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 kink.
Education Outreach Project
The NCSF Board Members and presenters gave Education Outreach Project workshops and tabled at 36 events in 2014 (compared to 22 in 2013), with a focus on consent discussions, BDSM & the Law, and distributing literature such as Kink is Okay and Finding Kink Aware Medical Care.
The groups and events where NCSF presented included: Arizona Men of Leather, Arizona Power Exchange, Atlanta Poly Weekend, BDSM Writers Con, Behind Closed Doors, Beyond The Love, CatalysCon East, Catalyst Art & Cultural Space, Center for Sex Positive Culture, CLAW, COPE, CPI/The Mark, Dark Con, Dark Odyssey Winter Fire, Dark Odyssey Surrender, Desert Dominion, DragonCon, Floating World, Folsom Street East, Future of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy, International Mr. Leather, Kinkfest, Leathermen’s Discussion Group, MSDB Bizarre Bazaar, Paradise Unbound, Poly Living Conference, Polyamory Political Activism Conclave, Portland Leather Alliance, SMART, Society for Sex Therapy & Research 39th Annual Meeting, Southwest Leather Contest, Spanksgiving, Thunder in the Mountains, Up Your Alley - Dore Alley, Winter Wickedness, and the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit.
NCSF also exhibited at the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) 47th Annual Conference on June 4-8th, in Monterey, California. NCSF helped organize a panel presentation on “Social Organizations and BDSM Communities,” moderated by Neil Cannon, PhD, DST and Russell Stambaugh, PhD, DST. The panel was attended by 115 of the 550 participants, and raised over $4,000 for AASECT. The panelists were experienced and articulate kink organizers on the West Coast: Race Bannon, Janet Hardy, Demitri Moshanyii, Richard Sprott, Anna Randall, and Jim and Montaine who run a dungeon-themed B&B in Monterey.
Jim Fleckenstein was the lead presenter on “The Fountain of Youth! The Association of an Open Relationship Orientation with Health and Happiness in a Sample of Older Adults,” a workshop discussing the key findings from the Loving More and NCSF internet survey, the largest-ever sample of self-identified polyamorists.
The NCSF booth in the Exhibit Hall gave away 50 free copies of What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory, courtesy of a grant by Alan of Polyamory in the News as well as brochures on NCSF’s projects and programs. Nearly 150 copies of NCSF’s new Kink is Okay! brochure were given away, describing the changes in the DSM-5 that depathologized BDSM.
Kink Aware Professionals
Over 1,200 people accessed NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals database in 2014 to find a lawyer, therapist or other professional. Recognizing the need for more kink aware professionals in KAP, NCSF joined forces with GayLawNet, a free referral database of gay-friendly attorneys, which began offering a Kink Aware Professional category for their lawyers to self-identify as kink aware.
Incident Reporting & Response
To assist in educating professionals, NCSF published What Professionals Need to Know About BDSM by Lauren Moore, Tamara Pincus & David Rodemaker. This pamphlet was written to help professionals meet culturally competent ethical standards in work with those of our underserved population.
NCSF received 184 requests for assistance in 2014 through Incident Reporting & Response. 40% of IRR requests dealt with criminal issues. 20% were child custody/divorce. 14% were requests for information on kink and non-monogamy from professionals including: academics, social services, vanilla nonprofit organizations & events, authors, merchant services, and insurance brokers. 11% were group issues, primarily assisting in handling adversarial members, outreach to law enforcement, or managing negative media incidents.
NCSF launched our 50 Shades of NCSF campaign featuring four palm cards and a resource page. Two of the palm cards are geared toward vanilla people who may be interested in kink while the other two have information on consent and the law. These palm cards were sent to 68 groups for distribution during the upcoming launch of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
In December, NCSF also broadcast a media kit through PR Newswire entitled “NCSF: Are you ready for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie?” that targeted reporters and offered story ideas about kink and non-monogamy. The PR was reposted on 137 websites, including Reuters and the Associated Press, and was viewed by over 1,000 journalists in the first 24 hours.
