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Plaintiff-Respondent, 10938/










Please take notice that,

Upon the annexed Affirmation of Michael Thomas Fois, and all the pleadings and papers had herein, the undersigned, counsel for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, respectfully moves this Court for leave to file the accompanying draft Memorandum of Law as amicus curiae.

Dated: New York, New York

January __, 1999


Respectfully submitted,



Attorney for Amicus Curiae
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
381 Manhattan Ave.
Brooklyn, New York 11211
(212) 353-8984

Attorney for Defendant-Appellant
148 East 78th Street
New York, New York 10021
District Attorney for the
County of New York
attn: Mark Dwyer
Assistant District Attorney
Appeals Bureau
One Hogan Place
New York, New York 10013

Sunday, 17 June 2007 18:37

Tips on Meeting with Elected Officials

Our legislators work for us. They want to know what we think about issues on the local, state, and national level. You can always write letters and should but actually meeting with your elected official is easier than you think.


Our legislators work for us. They want to know what we think about issues on the local, state, and national level. You can always write letters and should but actually meeting with your elected official is easier than you think.


What is a lobby visit?


A lobby visit is a meeting where you tell your elected representative what you think about a certain issue or bill. Whether it is a City Council Member or your Congressional Representative, as one of their constituents you can ask them to take action on an issue or legislation.

You can find the office of your local and national elected officials in your area. Some Members of Congress have more than one office in their congressional district, and permanent staff members are usually available for you to meet with.


Requesting Your Meeting


Make your request in writing and follow up with a call to the Appointment Secretary/Scheduler.


Suggest specific times and dates for your meeting


Let them know what issue or legislation you wish to discuss.


Make sure they know that you are a constituent.

    Prepare for Your Meeting


    Contact the NCSF to help you decide on your talking points, and get information that you can leave with your elected official.


    Decide who will attend the meeting. Bringing more than four or five people can be hard to manage


    Agree on talking points. Your goal is to make a strong case for your position, so don't disagree in the meeting. If a point is causing tension in the group, leave it out


    Plan out your meeting keeping in mind that time is limited. Decide who will start the conversation, and which points each person will make


    Decide what you want achieve. Do you want your elected official to vote for or against a bill? Do you want them to support your issue or oppose a restrictive ordinance? Ask them to do something specific.


    During the Meeting


    Be prompt and patient. Elected officials run on very tight schedules.


    Keep it short and focused. You will have twenty minutes or less with a staff person, and as little as ten minutes if you meet with your elected official. Stick to your talking points.


    Know your elected official's record on similar issues or legislation. Begin by thanking them for voting in support of your issues, and for taking the time to meet with you.


    Leave only a few pages of information that contain your main points. Include your contact information.


    Provide concise personal and local examples of the impact of the legislation or issue. This is the most important thing you can do in a lobby visit.


    You don't need all of the information on an issue. If you don't know the answer to a question, it is fine to tell the elected official that you will get that information. This gives you the chance to contact them again about the issue.


    Set deadlines for a response. You sometimes won't get a definitive answer at the meeting. Ask when you should check back in to find out what your elected official intends to do about your request. If you need to get information to them, set a date for when this will happen.

      After the Meeting


      Right after the meeting, compare notes with everyone in your group to confirm what the elected official committed to do and what follow up information you committed to send.


      One of you should promptly send a thank you letter for meeting with you.


      Follow up immediately with any requested materials and information.


      If the elected official or staff member doesn't meet the deadline for action you agreed to during the meeting, ask him or her to set another deadline. Be persistent, polite, and flexible.


      Let NCSF know what you learned during your meeting by e-mailing: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


      Meeting with your elected officials is the best way to demonstrate that there is a constituency for civil liberties in your district. It's easy to make a difference.




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      Full contact information for our Senators
      Sunday, 17 June 2007 18:33

      "SM vs. Abuse Policy Statement"

      Guidelines intended to help law enforcement and social services professionals understand the difference between abusive relationships vs. SM. Drafted in 1998 at the second Leather Leadership Conference.


      The following Principles and Guidelines are intended to help law enforcement and social services professionals understand the difference between abusive relationships vs. consensual sadomasochism (SM). SM includes a broad and complex group of behaviors between consenting adults involving the consensual exchange of power, and the giving and receiving of intense erotic sensation and/or mental discipline.


