...In recent years, the internet has done for alternative sexuality what it did for comic fans, anime otaku, and gamers—uniting like-minded but geographically distant subgroups and revealing the “fringe” to be larger and far more passionate than anyone had expected. And considering how deeply nerd subculture permeated fashion, film, and television, you have to wonder if the sexual fringe can even accurately be called a fringe at all.
An American study found that more than 40 percent of millennials think that traditional marriage is becoming obsolete, while OKCupid data indicated that more than 34 percent of its users have had a same-sex sexual experience or would like to. The numbers are similar regarding threesomes, according to an ABC survey.
Gen Y’s much-discussed hyperconnectivity, constant communication, and desire for gratification on their own terms actually puts them in a prime position to become a generation of sex nerds. They can figure out the parameters of their relationships on an individual level and eschew conventional sexual and romantic codes in favor of ongoing discussion about their own needs and interests, and the needs and interests of their partners.
But it’s not just young people. The slow mainstreaming of alt sex and love is picking up speed. How much longer can we classify BDSM as a niche interest while Fifty Shades books and paraphernalia fly off shelves nationwide? Sure, it's not exactly an ideal introduction to BDSM, but it implies a large-scale interest in kink across North America, the UK, and elsewhere.
And if a single trashy trilogy can ignite global interest in an allegedly “deviant” sexual subculture, what else are people interested in? How can they access it? Are they already doing so, in quiet corners of the internet after the kids have gone to bed? Are body-positive threesomes the new functional bum-bags? Is queer-friendly feminist tumblr porn the next Star Wars?
Modern society has come far in the last several decades in progressing towards tolerance, and perhaps even acceptance, of individuals who may not look or act the way the statistical majority does in terms of sexual and gender expression. Having said that, human consciousness remains overwhelmingly confined by rigid heteronormative definitions of sexual orientation and gender identification that reinforce binary stereotypes and the pathologization of individuals who identify outside of the mainstream. Research on the subject of BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadomasochism) has historically pathologized BDSM practitioners by focusing on nonconsensual interactions that incorporate elements of sexual sadism or masochism as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [(DSM) American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Pitagora, 2013]. However, over the past two decades, BDSM desire and expression have increasingly been considered an atypical but naturally occurring variation of human sexuality that appeals to 5 to 14% of the general population (Masters, Johnson, & Kolodny, 1995; Janus and Janus, 1993). As of the latest iteration of the DSM in 2013, critics have raised arguments for the removal of the Paraphilic Disorders section, based on a lack of objective research to support its inclusion, as well as the section’s poorly written and conflicting diagnostic criteria; it has been suggested that the disorders remain included in the DSM-5 largely for historic and/or political reasons (Federoff, Di Giocchino, & Murphy, 2013; Moser, 2013).
It is heartening to see a trend toward the depathologization of atypical sexual orientations and gender identifications, as indicated by the removal of homosexuality from the DSM over a span of 30 years, and the changes to gender-based disorders that are following suit (Drescher, 2010). It stands to reason that the Paraphilic Disorders section in the DSM-5 would follow the same trajectory, given that the diagnoses were similarly created using culturally-based criteria with no basis in scientific evidence for its inclusion (Federoff, Gioacchino, & Murphy, 2013; Moser, 2013). While the change in cultural and academic perception of atypical sexual and gender expression is a long and arduous process, there seem to be signs of progress that lend a glimmer of hope to those in these fringe communities, indicating that societal tolerance and acceptance is on the horizon. For those with the end goal of equality in terms of sexual expression, this is a promising prospect. However, for those who want more than to be included in the status quo, acceptance and tolerance is not enough.That is to say, repurposing atypical sexual and gender expressions so that they fit into the mainstream idea of what is acceptable does little to further the sexual evolution of society as a whole. This line of reasoning presents a conundrum: Is the fight for sexual freedom merely about access to rights for sexual minority individuals, or also about questioning structures that limit the potential of human freedom for everyone?
