Most people in his upscale community knew Robert Bashara as a successful businessman, prolific charity fundraiser, Rotary Club president, church usher and married father of two who volunteered at his kids' volleyball and soccer games.
And that upstanding image might have remained intact – if his wife hadn't been killed. The spotlight of suspicion turned to Bashara, revealing what prosecutors say was a murder-for-hire scheme and what witnesses describe as a secret double life of meeting other women for bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic sexual encounters, some in a basement "sex dungeon," and snorting cocaine on a private golf course.
The two wildly contrasting sides of Bashara, 56, emerged during a two-month trial in a Detroit courthouse, where jurors this week are slated to begin deciding his fate. He's charged with first-degree murder and related charges after prosecutors say he hired his handyman to kill his wife of 26 years, Jane, 56. The marketing executive at an energy consulting company and mother of the couple's two children, now in their 20s, was found strangled and beaten on Jan. 25, 2012, in her Mercedes-Benz SUV in a Detroit alley.
Bashara wanted her out of the way, prosecutors allege, so he could "continue his BDSM (bondage dominance sadomasochism) lifestyle with his mistress, Rachel Gillett, and potentially other 'slaves,' as well as tap into Jane Bashara's retirement funds," according to the Macomb Daily.
Bashara has denied any involvement in his wife's death.
During the trial, jurors heard all about that fetish lifestyle in scenes that sounded like they could have come from Fifty Shades of Grey or another lurid tale from the kinky world of BDSM, where Bashara was known as "Big Bob."
One woman told of going with Bashara to a sex dungeon in the basement of a building he owned, where she was tied to a cross and flogged, according to the Detroit Free-Press.
Another described a sexual encounter with Bashara that included a "thrashing" so rough that "it left marks for three months" and a choking so severe that it caused her to lose consciousness, The Detroit News reports. ...
At the holiday Pop-in@Nordstrom shop, offerings include snowflake sweaters, penguin beanies, wool scarves and a selection of black leather harnesses — for humans, not reindeer.
The harnesses were designed by Zana Bayne, who has almost single-handedly elevated the harness from the boudoir and bondage and into fashion. She has made custom pieces for Beyoncé, Madonna, Lady Gaga and FKA Twigs, and her line is sold at high-end stores like Comme des Garçons (Rei Kawakubo owns two herself), Dover Street Market and Selfridges.
“I wear mine with a boring white oxford shirt,” said Olivia Kim, Nordstrom’s director of creative projects, who brought the line to the store, “but they also look great over dresses. It’s the perfect example of what an accessory does: accentuates clothing.”
Ms. Bayne has a similar harness philosophy. “It’s a layering piece to add to an outfit,” she said. “The physical aspect of having something cinch you in makes you hold yourself higher. But I always warn people that if you wear it out, people are going to pull on you. It brings something out not just in the wearer, but in those around her.”
Ms. Bayne also makes bags, bustiers and collars, as well as a men’s line, with prices ranging from $120 for the most basic harness to $2,300 for a leather sheath of linked hand-cut leather stars. (Gwen Stefani wears the sheath for a cover shoot for the March Cosmopolitan.)
The work is remarkable in its craftsmanship (lately she has been experimenting with laser-cutting), but what really makes it stand out is the thematic nuance and subcultural charge in each piece, which is a lot of depth for an accessory.
As with an abstract painting, what viewers see depends on their perspective. The wearer may see a flattering belt, while others see overt sexual allusions.
“I’ve never aimed to shock,” Ms. Bayne said. “My design comes from a naïve place, and I think, ‘Of course someone will wear this,’ and then it comes out ... I don’t want to say harder, but maybe not as innocent.” For her, it is never about subjugation.
“Wearing a collar can make you feel like the most powerful warrior in the world,” she said. ...
Dave Navarro can go from shredding to bedding in one fell swoop ... now that he's designed a two-in-one guitar strap slash sex toy.
