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Displaying items by tag: Sexual Behaviors

NCSF was asked by the DSM Paraphilias subworkgroup to respond to their proposed changes to the DSM's consensual paraphilias.  This is our letter to the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior that was published on July 15, 2010. 

Depathologizing Consensual Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Transvestic Fetishism, and Fetishism

[Letter to the editor]

Archives of Sexual Behavior


Archives of Sexual Behavior
July 16, 2010
DOI: 10.1007/s10508-010-9651-y 
The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com


Corresponding author:
Susan Wright
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
410 Guilford Ave, #127
Baltimore, MD 21202
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Depathologizing Consensual Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Transvestic Fetishism, and Fetishism

[Letter to the Editor]

         The DSM-V Paraphilias Subworkgroup's suggested revision to differentiate between paraphilias and Paraphilic Disorders appears to be a step forward in depathologizing unusual sexual interests. Paraphilia diagnoses are regularly misused in criminal and civil proceedings as an indication that individuals cannot control their behavior; these individuals turn for assistance to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), a national advocacy organization that advances the rights of, and advocates for consenting adults in the BDSM-leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities. 

         One recent child custody case referred to NCSF illustrates the common misunderstanding that legal and social service professionals have with the DSM-IV-TR, and is the first documented reaction to the proposal to differentiate between paraphilias and Paraphilic Disorders. The children were removed in July 2009 while psychological evaluations were performed on the mother and the children, which concluded there was no mental illness.[1} However the case worker with the Department of Social Services Children's Division in the Midwestern state where this case occurred sent the following January 21, 2010 letter to the mother’s court appointed psychologist: (DSS, 2010):

         "With regards to [mother's] alternative lifestyle; can she separate this from her parenting? There has been some questions arise from other team members regarding her sexual sadism. These are as follows:

         "We were made aware at the last FST meeting that while all parties involved have seen the information provided regarding [mother's] blog and website, no action has been taken to determine how it affects the children or is factored into the stated case goal of reunification with [mother]. The following information is relevant:

A. Sexual Sadism is considered a form of paraphilia in accordance with the DSM-IV-TR.

B. [Mother] admitted in court on March 9, 2009 that she was a "domme" – slang for a female sexual sadist.

C. Sexual Sadism involves inflicting pain and suffering on another individual in order to achieve sexual arousal." …

         "Sexual sadism on the web has the following information: 'The essential feature of sexual sadism is a feeling of sexual excitement resulting from administering pain, suffering or humiliation on another person. In extreme cases, sexual sadism can lead to serious injury or death for the other person. According to the DSM these catastrophic results are more likely when the paraphilia is diagnosed as severe, and when it is associated with antisocial personality disorder.[2}  They may experience distressed or impaired functioning because of the sadistic behaviors or fantasies. This distress and impairment may be due to the fact that the partner is not consenting. The diagnosis of sexual sadism is complicated by several factors, beginning with the fact that most persons with the disorder do not voluntarily enter therapy.'"

         "[Mother] indicated she gave up this lifestyle in March. However the blog and stories that were found were posted to her website in May. There are concerns that she is still a moderator of the [BDSM] yahoo group. I have attached pages from her website in hopes that you can explore with [mother] her current involvement with this alternative lifestyle."

         The CPS letter concludes with the recommendation that: "Even though [mother] is complying with attendance in therapy, we feel the above issues need to be explored and addressed."

         At the final permanency hearing in February, 2010 the mother's lawyer submitted to the judge the proposed revisions for the DSM-V to separate the paraphilias from Paraphilic Disorders, resulting in a court determination to re-evaluate her entire case. The judge specifically chastised the Department of Social Services for not being aware of the proposed changes for the DSM-V. Based on the proposed revisions, in March the mother was awarded custody of three of the children, with the father retaining custody of one child in order to take advantage of his health care coverage.

         As this example shows, when individuals who practice BDSM are brought to the attention of authorities, they are regularly misdiagnosed with a mental disorder. In 2009, NCSF was asked for help by 132 people regarding child custody/divorce issues directly involving their alternative sexual practices (NCSF, 2009). The year before, a total of 157 individuals contacted NCSF for help with child custody/divorce issues (NCSF, 2008).  In total, almost 500 people each year request help from NCSF because of discrimination or persecution due to their alternative sexual practices.

         Therefore the implications of "ascertaining a paraphilia" and "diagnosing a paraphilic disorder" are critical to depathologizing consensual paraphilias. I am concerned that if sexual sadism receives its own diagnosis code separate from Sexual Sadism Disorder, social services and legal professions will continue to think that anyone who practices consensual sexual sadism (or sexual masochism, fetishism and transvestic fetishism) therefore has a mental disorder.

