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NCSF ACTION ALERT - UUA Petition

on Friday, 28 August 2015. Hits 88

Leather & Grace, a Coalition Partner of NCSF, has begun a campaign to amend the nondiscrimination rule of the Unitarian Universalist Association to include kink-identified people as a protected group.

 

“We believe we can achieve the petition requirements to put this on the agenda for the next General Assembly,” said Leather & Grace Moderator Desmond Ravenstone. “At the very least, this campaign will have people talking about the issues concerning members of the BDSM community.”

 

The proposed wording would expand “affectional or sexual orientation” as “not limited to gender-based attraction,” and also add the category of “consensual sexual expression” immediately after this. See the petition here: https://amendtherule.wordpress.com/

 

If you are a UUA member, please sign the official petition which requires 250 signatures from members of congregations in the Association to be submitted by the first of February 2016:

 

https://amendtherule.wordpress.com/what-uus-can-do/

 

If you are not a UUA member but would like to show your support, go here:

 

https://amendtherule.wordpress.com/for-non-uu-supporters/

 

This campaign is in keeping with the traditions of the Unitarian Universalists, which have historically taken the lead in supporting greater equity, justice and personal freedom, especially regarding sexuality issues. In 1970, the UUA was the first religious organization in the United States to call for an end to discrimination against LGB people. Last year, the UUA’s General Assembly ratified a groundbreaking Statement of Conscience on Reproductive Justice, affirming “the human right … to express one’s sexuality freely.”

 

This campaign can have impact in the wider world, leading the way towards greater social inclusion, equality and freedom for sexual minorities.

 

 

"Is Psychiatry Getting Kinky?"

on Wednesday, 26 August 2015. Hits 196

Huffington Post

by M. Gregg Bloche

So slip into those tight leather jeans. That dog collar would look fetching. Add a piercing in a place your mother wouldn't imagine. Or take your lover to a trendy erotic play-space and make lots of fast friends.

 

Your therapist says it's OK. In fact, she or he might be there. (I know a few therapists who partake.)

 

The American Psychiatric Association has gotten kinky. Well, not quite -- its annual meetings each May are pretty buttoned-up affairs. But its newest catalog of mental illnesses, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (known as the DSM V) does some unzipping. You can now do whatever, with whomever (consent required, please), on your own or in groups, and be in the pink of mental health -- so long as you don't suffer "clinically significant distress or impairment."

 

Credit cultural change, kinky lobbyists (the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom pressed the APA to stop diagnosing edgy pleasures), or -- who knows. But the committees of psychiatrists who rethink disease categories when the APA revises its diagnostic manual dropped "fetishes" sans "distress or impairment" from their list of disorders.

 

If your style of kinky fun is fetish-free (the APA defines "fetishism" as sexual use of "inanimate objects"), the new erotic liberation still has you covered. The DSM used to treat all "paraphilias" (APA-speak for "atypical" sexual practices) as sicknesses; not any more, so long as the fun is distress-free.

 

So what Christian and Anastasia do in Fifty Shades of Grey is (mostly) healthy, as of the DSM V's May 2013 release date. So are sex parties of the sort enjoyed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn -- the next president of France, until his alleged doings with a hotel housekeeper undid him.

 

Psychiatry's new sexual willingness came along just in time to save the field from embarrassment. If millions of Americans are getting kinky (or want to), diagnosing kink as disease would expand the ranks of the mentally ill implausibly. ...

"The rise of the “solosexual”: How millennials are rewriting the rules of sexuality"

on Sunday, 23 August 2015. Hits 152

Look out, Pat Robertson. Data confirm 20-somethings are less likely to identify as heterosexual than ever before

Salon

by NICO LANG, Daily Dot

Somebody warn Pat Robertson: The gay agenda has struck again.

 

According to a recent survey from YouGov, 50 percent of British millennials don’t label themselves as completely heterosexual. Forty-three percent of 18-to-24-year-olds identify somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey scale—which lists sexual orientation on a spectrum of one to six. “With each generation, people see their sexuality as less fixed in stone,” YouGov reports.

 

The easy explanation for this phenomenon is that such open-minded thinking about sexuality reflects the “no labels” ethos proffered by actress Kristen Stewart and singer Miley Cyrus, who famously told Paper magazine: “I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age. … Yo, I’m down with any adult—anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me.”

 

More from The Daily Dot: “Hillary Clinton’s evolving response to her private email scandal”

 

However, it’s not just that young people are eschewing labels but evolving notions of sexuality offer an increasing array of options outside the traditional boxes of gay and straight. No one has to put a label on it, but for those who do, a new generation is rewriting the rules.