The rocker tells TMZ he decided to combine his 2 favorite things -- music and sex -- and teamed up with a BDSM toy company ... and the result is something he calls, "The Strap."
Pretty simple concept ... the guitar strap comes off the guitar and can then be used to restrain yourself or a partner in a ton of different positions. Seriously ... just about anything your sick mind can come up with ... The Strap can handle it.
As Dave put it ... "It's the Swiss army knife of the bedroom" -- that is if you don't already have an actual Swiss army knife in play.
Navarro preaches safe S&M though, and revealed his safe word -- “Chappaquiddick.” ...
Continuing on its recent censorship-happy path, the U.K. government amended regulations this week to prohibit online porn from depicting a variety of erotic activities. Now-illicit acts range from the very specific (female ejaculation; "spanking, caning, and whipping beyond a gentle level") to the incredibly broad ("verbal abuse"). But basically, the U.K. has banned BDSM and certain forms of fetish porn—or at least, charging money for that sort of porn.
The new rules come as part of the 2014 Audiovisual Media Services Regulations, which amends the country's previous communications law to require all "Video on Demand" services to meet standards set by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC). From Vice UK:
... from now on, VoD porn – online porn you still pay for, essentially – must fall in line with what's available on DVD. That means that British pornography producers will no longer be able to offer content online that couldn't be bought in a sex shop.
Acts that are no longer acceptable include: spanking, caning and whipping beyond a gentle level; penetration by any object "associated with violence"; activities that can be classed as "life-endangering", such as strangulation and facesitting; fisting, if all knuckles are inserted; physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual; the portrayal of non-consensual sex; urination in various sexual contexts; and female ejaculation.
It's a strange, highly-subjective list of sexual behavior deemed too deviant for folks to be exposed to. (Who knew women orgasming were so scandalous?) "R18 is a strange thing," Jerry Barnett, founder of anti-censorship campaign Sex and Censorship, told Vice. "There appear to be no rational explanations for most of the R18 rules–they're simply a set of moral judgements designed by people who have struggled endlessly to stop the British people from watching pornography."
Adult filmmakers in the U.K. who show their videos on for-pay porn sites are now limited in what they can feature, and websites that charge for porn content are limited in what they can show. But of course there's plenty of (both free and for-sale) BDSM and fetish porn out there on the World Wide Web. U.K. lawmakers are essentially just further driving homegrown porn purveyors out of business. The industry is already strained by age-verification filters, mandated last year, which have driven up website operating costs while turning away customers.
Both regulations disproportionately affect smaller, independent porn producers and websites. As Vice's Frankie Mullin points out, the new censorship rules will have less effect on large porn producers and mainstream sites, "which tend to favour the strip, blowjob, fuck, cum-all-over-a-woman's-face formula, but the UK's smaller, independent producers," specifically fetish producers. These include people like Ms Tytania, who makes feminist-tinged dominatrix porn, and pretty much anybody else whose products deviate from normative sexual practices. The rules really are a crazy infringement on freedom of artistic expression, not solely a commercial setback for someone who runs subscription rough-sex sites (not that there's anything wrong with that). ...
News 10 discovered an illegal swingers club operating near a school in Terre Haute, alerted City Engineering and within 24-hours – that business is being shut down.
It may not look like much, but inside the building located at 1929 Locust Street, you’ll find adult material.
‘Hometown Adult Video’ has been in business for years. But, it’s the newly created business upstairs that has neighbors concerned.
“Yeah, the swingers club has been there less than a year,” explained Janice Peretti, neighbor. “I won’t go in there because they have really nasty things in there. No I won’t go in there at all.”
News 10 also found their website, ‘Terre Haute Topside.’
“There’s been a book store an adult oriented book store at that location for years long before the city ever had an adult oriented business ordinance,” Chuck Ennis, Terre Haute City Engineer explained. “So that use was ‘grandfathered’ in.”
