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"Why I Am No Longer a Sex-Addiction Therapist"

on Monday, 23 November 2015. Hits 464

Psychology Today

by Joe Kort Ph.D.

In the 1980s, addiction models were becoming increasingly popular, and Patrick Carnes’ sex addiction model tagged onto that wave. Twelve-step groups on behavioral addictions were forming everywhere. The groups, as well as the information, were easily accessible, and clients understood the concept immediately. I became a certified sex addiction therapist, and fully embraced the model until 2010 when I began to see some serious flaws. For instance:


* Sex is not as simple as I had learned. It is far more complicated and messy psychologically, both very ordinary and very weird in everyone. Sexuality is a kind of mystery to us all, and may take us in all kinds of unexpected directions.


* The definition and treatment of sexual addiction is complicated by values, morality, and religious overtones of treatment providers. In the sex addiction model, sexual recovery is left to the therapist’s and spouse’s moral judgment and discretion. It lacks an informed, educated and research-oriented basis to assist the client to achieve his own sexual health.


* As our understanding of the range of human sexuality has expanded, many within our profession have ceased to pathologize certain sexual behaviors, recognizing that, practiced in safe and consensual ways, such behaviors often not only enhance people’s happiness and well being, but are neither “unnatural” nor “abnormal.” Rather they are part of the panoply of pleasure available to us as sexual beings.


* The sex addiction model uses the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST), which therapists can administer to recognize areas that are “problematic” within their clients’ “arousal template.” Clients are asked if they have purchased romantic novels and sexually explicit magazines, spent time and money in strip clubs, have paid prostitutes, or even if anyone has been upset by their behavior. They are asked if they regularly engage in sado-masochistic behavior, or regularly attend bathhouses, sex clubs, or porn shops, and whether they cruise parks. Thus, the SAST implicitly decides that viewing and purchasing romantic novels and sexually explicit magazines, or any of these other behaviors is wrong. However, many people do all these things and never have a problem.


* All too often, sex addiction therapy’s focus is on altering sexual behavior. For example, in the SA model a man who can’t stop undressing women in his mind is encouraged to manage his lust by self-policing how long he looks at a woman— the three-second rule. The assumption is that simply stopping the addictive behavior will bring him back to healthy sex and marriage. This keeps the focus on the sexual behavior, actually making things worse by putting the client at odds with his or her sexuality and actually causing the behaviors to increase. However, I have rarely experienced this to be successful.


Jack Morin, in his book, Erotic Mind, says it best: “If you go to war with your sexuality you will lose and cause more chaos than you started.” Doug Harvey Braun, author of "Treating Out Of Control Sexual Behaviors: Rethinking Sex Addiction" (link is external)  cautions removing a person’s erotic life in the process of trying to treat their so-called addiction, referring to it as an “eroticectomy.” In the sex addiction model the client is led to believe that if they return to that sexual behavior they will relapse into sexual compulsivity. So they build a life around avoiding the behaviors and fantasies with strong boundaries rather than accepting and befriending this part of themselves and learning to control it rather than it controlling them. ...

"KinkBNB Brings Sharing Economy to the ‘Sex-Positive’ Community"

on Saturday, 21 November 2015. Hits 150


By Susan Cohen

When you sign up for an account at, you’re given a list of password security questions. Some are recognizable from other websites: Where was your mother born? What is your third-grade teacher’s last name?


Others, however, are much less conventional, but more fitting of KinkBNB’s clientele. Top or bottom? What is your safe word? Sadist or masochist?


Like many other sites capitalizing on the sharing economy, KinkBNB hopes to fill a void. The San Francisco-based startup operates much like its namesake, Airbnb, but provides more erotic accommodations. Hosts can rent out their bedrooms, sex dungeons and porn production studios. In exchange, guests gain access to an intimate getaway.


