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"BDSM Comes to Harvard"

on Tuesday, 11 December 2012. Hits 916

Where Ivy League kink comes from.

Newsweek

Last week, national media outlets were titillated by the news that Harvard University had formally recognized a ­student-run BDSM group (short for bondage, domination, and sado­maso­chism). The idea of buttoned-up Crimson coeds discussing their fondness for fetish challenged the conventional image of the Ivy League university, home to the best, the brightest—and now, the kinkiest.

Joining the Composers Association, the Mathematica Club, and about 400 other student organizations, the Harvard Munch will now get money to host gatherings and guest speakers. While conservative pundits on Fox roasted the school for giving money to this “marginal” group, the larger BDSM world welcomed the news. “Within the next decade, I think we’ll see a huge number of colleges and universities providing safe spaces for their students to explore alternative sexuality, just as they have done for LGBT groups,” said Mollena Williams, an educator in the kink community.

50 Shades of Crimson

Harvard is hardly the first university to have sanctioned such a group. Columbia University’s Conversio Virium (that’s Latin for “exchange of forces”) became the first university-recognized sado­maso­chism club in the country in 1992. Iowa State University has its long-running, student-funded bondage club, Cuffs; Vassar College has the Sex Avengers, which holds an annual “Masturbate-a-thon”; and the University of Chicago has RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink).

“Munch” isn’t as much of a non sequitur in this list as it sounds. The term goes back to the 1980s, when a small group of bondage enthusiasts began meeting at a restaurant in Palo Alto to casually discuss spanking, flogging, and the like. Despite the connotations it might have, the term “munch” in this context is simply an amalgamation of “lunch” and “meeting.”

Munching isn’t exclusive to cities and college campuses either. One of the ­longest-running munches is based in Louisville, Ky. Many members of the Harvard Munch were introduced to the BDSM community through the Cambridgeside Galleria Munch, according to a former member. Anschel ­Schaffer-­Cohen, a founder of Tufts Kink, encourages members to check out Cambridgeside’s Munch. “It’s the textbook introduction to the community,” he said. “I went to munches and made friends. It’s a safe venue to meet people with similar interests.”

And anyone concerned that the munch is a sign of rampant campus promiscuity can rest easy. In an informal video survey by The Harvard Crimson asking students whether they would rather join Munch or the pro-abstinence Harvard College Anscombe Society, support was surprisingly evenly split between the two.

"Why Pink Loves Consent Is Important"

on Monday, 10 December 2012. Hits 925

Huffington Post

...

I soon received an email from Rebecca Nagle from FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, a feminist activism effort that promotes awareness about rape culture, informing me that Pink Loves Consent is not an official Victoria's Secret PINK line, but rather an effort by FORCE to promote awareness about rape culture.

Even though I was disappointed that Victoria's Secret wasn't actually promoting this positive image, I was very happy to realize that I had been tricked. I was so impressed that an activist group was able to reach so many people and garner such a positive reaction to a campaign that has to do with women's bodies and sexuality. After an election year in which women's bodies became a figurative stage for what has now been dubbed a "War On Women," it was really encouraging to see women successfully reaching out to other women about how our culture's perception of female sexuality must change.

---

I got the opportunity to chat with Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato (the duo behind FORCE) and ask them about the Pink Loves Consent campaign:

How did the Pink Loves Consent campaign start?

Nagle: Upsetting Rape Culture actually started as an art exhibition in Baltimore in 2010. After we did that, we wanted to keep working, so the next thing we did is we made a line of underwear called "Consent Is Sexy." We came up with this three-pack of underwear with a set of "No" underwear, "Yes" underwear and "Maybe" underwear, which we thought was a cute way of wearing what you were in the mood for. About a month later, Victoria's Secret came out with this underwear that said "Yes, No, Maybe," but it was all on the same underwear. Instead of saying yes, no or maybe and "I get to decide about what happens to my body," it's like, yes, no, maybe, I don't know.

pink_loves_consent

 

So instead of "No" being a way for young women to set a boundary, it is a way for them to flirt, which I think is part of this understanding we have in our culture that creates and perpetuates rape. So we were like, wow, this is crazy problematic. So the idea started to do a knock-off of Victoria's Secret PINK line and we decided to time it with the fashion show."

What is rape culture and do you think that VS/Pink promotes it?

Brancato: Rape Culture is all the things that allow rape to seem normal and prevent survivors from being able to speak up and out. Rape Culture is silencing. In a rape culture, people are surrounded with images, language, laws and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate rape. It includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as "just the way things are."