Meaning the video store can operate within a residential area but the swingers club can not.
“The city passed an ordinance back in 2006 that set limits on where these businesses could be located,” Ennis continued.
The premier swingers club will not be shut down because of the business, it’s all about location. It’s actually near an elementary school just around the corner.
“These types of businesses…people don’t want these in their neighborhoods,” Ennis described. “They don’t want to live next door to one; they don’t want one next to the school.”
Ennis also stated an adult business cannot be within 500 feet of a school or church.
‘Terre Haute Topside’ is approximately 223 feet from Franklin Elementary, forcing inspectors to shut it down.
“Our job here is complaint driven, were not knocking on doors, ya know checking out places like this until we get a complaint. Somebody calls and complains and then we respond,” Ennis stated. ...
The Jian Ghomeshi scandal has become unavoidable. It is literally everywhere on the internet, television and, of course, on the radio. If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a timeline by Global News of accusations and evidence against the former radio show host. Since he was let go by CBC, the scandal has started a much needed social discussion on BDSM and what consent actually is. Not only that, but it has also prompted the question “Why don’t victims speak up?” or the idea of the “Jian Ghomeshi Effect” that Camilla Gibb talks about in her recent Salon article.
So let’s explore the definition of consent shall we. If I were to explain consent to a child, I would say it simply means saying “yes” or giving permission. However, for adults consent usually isn’t that black and white. There are grey areas where we could argue that consent was implied or previously agreed upon.
If my husband and I were to explore some impact play tonight and I enjoy it, does that mean I’ve given my consent to be spanked tomorrow? No. But if we go to our room later and we’re interested in doing it again, the conversation would go something like this:
My husband: “We both really enjoyed the spankings last night, do you want to do it again tonight?”
Me: “YES!” (some excited clapping and jumping up and down might happen too)
If I continue to give consent to be spanked, then it becomes a part of our routine and consent is implied. If my husband were to try to spank me two weeks from now and I didn’t feel into it, I can immediately remove that consent with a safeword.
Woah! Where did that safeword come from?!
Let’s go back to when my husband and I were first figuring out what our kinks were. Before we began exploring BDSM together I printed out a long checklist of fetishes and toys and activities I had found online and we sat down as a couple and went over the list. We quickly discussed each item, looked up a few terms we weren’t familiar with, giggled about some of the things that made us uncomfortable and in the end had an awesome list of new things to try out together.
Now, we didn’t immediately tear of our clothes and run to the bedroom.. the list flying behind us…to start checking things off. We knew that each of these activities had certain risks, some more than others, and we did our research (and we’re still doing our research) on how to safely explore our desires. The very first thing we did was establish an undeniable way to let our partner(s) know we needed to slow down or stop. We chose the very common “green, yellow, red” as our way of communicating that. Later on, as we got more into bondage, we also chose a safe-signal for when I am unable to verbally communicate (this is especially important for me when I’m in subspace).
Even in our almost 10 year relationship, there are still times when I may need to use my safeword. It isn’t very often, but if I need to remove my consent I have the option, and a plan, to do so.
Trust Does Not Equal Consent
The crazy thing is, so many kinksters still don’t think they need a safeword or they aren’t even sure what a safeword is. My husband and I have been together for a long time. We have an immense amount of trust in each other to do the right thing, but we still have a safeword. Why? Because life is unpredictable.
When you participate in play that involves pain your body’s reaction is to flood you with chemicals to sort of compensate. The amount of endorphins your body releases produces a “high”, which results in a sense of fogginess or for some even an out-of-body experience.
On the opposite spectrum is Domspace where the top becomes so intensely involved in the scene that they develop a sort of “tunnel-vision”. Misssubmistressrose explains this very well in our article To Domspace, Dom-drop and Beyond!