In the interest of full disclosure—a concept that is a central tenet among BDSM practitioners (Pitagora, 2013)—it should be noted that the above question was appropriated from LGBT social justice activist Urvashi Vaid (2012), who proposes that equality is not necessarily the ideal end goal for those situated in the margins of sexual orientation and gender identification. Instead, a higher order goal might be to employ the inherent truths in such atypical desires and identifications in order to debunk the currently entrenched heteronormative binary systems of sexuality and gender expression. By shedding light on the way that those who practice BDSM subvert stereotypical gender roles in consensual and negotiated sexual interactions, a world of possibility could be exposed for those mired in rote sexual behaviors enacted within the constraints of societal expectation. The question asked another way: Might an evolution of human sexual behavior be possible for all individuals, no matter how mainstream and conforming, by learning from those who deviate from the sexual norm? …
Dulcinea will be presenting the entirety of this paper at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, August 14-17 in Alexandria, VA.
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 military law is out of sync with U.S. Constitutional law and societal mores, especially when it comes to consensual sexual behaviors. Dick Cunningham, NCSF's Legal Counsel who prepared and filed the brief, said, "This is an important case in which we have challenged ways in which courts have criminalized consensual sexual conduct in what we regard as direct violation of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark sexual freedom decision in Lawrence v. Texas."
Lawrence held that non-injurious consensual sex among adults cannot be criminally prosecuted, and that moral disapproval is not a sufficient justification for a criminal law. In this case, the military court used a spurious "public sex" argument to evade the Lawrence ruling.
Filing legal briefs is an important part of NCSF’s mission in its attempts to decriminalize consensual adult sexual behavior. NCSF awaits the decision of the military court on whether its amicus brief will be accepted. To view NCSF's brief and case legal documents on this case, visit https://ncsfreedom.org/who-we-are/about-ncsf/item/715.html
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 to tell the board where our focus should be in the coming year,” says Chairman Kevin Carlson. “It’s also their time to give us feedback on how we’re conducting the day-to-day business of NCSF. The Board and staff of NCSF are now re-energized and eager to continue the good work of NCSF.”
The CP representatives approved the new Financial and Control Policies which have an emphasis on transparency and accountability. The CP reps created an Ombuds Committee which will be responsible for reviewing actions by NCSF board and staff members. The CPs also received a full report on the forensic financial review and the results of the investigation into the theft of funds from the NCSF, and determined the next steps the Board should take in pursuing the restitution of those funds.
The CPs were eager to explore new ways of integrating NCSF programs with membership services and outreach efforts. They heard reports on the NCSF projects and programs including:
·The success of the DSM Revision Project in helping to ensure that kinky people are no longer misidentified as mentally ill by the American Psychiatric Association;
·Kink Aware Professionals list gained 200 professionals in the past year and totals nearly 1,400 professionals;
·The Media Outreach Project gave over 42 interviews on consensual kink and nonmonogamy;
·The Education Outreach Project and Consent Counts Project gave 28 presentations;
·NCSF’s Facebook page hit 1,000 Likes.
Keira Harris received NCSF’s Volunteer of the Year Award for her work as Volunteer Director. Keira has created a volunteer program that is successful in filling the needs of NCSF’s projects and programs. Because NCSF is an all volunteer organization, Keira’s work is critical to its success.
NCSF thanks CPI-The Mark for hosting CP representatives, NCSF board members and staff at their party on Saturday night, and at the Sunday afternoon presentation on BDSM & the Law presented by Judy Guerin, Dick Cunningham and Susan Wright. NCSF also thanks Mercury and Samantha for organizing the annual meeting and welcoming everyone to Nashville.
Now on it's fourth year, the annual Dinner with Dommes exclusive event organized by the DC Professional Dominatrixes have proven to be a beneficial fundraising event for NCSF .
