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"Morality in Media Opposes .xxx Internet Domain"

on Friday, 18 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

ICANN to vote Friday on .xxx Domain

Christian Newswire

Morality in Media announced today its strong opposition to the creation of .xxx domain, which ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) will determine by vote on Friday, March 18.  

"The establishment of a .xxx domain would increase, not decrease the spread of pornography on the Internet, causing even more harm to children, families and communities, and make ICANN complicit in that harm," said Patrick Trueman, CEO of Morality in Media and former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division.

"There is no evidence that the public wants or needs this domain.  In fact, each time this idea has been proposed it has been overwhelmingly opposed by the public and governments throughout the world," said Trueman.

Hardcore obscene pornography on the Internet is already a violation of U.S. law. However, the U.S. Department of Justice under U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is not enforcing the law.  Trueman said those who argue that the Internet porn problem can be solved by establishing a new .xxx domain and then passing a federal law requiring pornographers to use that domain are mistaken. 

"It would not only be unconstitutional to force pornography from the .com domain, but, if the Department of Justice is not prosecuting Internet porn companies now for violating U.S. obscenity laws, it is not going to prosecute such companies for merely locating in the wrong address." 

Pornography addiction is rampant, leading to grave social costs that are documented at  "A more appropriate goal should be to stop the distribution of this destructive material by prosecuting those responsible for it, not protect pornography through the use of an .xxx domain," said Trueman.  "We take this opportunity to urge U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to enforce federal obscenity laws."

"Man accused in murder of Lennox bondage club owner to stand trial"

on Friday, 18 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

Daily Breeze

A man accused of killing a Lennox bondage club owner was a disgruntled former employee who was angry that he had lost his job, a position that enabled him to socialize with dominatrixes and fulfill a sexual fetish, court testimony revealed this week.

David Edward Albert, 54, of Simi Valley allegedly was so upset he confronted owner John Lavine in his office, attempted to strangle him, shot him repeatedly - including one bullet to the back of the head - doused his body with rubbing alcohol and set it on fire, detectives testified.

On Wednesday, after a two-day preliminary hearing in Inglewood court that included testimony about leather floggings, spankings and "swingers' parties," Albert was ordered to stand trial for killing Lavine and intentionally setting the bondage club ablaze. ...

"I may be kinky, but I’m not crazy"

on Thursday, 17 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

The Daily Tar Heel

S&M (sadism and masochism) references abound in popular culture, from racy rom-coms to Rihanna music videos. But psychiatric medicine seems a little behind: “Sexual sadism” and “sexual masochism” are still diagnosable mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the current list of mental disorders and criteria published by the American Psychiatric Association.

So does being kinky really mean you’re crazy?

The term “BDSM” refers to a variety of bondage/discipline, dominant/submissive and sadomasochistic behaviors, which may include pain, pleasure or both. These practices are often referred to as “kinky,” since they differ from what most consider normal sexual behavior.

But kink is or is becoming more mainstream. As far back as 1953, Alfred Kinsey found that 12 percent of women and 22 percent of men felt an erotic response to S&M stories. Janus found 11 percent of women and 14 percent of men have engaged in some form of S&M.

Discomfort toward BDSM usually stems from disbelief that pain might be enjoyable, from uneasiness around consent or from concern about safety.

Some people can like pain or even feel pain as pleasurable. It’s like picking scabs or getting a deep tissue massage.

As for consent, most BDSM practitioners are meticulous, even painstaking, in negotiating terms of consent before any sexual play. For example, “safe words” are used to stop unwanted play.

BDSM practitioners are also careful about safety. Acronyms like SSC (safe, sane, consensual) or RACK (risk-aware consensual kink) are used as guides.

BDSM is part of the whole spectrum of sexual activity and interest, ranging from tickling and ear-nibbling to whips and chains. The goals are the same, pleasure and intimacy. This is bondage as a form of bonding.

Psychiatrists who have supported the pathologization of BDSM cite psychological distress, serious health risks or non-consent. But there is little data to support these claims, and distress and non-consent are not used rigorously as criteria. ...

"Do Sex and Business Mix? Ad Exec Says Sex Toy Demo Is None of Your Business"

on Wednesday, 16 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

CBS MoneyWatch

Usually when a sex scandal touches the corporate world, executives stay silent, resign, or take a secluded break from their duties. Not in Jim Marcus’ case. Marcus, group creative director at Tribal DDB in Chicago, became the most talked about man in the ad agency business after he penetrated his naked fiancée with a power-tool-enhanced sex toy in an extracurricular session of Northwestern University’s “Human Sexuality” class.

He has previously organized fetish nights at various nightclubs, including a “hostage party” at which Marcus and his cohosts “came in and beat everybody up, took them hostage and raped and abused everyone.” (The activities were entirely consensual, Marcus says.)