         The consensual paraphilias should be mentioned as the healthy comparison to a Paraphilic Disorder, much like various sexual behaviors are referred to in the proposed Hypersexual Disorder. Cybersex and masturbation don't have separate diagnosis codes in the DSM, and it is equally erroneous to assign separate codes for the paraphilias when they are not mental disorders or of clinical concern. For the same reason, the consensual paraphilias shouldn't be listed among the V-Codes.

         Separating sexual behaviors (paraphilias) from the mental disorders (Paraphilic Disorders) is the first step in depathologizing consensual alternative sex. The second step is defining what exactly constitutes clinically significant distress. NCSF often consults with individuals who suffer distress and impairment in their social and occupational lives (ie. interpersonal difficulties) because their desires conflict with current societal standards. These standards stem in a large part from the DSM itself: pathologizing unusual sexual interests has led to increased discrimination and discouraged individuals from seeking treatment for physical and mental health problems (Wright, 2008).

         A distinction must be made in the DSM-V between distress imposed by societal stigma, and distress that is generated internally. As seen in the above referenced child custody case, mental health professionals are not the only ones who consult the DSM. When attorneys, judges, and social workers read the diagnoses in the DSM, they see "distressed or impaired" as the determiner of mental illness. Without a comprehensible definition, they look at the individual who is on trial or in a child custody battle, and that individual certainly appears distressed. They even speculate that if the individual gave up their BDSM practices, then their life wouldn't be in disarray, so clearly they must be suffering a mental disorder because their sexual behaviors are obligatory or "obsessive" (DSS, 2010).

         Therefore the current list by which distress and impairment are diagnosed must be rejected: 1) are obligatory, 2) result in sexual dysfunction, 3) require participation of nonconsenting individuals, 4) lead to legal complications, or 5) interfere in social relationships. Legal complications and interpersonal difficulties are common consequences of the stigma and discrimination against BDSM practices. In the Second National Survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities, a total of 1,146 (37.5%) of the respondents indicated that they had either been discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence (Wright, 2008). As a result, 60% of the 3,000 respondents are not "out" about their BDSM interests; the stress of being closeted and/or coming out promotes distress and impairment in these individuals, similar to that experienced by homosexuals.

         In addition, once a Paraphilic Disorder is diagnosed, can it ever be in remission? If so, what are the mechanisms for determining that? If the distress and impairment are resolved, does the individual go back to the ascertainment category? As of now, once a mental disorder is diagnosed, it appears to apply for the lifetime of the individual.

         Finally, it must be made clear that Paraphilic Disorders are extremely rare. In particular, the descriptive text for Sexual Sadism Disorder needs to clearly state that it is limited to forensic populations, and, as Krueger (2009) states, "virtually all of the published papers using DSM criteria for Sexual Sadism have been done on studies of forensic populations." This will help prevent the conflation of those who practice consensual paraphilias with those who have a Paraphilic Disorder.


[1] All names and locations have been removed to protect the identity of those involved.

[2] Bolded in original letter despite there being no evidence the mother has antisocial personality disorder.


References

Krueger, R.B. (2009). The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Sexual Sadism. Archives of Sexual Behavior, published online 08 December, 2009.

Department of Social Services, Children's Division. January 21, 2010 letter.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (2009) (retrieved 5/7/10). 2009 Incident Response Report
     [Online]. Available: https://ncsfreedom.org/index.php?option=com_keyword&id=318

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (2008) (retrieved 5/6/10). 2008 Incident Response Report
     [Online]. Available: https://ncsfreedom.org/index.php?option=com_keyword&id=308

Wright, S. (2008) (retrieved 5/6/10). Second National Survey of Violence & Discrimination
     Against Sexual Minorities [Online]. Available: https://ncsfreedom.org/images/pdfs/BDSM_Survey/2008_bdsm_survey_analysis_final.pdf

Download a PDF of this article.

Published in DSM Resources

NCSF was asked by thge DSM Paraphilias subworkgroup to respond to their proposed changes to the DSM's consensual paraphilias.  This is our letter to the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior that was published on July 15, 2010. 

Depathologizing Consensual Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Transvestic Fetishism, and Fetishism

[Letter to the editor]

Archives of Sexual Behavior


Archives of Sexual Behavior
July 16, 2010
DOI: 10.1007/s10508-010-9651-y 
The final publication is available at here


Corresponding author:
Susan Wright
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
410 Guilford Ave, #127
Baltimore, MD 21202
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Depathologizing Consensual Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Transvestic Fetishism, and Fetishism

[Letter to the Editor]

         The DSM-V Paraphilias Subworkgroup's suggested revision to differentiate between paraphilias and Paraphilic Disorders appears to be a step forward in depathologizing unusual sexual interests. Paraphilia diagnoses are regularly misused in criminal and civil proceedings as an indication that individuals cannot control their behavior; these individuals turn for assistance to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), a national advocacy organization that advances the rights of, and advocates for consenting adults in the BDSM-leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities. 