It is very important to understand and recognize when subspace or Domspace occurs so we can react properly. If a submissive is in subspace and is unable to communicate to their Top that they’ve reached their limit, then does their partner have consent to continue? Even if they originally consented to a whipping, when they enter their highest level of subspace they may no longer be able to make the decision or communicate to their partner to stop. In this situation the bottom’s state of mind has changed, and according to legal presets, they can not consent to further activities. The same applies to other forms of altered state of mind, such as drinking or emotional instability at the time of initiation.
Not everyone’s experience with subspace is the same, if you wish to continue a scene during subspace that is up to you and your partner to discuss. Playing during subspace or having sexual contact during the higher levels of subspace can be extremely pleasurable, but this is when the areas of consent begin to grey.
To avoid miscommunication about what happens during subspace, please, please, please do not make decisions to continue in the middle of a scene or while you or your partner are in subspace. The first time you hit subspace, you most likely won’t see it coming. Experience it in all its glory and then recognize what it is. Tell your partner it happened. If they don’t know what it is, educate them (Hey, send them here!). Being in subspace while someone unknowingly takes advantage of your altered state is very dangerous…for both of you.
When you play it is extremely important to have a short, clear safeword you can easily regurgitate should you reach subspace or need to stop for another reason. For me, I can’t even talk when I’m in subspace, so we agreed on a safe-signal (two fingers up, a “peace sign”) that I normally wouldn’t ever gesture towards my husband that he can recognize. This safeword/signal tells him to immediately stop in the event he doesn’t read my body language first.
Set Your Boundaries
Know where your line is and don’t let anyone cross it. If you are ok with having sex on the first date, more power to you, but if you want to keep your clothes on, don’t let them get away with unbuttoning your shirt.
In fact, to avoid that situation all together, make your boundaries clear beforehand. I’m not saying you have to negotiate a contract, but a simple “Sure, I’ll come in for coffee, but can we just spend some time talking tonight?” should be enough of a hint for any decent person that you aren’t interested in sexual contact right now.
The same applies for online dating too. If you’re on a social or dating website, make it clear what your expectations are and what kind of communication is acceptable. Don’t entertain anyone who crosses those lines. If they can’t respect your clear boundaries in an online setting, then what makes you think they will do so in the bedroom?
Unfortunately consent can be hard for some people to interpret or even communicate. If you’re at a party, hanging with someone, smiling and laughing at their corny jokes, that is not consent, it is flirtation. Seriously, I would be so turned on if someone asked permission to kiss me. Hell yes. Kiss me HARD.
This is one reason I rarely use my safeword, because my husband is so good at making sure we’re on the same page. This is how I honestly believe it should be in any sexual encounter, but especially when it involves BDSM. When you and your partner are aware of your limits, and respect those limits, you can enjoy each other more fully and there is less of a chance for misinterpretation or miscommunication.
That is what people like Jian Ghomeshi fail to understand. You cannot force your desires on someone else. You cannot stand too close to them at a party and you cannot take them to your hotel room to be rough with them without their consent. Doing these things simply shows a lack of respect. Not just towards women, but towards people. Everyone deserves to be asked “Are you ok with this?”
The Fifty Shades of Grey Effect
Some people will argue that their partners don’t want for them to constantly ask for permission. They want to be dominated without foreseeing their partner’s actions. Unfortunately, I used to be that girl. I used to want a guy to take me home and push me up against a wall while he forced his hand up my shirt. What I didn’t realize was that that fantasy only works when it’s with someone you trust. I learned that the hard way. And due to my lack of understanding about sex and early exposure to society’s poor sexual standards, I also didn’t understand what sex actually was.
Now that I am aware of my ability to make decisions about my own body, I can mutually agree to consensual forms of masochism with a man who respects me enough to not only WANT to know my limits and boundaries, but to respect them as well.
Our society is so set in our ways that men feel entitled to sex simply because their partner turns them on and women are ashamed of being active, educated participants in their own sex lives. We romanticize abusive domination disguised as consensual BDSM and forget that there is a difference between the two: Consent.
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