 

For instance, an April 2015 post for Kinkly described the rise of the “solosexual,” which the site’s Jason Armstrong describes as “men who prefer masturbation over other sorts of sexual activity.” Armstrong continues, “There is a growing subculture of men who are finding that masturbation is the best sex of their lives. … They are meeting each other online on sites such as BateWorld.com or Chaturbate.com where masturbating on cam is the focus.”

 

Forty-three percent of 18-to-24-year-olds identify somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey scale—which lists sexual orientation on a spectrum of 1 to 6.

 

While Armstrong asserts that many solosexuals still engage in intercourse, according to Rain City Jacks founder Paul Rosenberg, these men “aren’t really interested in dating at all.” Rosenberg told the Huffington Post, “They just kind of want to play with themselves and share that experience with others.” Rosenberg and Armstrong describes the act as reclaiming the love of masturbation in a positive community—whether that’s in sex clubs or on the Internet.

 

Surprisingly, solosexuals come from all ends of the sexual spectrum; many are gay, while others identify as bisexual or maybe even straight. Some might not state a preference at all. As Rosenberg argues, “I would say it’s geared toward male solo-sex and gay sex, but if you don’t have penetration, a lot of people wouldn’t even define that as sex.”

 

However, solosexuals aren’t the only subculture to use the dating app and hookup revolution to create their own niche community on the Internet. Last year, OkCupid expanded its sexuality options to include “demisexual,” “heteroflexible,” and “pansexual,” which are already widely accepted categories of identification.

 

However, the site also added “sapiosexual,” which signifies that you value intelligence over all other qualities in a partner. The term exploded in popularity on OkCupid, branded the worst new dating trend of 2015 by Bustle’s Gabrielle Moss. While the term had its defenders and proponents, the flurry of thinkpieces on the topic signified that this was a bridge too far. ...

"Polyamory: An abundance of love"

on Friday, 21 August 2015. Hits 176

Loving several people at once - is that possible? Meeting a polyamorous young woman showed that it is, but only if you replace some of love's glamor with sober rationality.

DW.com

Turns out love, unlike money, food or space, isn't a limited resource. Juliane loves, sleeps with, is there for, and occasionally gets angry about, four different people. She lives as part of a network of people who all have multiple lovers.

Currently, she has been in one relationship in Berlin for more than a year, in a long-distance relationship and casually with two others for two and four years, respectively.

The secret for not letting this turn into a massive orgy or a constant emotional rollercoaster ride? According to Juliane, there are some essential ingredients: "It's really important to me that the people who play a central role in my life get to know each other and communicate openly," she says, adding that honesty is also important, along with having the guts to be raw and vulnerable.

Her relationship model of choice is polyamory, a term coined in the mid 90s. It is a model that works differently for everyone involved in a relationship with multiple partners. There isn't one sole way to live it - details are constantly being negotiated.

Loving just one person is absurd

Although there are no official figures available, it is estimated that up to 10,000 people live polyamorously in Germany. In the United States, the number is estimated to be between 1.2 to 2.4 million. What unites them is the conviction that love doesn't ever run out and that it can be distributed among many.

"Monogamy is an absurd idea to me. If there is someone I feel very close to, someone I love, why would that keep me from having sex with others? Why would that keep me from feeling close to someone else? I mean [even if I tried], it would happen. I would meet someone new and I'd fall in love. A relationship wouldn't prevent me from feeling that way," Juliane says with a smile, as if she's probably thinking about someone at this very moment.

She describes love as "finding someone fascinating" and "meeting someone so great you want to spend as much time with them as possible". Her idea of love is focussed on the other person - on their life, the way they see the world - so it feels different every time because every person is different. In that way, she doesn't so much talk about the butterflies in her stomach or the excitement in her own heart, instead she highlights people's characters.

She talks about all these people fondly while sitting in the garden of her girlfriend Theresa's flat in a residential part of north Berlin. Theresa never had just one relationship; there were always several. After one and a half years together, Theresa is one of her more intense relationships. Their interactions are natural and effortless. They casually chat about their plans for next week and talk about where her housemate is. With their inside jokes they come across like old friends, but you can tell they are lovers by the way Juliane tenderly strokes Theresa's hair for a split second. Then that moment is gone. ...

 

SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL CONSENT MONTH

on Thursday, 20 August 2015. Hits 175

Taking a positive approach to consent!

 

National Consent Month embraces the freedom of expression achieved when informed consent is present.

 

Join us in participating in an event or workshop during the month of September that highlights the importance of consent. Check out the consent workshops happening in September on the Consent Month Calendar.

