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"Teacher case exposes Internet's sinister side"

on Tuesday, 08 January 2013. Hits 475

LFPress.com

It’s a great networking tool, a way to build connections to people with similar interests.

But the Internet can also act as a gathering place of a more sinister kind, a kind of dingy underground meeting place for people out for blood who find like-minded deviants.

From dating websites such as Plenty of Fish and lavalife to the more fringe sites such as Fetlife, where members meet up or talk about their love of bondage, bestiality and sadomasochism, the online world has become home to plenty of subcultures.

Fetlife is one of the social networking sites that Tanya Bogdanovich, 31, and Michael MacGregor, 19, appear to have frequented.

They also appear to have profiles on a site called “Kinky Cougar Connection” and “Brother/Sister Love.”

The two are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sarnia schoolteacher Noelle Paquette, 27. The allegations against the pair haven’t been proven in court.

Paquette went missing after leaving a New Year’s Eve party in Sarnia. Her body was found Jan. 2 in a woodlot on Mandaumin Rd.

“In some instances, acting out a fantasy with a paid or consenting partner, prior to committing a sexual crime with a stranger, can be a part of the evolutionary process between fantasy and violence,” said retired OPP criminal profiler Jim Van Allan, who now runs Behavioural Sciences Solutions Group Inc.

“Some offenders ‘role play’ as a behavioural tryout or rehearsal of a planned crime.”

Van Allen is not involved in the case.

The profiles on Fetlife that appear to be Bogdanovich and MacGregor’s contain graphic images of the two and discussions of the pair engaging in violent sex acts with each other and documenting their shared obsession with rape and torture.

“The Internet has certainly increased the networking capabilites of people,” Van Allan said.

“It plays a major role in people coming together. I would say the Internet goes to facilitate and enable social interaction, but it’s not what makes people dangerous.”

The vast majority of people involved in the bondage, bestiality and sadomasochism community are not violent outside of the subculture, said James Quinn, a researcher at the University of North Texas who has studied sexuality, deviance and crime.

“They’re going to work within the community to act out their fantasies,” he said. “We don’t know yet if people go to their sites because that’s what they’re attracted to or if they become attracted to that kind of thing because they go to those sites.”

It’s possible Bogdanovich and MacGregor may have met on a cougar website, given the large age difference between them, Quinn said.

“Sometimes, there’s just a bad combination of individuals,” he said. “There’s a dynamic of ratcheting up the level of intensity of the thought and the behaviour. The Internet just probably served as a communication device here.”

In some crimes, the Internet acts as a tool for boasting about crimes or displaying one’s fantasies. ...

"Planned Parenthood video promotes sadomasochism as ‘adventure’ and ‘fun’"

on Sunday, 06 January 2013. Hits 1036

LifeSiteNews

Is there any perversion Planned Parenthood will not present to young, vulnerable people as “play”? Judging from the home page of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, apparently not. The “healthcare” organization features a video storehouse known as “A Naked Notion with Laci Green,” by sporting a picture of a young lady waving a condom.

Click the link to watch the videos, and you will be greeted by “Getting Kinky—BDSM 101,” an instructional video created in partnership with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England that attempts to make sadomasochism sound like a harmless, pleasant romp in the park.

Laci states in her perky, lilting voice that October was declared National Kink Month, “and when you think about it, October and kink—they’re kind of a fitting pair,” she says. “Halloween and kink are both about adventure and fun and exploring roles and dynamics that are maybe a little bit different from everyday life.”

The video flashes to a pair of handcuffs, and the query, “What is BDSM?” Laci explains that BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism. “It consists of intentionally designed scenarios called a scene where two people play out pleasurable acts that they’ve previously negotiated, called play,” she says.

But the dictionary makes no such distinction about previous negotiation or play when defining sadism. Merriam-Webster defines sadism as: “(1) a sexual perversion in which gratification is obtained by the infliction of physical or mental pain on others; (2)(a) delight in cruelty; (b) excessive cruelty.”

That’s a far cry from negotiated fun, yet Planned Parenthood blatantly promotes it as pleasurable play. And its obvious target is young and otherwise vulnerable people.

“The pain at play with sadomasochism is not like breaking a bone or getting beat up,” Laci explains. “It’s about the strategic use of bodily sensations to elicit pleasure.”

She then sets out to normalize this horrific, dangerous perversion by saying that some people believe that those who participate in BDSM are emotionally scarred or were once abused. She states that this is “not true; it’s a total myth. People across the spectrum with various backgrounds participate in BDSM. The pain as exhilaration concept is not only old as dirt, it’s pretty common, even outside the bedroom.” She then compares sadomasochism to a runner’s high and the “intense euphoria” that results. “Kinda the same thing going on,” she says.

“The idea of using power and control and pain in a set scene understandably sets off alarms in some people’s heads,” she says. “They hear that BDSM involves spanking and pain and torture ... scary stuff. With no further knowledge it’s easy to conflate BDSM with abuse.”

“But BDSM and abuse are actually very different,” Laci says. She continues,

BDSM is about a consensual power exchange. Abuse is not. BDSM is negotiated and agreed upon before anything happens. Abuse is not. BDSM has rules, limits, and boundaries that are respected by all parties. Abuse does not.