Darren McKeeman was inspired to launch the site when a friend of his, local sex educator Eve Minax, made a complaint about Airbnb on Facebook earlier this year. Her listing on the home-sharing site, which advertised access to her personal dungeon as an additional amenity, had unexpectedly vanished. The post included potentially graphic photos of the room, which Minax says were taken by an Airbnb photographer.


(According to Airbnb’s terms of service, the company prohibits users from being able to “post, upload, publish, submit or transmit any Content that … is defamatory, obscene, pornographic, vulgar or offensive.” A spokesman from the company adds: “Removing an individual from Airbnb is rare and done only after serious consideration and a review of a variety of factors.”)


McKeeman, who has had a long career in tech and IT, saw Minax’s Facebook post and immediately bought the KinkBNB url. It cost him $12. Ryan Galiotto, co-owner of SoMa’s Wicked Grounds Kink Cafe & Boutique, and Matias Drago soon rounded out the team. The site now has listings in more than 60 cities and 20 countries. ...

"All you need is love(s)"

on Friday, 20 November 2015. Hits 153

Columbia Spectator


To manage her multiple relationships, School of Engineering and Applied Science junior Arya Popescu uses Google Calendar.


Like any other busy student, Popescu has work to manage, homework to do, and assignments to complete. But despite her busy schedule, Popescu found a polyamorous niche embedded within an apparently vibrant kink and bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism community at Columbia. Sitting with me at a table outside Hartley Hall, Popescu speaks rapidly and with verve about the community, making frequent use of hand gestures.


“I found out Columbia had a kink community and was like, ‘Oh my god, this is so awesome. In that context poly is normal.”


A standard definition of polyamory, often shortened to “poly,” is non-monogamy. However, according to Popescu, this definition is too broad. She explains that while non-monogamy could be used to label every incident of infidelity or random group sex, none of these acts fall under polyamory’s umbrella. In ethical polyamory, what often looks like and is judged like deceit in fact follows consensual, pre-determined rules.


It is perhaps these loose associations, along with a traditional allegiance to monogamy, that keep polyamory from gaining popular acceptance. According to a 2015 Gallup Social Poll, while acceptance of polyamorous marriage has more than doubled since 2001, approval remains at a mere 16 percent.


Throughout our interview, Popescu repeatedly said that she didn’t view one relationship model as superior, just different from one another. Still, she believes most people take a perspective on polyamory that is too informed by monogamy.


“Really the practice of ethical polyamory involves a lot of openness and mutual communication. Sometimes it’s like, ‘Oh, give me all the gory details.’ Other times, not so much. There’s this mindfulness and openness and active consent regarding relationship practices in the polyamorous community.”


For Popescu, this openness allows her to pursue a spectrum of relationships suited to her different desires and needs, ranging from platonic friendships to what she describes as a “primal” sexuality. On one hand, Popescu says her most intimate relationship is with someone who identifies as asexual. While she and Popescu have “played” together, Popescu says that for the most part, their relationship is platonic.


On the other hand, Popescu is president of Conversio Virium, Columbia’s BDSM and kink club. This involves being plugged into a large and private kink network, through which she can pursue many sexual, but less intimate relationships. Yet Popescu does not associate with these people much in her daily life.


Interested in observing the polyamorous scene of New York City at large, I visited Bluestockings Cafe in Midtown’s Astor Place, a bookstore where every few weeks the polyamorous club Open Love NY meets. “We try to create a nonjudgmental group that just so happens to love the same way,” Open Love NY Vice President Puck Malamud, whose pronoun is they, says. The group also aims to educate about polyamory through speakers and group discussion. ...

"West Chester Township temporarily bans proposed 'swingers club'"

on Thursday, 19 November 2015. Hits 146

FOX 19 Now

By Jordan Vilines

West Chester Township officials revoked a business permit for a previously approved swingers club scheduled to open in December.


Officials cited a dated trespassing charge against the owners when rescinding the permit, owners of The Champagne Club confirmed to FOX19 NOW.