      SM includes: "intimate activities within the scope of informed consent that is freely given."


      Abuse is: "Physical, sexual or emotional acts inflicted on a person without their informed and freely given consent."




      The SM-Leather-Fetish communities recognize the phrase "Safe, Sane, Consensual" as the best brief summary of principles guiding SM practices:


      Safe is being knowledgeable about the techniques and safety concerns involved in what you are doing, and acting in accordance with that knowledge.


      Sane is knowing the difference between fantasy and reality, and acting in accordance with that knowledge.


      Consensual is respecting the limits imposed by each participant at all times. One of the recognized ways to maintain limits is through a "safeword" which ensures that each participant can end his/her participation with a word or gesture.



      Informed consent must be judged by balancing the following criteria for each encounter at the time the acts occurred:


      • Was informed consent expressly denied or withdrawn?
      • Were there factors that negated the informed consent?
      • What is the relationship of the participants?
      • What was the nature of the activity?
      • What was the intent of the accused abuser?
      • Whether an individual's role is top/dominant or bottom/submissive, they could be suffering abuse if they answer no to any of the following questions:
      • Are your needs and limits respected?
      • Is your relationship built on honesty, trust, and respect?
      • Are you able to express feelings of guilt or jealousy or unhappiness?
      • Can you function in everyday life?
      • Can you refuse to do illegal activities?
      • Can you insist on safe sex practices?
      • Can you choose to interact freely with others outside of your relationship?
      • Can you leave the situation without fearing that you will be harmed, or fearing the other participant(s) will harm themselves?
      • Can you choose to exercise self-determination with money, employment, and life decisions?
      • Do you feel free to discuss your practices and feelings with anyone you choose?


      These guidelines were created by activists and leaders at the Leather Leadership Conference in 1998.

      Sunday, 17 June 2007 18:31

      Sound Bites about Sex

      Guidelines for how to discuss the subject of sex with the news media.

      This document offers some simple suggestions on approaches to discussing sex, particularly as it relates to common situations that the executive directors of activist organizations may encounter. It was prepared with input from executive directors about issues affecting them and those knowledgeable about how to deal with GLBT issues surrounding sex effectively.


      General Techniques That Work Effectively:


      First, in any situation, it is important to gauge the "intent" of the individual making the comment or asking the question. Is this an ultra-conservative publication, reporter, or politician, or is it someone who is sympathetic to the issues?

      Be proactive about introducing the subject first or bringing up "onerous" topics once the subject has been introduced into conversation and it seems likely that the other party is moving to "attack". This takes away the "shock value" the other party has in introducing the topic in an inflammatory manner first. Simply stated, "The best defense is a good offense."

      Using direct, confrontational responses to insensitive and inappropriate comments or attacks related to sex and/or sexuality. This is usually best done in an "off the record" conversation with media (when possible, of course), or by taking the conversation "off-line for a minute" with politicians and others. Making the other party feel "small" or embarrassing them for trivializing or minimizing issues of civil rights by sensationalizing sex. This technique is particularly effective in public speaking or live media situations involving inappropriate comments, jokes or attacks.

      Disputing the incorrect and faulty research used by the radical right to perpetuate myths. Be very comfortable talking about issues of sex and sexuality and maintain a sense of confidence and sense of humor, which is often helpful in a public discourse on sex.


      Suggestions on What to Say About Sex


      The pluralist argument: Americans take a pluralistic stance in religious and political choices. We say we believe that each religion has a right to its way of practicing its faith and that each political party has a right to its specific platform and legislative goals. You may think one religion or party is better than another is, but you would never try to have your choice taught in the public schools and imposed by law on everyone. Such a pluralistic approach is considered a fundamental part of our constitutional rights in this country. But in sexuality we don't openly voice our support of sexual standards other than abstinence even when we believe in them. And we are much less tolerant of differences in sexual practices and in ideas about sex.


      Discuss "the freedom to love" and "loving relationships", which in normal, healthy relationships includes sex. If this involves a form of alternative sexual expression or non-traditional sex (e.g. anything other than the missionary position), talk about the issue in terms of the right to love the way you want, which includes sex in healthy adult relationships, providing it is consensual and not harmful. Use terms to discuss non-traditional sex such as "recognized as a normal and healthy form of sexual expression."


