started making a few bucks here and
there off Craigslist and when classes ended and I was without a job, I
made the decision to apply to dungeons and make it official.

J: How easy was it to break into the business?

A: It was rather easy because I fit the role, but emotionally it was
incredibly taxing. First I had to be sure that, with every possible tool
of the trade suddenly at my whim, I was really comfortable with what could
possibly happen and then, when I started and I was actually okay with it,
I had to really look into myself and figure out what the hell was wrong
with me that I wasn’t freaked out. Sure, I got a great job right away, but
it wasn’t easy on my demeanor.

J: What kind of things did your job entail?

A: One of the first things I did was sit down and write out my bio and a
list of do’s and dont’s. According to my boss, I had a very open mind but
there were a lot of things I wouldn’t do because I found them sexual. My
do’s were all things that, though I might do in my private life, I knew I
could mentally disconnect from and find completely un-erotic. My dont’s
were those things that were too close to actual sex for me not to see them
that way. For instance, anything involving penetration on a male. There is
no sex involved whatsoever but they can ask for strap-on play and that was
never on the menu with me. I also avoided any touching with my hands
because that felt a bit too “real sex” for me. A lot of girls are
genuinely into dominating a man and while I find it extremely fun, it is
not a sexual thing for me, which is why I couldn’t stick with it.


Modern Sex: Power-Play 101
by Kama Yama
The Bi-College News (Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges)
November 30, 2008

Have you ever wanted more? Wanted it harder, faster, and more aggressive?
Or did you want to be dominating, pushing and testing your lover’s limits?
Or the other way around – wanting your partner to push your limits?

Power-play, also known as bondage, S/M, discipline, and role-playing,
among other names, can be extremely erotic. Sexual power-play can be mild
with light nibbles to extreme with hard bites. It can range from light
spanking to whipping. It can involve special equipment, or it can be done
with everyday items.

Power-play is not about pain, humiliation, degradation. Power-play is
always consensual and about trust. The dominant person does not want to
hurt or harm the submissive partner. The dominating partner trusts that
the submissive partner will communicate vocally or through expressions
what they are feeling.

Meanwhile, the submissive partner trusts that the dominant partner will
pay close attention to every detail of every expression, both vocally and
physically, and act in an appropriate manner. It’s about communication and
lust. When aroused, what would normally be painful is pleasurable and
heightens the arousal level. Power-play can also be about empowerment and
doing something you would not ordinarily do, just to do it because you
want to try it.

The draw to power-play is often about stepping outside of one’s daily role
and trying something different, and afterwards, not having any expectation
from your partner to be on top or to be on the bottom. It is not referred
to or brought into daily life, except in its own context. It is an escape
from reality. Some people follow a specific script or a predetermined
scenario, while others just go with the flow. No matter what the situation
is, it is always a good idea to have a safety word, phrase, or gesture
that signals the other partner to stop. Both partners must trust each
other to communicate any pain or discomfort during play.

Another point about power-play is that it does not necessarily involve
penetrative sex, even among heterosexual couples. It can be about either
partner’s pleasure, or enjoying your partner’s pleasure at what you do for
them in either a dominant or submissive position. Sometimes, the
dominating partner does everything possible to bring the submissive
partner to orgasm but then stops just before the orgasm, thus torturing
the submissive partner until they experience an explosive orgasm.


Bloggers Strike Back over KOMO’s Sexphobic Smear
by Dominic Holden
The Stranger (Seattle, WA)
November 25, 2008

Until recently, a TV station could hype an erroneous news story about a
raunchy controversy, grab a few viewers at 11:00 p.m., and titillate them
with scandal – without any re-percussions from anybody. But lately, thanks
to the internet, the mainstream media is finding it harder to get away
with hack reporting.

Case in point: On November 17, KOMO 4 News ran a “Problem Solvers” segment
about the Center for Sex Positive Culture, a private sex club with 2,500
active members and a sister organization that teaches classes on having
better sex. News anchor Dan Lewis announced that Allena Gabosch, the
organization’s executive director, “is seeking state and federal money
finance part of her sex organization.”

Cut to KOMO’s Marlee Ginter – the aforementioned “problem solver”
– taking
a tour of a windowless sex room. “I went to the club on one of its busiest
nights. I saw people naked, fondling, flogging,” says Ginter. Then,
lilting her voice: “And even having sex.”

But the problem for this “problem solver” was supposedly with the center’s
funding. The organization’s club is a 501(c)(7) nonprofit. Its tax
exemption, Ginter argued, is the equivalent of a government giveaway.

“She obviously found a way around the system,” says a random woman in
Ginter’s report – included, presumably, to demonstrate public outrage
about the center’s finances.

However, Gabosch tells The Stranger, “We do not get money from the
government or from tax dollars” to fund the club or the organization’s
sex-education wing. Indeed, IRS rules for (c)(7)s state that “a club
should be supported solely by membership fees, dues, and assessments,”
which are not tax deductible. And the sex-education wing of the
organization is a separately funded 501(c)(3), which also receives no
government funding.

In her report, unsurprisingly, Ginter never cites IRS rules. Instead, she
focuses on sexual taboos like bondage beds. In an apparent effort to prove
the state is failing to regulate the club, she interviews Tabitha
Blacksmith, a spokeswoman for the Charities Program of the Washington
Secretary of State, which only tracks nonprofits’ contributions. Ginter
asks, “So you guys won’t even determine… you’re not a charity, you’re
sex club.” Blacksmith explained to Ginter that was outside the state’s

“We don’t have anything to do with [verifying] the (c)(3) or (c)(7),”
Blacksmith told The Stranger a week after the interview. “That’s the IRS.”