PINK is specifically marketed towards younger and younger girls, and like the rest of Victoria's Secret, PINK is selling a specific brand of sexuality. VS PINK has co-opted the idea of sexual freedom and twisted it into an image of sexuality in which the woman (or girl) is not really in control. The "Sure Thing" and "Yes, No, Maybe" and "NO peeking" underwear promote the idea of limitless availability, or on the other hand, leaving the choice up to the (presumably male) partner. The brand teaches girls to be coy instead of vocal and makes it seem uncool and unsexy to say no and mean it. By re-enforcing that sex is about an image, that looking good is more important than feeling good, PINK promotes rape culture." ...

Guest Blog: Is Fifty Shades of Grey, the BDSM/Kinky Sex Stonewall?

on Saturday, 08 December 2012. Hits 467

by Bo Blaze

On June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village, NYC, a group of gay customers took a stand against police harassment and the Stonewall Riots began. These riots, are now largely regarded as the catalyst for the LGBT, civil rights movement in the United States. It is generally looked at as “the moment that changed everything.”

The riots themselves were not the reason that things changed, they were a moment in time that we can point to, when the bubble burst. A tipping point, when the publicity generated from an event brought mass attention to something that was on the edge of change.

The publishing of Fifty Shades of Grey is not the dawning of a literary masterpiece, a factually correct overview of how to do BDSM or a book that will likely be remembered any more than the drink menu & decor of the Stonewall Inn, back in 1969. Like it or not however, it’s an important moment in history.

The USA Today has reported that the Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over 32 million copies as of July 2012. It’s now the biggest selling book of all time in the UK and the biggest selling book on the Kindle platform in the US as well. When you look at how women are treating E.L.James, the writer of the book, you’d almost think she was the second coming of the Beatles. This kind of passion and sales success does not happen solely because of the content of a book, let alone one known as a “trashy romance novel.”

No, this is a shift in culture! This is millions of women reclaiming their right to be whoever and whatever they want to be in the bedroom, regardless of their politics.

These are every day women from all walks of life, overwhelmingly voting YES on the “kinky sex referendum”, saying:

“We like a little spanking and hair pulling… what’s wrong with that?”

Most importantly, people are looking around at the crazy success of this book and realizing, evidently, A WHOLE LOT OF US have these interests, urges and fantasies.

And certainly NOT just dominant male/submissive female fantasies but every combination and flavor that one can think of. These fetishes and predilections that we call BDSM are not about abuse, but rather consensual intimacy in the bedroom.

For years, Sex-positive feminists have embraced BDSM and opposed legal or social efforts to control any type of sexual activity between consenting adults, and now without a bottle thrown or even a harsh word uttered, millions of women around the world have joined them and initiated a bloodless coup, inspired  by of all things, a romance novel.

I believe this is part of a bigger picture however. Our world is changing for the better. We are evolving. People are starting to realize that, our institutions and their dogma, are failing us because they have become irrelevant in our ever changing society.

We must move towards truth and away from fear…

As an Alternative Life Coach I want to help people live a more alternative life. To me that simply means living a life where you are always growing, changing and evolving. Where you question, think and create. Where you refuse to settle for what you are told to do… and instead follow a path to real fulfillment and enlightenment.

How you decide to manifest that is up to you

Kinky sex is just one small way you can begin to shake things up a bit in your life. To not settle for the norm. To do something that you perhaps have always wanted to do but were too embarrassed or scared to embrace. Explore art, music, yoga, spirituality, service to your community, a new job doing what you really were meant to do!

When you stop growing… you start dying!

Let’s hope this is the year that it all changed. The year that a silly romance novel was the catalyst for an earth shattering kaboom! The year that we look back on and thank the universe that people are no longer persecuted, lose their children or shunned because of consensual acts in their bedrooms.

One of the reasons I’m writing this post is because I sat down to lunch last week with my good friend Susan Wright, who is the founder of the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom. As we excitedly compared notes on the 50 shades of Grey phenomenon, we were united in our belief that the reaction to this book could be a Stonewall of sorts, for alternative sexuality. That this could open up the lines of communication and change everything. But to do that, it’s going to take a lot of education and a lot of information.

Like most non profit groups, The National Coalition of Sexual Freedom is struggling right now to stay alive in this tough economy. We will need them now more then ever and I ask you to PLEASE SUPPORT THEM WITH A DONATION to help them continue to fight for your rights!