      Specific Things to Say About Sex Regarding:


      Hate Crimes


      "He made a pass at me in the bar." Respond with, "What if Matthew Shepherd did make a pass? He didn't deserve what happened. What if every woman in America who had ever been hit on in a bar used this excuse? (Or, in a more confrontational situation that allows an "off the record" conversation "What if Matthew Shepherd did stick his tongue in his ear and put his hand on his crotch, it still doesn't justify his being tortured and killed.")


      GLBT folks are "oversexed" or "always having sex"


      Once again, refer to this as a false stereotype perpetuated by the radical right with no scientific basis. It is also appropriate to expand this discussion into how even hand holding in public by GLBT partners is often portrayed by the radical right as "overt sexual", even when the activity is a normal and publicly accepted sign of affection in a loving relationship.


      Transgender Issues


      Stress that these issues are more about identity than about sex. Also, a transgendered person may be gay, but is at least equally likely not to be gay. Many people are curious about how transgendered people have sex and ask this insensitive question. A good response is, "Just like any one else, but this isn't about sex. It's about the serious discrimination and persecution that persists exactly because of the sensationalistic focus on sex such as questions like this one."


      The "sick joke or attack" in public


      When circumstances arise related to crude jokes or attacks in public related to sex, such as talk shows or public forums, use responses intended to embarrass the other party and change the subject. Use responses like, "I'd like to ask you how you think your inappropriate question/comment made those gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks sitting here with us tonight feel? I'm here to have a dialogue about serious civil rights issues affecting GLBT people, not provide a vehicle for crude entertainment or inappropriate discussions."


      Introducing sex politically


      It may be useful to begin by saying that these are issues on which many people hold strong and sensitive emotional opinions. But then stress that if we can't discuss sex issues in rational, objective, scientific terms, we leave people in the dark and create health risks and emotional problems and make discrimination and bigotry more likely.

      Sunday, 17 June 2007 18:31

      Sound Bites for the Swinger Community

      A detailed look at this effective technique to get your point across.

      Usually there is no graceful way to segue into a sound bite. That's fine, reporters are used to nonsensical conversations when they give interviews. Whatever the question, respond with one of your sound bites. Repeat these sound bites over and over. Out of a 1/2 long interview, you will be on the air for about 10 seconds or quoted once or twice in a newspaper. So don't ad lib. Keep repeating these sound bites below, as well as any sound bites you and your organization agree to provide to the media about your event or local group.

      You don't have to get all these in, sometimes it's best to pick a few and keep repeating them in different ways.


      General Soundbites about Swinging

      People involved in swinging in general are better educated about safe sex and sexual responsibility. Often these social events have educational components about consent, communication, as well as safe sex education.


      Millions of Americans are looking for a way to add a bit more spice to their sex life. The Lifestyle can be a consensual, safe, and fun way to strengthen and build healthy, caring relationships.


      Most adults who engage in swinging keep their sexual practices private. Unfortunately these people have experienced persecution, and even discrimination and child custody challenges because of the way they express their sexuality.


      The fact is that millions of Americans engage in swinging, and it is National Coalition for Sexual Freedom's mission to make sure that they can do so, without fear of harassment, violence, or discrimination.


      You really have to wonder what motivates people who would go to such extraordinary lengths to sensationalize someone else's private life. It's obvious that sex makes some people uncomfortable, and we think that these people should deal with their own issues.


      Lifestyle Clubs

      As long as it's consenting adults in a private space, it is no one else's business.


      This is not about sex, this is about a threat to our most basic constitutional rights - freedom of assembly and the right to privacy. (The 1st and 9th Amendments - the 9th grants freedom not specified, and numerous court cases in the past 40 years, including Lawrence v. Texas have confirmed an individual's right to privacy)


      If one group can shut down a private, legal event because they disagree with it, then everyone should be concerned about who is targeted next. Will it be a political convention? A religious gathering? As we've seen throughout history, when you start violating one group's constitutional rights, it can become a very slippery slope


      Everyone should be concerned about attacks on people's personal lifestyle because a small religious organization is using scare tactics to impose its way of thinking on everyone.