Susan Wright gave 32 interviews in 2014 to reporters from mainstream media to blogs and podcasts. The 2014 interviews included: The NY Times, NY Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, CNN, Playboy, Bay Area Reporter, Slate, Jane XO, Alternet, andtwo Huffington Post Live appearances.
Barak and Sheba of AdventuresinSexuality.org, a long-time Coalition Partner of NCSF, joined the media team and will be giving interviews on kink and non-monogamy. NCSF also published 15 Guest Blogs by experts in various fields, up from five Guest Blogs posted in 2013. Jsin created several podcast PSAs about NCSF tailored to specific niches – leathermen, pansexual and vanilla-ish – as well as promotional videos to accompany the 50 Shades of NCSF campaign.
NCSF ran two surveys in 2014: the Consent Violations Survey and the Mental Health Survey. The results of both will be available in early 2015. The Consent Violations Survey collected 4,600 responses and the results will be given to law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services and health care professionals to help them understand the experiences of kinky people and provide better quality service.
The Mental Health Survey collected over 800 responses. NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University’s Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will ultimately compare our response set to two other sample populations – one college-aged and the other LGBT.
The Consent Counts program continued its educational mission as well as providing Amicus (“friend of the court”) Briefs in relevant legal cases. The Navy and Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals twice accepted NCSF’s amicus brief in the case of Gregory T. Miles, Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. NCSF advised 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 be criminalized if that conduct is injurious or goes against a valid societal interest. NCSF also argued that military law is out of sync with U.S. Constitutional law and societal mores, especially when it comes to consensual sexual behaviors.
As part of the revamping of NCSF’s policies and procedures this year, the NCSF Board created the Ombuds Committee in June and appointed 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 was established as an Advisory Committee, as per NCSF bylaws, to review coalition administration and activities, assuring ethical and effective fulfillment of NCSF’s mission and goals. Board Member Fil Vocasek is the Board Liaison to the Ombuds Committee.
Adventures in Sexuality, a NCSF Coalition Partner, donated $500 at their COPE conference in October.
CPI/The Mark, a Coalition Partner, donated $1,000 to NCSF in October.
Behind Closed Doors, the annual conference by Baja Arizona Leather, a Supporting Member of NCSF, raised $300 by passing the hat at their Sunday key note speech.
House of Decorum, a NCSF Coalition Partner, raised $1,296 at their annual fetish ball, held this year in Asheville, NC.
The Red Chair, a NCSF Coalition Partner, donated $744 that was raised at their annual NCSF fundraiser and Halloween Masquerade. This year’s theme was Steampunk! Airship Pirates and Gypsies running wild, with great carnival games and events.
The SFCitadel sponsored a Holiday Dance in the Dungeon for NCSF that raised $913 in December. The event was supported by the Leathermen’s Discussion Group, 15 Association, Society of Janus and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
The New Mexico Leather League donated $621 to NCSF in November.
Min-KY, a NCSF Coalition Partner, raised $580 for NCSF in October.
Spanksgiving, the annual fall event by STL3, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, raised $320 through their ice-bucket challenge at the opening ceremonies against Jason (NCSF Board Member), James (NCSF’s Ombuds Committee) and the lovely Tink.
The Tides Foundation donated a $1,500 grant to NCSF! The board of directors thanks Tides, as well as the anonymous donor who nominated NCSF for this grant.
'All About Sex' show will feature the outspoken Cho along with Heather McDonald, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tiffanie Davis
NY Daily News
BY MARIANNE GARVEY, BRIAN NIEMIETZ AND OLI COLEMAN
Margaret Chohas found a new way to talk sex.
The comedian, always happy to make her private business everybody’s business, will star on TLC’s new chat show “All About Sex” along with comic Heather McDonald,actress Marissa Jaret Winokurand sex and relationship counselor Tiffanie Davis Henry.
