March 4, 2012 -- Everyone is talking about the run-away success of the novel Fifty Shades of Gray by E. L. James, the first book in a BDSM romance trilogy. On March 1st, 2012, the novel hit #1 on the Amazon ebook bestseller list in the genre, romance and erotica categories.
The book got a big boost from The Today Show, with supervising producer Joanne LaMarca saying, “I downloaded a copy and don’t think I put it down until I finished it, despite what the pilot on my flight to Florida said. I can say, along with many other women I’m sure, that reading this book is very good for your marriage!"
In a segment televised on Today on March 2, 2012, sexologist Dr. Laura Berman touted the appeal of submission: “Now we’ve moved on to a new generation where women are more empowered than ever before, the glass ceiling has been broken, and we have as much control as we want—and what are we longing for? A little bodice-ripping.”
NCSF supports the open discussion taking place about Fifty Shades of Gray, and celebrates the fact that acceptance of kinky sex between consenting adults is taking place. NCSF has worked hard to educate the media and the public about BDSM, and the benefit of having responsible, healthy sex through negotiation, communication, trust and honesty.
The only sour notes were sounded by Today’s Chief Legal Analyst Savannah Guthrie, and Dr. Drew Pinsky, who called the BDSM romance “violence against women”:
“But there is something about this. It’s not just a matter of steamy sex scenes. The context is this bondage, this submission, and frankly stripped bare: violence against women,” said Guthrie.
“It does disturb me actually… the swept-away fantasy is a common fantasy but as you’re saying, Savannah, it’s going beyond that into violence against women,” said Pinksy.
The voice of reason was relationship expert Dr. Logan Levkoff who said, “I’ve read these books. I don’t see these particular books as violence against women.” She added, “The community has very organized rules. It’s consensual. Let’s be clear, this does not depict rape or anything like that.”
NCSF believes that adults who engage in BDSM with other consenting adults, as well as those who just want to fantasize about roleplay and power dynamics, should not be stigmatized. Experts who voice their opinions on television should make the distinction that consensual sex is good and nonconsensual sex is violence. Until that happens, the BDSM community will continue to be discriminated against and persecuted because of the misconception that we are violent people.
NCSF has been the national advocacy resource for BDSM, swing and polyamory communities since 1997. For more information about BDSM, contact Susan Wright at 917-848-6544 or email
NCSF’s Coalition Partners Join Together for Consent Summit The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition Partner meeting in Phoenix, Arizona from February 8-10, 2013. The Consent Summit took place Friday evening, and Coalition Partners were able to participate via streaming video to give their input on the new Consent Statement. Go to www.ncsfreedom.org to see the Consent Statement and comment on it. “The Consent Statement…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE National Coalition for Sexual Freedom NCSF Survey on Consent The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) wants to hear from you! Please take our Consent Counts survey and tell us what you think about consent: www.ncsfreedom.org/survey.html As part of decriminalizing BDSM in the legal codes, we need to be able to articulate a clear definition of consent that the BDSM communities believe in. The results of this…
NCSF Launches the Next Chapter for Consent Counts February 27, 2012 The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) announces two new publications as part of its nationwide campaign, Consent Counts. The Consent Counts Project was launched by the BDSM-leather-fetish communities in 2006 to decriminalize consensual BDSM in U.S. law by ensuring that consent will be recognized as a defense to criminal charges brought under assault laws and other statutes. "For…
Our BDSM communities could be adversely impacted by a well-intentioned, but overly broad, piece of proposed criminal legislation that has been introduced by Senator Christine Kehoe in the California Senate. NCSF is asking all of you to sign and send to NCSF letters (a draft is attached below) that we can introduce if necessary at a hearing likely to be held in April, 2011. The purpose of the bill, SB…
In an indictment rendered by a Grand Jury in the Western District of Missouri on September 9, 2010, five Missouri men allegedly participated in torturing a mentally disabled woman online or in person over a multi-year period when the victim was between the ages of 16 and 24. Among the charges are: Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud or Coercion, Forced Labor Trafficking, Transportation for Sexual Activity, and Conspiracy. The allegations…
Developed Educational Programs and Outreach Materials
Built Alliances With Sexual Freedom Advocacy Groups
About Consent Counts
NCSF is leading a major national campaign—Consent Counts—to change the laws and police practices that our communities now endure, and to establish that consent is available as a defense in criminal BDSM prosecutions.
BDSM is prosecuted as assault in the U.S., even when it is consensual.
No state or appellate court has allowed consent as a defense to assault in BDSM cases.
Consent Counts is a nationwide project to decriminalize consensual BDSM.
Program Goals: Consent Counts is a nationwide project to decriminalize consensual BDSM through education, advocacy, legal actions and lobbying.