      Conferences like these are held every weekend in communities around the country without any incidents. Clubs like these are legally located in communities around the country.


      Swing conferences and events are run by local people. The guests are your neighbors and your co-workers. They are mothers and fathers.

      Swing conferences/clubs are legal. They are private. They are for adults only.


      Is swinging immoral?


      Swinging is the complete opposite of irresponsible promiscuity. The Lifestyle involves couples consensually sharing playful, loving life experiences--sexual and otherwise.


      Research shows that most Americans support privacy rights for consenting adults to choose and practice safe, sane and consensual sexual loving relationships, regardless of marital status.


      Of course many people prefer monogamy and aren't interested in developing intimate relationships with more than one person. Swingers aren't trying to convert anyone. We are adults living our lives how we choose, and no one has the right to dictate our personal choices.


      Benefits of Swinging


      People involved in swinging tend to get a lot of experience with communicating their desires, feelings, and boundaries. It's well-established that good communication builds healthy relationships.


      The Lifestyle can meet more of one's emotional, intellectual, and sexual needs through accepting that one person cannot provide everything.

      Positive elements to swinging: increased personal freedom; greater depth to social relationships; the potential for sexual exploration in a non-judgmental setting; a strengthening of spousal bonds; a sense of being desired; a feeling of belongingness; added companionship; a greater abundance of love; increased self-awareness; intellectual variety; and the chance for new aspects of personality to emerge through relating to more people.


      Challenges of Swinging


      People who decide to open their relationship to include others must be secure in the strength of their partnership bond, and comfortable in developing relationships with new people.


      Jealousy is a natural emotion and is a signal that additional communication and negotiation must occur in order to keep the relationship healthy.


      Latest Research


      Bergstrand, Curtis and Jennifer B. Williams, "Today's Alternate Marriage Styles: The Case of Swingers,"
      The Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality October 10, 2000.

      Jenks, Richard J., "Swinging: A Review of the Literature,"
      Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1998, 27:5, p 507.

      A detailed look at this effective technique to get your point across to the media.

      Usually there is no graceful way to segue into a sound bite. That's fine, reporters are used to nonsensical conversations when they give interviews. Whatever the question, respond with one of your sound bites. Repeat these sound bites over and over. Out of a 1/2 long interview, you will be on the air for about 10 seconds, which is usually one or two of your sound bites. Or you get one quote in an article. So don't ad lib. Keep repeating these sound bites below, as well as any sound bites you and your organization agree to provide to the media on local issues.

      You don't have to get all these in, sometimes it's best to pick a few and keep repeating them in different ways.


      Safe, Sane and Consensual

      This is a must! Say it over and over and over like a mantra. "Over fifteen years ago, a community-wide ethic was established known as "safe, sane and consensual". This credo has permeated SM literature and lore far beyond the subculture of the organized community." Or "We constantly discuss issues of consent, which are the basis of safe, sane and consensual sexual education."


      If They Want Specific Definitions:

      1. "Safe" is being knowledgeable about what you are doing. Each participant must be informed about the possible risks, both mentally and physically.
      2. "Sane" is knowing the difference between fantasy and reality. Knowledgeable consent cannot be given by a child, or if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
      3. "Consensual" is respecting the limits imposed by each participant. One of the most easily recognized ways to maintain limits is through a "safeword" - in which the bottom/submissive can withdraw consent at any time with a single word or gesture.

      The Need for Educational and Social SM Gatherings

      It's important to emphasize the contributions our educational and social groups make to society. We teach people how to do SM safely and consensually, and that takes hands-on instruction and community discussion. Say, "Our group has existed for 10 years as an educational and social group, teaching people how to do SM safely and consensually." Say, "Our group is only one of over 500 educational and social organizations that exist in America for SM-Leather-Fetish practitioners." Or "Like the gay and lesbian community in the 1960's, the people in our community feel very alone and isolated. We provide a place for them where they can get the support of their peers, where they don't have to be ashamed or afraid of who they are."


      Safe Words

      Say, "Safewords are key to consensual sexual activities." "The participants can stop what's happening at any time with a pre-arranged word, or by saying safeword."