“It’s really an advice show about sexuality, and women’s sexuality in particular,” Cho told Confidenti@l. “I’m the representative for alternative sexuality, polyamory, sex toys. I’ve been part of the alternative sex community for my entire adult life. That’s my arena.”
Doesn’t she find it slightly incongruous to be chatting about sex on a network that features theDuggarsin all their virginal glory? “Maybe those people really need to learn about vibrators so you can hold your boyfriend’s hand but still have a good time,” Cho theorizes. “The thing about sexuality is it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a relationship. My feeling is that women are not taught enough about how to be orgasmic and how to learn about their bodies’ needs. Really, this show for me is way less about sex in context of a relationship ... it’s more about finding yourself sexually.”
It’s a difficult time in Cho’s life right now. She recently announced she was separating from artistAl Ridenour,her husband of 11 years. They were in an open relationship, but Cho says that’s not the reason for the marriage’s demise: “The totally sad truth is that sometimes people grow apart … it’s sad for me, I’m learning to live without him, and it’s really painful.”
She’s still an advocate of polyamory and plans to talk about it on the show.
“Opening up your relationship is very risky and a very mature decision, and it needs to be really negotiated,” she said. “I think it’s one of the hardest ways to have a relationship, and the most rewarding.” ...
A number of essayists, at Slate and elsewhere, have criticized the affirmative consent policies that are increasingly being adopted at universities across America. The basic idea underlying these policies is that “s/he didn’t say no” should not be an acceptable excuse for initiating unwanted sexual contact. It raises the bar from “no means no” to “yes means yes.” For sexual conduct to be acceptable, each participant must understand that their partner(s) are actively and continuously agreeing that the experience should continue.
I share some concerns about how these policies are being implemented. In particular, they will remain irrelevant as long as rape investigations are handled by university officials who are biased against admitting that sexual assaults happen on their turf and who lack adequate training to be effective as either investigators or victims’ counselors and advocates, let alone both. However, I do not agree that the affirmative consent standard is the problem. The problem is that it is not universal.
If you observe the way Americans tell stories about sex—in porn, romance novels,popular movies, song lyrics, even in our ineffective abstinence-only sex-ed classes and our schoolyard gossip—it becomes clear that part of our tacit understanding of “good” sex is that it is spontaneous, initiated by a strong male and yielded to by a compliant female. We actively discourage communication. A real man knows intuitively when his woman is ready and how to please her. Asking, or even worse getting told what to do, is a turn off and a threat to his masculine identity. On the flip side, only sluts know so much about sex that they come on to a man, or can describe what they want. These stereotypes set the stage for young people to hurt each other—they’re part of the foundation of what activists describe as rape culture. They must be directly targeted and dismantled.
One advantage of having aberrant desires is that it forces you to learn to articulate what you want, which is a valuable skill for anyone, in or out of the bedroom. Even if your tastes are completely “normal” and you’re looking for a long-term monogamous partner, shedding embarrassment about discussing sex frankly, and conquering fears of rejection, will improve your sexual and romantic life. When you have a new flame, you can find ways to hint at what you want in flirty conversations, or by pointing at examples of pop culture or literature that model what you’re into, or even by sharing porn. You can tell funny stories about past encounters, if you’ve had any. If somebody’s threatened by the idea that you have a sexual past, or thinks it makes you a slut, you’re well rid of them. (If you don’t have a sexual history, you can still share what you’ve learned from exploring your sexuality on your own. And if you haven’t even spent time discovering what you enjoy on your own, then you’re probably not ready to have a partner.) Learning about each other’s histories and fantasies should be a fun way to build intimacy, long before any clothes come off. Once you’re getting hot and heavy, consent can be sexy:
(Playful voice) “I saw that look. Are you thinking about [X]?”
“If you’d like me to [Y], honey, you’re gonna have to beg.”
“Ohhh, you gorgeous thing ... I want you to [Z]!”