 

Visit the official Consent Month website to learn about:

  • How to create and submit your own Consent Event
  • How to participate in the Consent Photo Contest
  • How to get free SWAG for your Consent Themed Event

 

Take photos and enter our Consent Month Photo Contest

 

 

National Consent Month is proudly sponsored by the NCSF and the Arizona Power Exchange to bring a positive and proactive approach to consent discussion and education.

"Can an Open Marriage Be a Good Marriage?"

on Wednesday, 19 August 2015. Hits 133

Monogamy isn’t for everyone, even the betrothed. Here’s how polyamory can open up your options, from the people who are making it work.

Dame Magazine

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

In the pilot of the FX comedy Married, wife Lina suggests to her husband, Russ, that he have an affair, not because she’s looking explore polyamory per se, but because she, as the mother of three kids, is too tired to deal with his sexual overtures. His attempt to sleep with another woman goes disastrously awry (his buying her a puppy is the least of his mistakes). And, as it turns out, Lina didn’t really mean it: She becomes jealous when she catches wind of his potential extramarital hookup.

 

A similar situation happens early on in the new memoir Wide Open: My Adventures in Polyamory, Open Marriage, and Loving on My Own Terms by Gracie X. When X and her husband Hank first got together, they settled on this agreement: “If one of us became attracted to another person, we would allow ourselves one sexual encounter. But after that we were to shut it down and bring our focus back to the relationship.” As it turns out, once wasn’t enough for her. She wanted more than just a quick roll in the hay; instead, she longed for a romantic and sexual connection with someone. The book recounts the story of how, after going back to an unsatisfying (for her) monogamous relationship, they successfully began an open marriage that allowed her to get her needs met—but not without tackling some of the deep-seated issues around their differing libidos.

 

I wanted to find out what makes open marriages work, especially since we live in a society that is highly skeptical of the prospect. For example, when Margaret Cho and her husband, Al Ridenour, announced they were divorcing, gossip sites asked whether their open marriage was to blame, even though she’s spoken highly of the practice, calling it “more respectful to my nature.” We assume the non-monogamy is to blame when the marriage doesn’t endure because the openness goes against the deeply ingrained linking of marriage and monogamy in the public imagination. Yes, sometimes open marriages end—but many not only survive, but thrive. In fact, those in open marriages often credit polyamory with strengthening the marriage and making each of them better spouses.

 

 

 

Open marriages come in different forms

 

The first thing to know about open marriages is that there’s no single way of conducting them. Some couples have rules; some don’t. Some couples have a live-and-let-live attitude, of the “as long as I don’t find out, it’s okay” variety, while others, like erotica author Malin James, want their primary partners to meet their other lovers, and vice versa. James even had her girlfriend as one of her bridesmaids when she married her husband. There’s a whole lot of variety and options when figuring out the type of open relationship that might work for you.

 

Some may not even call theirs an “open marriage,” per se, but still practice selective non-monogamy, as did actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who addressed the nature of her arrangement with husband, Will Smith, in a Facebook post, stating, “Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship … this means we have a GROWN one.”

 

Rather than both partners being gung-ho about polyamory from the start, one partner’s interest in opening up their relationship may sparks the initial inquiry into it. This happened for my friend Lola, who’s been married for eight years, and with her husband for 13. Prior to meeting her husband when she was 20, she enjoyed having more than one partner, and said, “I fully intended to just live my life loving multiple people and hoping they’d be okay with that.” But falling head over heels made her question that intention. “I figured all of my indecisiveness was because I was waiting for the perfect person.”

 

When she was about to get engaged, she reconnected with her first love, and realized she still had feelings for him. They began an affair. She brought up the idea of polyamory to her now-husband of polyamory, but “he didn’t understand that me being in love with someone else didn’t mean I loved him less. He couldn’t wrap his head around it.” She agreed to set aside the idea, yet it stayed with her. Two years into their marriage, she began exploring her inclination toward submission and BDSM online, with his reluctant blessing. He still wasn’t fully on board, but knew this was important to her. Lola calls this transition period a rough one, admitting, “There were times when he was spiteful and mean and there were times when I hid things because I didn’t want to deal with him, but we got through all of it mostly intact.” ...

 

"Polyamorous relationships and the 'messes' of love"

on Wednesday, 19 August 2015. Hits 135

Chicago Tribune

by Dawn M. Turner

introduction to the concept of polyamory, or Polyamory 101 as I like to think of it, occurred a few months ago when I was walking with a friend across Harvard Yard. My friend, who's in her late 20s, mentioned that she engages in polyamorous relationships.

 

For a second, I thought: A poly-who?