      Communication and Negotiation

      Say, "We negotiate before engaging in SM or fetish practices to make sure that what we do is fun for both of us." Or "People who play together must learn how to communicate exactly what we want"


      Sensual, Loving Sexual Expression

      Emphasize that SM is done between loving, communicative partners. It is mutually pleasurable for all involved. SM is stimulation that is often perceived in a sexual way. Stimulation is a great word to use--it is clear and non-threatening unlike "flogging" or "spanking" etc.


      Defining SM, Dominance & Submission and Bondage

      Stay away from going into an SM 101 and don't give any lessons on technique. The most effective soundbites talk about issues of discrimination and injustice against our communities. If they ask, what exactly is SM? You say, "SM is sensory stimulation, either physical or mental, that is interpreted as pleasure." Please try to get the reporter to write SM, not S&M - that evokes the old stereotypes and we are trying to get around that. S&M stands for sadism & masochism while SM stands for sadomasochism; inherent in the word is the mutual necessity for both as well as the consent involved.


      Statistics of Practitioners

      According to the 1990 Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex, released by St. Martin's Press:

      "Researchers estimate that 5 percent to 10 percent of the U.S. population engages in diverse sexual practices for sexual pleasure on at least an occasional basis, with most incidents being either mild or staged activities involving no real pain or violence." That would bring the number of practitioners into the millions, with many, many more who do things like love bites or holding their lover's hands down. Say "Most are just like your neighbors, doctor, bus driver, even your sister or uncle. There are probably 1 in 10 people in your office who practice SM as a loving form of sexual expression."


      Combat Stereotypes

      Say, "Contrary to stereotypes, there are many women who enjoy being sexually dominant, and many more people who enjoy switching roles." Or, "People can roleplay with roles and experience things they normally wouldn't get to do in their real life."


      Discrimination and Violence

      This one is also extremely important because most people don't realize how much we are attacked and closeted because of our sexual expression. "Discrimination and violence happens every day to people like you and me just because they engage in diverse sexual practices such as SM or fetishes. Discrimination ranges from family pressures, to job loss, to loss of child custody." Or "The NCSF Violence & Discrimination Survey 1998 found that 1/3 of over 1000 people surveyed suffered some form of discrimination or persecution--losing their job or even their children because of the myths and stereotypes of SM. Another 36% suffered violence--were physically attacked--because of the stereotypes about SM." Or "According to the NCSF survey, 4/5ths of the people surveyed are closeted to the rest of the world out of fear of serious repercussions."


      SM Practitioners Are Not Sick

      In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association changed its medical definition of SM in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM 4) so that it is no longer automatically defined as a mental illness. Say "As long as a person's SM practices don't interfere with their day-to-day life, it's considered to be a healthy form of sexual expression."

      If you or your organization needs help in reaching out to the media, contact Susan Wright with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom's Media Outreach Program at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

      You don't have to answer the interviewer's exact question.