The California affirmative consent law explicitly acknowledges that even nonverbal cues—appreciative moaning or physically “leaning in” to a partner’s touch—can constitute affirmative consent. There have been legitimate criticisms of the law—in particular, it may be problematic to create a different standard for campuses than for the rest of the state, and for college students than for everyone else. The larger problem, though, is that we train young people to expect, and act on, the lower standard. ...
The highly anticipated film adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” starring Jamie Dornan as dominant Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as submissive Anastasia Steele, debuts Valentine’s Day 2015.
But the film has been beset by difficulties in casting (Charlie Hunnam dropped out of the starring role) and reports that Dornan and Johnson had to reshoot sex scenes because of their lack of chemistry.
And now Dornan has angered some in the BDSM community for comments he recently made in an interview with Elle about his visit to a sex dungeon in preparation for his role as the "dom" Christian Grey.
“I saw a dominant with one of his two submissives,” Dornan told Elle. “It was an interesting evening. Then going back to my wife and newborn baby afterwards … I had a long shower before touching either one of them.”
“Hahahah, how hilarious!” wrote blogger TheMarySue sarcastically. “Sexual preferences that deviate from the norm are repulsive, even when all parties involved are consenting! Unless, of course, you can exploit and chronically misrepresent those preferences in a highly problematic film, in which case deviancy is hot, hot, hot!”
She went on to say that Dornan's comments “dehumanize BDSM participants” and demonstrate that the “Fifty Shades’ creative team doesn’t understand or respect the very lifestyle it’s ostensibly showcasing.”
Rumpus-founder and author Stephen Elliott ("Happy Baby," "The Adderall Diaries"), who counts BDSM sexuality has his primary sexual orientation, agreed with her and considered the comments discriminatory. Elliott also took issue with the way in which the BDSM community took Dornan in and allowed him to see their sexuality, only to have him talk about them like "circus freaks."
"To me it's the equivalent of making a movie about gay people and making homophobic remarks," Elliott told International Business Times of Dornan's comments. "For some people, BDSM is an orientation. 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is based on people who exist. To make a movie based on those people and then call their desires disgusting, I feel like anyone with kinky desires should boycott this film."
How a sophomore is making waves in the BDSM community.
By Jordan-Marie Smith
BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) is an acronym that might conjure up ideas of leather-clad dominatrixes in velvety lounges but they might not be the four letters that people associate with a sophomore college student.
Think of a typical college student’s night out. There might be basement fraternity parties, drinks at Sign of the Whale in Dupont or a quiet night watching Netflix. College of Arts and Sciences student Gwen, who asked that an alias be used to protect her privacy, does some of those things. Although on any given night she might also be suspended from metal hooks attached to a pendulum of thick ropes, arms behind her back, not very clothed and taking orders from a top, or dominant partner, in a dungeon. The Crucible in NoMa, Maryland served as D.C.'s primary dungeon for local kinksters, including Gwen.
Gwen is an up-and-coming bottom, or submissive partner, in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia's BDSM community. Her involvement in the scene started after she joined a social networking site for kinksters. Later, her friend invited her to The Crucible.
It's taken Gwen only two months to get invited to a DMV fetish ball and Philly kink convention.
There is a range of people who participate in the scene and make it their own. BDSM is a normal part of life for all kinds of people that you wouldn’t expect: Wall Street types, professors, bosses and students.
It's a scene that's often misunderstood. Despite what a majority of people might think, BDSM is not entirely sexual. Fifty percent is sexual and 50 percent is therapeutic release, according to Gwen.
For Gwen, playing is usually therapeutic. Before getting involved in the community, she worried her age would be a distracting factor. Most of Gwen's partners are much older than her, she said.
“I thought my age would freak people out. I really thought that, me being in college, they would either obsess over my age and be like ‘I have to play with her’ or ‘She’s way too young she reminds me of my own kids or my niece or my nephew,’” Gwen said. “But people really don’t care about the age.”
People who want to “play” with Gwen want to do so not because of her age, but because of her attitude when it comes to putting her trust in a partner holding the whip.