 

Bo Blaze is a PCC certified “Alternative” life coach; specializing in Alternative Sexual Relationships & Non-Traditional Lifestyles. Bo is a nationally known expert on Kink, Lifestyle BDSM, Ethical Non-Monogamy (Polyamory), the Fetish World and LGBT issues. He has taught and lectured all over the country at hundreds of universities, conferences and various alternative events. He is the winner of the 2011 Pantheon of Leather President’s Award and has helped thousands learn to practice Safe, Sane & Consensual BDSM over the last 10 years, as the the Novice Group facilitator, for the oldest & largest BDSM support and education group in the Country.

 

"Marilyn Bagley, Wife Of 'Master Ed' Bagley, Pleads Guilty In Sex Slave Case"

on Friday, 07 December 2012. Hits 521

Huffington Post

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A woman accused with her husband of forcing a teenage girl to be a sex slave for years in their mobile home pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal conspiracy charge in a deal contingent on her being sentenced to probation.

Marilyn Bagley, 47, admitted that she helped groom the girl to be her husband's sex slave after the teen moved into the couple's trailer in February 2003 in southwest Missouri. She began living there intermittently the year before.

Bagley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in exchange for prosecutors dropping all other charges against her and recommending that she serve only probation. If the judge rejects the recommendation, she can plead not guilty again and go to trial. There was no indication of when the judge might rule on the matter.

Prosecutors said the girl was a mentally deficient runaway who was recruited at the age of 16. Bagley said the girl moved in when she was 17 and never had sex with her husband until after she turned 18.

Thursday's hearing was not announced beforehand and came as a surprise to the attorney for Bagley's husband, Ed Bagley, who is scheduled to stand trial in February. Susan Dill said she was disappointed that nobody told her about the hearing and questioned why it was kept so hushed.

"I really question why this was done in secret, and I wasn't given notice as I would be normally," said Dill, who declined to speculate about how the Marilyn Bagley's plea deal might affect her husband's case.

Three men – James Noel, Michael Stokes and Dennis Henry – have pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and are awaiting sentencing. A fourth man, Bradley Cook, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and is expected to be sentenced to 20 years as part of his deal with prosecutors. ...

"Wife accused in Lebanon, Mo., sex slave case pleads guilty"

on Friday, 07 December 2012. Hits 536

Kansas City Star

The wife of a Missouri man accused of brutalizing and sex trafficking a young woman confirmed Thursday that the woman was a minor when the sexual activity began.

Marilyn Bagley made the admission in court records filed with her guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to commit commercial sex trafficking.

Before her plea at a hastily called hearing Thursday morning, Bagley, 47, was scheduled to go to trial in February with her husband, Edward Bagley, 45, of Lebanon, Mo.

“She is in the unique category of being a victim turned perpetrator,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes said at the hearing.

Marilyn Bagley’s plea agreement recommends that she be sentenced to probation. If the sentencing judge does not agree with that recommendation, Marilyn Bagley will be permitted to withdraw her plea and go to trial.

Prosecutors have alleged that in 2002, Edward and Marilyn Bagley offered help to a troubled a 16-year-old girl, who moved in with them the following year. Authorities allege that Edward Bagley began having sexual intercourse with her before her 18th birthday. After she turned 18, he allegedly coerced her into becoming his sex slave. He purportedly tortured her, with the help of other defendants, until she was hospitalized in February 2009.

Edward Bagley allegedly sexually tortured and mutilated the young woman with techniques that the indictment described as “flogging, whipping, shocking, choking, piercing, sewing” and “stapling.”

At times, the indictment alleged, he nailed her most intimate body parts to slabs of wood, sewed private orifices closed, waterboarded her and used a crank telephone to force “high levels of electric voltage” through very sensitive parts of her body.

Susan Dill, Edward Bagley’s lawyer, has argued that the relationship was consensual and merely part of the bondage, discipline and sadomasochism lifestyle.

But Marilyn Bagley’s plea Thursday could moderate the impact of the consent argument. She confirmed in court records that Edward Bagley’s sexual relationship with the alleged victim began when before she turned 18, the age at which she could have given consent under federal law.

Prosecutors had described that relationship before, but, with Marilyn Bagley’s admission, they have someone other than the victim to confirm it.

Dill said she still was trying to sort through the plea but was surprised that it happened without her knowledge. No public notice had been posted ahead of time. ...


