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
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 the past 18 months, NCSF's Consent Counts Project has almost exclusively focused on the legal and policy issues surrounding decriminalization of BDSM activities," says Leigha Fleming, NCSF Chairperson. "We have learned that the Consent Counts project also needs to do more to work within our own communities to better understand and articulate what consent is and to better educate about the importance of prior informed and ongoing consent."
NCSF is proud to announce the publication of two new guides "The Aftermath: A guide for victims of sexual assault and/or intimate partner violence in the BDSM community," by Natalie Quintero, and "When the Levee Breaks: A guide to dealing with and avoiding arrest and prosecution in BDSM scenes." "The Aftermath" is a compilation of advice that is regularly provided to victims who ask for help through NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response project. This guide will educate anyone in the BDSM community who has been victimized on what one might expect to experience after an assault, what one's options are, things to consider when weighing options and making decisions on what to do next, what one might expect if one decides to report the experience, as well as the resources available to assist in coping with and healing from abuse.
"When the Levee Breaks" is a companion to the NCSF publication, "The Aftermath," and is a guide to provide a perspective for those who have, through mistake, misunderstanding, or a fleeting lapse of reason, committed an act of criminally actionable sexual assault. It is not intended to provide a defense for indefensible acts. "When the Levee Breaks" also provides information on how to better protect oneself against arrest and prosecution.
You can join the NCSF Consent Counts community at FetLife to talk about these two new NCSF guides online! Join our Consent Counts group www.fetlife.com/consentcounts to discuss issues of consent with kinksters both in the US and around the world."Sexual abuse and intimate partner violence are a real problem in the kinky community. The nature of BDSM greatly increases the importance of having a clear definition for consent when addressing these issues - both inside our community and at the legal and legislative levels," says James Lennon, VP of FetLife. "That's why FetLife has decided to partner with the NCSF on the Consent Counts project. Together, we can make the BDSM community a safer place for everyone."
"The Aftermath" and "When the Levee Breaks" are only a couple of the tools developed by NCSF as part of our Consent Counts Project. In the coming year, Consent Counts will be presenting continuing legal education (CLE) programs to attorneys, prosecutors and law students, and participating selectively with "friend of the court" briefs in legal cases.To date, the Consent Counts Project has completed a review of the relevant laws in all 50 states and on the Federal level, and has developed educational programs and outreach materials. These resources, including a state-by-state guide of relevant consent related assault laws, the appellate legal cases involving criminal prosecution of BDSM as assault as well as some of legal cases relevant to the alternative sexuality communities have been posted on the NCSF website under Resources,
The final piece of the expanded Consent Counts project will be released by March 15, 2012. To facilitate a community-wide discussion on and about consent, Consent Counts has created a Community Discussion Guide and a survey that groups, munches, individuals and events around the country can use to create a framework for the thoughtful examination of the nuances of consent.
What do we mean by consent? When is consent invalidated? Does "safe, sane, consensual" still work as a community creed? Are there behaviors that the BDSM community doesn't accept? FetLife, an NCSF Coalition Partner, is generously providing a space for NCSF to facilitate this discussion within FetLife at www.fetlife.com/consentcounts. In addition, the survey will be available online via the NCSF website. Responses will be collected and collated and used to develop a community statement on consent that will be presented at the Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) in Seattle in 2013. For more information, go to www.ncsfreedom.org or contact Judy Guerin, Director, Consent Counts at
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 involve sex with a minor, drug and firearms possession, forced prostitution, sexual abuse, and torture to the point that the victim suffered a heart attack.
These activities should not be confused with consensual BDSM. People who engage in BDSM and other similar activities do so as consenting adults and in a safe, sane, and consensual manner. BDSM activities are not violent specifically because all participants can stop any time they wish. Millions of people engage in BDSM: according to the Kinsey Institute’s New Report on Sex, between 5-10% of the adult population engages in BDSM on at least an occasional basis.
NCSF strongly condemns criminals who commit violence and engage in non-consensual activities. We encourage the media to remember that the large community of consenting adults who engage in BDSM activities should not be conflated with these alleged crimes. Ordinary people do BDSM – parents, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. But because of the stigma against BDSM, most people are closeted and don’t speak out about their interests because they fear condemnation and discrimination.
The 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. We pursue our vision through direct services, education, advocacy, and outreach, in conjunction with our partners, to directly benefit these communities.
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.