      You rarely see the question in TV or print interviews, only the response. So feel free to pick out one word or phrase in the question and respond to that. For example, if they ask, "What do you think when people say you're eroticizing violence?" give one of your sound-bites: "Safe, sane and consensual sexual expression is not violence because at any time the participants can stop what's happening." For example, if they ask, "What does your husband think about you cheating on him?" give one of your soundbites:
      Don't repeat nasty or inflammatory phrases.
      See the above question - and don't repeat, "SM isn't eroticizing violence because..." or "Swinging is not cheating..." That makes their point for them.
      Universalize the questions.
      If the reporter says something like, "You people who beat each other up..." or "You people who have sex with other people..." then respond with, "We, like you and everyone else in America, believe we have First Amendment rights to express our sexuality in any way that is safe and consensual."
      Use standard terms rather than "scene" language.
      If you start saying "scene" and "munch" and "leather" and "vanilla" and "top" and "bottom" etc. then people won't understand you. Use vanilla terms as much as possible, or very rarely use terms and define them as you use them. ie "The top, that is the person giving the stimulation, must respect limits."
      Keep repeating your sound bites.
      It doesn't make for a stimulating conversation, but that's the way professionals get their point across. The reporter will ask their question several times, trying to get you to expand on what you're saying, to get a more sensational quote. Just be firm and keep repeating your point. They will respect you for it, and will print the sound bites you give them. Check out our recommended sound bites for the SM, swing and polyamory communities.
      Flag your sound bites.
      This is done by saying, "The most important thing to remember is that sadomasochists educate each other about safe, sane and consensual sexual practices." Or "A key part of having engaging in polyamory is communication prior in order to negotiate both partner's limits and desires."
      Don't do anything sexual on camera.
      In this case, a picture is NOT worth a thousand words. Don't let reporters take pictures of your polyamory family sitting on the bed. Don't do an SM scene in front of a camera. We need activists who will speak up for the SM-Leather-Fetish communities and explain the serious issues such as discrimination and violence against our people.
      Wear appropriate attire.
      This means business or casual wear, such as an activist t-shirt. Don't wear revealing fetish wear or lingerie. See above--a picture is NOT worth a thousand words. If our communities want to be taken seriously, we must present an image that the average person can relate to.
      Don't utter a word you aren't prepared to see in print.
      Reporters will try to make you comfortable with them, to chat with them informally. Those are usually the quotes they use. You aren't there to make friends or "sell" the reporter on alternative sexuality, you are there representing the community and yourself in the best light possible. Stay friendly, but reserved, and think before you speak. If you make a misstep, then stop and start all over again. Then the reporter will have to use the completed thought.
      Don't do or say anything you feel uncomfortable with.
      By the time you get into an interview, then the story will be printed or produced no matter what you do. You are completely free to say NO to anything you don't like. It is highly unlikely the reporter will just walk away and end the interview, even if they try to say you MUST do something or answer something. If the reporter keeps insisting, use one of your sound bites: "We believe that consent is the basis of any good relationship. You are becoming abusive by not respecting my limits."
      Use the name of organizations.
      Say you're a member of NCSF or the International Lifestyle Association. Mention the name of your local group. Explain that many groups are educational and social organizations that have been in existence for many years: "Over 500 educational and social, nonprofit groups exist in America for SM-Leather-Fetish practitioners."
      Be animated, confident and happy.
      In TV interviews in particular, often the best thing is not what you say but how you say it. People will remember the image of your happy, confident expression much longer than the words you say.
      Sunday, 17 June 2007 18:17

      How to Write a Letter to the Editor

      Guidelines for making your letter to the editor a powerful advocacy tool! It's easier than you think!

      Why should I write a letter to the editor?

      Letters to the editor are an effective way to convey a positive image of alternate sexual practices such as SM, polyamory and swinging. Letters help to de-stigmatize negative social myths and misconceptions about these types of practices. These letters help achieve the advocacy goals of NCSF because they:

      • Reach a large audience
      • Are monitored regularly by elected officials
      • Can introduce new information not addressed in a news article
      • Foster an impression that there is widespread support for or opposition to an issue

      We also suggest that you send copies of letters that you write to members of Congress to your local newspaper editors. These letters are often published to highlight a specific issue in the editorial section.

      Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor

      • Keep your letter short and on one subject. Newspapers typically have strict space limits for the editorial section and limited space. Keeping your letter short helps your chances of getting the letter published in its entirety, without important points being edited by the newspaper.


      • Make sure your letter is legible and words are spelled correctly. Your letter may be simple and short, but make sure that spelling is correct and handwriting (if typing or WP in not used) is legible.


      • Include your contact information. Newspapers sometimes call to verify a person's identity or address and will usually only publish letters with complete names and addresses. It is recommended that you also include a telephone number, if possible. Newspapers keep this information confidential and usually publish the person's name and city only.


      • Reference the publication and article. Many newspapers only print letters referencing a specific article. Include the specifics such as "As a concerned resident of Baltimore, I am writing in reference to your article in the latest issue of (insert publication name), dated July 23rd titled "SM and the Law."


      • Describe what you liked or didn't like about the article. NCSF sometimes includes a recommended response on important topics stating our position, which can be easily tailored to fit your personal use.


      • Personalize your opinion with the news article. Use examples that reference your own experience. Examples are: "As someone who has experienced job discrimination because of my alternative sexual practices, I feel strongly that·", or "As a long-time member of the polyamory community, I think·".