         One recent child custody case referred to NCSF illustrates the common misunderstanding that legal and social service professionals have with the DSM-IV-TR, and is the first documented reaction to the proposal to differentiate between paraphilias and Paraphilic Disorders. The children were removed in July 2009 while psychological evaluations were performed on the mother and the children, which concluded there was no mental illness.[1} However the case worker with the Department of Social Services Children's Division in the Midwestern state where this case occurred sent the following January 21, 2010 letter to the mother’s court appointed psychologist: (DSS, 2010):

         "With regards to [mother's] alternative lifestyle; can she separate this from her parenting? There has been some questions arise from other team members regarding her sexual sadism. These are as follows:

         "We were made aware at the last FST meeting that while all parties involved have seen the information provided regarding [mother's] blog and website, no action has been taken to determine how it affects the children or is factored into the stated case goal of reunification with [mother]. The following information is relevant:

A. Sexual Sadism is considered a form of paraphilia in accordance with the DSM-IV-TR.

B. [Mother] admitted in court on March 9, 2009 that she was a "domme" – slang for a female sexual sadist.

C. Sexual Sadism involves inflicting pain and suffering on another individual in order to achieve sexual arousal." …

         "Sexual sadism on the web has the following information: 'The essential feature of sexual sadism is a feeling of sexual excitement resulting from administering pain, suffering or humiliation on another person. In extreme cases, sexual sadism can lead to serious injury or death for the other person. According to the DSM these catastrophic results are more likely when the paraphilia is diagnosed as severe, and when it is associated with antisocial personality disorder.[2]  They may experience distressed or impaired functioning because of the sadistic behaviors or fantasies. This distress and impairment may be due to the fact that the partner is not consenting. The diagnosis of sexual sadism is complicated by several factors, beginning with the fact that most persons with the disorder do not voluntarily enter therapy.'"

         "[Mother] indicated she gave up this lifestyle in March. However the blog and stories that were found were posted to her website in May. There are concerns that she is still a moderator of the [BDSM] yahoo group. I have attached pages from her website in hopes that you can explore with [mother] her current involvement with this alternative lifestyle."

         The CPS letter concludes with the recommendation that: "Even though [mother] is complying with attendance in therapy, we feel the above issues need to be explored and addressed."

         At the final permanency hearing in February, 2010 the mother's lawyer submitted to the judge the proposed revisions for the DSM-V to separate the paraphilias from Paraphilic Disorders, resulting in a court determination to re-evaluate her entire case. The judge specifically chastised the Department of Social Services for not being aware of the proposed changes for the DSM-V. Based on the proposed revisions, in March the mother was awarded custody of three of the children, with the father retaining custody of one child in order to take advantage of his health care coverage.

         As this example shows, when individuals who practice BDSM are brought to the attention of authorities, they are regularly misdiagnosed with a mental disorder. In 2009, NCSF was asked for help by 132 people regarding child custody/divorce issues directly involving their alternative sexual practices (NCSF, 2009). The year before, a total of 157 individuals contacted NCSF for help with child custody/divorce issues (NCSF, 2008).  In total, almost 500 people each year request help from NCSF because of discrimination or persecution due to their alternative sexual practices.

         Therefore the implications of "ascertaining a paraphilia" and "diagnosing a paraphilic disorder" are critical to depathologizing consensual paraphilias. I am concerned that if sexual sadism receives its own diagnosis code separate from Sexual Sadism Disorder, social services and legal professions will continue to think that anyone who practices consensual sexual sadism (or sexual masochism, fetishism and transvestic fetishism) therefore has a mental disorder.

         The consensual paraphilias should be mentioned as the healthy comparison to a Paraphilic Disorder, much like various sexual behaviors are referred to in the proposed Hypersexual Disorder. Cybersex and masturbation don't have separate diagnosis codes in the DSM, and it is equally erroneous to assign separate codes for the paraphilias when they are not mental disorders or of clinical concern. For the same reason, the consensual paraphilias shouldn't be listed among the V-Codes.