It was standing room only during Tuesday's West Chester Township Trustees meeting and many in attendance made their opinions known on one issue in particular --- a swinger’s club setting up shop inside city limits. “I’m adamantly opposed to allowing this kind of thing into our community,” West Chester Township resident Lisa Shu said.


The club, located on Harwood Court, aligned with West Chester’s “sexually oriented business” licensing resolution. It was set to open in an industrial area permitted under the “sexually oriented business” zoning rules.


Community members raised concerns once it came to light that the club would sit about 652 feet from a daycare. The law requires that such businesses be at least 500 feet away.


“Through this recent review process, the Township discovered the law governing sexually oriented businesses may have developed a distinction between “sexual encounter establishments” and other sorts of sexually oriented businesses. This distinction identified “sexual encounter establishments,” may not be entitled the same First Amendment protection as other sexually oriented businesses,” said Township Administrator Judi Boyko.


After opinions were expressed, the board made their decision to authorize a 9 month moratorium, or temporary ban, on the issuance of a license for a sexual encounter establishment. “The moratorium tonight will allow the board of trustees time to study possible changes to West Chester’s existing zoning resolution and license resolution regarding sexual-encounter businesses,” said West Chester Board of Trustees member Mark Welch.


FOX19 NOW tried to contact the owners of the Champagne Club, so far, we haven’t heard back from them. In a press release sent out last week, they expressed their side of this matter.


The press release stated, “We have operated a private club similar to this one in Indiana for four years with absolutely no problems needing police intervention. Our members are of high standards and never create an issue for neighboring businesses.”


The president of the board said in the next 9 months, he wants to research other cities that have establishments of this nature to see how those establishments fared in the community.

"Ethical cheating: Inside look at the polyamorous lifestyle"

on Wednesday, 18 November 2015. Hits 181


By Ellen McNamara


Liz and Garrett have been together for nine years.


The Kansas City area couple has been married for more than seven years. They say their relationship is strong but something is missing. That something, they say, is another woman.


“If somebody told me four years ago that I’m going to be looking for another woman to share my husband with, I’d be like, 'OK, what are you smoking'" Liz jokes.


KCTV5 is not identifying the couple by their last name.


Liz and Garrett’s polyamorous lifestyle is in the minority but not as much as you may think. New York University estimates five percent of American relationships practice some form of “consensual non-monogamy.”


“It wasn’t like we went out looking for this. It kind of fell into our lap,” Garrett explains.


A few years ago Liz and Garrett had a friend. She spent a lot of time with them and soon the three found themselves in a romantic relationship. When that part of the relationship ended, the couple realized they missed her and wanted a similar relationship with someone else.


“We’re not looking for somebody to have threesomes with and one night stands. Yes, sex would be a part of the relationship, the way it is for a marriage, but that’s not the primary thing,” Liz explains.


Liz and Garrett are on the dating site Open Minded.  The site launched in April and promotes polyamory, which means being romantically involved with more than one person at the same time. It does not promote polygamy.


“We like to call it, ethical cheating,” said Brook Urick, a spokesperson for the Las Vegas-based site. “There are so many people who are in relationships who are unhappy. They’re cheating and being adulterous. It would be lot easier if they were just in an open relationship and be honest about what they want with their partner.”


About 40 couples in the Kansas City area have signed up along with 70 single men and 60 single women. ...

"We are a devoted couple... who have had sex with 100 people in three years"

on Friday, 13 November 2015. Hits 303

The Sun

MEET loving couple John and Claudia, who have been together for seven years — though during the past three, he has bedded more than 40 other women.


But she does not mind a bit, having had flings with more than 60 men herself in that time.


The pair are part of a growing movement called polyamory, in which couples allow each other full sexual freedom, while maintaining their love and respect for each other.


Polyamorous dating website has 36,002 UK members out of 180,000 worldwide.


John and Claudia credit polyamory with keeping their relationship alive and are now planning to get married and have children.


They even say they would invite previous partners to the wedding.


John has often had two or three sexual partners on the go at once. But while Claudia has had more flings, she says not all of them went all the way. She adds that she enjoys the flirting and the kissing as much as a full sexual encounter.