      • Frame yourself to establish common ground with the reader. We believe that it is important to frame yourself so readers relate to something you have in common with them. Frame yourself in terms of things like "parent, professional, involved member of my local community, proud U.S. citizen, former military officer, retired person, young person", or other ways that might enable you to relate to the readers as an individual they share something in common with. This also helps dispel the myth that alternative sexual expression is "wrong" or "abnormal."


      • Reference positive facts. Check out our recommended sound bites for the SM, swing and polyamory communities.


      • Stress the importance of national communities that promote safe and consensual sexual practices among adults through mentoring and education.


      • Focus on the issues, not the sexual practices. Try to focus the letter on violence and discrimination. The media already sensationalizes sexual activities and portrays them negatively most of the time. Try not to give them, or the radical right, any more ammunition than they already have by discussing your own sexual practices.


      • Point out that SM, swinging and polyamory is fun and enjoyable. The images and words depicted through the media about SM in particular are often negative and frightening to those who don't understand it. Words like "violence" are often associated with it wrongly, and the activities are frequently sensationalized and misrepresented. Discuss the caring relationships, intimacy, trust and communications aspects of these relationships whenever possible, stress that you like and enjoy it, and don't be afraid to mention that humor and laughter can also be part of these activities.


      • Send actual letters or faxes when possible. An actual letter or fax is generally given more weight by a publication than something received only by e-mail. If possible, send an actual letter by mail or send a fax in addition to the e-mail, particularly on issues of particular importance to you.


      • Send letters to community newspapers also. It's often much easier to get letters published in small publications than larger ones. If you're sending a response to a larger publication, copy the smaller newspapers as well.


      • Send letters to NCSF.  Be sure to send a copy of your letters to NCSF so we can track responses. Send to NCSF at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 1312 18th Street, NW, Suite102,  Washington, DC 20036.

      These procedures are intended to guide NCSF staff member(s) who are assigned to individuals and/or a local community to assist after an incident. Incidents in relation to this program are defined as "negative encounters with law enforcement and/or other authorities". Since incidents can vary from a raid on a party with one or more arrests, to attacks on local groups or clubs, these procedures are meant only as a guide.

      After an initial assessment, NCSF may offer assistance to the persons directly involved and/or the SM-Leather-Fetish or swing groups involved, or impacted by, the incident. Both the persons and the groups involved may, or may not, elect to receive some or all of the assistance offered by the NCSF.

      Regardless, it is up to the local community to decide whether to rally around individual(s) who have been arrested, and to determine if it is the community's responsibility to help prevent the establishment of bad case law that will affect SM or swing practitioners in the future. The community needs to keep in mind that while they are supporting those who are arrested, they must also educate officials in order to prevent the same crisis from happening in the future.

      It is the NCSF staff member's initial responsibility to offer the assistance options to the involved persons and the local community.

      NCSF is not legal aid, nor do we offer specific legal advice for individuals. NCSF is a resource for the members of the kink, poly and Lifestyle communities and for people seeking information about them. NCSF provides publicly available information on kink and nonmonogamy for consenting adults. We advocate on behalf of the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities.

       GET HELP NOW!

      Monday, 18 June 2007 07:11

      What is SM?: Appendix A

      American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. These criteria are listed in the Paraphilia section, pg. 525.

      Diagnostic criteria for 302.83 Sexual Masochism:

      • Over a period of at least six months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the act (real, not simulated) of being humiliated, beaten, bound or otherwise made to suffer.
      • The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Diagnostic criteria for 302.84 Sexual Sadism

      Learn more about NCSF's work to depathologize BDSM in the DSM

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      Page 7 of 33
      In the News

      In the News

      • Press Release - NCSF Marching Forward

        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE National Coalition for Sexual Freedom     Marching Forward: NCSF proactively advocates for sexual freedom   November 19, 2008 - NCSF is proud to be the only group in the country with a national mission committed to changing the political, legal and social environment for those involved with the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. The new board of NCSF was voted in at the annual Coalition Partner…

        Tags: DSM Incident Response KAP Media Outreach EOP
      What is SM?