         Separating sexual behaviors (paraphilias) from the mental disorders (Paraphilic Disorders) is the first step in depathologizing consensual alternative sex. The second step is defining what exactly constitutes clinically significant distress. NCSF often consults with individuals who suffer distress and impairment in their social and occupational lives (ie. interpersonal difficulties) because their desires conflict with current societal standards. These standards stem in a large part from the DSM itself: pathologizing unusual sexual interests has led to increased discrimination and discouraged individuals from seeking treatment for physical and mental health problems (Wright, 2008).

         A distinction must be made in the DSM-V between distress imposed by societal stigma, and distress that is generated internally. As seen in the above referenced child custody case, mental health professionals are not the only ones who consult the DSM. When attorneys, judges, and social workers read the diagnoses in the DSM, they see "distressed or impaired" as the determiner of mental illness. Without a comprehensible definition, they look at the individual who is on trial or in a child custody battle, and that individual certainly appears distressed. They even speculate that if the individual gave up their BDSM practices, then their life wouldn't be in disarray, so clearly they must be suffering a mental disorder because their sexual behaviors are obligatory or "obsessive" (DSS, 2010).

         Therefore the current list by which distress and impairment are diagnosed must be rejected: 1) are obligatory, 2) result in sexual dysfunction, 3) require participation of nonconsenting individuals, 4) lead to legal complications, or 5) interfere in social relationships. Legal complications and interpersonal difficulties are common consequences of the stigma and discrimination against BDSM practices. In the Second National Survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities, a total of 1,146 (37.5%) of the respondents indicated that they had either been discriminated against or had experienced some form of harassment or violence (Wright, 2008). As a result, 60% of the 3,000 respondents are not "out" about their BDSM interests; the stress of being closeted and/or coming out promotes distress and impairment in these individuals, similar to that experienced by homosexuals.

         In addition, once a Paraphilic Disorder is diagnosed, can it ever be in remission? If so, what are the mechanisms for determining that? If the distress and impairment are resolved, does the individual go back to the ascertainment category? As of now, once a mental disorder is diagnosed, it appears to apply for the lifetime of the individual.

         Finally, it must be made clear that Paraphilic Disorders are extremely rare. In particular, the descriptive text for Sexual Sadism Disorder needs to clearly state that it is limited to forensic populations, and, as Krueger (2009) states, "virtually all of the published papers using DSM criteria for Sexual Sadism have been done on studies of forensic populations." This will help prevent the conflation of those who practice consensual paraphilias with those who have a Paraphilic Disorder.

 


[1] All names and locations have been removed to protect the identity of those involved.

[2] Bolded in original letter despite there being no evidence the mother has antisocial personality disorder.

 


References

Krueger, R.B. (2009). The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Sexual Sadism. Archives of Sexual
     Behavior, published online 08 December, 2009.

Department of Social Services, Children's Division. January 21, 2010 letter.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (2009) (retrieved 5/7/10). 2009 Incident Response Report
     [Online]. Available
    
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (2008) (retrieved 5/6/10). 2008 Incident Response Report
     [Online]. Available

Wright, S. (2008) (retrieved 5/6/10). Second National Survey of Violence & Discrimination
     Against Sexual Minorities

 

For more information and current press releases.  

             

S&M! Lewd Ken dolls! Worhington's wild weekend.
The Other Paper (Columbus, Ohio)
February, 12, 2009

Despite Right Wing Pressure, Straight BDSM Gathering Goes Forward
The Boston Edge
February 10, 2009

Interview with Susan Wright, Spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
Kasidie Magazine
October 2008

Shrinks: Kinky Sex is a Mental Disorder
Mom Logic
September, 19, 2008

 

For some, Gitmo interrogation techniques are a real turn-on
New Jersey Star-Ledger
August 2008  

Leather Scene Not as Gay as Imagined: Many gay folk in the bondage S/M scene relate more to the leather community than the LGBT community
By Bill Schoell
NY Blade
August 08, 2008

Man on video in R. Kelly trial: He did what?
By Rex W. Huppke
Chicago Tribune
June 8, 2008    

Daddy do-right; The Sexies Awards
By Dan Savage
Detroit Metro Times
March 5, 2008  

Death shines light on dangers of sex play
By Carly Weeks
Globe and Mail
February 28, 2008  

Bound and Flagged: Members of Seattle kink community face discrimination in custody battles
By Jason Simms
The Stranger
February 21, 2007

When three's no crowd
By Rachel Breitman
Gay City News
October 25, 2007   

Media, critics get whipped into frenzy by Leather Fest
By Jefferson Siegel and Lincoln Anderson
The Villager (NYC)
October 10 - 16, 2007   

Pollard denied access to papers; Justices refuse to hear appeal
By Guy Taylor
The Washington Times
March 21, 2006

Arts Briefly: Justices reject photographer's appeal
By Ben Sisario
New York Times
March 21, 2006   