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/12/06/3951516/wife-accused-in-lebanon-mo-sex.html#storylink=cpy

"Marilyn Bagley Pleads Guilty to Keeping Mentally Deficient Woman as Sex Slave"

on Friday, 07 December 2012. Hits 614

Riverfront Times

Marilyn Bagley, a 47-year-old from Lebanon, Missouri pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to hold a minor as a sex slave.

According to the superseding indictment filed in federal court, which is one of the most lurid we've ever seen -- ever -- Bagley has admitted to the following narrative.

In December 2002, Marilyn Bagley and her husband Ed found the victim, "FV," who was only 16. She'd been living in foster care homes.

They invited her to run away and live with them in their trailer. They set her up with a bedroom, told her they'd "make her dreams come true."

For the next two years, Marilyn modeled "slave clothes" and showed the teenager some BDSM stuff on the Internet to to groom her.

In August 2004, Marilyn posed in photos where she "sexually tortured FV, including, but not limited to, full vaginal penetration with her fist."

FV expressed fear to Marilyn several times, but Marilyn didn't help her and told her not to upset the husband, "Master Ed."

During this time, by the way, Marilyn had taken FV's birth certificate and social security card.

From 2004 to 2009, Marilyn took money that FV earned by stripping at a local club and used it to buy herself cigarettes, steaks, clothes, food.

The details become more sordid once you consider the case against "Master Ed," but he has not pleaded guilty, and his case is still scheduled for trial at this time.

Read the full indictment against Marilyn Bagley below (she's admitted only to Count I.) ...

"Mo. judge says expert can tell jurors about BDSM"

on Monday, 03 December 2012. Hits 909

SF Gate

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that lawyers for a Missouri couple accused of sexual slavery may call an expert to explain bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism to jurors.

But in his ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple also said the expert won't be allowed to discuss whether acts allegedly committed by the couple conform to norms in the BDSM community.

Edward and Marilyn Bagley are charged with keeping a young woman as a sex slave in their home near Lebanon, Mo.

Prosecutors say what might be considered normal for BDSM practitioners is irrelevant in the case. They contend the young woman was tortured without her consent.

But Ed Bagley's lawyer says jurors will need some understanding of the tenets of BDSM to decide if consent was granted.

"What's kinky in the BDSM crowd? Missouri jurors to decide"

on Saturday, 01 December 2012. Hits 530

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jurors need to hear why some people choose to engage in extreme and often painful sex acts so that they will be able to make informed decisions in the upcoming trial of a southwest Missouri couple accused of forcing a woman to be a sex slave for several years, defense attorneys told a federal judge Thursday.

For Edward and Marilyn Bagley to get a fair trial, jurors will need at least some understanding of the fringe sex subculture they belong to, in which people derive pleasure from the use of "safe words," dog collars, whips, chains and even electroshock devices, their attorneys said.

"A lot of the conduct described in the government's case is extreme for a lot of people in mainstream society," said Susan Dill, Ed Bagley's attorney.

She said it's important for jurors to know what is considered normal and what is considered extreme in the bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism — or BDSM — community. To disallow testimony about those norms "would be extremely prejudicial," she said.

U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple seemed uneasy at times as defense attorneys and prosecutors debated how much detail jurors should hear at trial about kinky sex acts. He asked Dill if he should ask potential jurors if they take part in BDSM activities during jury selection, to which she responded he should.

"Jesus," Whipple replied, sighing.

The senior judge questioned whether the Western District of Missouri court is the proper place to define and publicize standards for the BDSM subculture, and was surprised when the prosecution told him evidence in the case included thousands of images of sex acts.

"Pictures?" Whipple said. "You have pictures?"

The woman was 16 in 2002 when she moved into the Bagleys' mobile home on the outskirts of Lebanon, a rural community 140 miles southeast of Kansas City, prosecutors said. She lived with them until 2009.

The couple contends that the woman asked to be Edward Bagley's sex slave after she turned 18 and that she willingly engaged in BDSM sex acts with him and others. Defense attorneys say she voluntarily danced at strip clubs during the time she lived with the couple.

Prosecutors allege that the woman was forced to be a sex slave, and say Ed Bagley committed numerous acts of torture and mutilation against her, including whipping and electrically shocking her, locking her into a dog cage and forcing her head underwater or pouring water on her face. They contend that he forced her to strip at clubs.

Four men who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges said they engaged in or watched the sexual torture of the woman at the Bagleys' home. ...

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