      • EOP Overview
        EOP Overview Mission Statement and a brief description of goals and presentations offered
      • Law Enforcement Field Guide to SM
        Law Enforcement Field Guide to SM The purpose of this brochure is to provide law enforcement with a basic level of understanding about adults whose sexuality and lovemaking includes consensual sadomasochistic (SM) activities, and to provide information to assist you when you encounter an SM event.
      • SM vs. Abuse - Leather Leadership Conference Statement
        SM vs. Abuse - Leather Leadership Conference Statement This brochure is intended to help law enforcement and social services professionals understand the difference between abusive relationships vs. consensual sadomasochism (SM).
      • Wallet Card
        Wallet Card (Word document) A pocket reference for dealing with law enforcement


      • Approaching Your Local Authorities
        Approaching Your Local Authorities The purpose of this presentation is to educate law enforcement, prosecutors, or other authorities about SM-Leather- Fetish and/or swing practices on behalf of a local group(s). …
      • Child Custody & Divorce: Considerations for Alternative Lifestyles
        Child Custody & Divorce: Considerations for Alternative Lifestyles The problems that arise in child custody disputes between spouses and partners create special concerns for members of the SM/leather/fetish/poly communities. In…
      • Doing SM Related Legal Research
        Doing SM Related Legal Research The law is interpreted – sometimes to our favor, and sometimes not.  For example, while the NCSF firmly believes that consensual SM activity between adults…
      • Event/hotel negotiation
        The purpose of this material is to assist SM/Leather/Fetish groups who are considering hosting an alternative lifestyle event. The goal in presenting this material is to assist in developing a…
      • Field guide for law enforcement
        The following is a handout prepared by The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom aimed at educating law enforcement on the realities of SM. The purpose of this handout is to…
      • How to choose an attorney
        Choosing a lawyer can be difficult, especially if you have to do it at the time you are arrested.  If at all possible, establishing a working relationship with an attorney…
      • Juvenile/CPS/Child Services for BDSM Parents
        Juvenile/CPS/Child Services for BDSM Parents The concerns that result from contact with local and state child welfare authorities are occasionally troublesome for members of the SM/leather/fetish/poly communities. It is often…
      • Life & Death Issues for the Alternative Community
        The purpose of this presentation is to acquaint members of the alternative lifestyle communities  with issues that may arise from the nature of their relationships both during life as well…
      • Police Interactions ? What to do when you deal with police
        Police Interactions ? What to do when you deal with police Your basic legal rights and responsibilities may not always be clearly defined by law enforcement officials. If stopped or…
      • Protecting Your Event
        Protecting Your Event There are many considerations organizers must contend with when planning a large event. Large events include educational and social conferences, leather contests, weekend play parties, vendor markets,…
      • Protecting Yourself Legally
        Protecting Yourself Legally Members of the SM/leather/fetish communities have always had some level of concern regarding the issues of privacy, discretion, and personal security. The Radical Right, employers, ex-partners, and…
      • SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
        SM Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues It is important for SM/leather/fetish groups to have an understanding of the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement and of the…
      • Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues
        Swing Groups & Law Enforcement: Group Issues It is important for swing groups and businesses to have an understanding of the relationship between the swing community and law enforcement, as…
      • The Alleged Domestic Violence Call
        The Alleged Domestic Violence Call It is important for SM/leather/fetish persons to have an understanding of the relationship between the SM community and law enforcement and of the numerous legal…
      • Traveling With Toys
        Traveling With Toys While there have always been security issues involved in travel, the current political climate, as well as new legislation, has changed the procedures used to achieve security,…
      • What is SM Presentation
        For detailed information about the content of this presentation, please visit What is SM?
      • Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses
        Zoning for SM & Swing Groups and Businesses Zoning and permit issues are commonly used as a tool of local governments when seeking a method to attack SM groups and…

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      Educational Outreach: We're Making a Difference

      • Over 20 different workshops available for presentation by trained professionals.
      • Over 400 EOP workshops presented across the country in the last 12 years.

      About Educational Outreach

      The Education Outreach Program is designed to help educate those inside and outside the community about important issues relevant to those who practice consensual BDSM, swinging and polyamory.

      Program Goals:
      • To assist SM-Leather-Fetish, swing and polyamory groups and communities in their efforts to educate themselves about issues that affect their communities and individual relationships
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      • To assist alternative sexuality groups and communities in their efforts to educate and work with their local law enforcement and other authorities
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