Foes of Anti-porn Law Prep Appeal To Supreme Court
By Fresia Rodriguez Cadavid
Technology Daily
August 22, 2005  

Spanking Jessica Cutler: Capitol Hill attorney sues Washingtonienne for exposing his kinks
By Rachel Kramer Bussel
Village Voice
May 31, 2005 

Nothing wrong with sex
UCLA Daily Bruin
Feb 14, 2005   

Waltham sex boutique aims to attract couples
By Joshua Myerov
Boston Globe
October 14, 2004

Sex, art & politics takes on John Ashcroft
By Susan Wright
San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia
August 30, 2004 

Iowa State U.: Iowa State Board of Regents next to receive Cuffs appeal.
By Morris L. Manning
The America's Intelligence Wire
June 1, 2004   

Iowa State U.: Members of Iowa State U. bondage group appeal assault verdict
By Tom Barton
The America's Intelligence Wire
May 3, 2004  

East Carolina U.: Club focusing on fringe sexuality denied East Carolina U. association.
The America's Intelligence Wire
April 8, 2004   

Iowa State U.: Group wants Iowa State U. Cuffs charges dropped.
The America's Intelligence Wire
By Tom Barton
February 23, 2004  

Kenner police heavy-handed
The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
October 20, 2003  

Sex club is shut down: Restraining order targets 'private' fetish group in Lakewood
By Ann Schrader
Denver Post
May 21, 2003   

Queen of Pain, Dominatrix: I'll whip courts over sex rap
Philadelphia Daily News
August 27, 2003   

Slap leather, S&M lovers: 'Thunder' to peal soon
By Ann Schrader
Denver Post
June 1, 2003   

Controlling clubs a zoning matter
By Peter Ward
The Sun (Lowell, MA)
December 28, 2002   

A taste of the whip for Saddam: U.N. weapons inspector Jack McGeorge's leadership role in the Washington S/M scene isn't a liability, says a friend -- it'll help him distinguish between fantasy and reality.
By Kerry Lauerman
Salon
December 3, 2002   

Monitor irons out kinks with UN
By Joe Williams
NY Daily News
November 30, 2002   

U.N. begins searches in Iraq
By Maggie Farley, John J. Goldman And John Hendren
Los Angeles Times  
November 28, 2002   

No background checks on applicants: Critics say U.N. inspectors are inexperienced
By James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post
November 28, 2002  

Cendant, sex lobby communicate but don't make up
Lodging Hospitality
October 1, 2002   

Cendant spars with sexual freedom lobby
Lodging Hospitality
August 1, 2002   

Bound by a boycott
The Advocate
May 28, 2002   

Sex-Oriented convention opens today despite effort to ban it
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 27, 2002   

What is going on in that ballroom?
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 25, 2002   

Senator will try to block sadomasochism seminar
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 22, 2002  

Senator wants sex seminar outlawed,  says event is 'absolutely dangerous'
Belleville News-Democrat (St . Louis, MO)
April 22, 2002 

Hotel will host seminar, despite objections from Southern Baptists...
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 7, 2002   

One more faction whips Congress
The American Enterprise
March 1, 2002

Group with unconventional tastes draws ire over gathering
By Burt Constable
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
February 7, 2002

The erotic web offensive
By Annalee Newitz
AlterNet
January 14, 2002   

New suit targets obscenity law
By Julia Scheeres
Wired
December 12, 2001 

Tough Love: Inside the city's growing sadomasochistic scene
Philadelphia Daily Ne
ws
July 10, 2001

Kinky find a cause in 'Paddleboro'
By Amy Pagnozzi
Hartford Courant
March 9, 2001   

Lawsuit targets last scraps of Net-obscenity law
By Sam Costello
CNN
December 20, 2001   

New Suit Targets Obscenity Law
By Julia Scheeres
Wired
December 12, 2002

1976 case seen a key to Attleboro sex party charges
By Cindy Rodriguez
Boston Globe
July 17, 2000

N.Y. woman charged in Mass. spank party
By Leo Standora
NY Daily News
July 13th 2000

Safe, sane and consensual' is rule for sadomasochists
By Stacy Downs and Dawn Bormann
The Kansas City Star 
June 16, 2000 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NCSF Profile
An interview with Leigha Fleming, then-interim Executive Director of NCSF.

On Our Backs
Tristan Taormino interview former NCSF Executive Director Judy Guerin.

 

 

Published in NCSF in the News!