The Northwestern incident on Feb. 21 was part of a voluntary, closed-door seminar attended by about 100 students. In a March 4 item, I suggested that Marcus and his fiance, Faith Kroll, were such a distraction for DDB that it might consider firing him. In a series of emails with BNET, Marcus defended his actions and criticized BNET and the rest of the media for mischaracterizing the demonstration. His private life should not reflect on his business life, he insisted. Here is an edited digest of our conversation:

Jim Marcus: The tone of your article seems to suggest that I should be ashamed of what I did, without giving me a chance to even explain WHAT I did. You float the idea that I should not have posed for pictures while running pictures of me pulled from Facebook. You admit that what I did was outside work but insist that people SHOULD somehow think about the sex act when considering me in pitches, meetings, etc., from now on, as though the rest of advertising were composed entirely of virginal people.

The person across the table from you at that last meeting has a sex life. They do things outside work. They may be polyamorous, kinky, involved in BDSM. They may have a thousand different consensual kinks that don’t impact the quality of their work one bit.

I spoke out in defense of what we did for the same reason I posed for pictures. If I did not, the only voice people would hear would be yours, the only pictures pulled clumsily from the internet and the only quotes from people NOT in attendance. I have been as responsible as possible in the media, clinical, reasonable, and entirely wishing not to fan the fires of what I consider to be a non-issue. ...

Help the ACLU fight DOMA - sign

on Wednesday, 16 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

Tell Speaker Boehner: "See you in court!" Let John Boehner know where you stand on the unconstitutional and discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. ACLU Supporter,It's official: Speaker John Boehner has announced that the House of
Representatives will fight on for discrimination by defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.Now, we need to send the Speaker an announcement of our own.When President Obama instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending DOMA in court, it was a major step for LGBT equality -- but it wasn't a done deal. The Department of Justice had to give Congress a chance to keep defending this unjust law.And after consulting with the "Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group" -- a panel that was guaranteed to support him -- Speaker Boehner has made his choice. I hope you'll join me today in sending him the ACLU's response.Tell Speaker Boehner: "DOMA is an unconstitutional and discriminatory law. If you want to keep defending it, then we'll see you in court!"

Tell Speaker Boehner: "See you in court!" Let John Boehner know where you stand on the unconstitutional and discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.


Dear ACLU Supporter,

It's official: Speaker John Boehner has announced that the House of
Representatives will fight on for discrimination by defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

Now, we need to send the Speaker an announcement of our own.

When President Obama instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending DOMA in court, it was a major step for LGBT equality -- but it wasn't a done deal. The Department of Justice had to give Congress a chance to keep defending this unjust law.

And after consulting with the "Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group" -- a panel that was guaranteed to support him -- Speaker Boehner has made his choice. I hope you'll join me today in sending him the ACLU's response.

Tell Speaker Boehner: "DOMA is an unconstitutional and discriminatory law. If you want to keep defending it, then we'll see you in court!"

DOMA is a gross violation of the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. And after years of intense legal battles, we're closer than ever to ending this law that is an insult to gay and lesbian Americans.

In fact, the lawsuit that the ACLU filed with Paul Weiss on behalf of Edie Windsor -- a New Yorker who shared her life with her late spouse, Thea Spyer, for 44 years -- is one of the key challenges to DOMA that Speaker Boehner has decided to keep litigating.

On several different fronts, you and the ACLU are at the center of an historic struggle to end this outrageous denial of constitutional rights to LGBT families. You can expect to hear more from us on this critical case in the days and weeks ahead.

Thank you for standing with us,

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director, ACLU

© ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004

"Majoring in Kink"

on Tuesday, 15 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

conversio virium's quest to educate the next generation of BDSM'ers

The Columbia Daily Spectator


Conversio Virium meets every week to teach young kinksters proper and safe BDSM technique, in addition to serving as a safe space to discuss, intellectualize, and joke about the kink scene in New York. For readers not familiar with the terminology, BDSM is an umbrella term for sexual fetishes which incorporate pain and imagined power relations into routines for arousal. BDSM is sexual in nature, though it may or may not include actual sex.

BDSM stands for bondage, dominance/submission, slave/master, and sadism/masochism (see sidebar for a more thorough description), and the act of participating in BDSM is called “scening” or “playing.” CV is a BDSM education stronghold in New York City, known for being a safe and welcoming environment in New York’s larger kink scene, and attracting a diverse crowd, including Columbia undergrads, a sizable grad student population, a solid NYU constituency, and a number of commuters of all ages who travel from as far as Rockland County each week. I spent one month attending CV meetings and interviewing members about their sex lives, their opinions, and learning the norms of their non-normative community. I learned the modern 20-something kinkster is not exactly (at all) Pulp Fiction-Leatherman status, but rather a young, maybe slightly adventurous student or postgrad who procrastinates on FetLife rather than Facebook, and is, on average, very, very satisfied with his or her sex life.

Partially due to the nature of the type of sex they engage in, members of the kink scene repeatedly emphasize the importance of consent and open communication. In bondage, displeasuring one’s partner doesn’t mean failing to achieve orgasm, but possibly causing them undesired physical pain. Kellie Foxx-Gonzales, president of CV and a sophomore in CC, says, “We have such an ethos in the BDSM community. We’re so focused on ethics and consent, and if somebody violates that once, they’re pretty much blackballed from the entire community.”