According to IRS rules, in order to qualify as a 501(c)(7), organizations
must maintain “personal contact, commingling, and face-to-face fellowship.
Members must share interests and have a common goal directed toward
pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofitable purposes.”

By the IRS’s standards, in other words, it practically has to be a sex

But Ginter never brings up the tax rules governing groups like the center
– probably because citing what those rules actually say would undermine
the premise that there is a “problem.”

The morning after KOMO’s sexposC) aired, Stranger editorial director Dan
Savage launched an online assault on KOMO for its “sex-negative posturing”
and called on readers of Slog, The Stranger’s blog, to e-mail complaints
to Ginter. The post was linked on numerous websites. Meanwhile, the video
of the segment went up on YouTube.

KOMO pulled the piece from its website the next day. But the controversy
was a dozen blog posts and thousands of YouTube views from being over.
“KOMO’s Marlee Ginter Might Be Sucking Off Goats,” two headlines readba
reference to Ginter’s insinuation that the center “might be” getting
from the government. After all, it was just as true that Ginter “might be”
blowing goats as it was that the Center “might be” getting government

Within a day, that headline became the second Google result for Ginter’s


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Behave! Toeing the legal line with a dominatrix
by Briam Alexander
November 24, 2008

Is it legal to hire a dominatrix as long as you don’t actually have sex?
And what does it mean exactly when a woman happily partnered with a
longtime boyfriend suddenly starts longing for a lady lover? Sexploration
answers your most intimate queries. Got a question? E-mail us.

Q: Paying for sex is illegal in most of America, but what about paying for
fetish services? Can you legally hire a dominatrix or escort for any of
the countless things besides intercourse? Where is the line drawn?

A: If you have a hankering to strap on a codpiece and pay a woman for the
privilege of scrubbing her floors while she drips hot wax on your back,
the legal line is drawn at the border of the state or country in which you

If you live in the United Kingdom, you can scrub away. Formula One
president Max Mosley may have been embarrassed when spy pictures taken of
his professional interactions with dominatrices popped up in a British
tabloid, but he wasnbt doing anything illegal by paying them for a stern
scolding and a little spank.

But if you live in Arizona, where the law defines paying for “flagellation
or torture by or on a person who is nude or clad in undergarments or in
revealing or bizarre costume or the condition of being fettered, bound or
otherwise physically restrained on the part of one so clothed” as illegal,
you can wind up in trouble.

In New York City, you probably wouldn’t. But across the river in New
Jersey, you would. Get the picture? Even within states, laws can vary from
town to town, says Susan Wright, spokesperson for the National Coalition
for Sexual Freedom. “It is a big gray area”, Wright explains. Often, she
says, “it depends on how the district attorney wants to interpret the
prostitution laws and how they define sexual conduct”.

Some states are so specific they make sex read like an instruction manual
for assembling an IKEA bookcase. But some leave it vague. Generally, if
money is changing hands and somebody is inserting anything into anybody
else or touching genitals, it’s probably against the law. Beyond that,
though, you have to research the laws where you live. You may wish to skip
the money and get to know people happy to participate free of charge by
attending a convention, or searching the Web. Many fetish enthusiasts I
have interviewed found each other on social networking sites.


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Rape or consent to sex?
Prosecution: Man had history of bondage with 2 women
by Ed Palattella
The Erie Times-News
November 20, 2008

A Venango County man is claiming he and a woman were engaged in consensual
sex when he bound and gagged her with duct tape inside a Millcreek
Township motel room on March 6.

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office is contending that the
defendant, Paul J. Sweetapple, 29, committed rape. And the prosecution —
at a trial that continues with jury deliberations today — presented
evidence from two women to try to prove its case.

The first was the woman in the March incident, who was 27 at the time and
is the mother of Sweetapple’s son.

The second was a woman who said Sweetapple engaged in similar behavior
with her in Franklin in 2004, when she said he tied her up with a
telephone cord during what the prosecution also characterized as forced

“It’s a common plan,” Assistant Erie County District Attorney Erin
Connelly told the jury of Sweetapple in her closing argument on Wednesday.
“He’s going to get his sex however he can. He’s into bondage.

“He did it once, and he did the same thing again.”

Judge John Garhart, who is presiding, agreed with the prosecution and let
the jury hear about the other woman’s experience with Sweetapple, which
she had documented in a protection-from-abuse complaint.

Connelly told the jury the testimony of both women supported physical
evidence that showed the woman in the March incident suffered from
reddened and damaged skin and genital bleeding shortly after Sweetapple
had sex with her at the El Patio Motel, 2950 W. Eighth St., where he was
living, on March 6.

Sweetapple, of Kennerdell, south of Franklin, took the stand in his own
defense and said the sex was consensual, and that he and the woman had
participated in bondage during sex before.

“It was our thing, ma’am,” he told Connelly during cross-examination.

Sweetapple said he was paying child support to the woman — she said he
was behind — and that he would pay her extra money if she performed
sexual favors on him. He denied that woman’s testimony that he bound the
woman, stuffed her underwear into her taped mouth and that he threatened
to put a plastic bag over the woman’s head and kill her if she did not
have sex with him on March 6.

“The whole thing is not true, ma’am,” Sweetapple testified.

The trial, which started Tuesday, was filled with jarring testimony of
what the prosecution said was Sweetapple’s violent and extreme sexual



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