“One of the most common things I’ve gotten is people really want to play with me because, apparently, I have this energy that is super positive and open and whether you are believer of energy or play or not, it’s a factor,” Gwen said. “It’s an amazing thing to feel and to be the recipient and the cause of.”
One of her partners mentioned that her smile alone changed the energy of whichever scene they were doing at the time, according to Gwen. That excitement and happiness isn’t frivolous, she said.
“I’m not going to go willy-nilly, pell-mell jumping off the deep end and burning out,” Gwen said. “They say I’m pretty level-headed and I know what I want.” ...
After a turkey-meatloaf dinner, they went down to the dungeon and she undressed, tied her hair up, put on a cat mask and leather collar, and assumed slave position on her knees.
Even before the whip hit, the slave’s fingers curled into a fist. A spandex mask stretched over his face, covering his eyes and nose. His chin rested on the thick plastic collar buckled around his neck. A metal ring accented its front, at the Adam’s apple. Chained to a large X-shaped table, propped up in a standing position with his arms above his head and legs spread, his mouth hung agape waiting for the air to split and the whip to sing. …
Upstairs, in the living room, splintered logs of hemlock cackled and spat from inside the wood stove. The main floor of the house boasted the usual makings of a home: a dining room table with four chairs and corresponding placemats, a piano that acted both as an instrument and a bookshelf, a vintage three-seater sofa, dozens of different strands of tea in a cabinet above the stove, a guest room with a private bathroom, and a collection of empty wine bottles, mostly French, opened and shared in the house over the years by Master R, the founder of La Domaine Esemar, the only Bondage, Discipline, Sadomasochism (BDSM) chateau left in the world (and, also, a completely legitimate and legal business, where clients come for erotic, non-intercourse-related services) that specializes not only in dominant/submissive roleplaying and fetishism for paying clients, but also engages in long-term, lifestyle applications of BDSM with specific individuals. His home as well as his place of work, R, who has been running La Domaine since 1993 (and, at 65, has been practicing BDSM as a lifestyle since the 1960s) has publically announced that he will be retiring as owner of the chateau.
“I’ve always wanted to do this. I’ve always had the crazy idea of having my own S&M chateau and end up retiring up here,” explained R, who, starting this year, has officially passed the whip down to Mistress Couple, who acts as Head Mistress and is currently training mistresses to work under her. She had been living at La Domaine full-time since last summer and, downstairs in the dungeon, was now flogging Slave Destiny—one of ten house slaves at La Domaine—as he bent over a horse’s saddle, his fingers clenched through every stroke of her treatment. …
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.
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 people, married and otherwise, are discovering and practicing non-monogamy. From polyamory to swinging to open relationships, a notable percentage of the public are shifting their relationship parameters in an honest and ethical fashion. These people are taking cues from books like Opening Up and The Ethical Slut, along with TV Shows such as Showtime’sPolyamory: Married and Dating.
A compare and contrast: What the movie got right, what the movie got wrong and what you need to know about kink.
“Who, What & How”
The kink subculture: What its practitioners like to do, and the kind of people who are kinky.
“What is Consent?”
Consent is enthusiastic and informed agreement, without coercion or pressure, and is agreed upon while you’re of sound mind.
Open relationships aren’t just sexy storybook fantasies. Relationships with more than two people take honesty, effort and ethical agreements.
“Persecution of Kinksters”
Job discrimination and child custody challenges result in only one-in-three people being “out” about their involvement in kink.
“Kink is not a Diagnosis”
The American Psychiatric Association agrees that kink is a healthy form of sexual expression.
The NCSF is the national advocate and resource for consenting adults who engage in kink and non-monogamy. The NCSF is a coalition of educational and social groups across America, along with the businesses that serve them and individuals who are kinky. Since its formation in 1997, the NCSF and its programs have significantly changed the way the media, legal and psychiatric professions view kink and non-monogamy.