“Negotiation” is the process of discussing a scene beforehand, what the different participants will do and what they want to get out of it. “Limits”—undesired actions—are discussed, and people are encouraged to know and understand their triggers. During a scene, a “safe word” (which commands someone to immediately stop), is aided by a “red light, yellow light, green light” system, which is used to indicate to a partner how one is feeling about actions in a scene without breaking it too drastically. “Aftercare” is the kinky word for cuddling and emotional and physical first aid. It’s more than just a douche move to skip out on aftercare—like many aspects of a given BDSM scenario, it’s discussed beforehand, and held to a high standard. Dov explains during the demonstration: “You just beat the crap out of somebody, made them have 600,000 orgasms, whipped them until they’ve cried... Now you cuddle them.” It’s a difficult balance between upholding a fantasy (especially one that involves theatrical elements of non-consent or resistance) and communicating feelings—one that can only be safely toed with much preparation and knowledge of a partner’s needs and desires.

CV Vice President Simone Wolff, BC ’13, describes how the physical risks facilitate an awareness that she thinks may even lead to safer practices than “vanilla” (non-kinky, normative) sex. “A lot of people have sex without ever talking about it or thinking about it or educating themselves. … The concept of negotiating sex beforehand is something that I totally learned from the kink community, and I think it can be applied to everything,” she says. ...

"Lawyer: NYC 'sex-slave' relationship consensual"

on Sunday, 13 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

The Wall Street Journal

NEW YORK — A man had a consensual relationship with a Wisconsin woman who alleges he held her captive as his sex slave for more than a week after she answered an apartment ad on Craigslist, his lawyer said.

John Hopkins, 45, pleaded not guilty to rape and other charges Friday. Police say Hopkins told the 27-year-old woman she could live with him for free in his Brooklyn apartment if she cooked and cleaned when she answered the ad last month.

Hopkins' attorney, Andrew Stoll, said Hopkins and the woman knew each other for two years and had a consensual relationship. The woman even wanted to return to the apartment after Hopkins kicked her out for excessive drinking, Stoll said.

"It stretches credibility beyond the breaking point to say that from the get-go, she was being held against her will," Stoll said. "I cannot imagine there will be a conviction here."

But Assistant District Attorney Christopher Laline said in court that Hopkins "set up slave rules" for her, along with a list of punishments if she disobeyed, including flogging her and chaining her to a radiator, forcing her to drink water and preventing her from using the bathroom, and sexually molesting her.

"This is a heinous crime," Laline said.

The woman eventually e-mailed her mother in Wisconsin, who called police. Officers found her in the apartment on Feb. 12; authorities withheld her name because of the nature of her complaint.

Judge Patricia DiMango denied Stoll's request to reduce Hopkins' $350,000 bail and said that the defendant's alleged treatment of the woman could be considered criminal even if it was consensual.

"At some point, it can change to a situation where no means no," DiMango said. "There comes a time when they're not playful fun anymore and they become dangerous — criminally dangerous."

—Copyright 2011 Associated Press

"The "live sex show" professor speaks"

on Wednesday, 09 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates


If he had it to do over again, professor John Michael Bailey says he probably wouldn't allow a live sex demonstration in his human sexualities class at Northwestern University -- but not because he thinks it was inappropriate. A weary-sounding Bailey, reached by phone this afternoon, told me that on principle he stands by his decision to let one guest presenter use a sex toy -- rather unsubtly known as the "fucksaw" -- to bring another presenter to repeated orgasm in front of his students. But he says it simply wasn't worth "the fallout," which has included coverage from every mainstream news outlet from the Associated Press to MSNBC. Following the media pickup, the university's president, Morton Schapiro, issued a statement criticizing Bailey's "extremely poor judgment" and announcing an official investigation.

So why did he allow it to happen? It was part of an optional lecture -- which came with multiple warnings about explicit content -- after his human sexuality class. It featured three guests involved in the BDSM scene who were planning to talk about their kinky lifestyle. It happened that the presenters arrived early during the professor's lecture on the g-spot and female ejaculation, both of which are scientifically controversial. When it came time for the guests' presentation, one of them, Jim Marcus, suggested that he and his fiancée, another speaker, provide a genuine example of female ejaculation right there on the spot. After brief hesitation, Bailey agreed.

"I couldn't think of a legitimate good reason why people shouldn't be allowed to see that, and I still can't," he told me. The students were repeatedly warned about what they were going to see, and those who were uncomfortable with the idea were allowed to leave. The woman took off her clothes and her fiancé got her off with the motorized dildo -- although she didn't actually ejaculate. It took no more than 10 minutes of the hour-long presentation -- but it's getting Bailey his 15 minutes of infamy, and he made clear that he isn't enjoying it one bit.

All of which makes me ask: Aren't we overreacting a bit?  It isn't at all unusual for college human sexuality classes to screen scenes from pornographic films and expose students to all manner of edgy, taboo material. Now, there is certainly a difference between watching a video demonstration and witnessing it live in person. With the latter, there's the possibility that the students are participating in the couple's exhibitionistic fantasy -- meaning they weren't merely observers but also participants. Such are the complicated dynamics found in any sort of sociological research. It's also true that watching a video allows for a level of emotional distance that isn't possible with a real-life, real-time act. ...

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