John, 28, who runs a music studio, says: “My friends find it so hard to get their heads around it. They say, ‘You let Claudia sleep with other guys? Aren’t you jealous?’


“But allowing each other to have multiple sexual partners actually strengthens our relationship.”


Claudia, 24, an artist from Islington, North London, says: “John is the man I love but I am only human in that I still fancy other men.”


She continues: “We met when I went along to see his band playing. At the time I was only 16, and a student.


“We were instantly attracted, and we dated quite normally for four years.


“Then we were apart for a while as I was away at university and he was travelling with his band, and we both cheated on each other — bizarrely on the same day, as we later discovered.


“When we met up we confessed to each other and at first I thought it would mean the end of our relationship. But then when I examined my feelings, I realised I did not really mind or even feel jealous.


“I loved John, and I did not want us to split up. I thought about it, and suggested we stay together, but in a new model of a relationship.


“We’d both be free to see and sleep with other people, but at the same time maintain a close, loving relationship.


“I’ve been at parties where John is openly kissing another woman and my friends cannot believe I don’t mind. Likewise, John has seen me hitting on a good-looking guy, and he turns away and lets me get on with it, knowing we may well end up in bed.”


A support group called the Polyamory Society has come up with a definition of the lifestyle. It says: “Polyamory is the non-possessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously. ...

"Everything You Need To Know About Harvard Sex Week's BDSM Course"

on Thursday, 12 November 2015. Hits 286

Let's talk sex, and specifically, BDSM.

Huffington Post

by Kira Brekke

Harvard University's Sex Week is in full swing, and what's a week of informing students about all things fornication without an instructive BDSM course? In the video above, watch Harvard Sex Week events coordinator Julia Lee discuss why the workshop is so important for students and how learning about it can be empowering.


Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about Harvard Sex Week here.

"Death Is Way More Complicated When You're Polyamorous"

on Monday, 09 November 2015. Hits 295


by Simon Davis

In February, Robert McGarey's partner of 24 years died. It was the most devastating loss McGarey had ever encountered, and yet, there was a silver lining: "I had this profound sadness, but I don't feel lonely," McGarey told me. "I'm not without support, I'm not without companionship."


That's because he has other partners: Jane, who he's been with for 16 years, and Mary, who he's been with for eight. (Those are not their real names.) And while his grief for Pam, the girlfriend who died, was still immense, polyamory helped him deal with it.


There's not a lot of research into how poly families cope with death—probably because there's not a lot of research about how poly families choose to live. By rough estimates, there are several million poly people in the United States. And while polyamory can bring people tremendous benefits in life and in death, our social and legal systems weren't designed to deal with people with more than one romantic partner—so when one person dies, it can usher in a slew of complicating legal and emotional problems.


"Whether people realize it or not, the partner to whom they are married will have more benefits and rights once a death happens," explained Diana Adams, who runs a boutique law firm that practices "traditional and non-traditional family law with support for positive beginnings and endings of family relationships."


Since married partners rights' trump everyone else's, the non-married partners don't automatically have a say in end-of-life decisions, funeral arrangements, or inheritance. That's true for non-married monogamous relationships, too, but the problem can be exacerbated in polyamorous relationships where partners are not disclosed or acknowledged by family members. In her work, Adams has seen poly partners get muscled out of hospital visits and hospice by family members who refused to recognize a poly partner as a legitimate partner.


McGarey and his girlfriend Pam weren't married, so the decision to take her off life support had to go through Pam's two sisters. The money Pam left behind—which McGarey would've inherited had they been married—went to her sisters too, who also organized Pam's funeral.


This kind of power struggle can also happen among multiple partners who have all been romantically involved with the deceased. The only real way to ensure that everything is doled out evenly is to draft up a detailed prenuptial agreement and estate plan. Adams works with clients to employ "creative estate planning" to ensure that other partners are each acknowledged and taken care of. ...

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