If your head is reeling just imagining how these people who have consented to being bound and tortured are going to be respected by their “non-abusers” who are torturing them—and how respect and pre-negotiation are going to cause the torturer to limit his torture in wake of sexual stimulation—your head may well explode when you hear Laci’s next statement. ...

"From Same-Sex Marriage to Polygamy and Polyandry"

on Saturday, 05 January 2013. Hits 697

American Thinker

I keep hearing same-sex marriage (SSM) activists assuring us that no one else will legally redefine the essence of marriage, after they enjoy the privilege of doing so. It's a red herring to distract us from the real issue: redefining it for them alone.

But if we redefine marriage for one group, there's no logical reason to deny other nonconformist advocates their right to do so, especially if they successfully argue their version of marriage on utilitarian grounds -- it benefits or does no harm to society.

I don't know who invented the slippery slope fallacy, but he or she shouldn't be decorated with a medal. Sometimes the slope exists, it really is slippery, and people actually slide down it. In the 1950s, Lucy and Ricky were shown in separate beds. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Brady Bunch parents shared the same extra-wide king-size bed, but were far apart. Today? No need to describe primetime or daytime TV. The sex drive is powerful, and society has publically slid down that slippery, muddy slope long ago.

Here are two more nonconformist groups clamoring for their share of the marriage mud pie. ...

...

We now peer, not leer, into polyamory or open, nonmongamous relationships, including open marriages.

Traditionally, monogamy has been defined as relational and sexual exclusivity between one man and one woman. But some nonconformists say that while they have their primary partnership, they allow hook ups with others. "It's a redefinition of marriage," says one.

A mature student in my class told us of her friend who is in a polyamorous relationship. Her husband gives her "free rein," so to speak.

Derek McCullough and David S. Hall, Ph.D., say monogamy is a cultural myth and polyamory is an option:

...Much of the evidence seems to indicate that human attainment of the cultural ideal of monogamy is a myth. The moral argument for monogamy is a weak position. A better moral argument can be made regarding what is best for each individual and for society, that is, do we make life better for each and all by insisting on sex only in monogamous marriage of heterosexual couples, or on letting individuals find responsible ways of relating that, in Pagan terms, "harm none". Liberal religion has taken a fine stance supporting homosexual and heterosexual couples, and unmarried couples as well. What is so hard about seeing the parallels to the "more than a couple" part?

In the old days, polyamory used to be called adultery or fornication. But the "moral argument for monogamy is a weak position." Apparently, in a diverse and tolerant society any point of view and feeling becomes the new norm. McCullough and Hall use the long history of polygamy to shore up the naturalness of polyamory. It's evolutionary biology, you see. Liberal religion can endorse it. In their whole piece they project such a cool, open-minded vibe and write in such soothing psychological terms,old-school vices become new-school virtues.

Things are a little confusing for me, however. Polyamorists may not get married, but if they were to do so, apparently they would become polygamists of sorts. Yet it would not be limited to one heterosexual husband and four heterosexual wives as we see in Islam's old-school polygamy. Instead, we're entering a brave new world, so any combination of men and women and sexual orientation would do (e.g. four "husbands"). Despite the confusion right now, we would get used to their marriage, just as we're getting used to SSM. "Progress" is inevitable. ...

"Are Kinky Sex Clubs On College Campuses A Good Idea?"

on Friday, 28 December 2012. Hits 914

Care2

Is kinky sex on the curriculum at Harvard now?

Earlier this month, Harvard University formally recognized a ­student-run BDSM group (short for bondage, domination, and sado­maso­chism). Now, in addition to the French Club and the Mathematica Club, and about 400 other student groups, freshmen at this Ivy League university can sign up for kinky sex.

As it turns out, Harvard is not at all the first university to approve such a group.

That honor belongs to Columbia University’s Conversio Virium (Latin for “exchange of forces”), which in 1992 was the first such university-recognized in the country. In 2003,the Iowa State University student body founded Cuffs, a college student group that teaches about bondage and other sexual fetishes, while Vassar College has the Sex Avengers, which holds an annual “Masturbate-a-thon.”

But while a few clubs have existed previously, it seems that the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” has promoted many more.

From New York Observer:

The popularity of 50 Shades of Grey has accelerated a mainstreaming of the BDSM subculture already underway—the initials stand for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism—and the trend has been especially pronounced in our more elite institutions of higher learning. Columbia has a BDSM group. So do Tufts, MIT, Yale and the University of Chicago. Brown, UPenn and Cornell have hosted BDSM educators for on-campus seminars entitled “The Freedom of Kink” and “Kink for All.” It looks like conservatives who have long viewed the Ivy League a bastion of depravity may have a point after all.

Harvard College Munch is the name of this latest addition; in case you’re wondering, the term “munch” is simply an amalgamation of “lunch” and “meeting.” Apparently the word comes from the 1980s: at that time some S & M enthusiasts used to meet at a restaurant in Palo Alto to discuss their proclivities for bondage, spanking, and leather goods. Since that time, munches have become synonymous with BDSM clubs.