This event brings together top DC and NYC Dominatrixes who donate their time and effort to raise funds for NCSF. Every year, Mark of DCDominatrixes (
) sets up and manages an online auction for seats at the table at this very private and exclusive dinner/play event held in one of the premier dungeons on the East Coast in Washington DC.
This year, eight lucky submissives were given the chance to be in the presence of eight beautiful and provocative top Professional Dominatrixes in the DC Metro area. The sumptuous dinner was prepared by a very creative chef and her energetic kitchen staff courtesy of Mistress Max Rulz. This event raised a total of $4,200.
At the 2014 Dark Odyssey Winter Fire event, the local DC Professional Dominatrixes together with DCDominatrixes and DC Sub Club once again hosted a VIP fundraising reception. It was a night filled with excitement, laughter and hobnobbing with the creme de la creme of the BDSM community, professional Dominatrixes, fetish models and other kink-friendly people. Fun was had by all and this event yielded $2,000 for NCSF.
Hey Ma! I’d like you to meet my boyfriend…and my girlfriend…and my slave.
There was a time when coming out as any shade in the queer spectrum was a terrifying prospect. It still can be for many, but deviating from the heterosexual norm is more understood and accepted now than it has ever been. What remains quite difficult share, especially with family, is that you are kinky or polyamorous.
Me? Eh, I tell everyone everything. My family doesn’t just know I’m kinky –they know I’m a professional Dominatrix. Compared to that, polyamory is a walk in the park, as was telling the clan that I like girls.
But does your family really need to know about your sex life? Well, technically, no. If it’s just sex, there’s not any absolute reason to share. Family and more traditional friends don’t necessarily want to know that you and your partner frequent swinger parties, or that you like to tie each other up in kidnapping role play scenes. If, however, you have serious a relationship with someone who is not your primary partner, or have a strong Dom/sub or Master/slave dynamic, if can feel heavy hiding that from the people closest to you.
Sharing something so important to you, knowing that they may not understand or accept it, can be scary. When I first read “The Ethical Slut” at age twenty, my mind was blown. I was psyched to be made aware of this possibility, that I wasn’t terrible for wanting to date more than one person at a time. I was electric when I called a good friend from high school to tell her about it. Though skeptical, she agreed to give it a read, so I popped it in the mail and anxiously awaited her response.
A few days later, she called and I immediately could tell she was agitated. She’d only gotten a few pages in and refused to continue. The very concept angered and upset her. She took it as an excuse for people to cheat, despite my protestation that it, instead, fosters intense honestly between partners. While she accepted my exploring this path, she wanted nothing to do with it. She asked me never to mention it to her again, and I didn’t. When I told her I was kinky, however, she was thrilled and wanted to hear all about it. Other friends and family were accepting of the poly, but disgusted by the kinky.
Why do our loved ones sometimes take such an issue with our lifestyles? Well, I believe there are two main reasons. First, they are worried about us. They cannot comprehend it, and worry for our safety and health. More partners can mean more heartache and more exposure to STIs, and kinky relationships can sometimes literally involve pain. Their concern is understandable, but it is our job to help them try to discern what it means to us, and the joy it can bring us.
The second, more difficult reason they can have a tough time accepting our alternative lifestyles is that they are offended by the very idea of it. They may see our polyamory as an affront to their monogamy. Perhaps they fear that if their partner knew of this possibility, they would also want to give it a go. They may find kink in general to be abhorrent, and think something is wrong with you if you like to participate in BDSM. They might see this power exchange as genuinely insane behavior, especially if you are a bottom/sub/slave.
So why come out in the first place? Well, you certainly don’t have to, and choosing to keep these things to yourself is absolutely a valid and legitimate choice. Do keep in mind, however, that as more people do come out as kinky or polyamorous, the more accepted it will be. Aunt Hilda may think anyone who participates in these lifestyles is totally nuts, until she actually knows someone who does. Once there is a human face on it, it’s not just a wacky concept. They can actually see how it works, and how fulfilled it makes you feel. ...