Sweden takes sexual behaviors off their disease list

November 25, 2008 -

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare is declassifying sexual behaviors as mental illnesses to avoid strengthening prejudice against the behaviors, the Swedish news service Tidningarnas Telegrambyra reported last week. The diagnoses which will soon disappear from the disease registry include sadomasochism, fetishism, fetishistic transvestitism, transvestitism, gender identity disorder in youth, and multiple disorders of sexual preferences. NCSF applauds Lars-Erik Holm, the head of the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), who made the decision to declassify the behaviors because they are not illnesses in and of themselves, nor are they something perverse. "These diagnoses are rooted in a time when everything other than the heterosexual missionary position were seen as sexual perversions," Holm said. 

 "The NCSF's DSM Revision Project has the same goal to change or remove these harmful diagnoses," says Susan Wright. "We know from the hundreds of requests for help that NCSF gets every year through our Incident Response program that Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Fetishism and Transvestic Fetishism diagnoses in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) reinforce the negative stereotypes and stigma against alternative sexual behaviors." 

To support NCSF's DSM Revision Project, please sign the petition (www.ncsfreedom.org) that will be sent to the APA urging them to adhere to scientific research when revising the diagnoses in the DSM. To find out more about this project, read the NCSF and the ITCR: NCSF Foundation's White Paper posted on www.ncsfreedom.org

A joint Project of NCSF and ITCR: The Foundation of NCSF

Published in Press Releases
Resources for Media

Resources for Media

Includes vital statistics on alternative sexual expression, interview contact list, and a selection of articles from national publications.

Community Resources

Community Resources

Includes tips on how to speak to the media, sound-bites on alternative sexual expression, and a primer on how to write a letter to the editor.

"NCSF" in the News

"NCSF" in the News

CDA Media Reports

CDA Media Reports

Media reports covering the Communications Decency Act lawsuit launched by co-plaintiffs NCSF and Barbara Nitke.

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  • Wired - December 12, 2001

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  • New York Press - August 28, 2002

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  • New York Newsday - July 25 2005

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  • New York Daily News - July 15, 2002

    Fotog vs. Feds in Obscenity Law: Files suit to keep photos on Web by Veronica Vera New York Daily News, July 15, 2002 Photographer Barbara Nitke is used to being behind the lens, but if legal matters heat up, she may soon find the government focusing on her. Nitke is ready to step into the foreground as the chief plantiff in Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • Nerve - December 11, 2001

    Nerve December 11, 2001 Photographer Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) filed a lawsuit today, claiming the Internet censorship provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) violates the First Amendment right to free speech. The provision stipulates that "local community standards" will judge whether or not something is indecent. Yet attorney John Wirenius argues that "By allowing the most restrictive jurisdiction to define what speech can…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • CNN - December 20, 2001

    Lawsuit targets last scraps of Net-obscenity law By Sam Costello (IDG News) CNN, December 20, 2001 The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) and artist Barbara Nitke have filed a lawsuit challenging the remaining provisions of the Communications Decency Act, much of which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997. The act, or CDA, was passed in 1996 and was the first U.S. law designed to allow…






    Tags: CDA Media
  • Adult Video News - February, 2002

    NCSF Tackles "Community Standards" For The Web By Mark Kernes Adult Video News, February Issue Washington, DC The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom may not be a household name, even in the adult entertainment industry, but if their recently-filed lawsuit succeeds, they may go down in history as the first group to secure Americans' core constitutional speech rights.  NCSF is based in the nation's capital [~] in fact, only a…






    Tags: Media CDA News
  • ABC News - July 29, 2002

    Love or Obscenity? S/M Photographer Challenges Internet Decency Standards By Dean Schabner ABCnews.com, July 29, 2002 When Barbara Nitke wanted to put her photographs of loving couples on the Internet, she thought she should check into the laws first. That's because Nitke's recent photographs have been focused on how some couples express their love through sado-masochism. What Nitke found after reading up on Internet law and talking to lawyers was…






    Tags: Media CDA
NCSF Newsletters

NCSF Newsletters

A quarterly newsletter produced by the NCSF staff to inform our communities about the important work our coalition is doing.