 

Then, my knowledge of Greek and Latin kicked in and helped me divine the word's meaning. Still, I didn't know it was a thing. Or, maybe I should say, a new thing.

 

A polyamorous relationship is one in which consenting adults openly have several deeply intimate, monogamous-like relationships, but without exclusivity. It may, as my friend described, include sex. It may not.

 

Confused? Keep reading.

 

In my mind, it's a concept that used to be called "playing the field" if you were single and "swinging" (or engaging in an "open relationship") if you were married. Now, it's been repackaged and hybridized into a heady euphemism for millennials.

 

I must tell you that I conducted a highly non-scientific survey of several Gen Xers and baby boomers, folks between the ages of 38 and 60, and asked them if they'd heard of polyamorous relationships. They hadn't.

 

lRelated It's a (renewed) Dawn, it's a new day

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It's a (renewed) Dawn, it's a new day

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8

 

To be clear, the concept is not new. (We're just late to the party, so to speak.) For my research, I found the websites of several local polyamory meet-up groups, one started in 2012. And it's not strictly the purview of millennials. Older married folks are also practitioners.

 

So what distinguishes polyamory from "swinging" or "playing the field?"

 

The big difference, said my friend, is that it's a way of negotiating a relationship — talking about how you feel and what you want in your many companionships — and not merely negotiating sex.

 

Additionally, polyamory may be custom made for folks who are too busy with their careers to invest a lot of time in monogamy. With polyamory, a participant doesn't expect all (or even a majority) of her needs to be met by one person, and she doesn't have to meet all of her partners' needs. ...

"IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Was a 26-Year-Old Virgin Because I Was Ashamed That I'm Into Bondage"

on Tuesday, 18 August 2015. Hits 231

XO Jane

By Erin K. Coughlin

My earliest sexual fantasies had nothing to do sex. They were all about getting kidnapped.

I imagined a car stopping short beside me as I was walking home from school. Two men—always two—jumped out and grabbed me. I imagined a dark, dank basement made even darker by the fact that I was, of course, blindfolded. I imagined a wet rag stuffed in my mouth and my wrists tied behind me.

This detail, my bound wrists, was the most important thing of all. My wrists had to be tied. This was the sun around which all other details revolved.

My attackers had shifting, indistinct faces: unclear and anonymous. They didn’t need faces. The fantasies weren’t about them. They were props. I didn’t understand what I was feeling as I imagined all this; I just let myself enjoy it.

This isn’t to say that if a car had actually stopped short beside me, I would have welcomed my faceless attackers with open arms. My fantasies were satisfying because I was in control. Every choice was mine.

Fortunately, the world of children’s media is incredibly kind to the burgeoning bondage enthusiast. It seemed like no matter what I watched or read, characters got tied up right and left. So many obliging villains!

I thought Nancy Drew, girl detective, was pretentious and stuck up, but as she seemed physically incapable of getting through one of her mysteries without being tied up, I stuck with the series.

One of my favorite books was about two sisters searching for treasure. In the third act, the bad guys caught them and tied them up with twine. Twine? Twine! Here I was imagining being tied up with rope, like some kind of neophyte, when twine existed for the taking?

Back in the real world, sex—actual sex—had begun to make itself known. It was the disgusting thing grown-ups did to produce a child. I never got a formal Talk. My parents, incredibly loving and somewhat strict, were happy to let me live in ignorance.

And why not? I was clearly too distracted by thoughts of restraint to seduce the neighborhood boys. Sure, I had a few “boyfriends”—a “boyfriend” in this case being whichever T-ball teammate I had just kissed against his will, but this didn’t titillate me as much as, say, asking my two best friends to tie me to a chair. With belts! And hey, while you’re at it, stuff a kerchief in my mouth!

They did it, too. None of us understood that I was totally getting off on it.

In fifth grade, I was in a friend’s basement rec room and we set out to find naked people on the SPICE channel. Does the SPICE Channel still exist? Does it have to? Probably not.

My friend’s parents didn’t get SPICE, so we had to “watch” it through static. We couldn’t see the naked people, but we could hear what they were doing. Those sounds of rough abandon triggered something inside me I had until now known only in those dark basements of my imagination. This was my big bingo moment.

“Oh,” I thought, trying to reconcile this tickle in the underbrush with the longing of my poor, lonely wrists. That’s what my fantasies meant. They were about sex, even before I understood what sex was.

I was turned on by submission and danger and the threat of pain. Maybe even, actual pain. I didn’t want romance and love. I wanted fear. I was one of the bad guys.

In that moment, I thought I understood myself and I was ashamed. …


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