  • NCSF Newsletter: 1st Quarter 2015

    NCSF Newsletter 1st Quarter, 2015 edited by Julian Wolf In this issue Mid-Atlantic Region Hosts the Coalition Partner Meeting NCSF Thanks! Daily Flogger Satire Dommes of the DC Sub Club Do it Again! Guest Blog: Disclosure and Outness as a Therapist Incident Reporting & Response Media Updates Representing on FetLife   The Mid-Atlantic Region hosts NCSF's Coalition Partners Annual Meeting   The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition…





    Written on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 11:25
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 4th Quarter 2014

    NCSF Newsletter 3rd Quarter, 2014 edited by Julian Wolf In this issue 2014 Roundup NCSF Thanks! Incident Reporting & Response Daily Flogger Satire Guest Blog: Out To The Doctor? Are You Ready for 50 Shades? Media Updates Representing on FetLife NCSF's 2014 Roundup         2014 has been a year of progress for NCSF and for people who are kinky and nonmonogamous. The national conversation about gay marriage, consent, and…





    Written on Monday, 05 January 2015 14:08
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 3rd Quarter 2014

    NCSF Newsletter 3rd Quarter, 2014 In this issue NCSF Mental Heath Survey Incident Reporting & Response NCSF Thanks! Merchant Services Question A Touch of Humor Media Updates Representing on FetLife NCSF Mental Health Survey Please take the NCSF Mental Health Survey! We would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences:   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FZ2XDMP    NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University's Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to…





    Written on Friday, 19 December 2014 16:32
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2014

    NCSF Newsletter 2nd Quarter, 2014 In this issue Go to the Cops Poly in the Vanilla World Meet Your Board Coalition Corner Media Updates Available for Your Event Representing on FetLife  Go to the Cops  Susan Wright You CAN go to law enforcement to report assault even if you're kinky. I get so mad when I hear people say, "You can't go to the cops," or "They'll treat you badly because…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:16
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 1st Quarter 2014

    NCSF Newsletter 1stQuarter, 2014 In this issue Erotic Awakenings Take the Consent Violations Survey 2014 Annual Meeting Meet Your Board DC Professional Dominatrixes Rock NCSF Expands Its Legal Resources Polyamory as Orientation? Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy Representing on FetLife Erotic Awakening interviews NCSF Board Member Jsin  Listen to NCSF Board Member Jsin's interview about NCSF that took place at the recent Beat Me in St. Louis. Hear what…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 09:45
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 4th Quarter 2013

    NCSF Newsletter 4th Quarter, 2013 In this issue Happy New Year! NCSF's Consent Violations Survey 2014 Annual Meeting Meet Your Board Sexual Freedom in the News An Obituary for Leigha Fleming Representing on FetLife Happy New Year!   From all of us at the NCSF we hope you had a wonderful holiday season and your new year is already great.   Return to Top Coming Soon! NCSF's Consent Violations Survey  …





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 04:10
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2013

    NCSF Newsletter 2nd Quarter, 2013 In this issue Come talk about BDSM and consent! The DSM-5 Says Kink is OK! Why Support or Join NCSF? Representing on FetLife  Come Talk about BDSM and consent! NCSF's Consent Counts project is holding discussions around the country to gather your input on our Consent Statement so we can move forward to change laws and perceptions of BDSM. Kinky people still have significant legal, political and…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 03:49
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 1st Quarter 2013

    NCSF Newsletter 1st Quarter, 2013 In this issue NCSF's Coalition Partners Join Together for Consent Summit Meet the Board NCSF presents at Yale Law School's RebLaw NCSF Launches Fire Recovery Fund Testing the Waters Coalition Corner Representing on FetLife 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…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 03:26
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 4th Quarter 2012

    NCSF Newsletter 4th Quarter, 2012 In this issue NCSF 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting in Phoenix Scholarships Available for Annual Meeting Support from a Leather Bar Meet Your Board: Candidates for Reelection Foundation Liaison to Present at Poly Living Coalition Corner Representing on FetLife  NCSF 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 8-10   Please mark this date in your calendars.   In order to make reservations at the Drury Inn & Suites…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 03:00
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 3rd Quarter 2012

    NCSF Newsletter 3rd Quarter, 2012 In this issue NCSF 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting in Phoenix Representing on FetLife International Swingers Day NCSF at FetFest Coalition Corner Meet Your Board!  NCSF 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 8-10   Please mark this date in your calendars!   In order to make reservations at the Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Airport and get the group rate of $109, please reference group #2151272 when you…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 02:44
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
Press Releases

Press Releases

  • NCSF’s 2014 Roundup

    NCSF’s 2014 Roundup    2014 has been a year of progress for NCSF and for people who are kinky and nonmonogamous. The national conversation about gay marriage, consent, and even Fifty Shades of Grey are transforming mainstream attitudes. The change in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 stating that BDSM is a healthy form of sexual expression has also had a significant impact on both the courts and public opinion about…





    Written on Sunday, 28 December 2014 15:51

  • National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: Are you ready for the Fifty Shades of Gray Movie?

    Does your media agency have resources for these special interest pieces?  Contact the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for interviews and information on kink and open relationships. NCSF is the national advocate for consensual adult sexual expression.    Why kink?   There has been a significant interest in BDSM sparked by the wildly successful Fifty Shades of Grey.  Similar topics appeared in recent TV Shows from CSI to House to Desperate Housewives, and even animated shows such as American Dad.      Furthermore many…





    Written on Friday, 19 December 2014 12:30

  • 50 Shades of NCSF Palm Cards

    Are You Ready for Fifty Shades? To coincide with the launch of the movie, get your Fifty Shades of Kink palm cards from NCSF to put out at your club or in local sex shops and bookstores so that people who are looking to find out more about kink know where to go. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to request your cards. NCSF’s Fifty Shades of Kink resource page is for people who…





    Written on Friday, 12 December 2014 15:16

  • GayLawNet Joins Forces with NCSF

    NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals joins forces with GayLawNet   NCSF has expanded the reach of its Kink Aware Professionals by collaborating with GayLawNet, which now offers a way for lawyers in their database to self-identify as Kink Aware Professionals:  gaylawnet.com/attorneys/ussolc.html   “Whenever someone can’t find a lawyer in NCSF’s KAP list, I always refer them to GayLawNet,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. “Many of their gay-friendly lawyers are eager…





    Written on Monday, 01 December 2014 15:10

  • Tides Awards NCSF $1,500 Grant

    NCSF Receives Grant Award NCSF is proud to announce the receipt of a $1,500 grant awarded by Tides Foundation. About Tides #TidesProject “Since 1976, Tides Foundation has worked with over 15,000 individuals and organizations in the mutual endeavor to make the world a better place. These include foundations, donors, corporations, social investors, nonprofit organizations, government institutions, community organizations, activists, social entrepreneurs, and more. We break down the walls between entrepreneurs…





    Written on Monday, 24 November 2014 15:01

  • NCSF Mental Health Survey

    NCSF Mental Health Survey Please take the NCSF Mental Health Survey! We would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FZ2XDMP NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University’s Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to two other sample populations – one college-aged and the other LGBT. NCSF will use these results to help with our advocacy, benefiting…





    Written on Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:57

  • Military Court Accepts NCSF's Amicus Brief

    Military Court Accepts NCSF’s Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy April 24, 2014 – Washington, DC – The Navy and Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals has accepted NCSF’s amicus (“friend of the court”) brief advising the court that prosecutors are avoiding the Supreme Court decision, made in Lawrence v. Texas, that moral judgment is not a basis for criminalizing consensual sexual conduct, and that consensual sex should only…





    Written on Sunday, 31 August 2014 14:51

  • Ombudsman Committee Established

    NCSF Appoints Members of the Ombuds Committee   June 3, 2014 - NCSF is proud to announce these appointments to the Ombuds Committee: Desmond Ravenstone, James Huesmann and Bjorn Paulee. The Ombuds Committee handles complaints and concerns regarding the conduct of NCSF officers and staff, and the operations of NCSF institutions. The NCSF Ombuds Committee shall be established as an Advisory Committee, as per NCSF bylaws, to review Coalition administration…





    Written on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 14:47

  • NCSF Files Amicus Brief in Military Court

      NCSF Files Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy March 26, 2014 – Washington D.C. – NCSF has filed an amicus brief in a military case involving a marine who engaged in a consensual threesome and because of that was convicted of adultery, attempted consensual sodomy and indecent conduct, a "crime" based solely on undefined sexual conduct inconsistent with "common propriety."   In its brief, NCSF points out that…





    Written on Thursday, 03 April 2014 14:42

  • Annual CP meeting 2014

      NCSF’s Coalition Partners Come Together in Nashville, TN   March 24, 2014 – The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition Partner meeting in Nashville, TN from March 14-16, 2014. The Coalition Partners voted in the new Board of Directors for NCSF, approved the 2014 budget, and brainstormed on NCSF’s projects and goals for the coming year.   “The annual meeting gives NCSF's Coalition Partners the opportunity…





    Written on Monday, 24 March 2014 14:34


Support this program!

Media Outreach: We're Making a Difference

  • NCSF has successfully changed the discussion in the media by debunking stereotypes about BDSM, swinging, and polyamory
  • NCFS has developed a strong media outreach and training program for its coalition, supporting, and other partners.
  • NCSF has successfully become through dedicated advocacy, the leading media authority on BDSM, swinging, and polyamory

 

About Media Outreach

The Media Outreach Program is designed to reach outward to educate media and respond to media stories about alternative sex. In addition it is designed to reach inward to our own constituents to teach and train them in how to respond and deal with media effectively.

Program Goals:
The goal of the goal of the Media Outreach Program is to change the public discussion about alternative sexuality and to educate and support our members when they have occasion to deal with the media.
    Contacts:
    Support this program!
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    Reach out!