But there is a downside.

From New York Observer:

While the scene’s mantra—“safe, sane and consensual”—is heard so often it might as well be translated into needlepoint, violations of these maxims are common. In the last year, hundreds of people have come forward to describe the abuse they’ve suffered within the scene. The victims are mostly women, and like 50 Shades’ fictional 22-year-old Anastasia Steele, many are also young, submissive and uncertain about their boundaries.

As word has spread about the number of abuses and violations of consent that have happened, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) decided to launch a survey.

“We haven’t closed it yet, but so far we have 5,000 responses, and over 30 percent of them had have their previously negotiated limit violated, which I think is horrific,” spokesperson Susan Wright told New York Observer. “There is still confusion between consensual BDSM and assault.”

As part of the survey, NCSF asks respondents to define what they mean by mutual consent, and to state whether “safe, sane, consensual” are adequate terms. The group also asks: “Are there behaviors that the BDSM communities don’t accept?”  “What is your experience with consent in the BDSM communities?”

BDSM clubs are a good thing as long as this means providing safe spaces for students to explore alternative sexuality, but clear rules on what “consent” means need to be in place.

What do you think?

Click the link to vote in the poll!

"Op-Ed: Kink as the Next LGBT Rights Frontier"

on Thursday, 20 December 2012. Hits 893

Why handcuffs and submission may lead to even more LGBT liberation

The Advocate

The people have spoken: gay is OK. The recent election gave us political and legislative victories for the LGBT community, including same-sex marriage in three states and Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. Senator. On television we have sitcoms like Modern Family, and The New Normal, which portray gays and lesbians as good friends, neighbors, and parents. Finally, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo emerged as leading advocates for same-sex marriage and shedding the homophobic image associated with professional sports.

Now, there is only one thing left to do: get kinky. Incorporating kink into the LGBT movement--and here I mean bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM), as well as the alternative sexualities community like the polyamorous--begins to include all of those struggling for sexual freedom. And, a kinky LGBT movement allows us to think about additional groups to include and form a coalition in the fight for causes that affect a larger collective.

A kinky LGBT movement would mean a long overdue return to the Stonewall Riot-era advocacy in which community identity celebrated difference. Like many identity-based social movements, incremental change was necessary for laying the groundwork of acceptance by the broader public. As protestors became lobbyists, the face of the LGBT movement became male, white, privileged, and arguing for traditional marriage. Radical transformation became assimilation into mainstream society and its institutions.

The strategy is working but the concessions made are at the expense of many. In theory, anyone in the community should reap the benefits for any LGBT rights victory. However, sexual and gender minorities of color continue to suffer a unique sort of discrimination and victimization, perhaps due to the image of what it means to be gay, that has emerged. Integrating kink into the LGBT movement may reignite a more inclusive agenda by recognizing the highly varied sexual and gender diversity within the greater community.

Challenging the status quo through non-normality is not new for many queer radical advocates. The deviance of kinkiness creates an opportunity for several marginal groups to align and frame causes with larger appeal, such as “civil rights.” For example, University of Chicago Professor, Cathy J. Cohen, believes that queer politics offers an opportunity to examine power and not exclusively based on heteronormativity and consider the possibility of “progressive transformative coalition work”. Kink, unlike queer, challenges more axes of oppression, allowing the LGBT community, specifically, and other groups (e.g., race, class, and gender), more broadly, to question their marginalization. In other words, non-normativity unveils the universality and commonalty of grievances and aspirations for social change, and in this case, BDSM and alternative sexualities touch on larger frames, including equality, privacy, and intimate association.

Attempts to move the LGBT agenda down an expansive road is not without risks. Claims of equality are universal in many respects, but I fear that BDSM and LGBT would be simultaneously everywhere and nowhere; we must preserve fundamental values, histories, and identities that defined and connected these communities in the first place. A far-reaching agenda may also obscure the causes that are unique to particular groups.  BDSM is pathologized in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and criminalized under assault and battery law, whereas homosexuality is not. And yet, a heterosexual BDSM practitioner can marry and adopt children, whereas gay and lesbians in many states cannot.

Finally, bringing kink to the fore provides greater potential to challenge the institutions that normalize inequality and structure society. This theoretical rumination and political strategy forces us to question why social structures developed the way they did and whether they need to persist. The LGBT movement has played it smart by highlighting its similarities to the heteronormative majority. We can all agree that the defining marriage as a union between man and a woman, or defining family as two parents of different genders, are merely social constructions meant to preserve status quo and those in power. As I see it, current progress, while noteworthy, is not enough. To be content with the current state of affairs would be satisfaction with immobility in sheep’s clothing.

Bottom line, it may be bondage that is liberatory.


JILL D. WEINBERG is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Northwestern University, a research associate at the American Bar Foundation, and an instructor in the master's of sports administration graduate program at Northwestern University. She is an associate editor of Law and Social Inquiry.

"James Franco New Movie: 'Interior. Leather Bar' To Premiere At Sundance In January (VIDEO)"

on Wednesday, 19 December 2012. Hits 527

Huffington Post

What has James Franco been up to lately, you ask? The 34-year-old actor is set to publish a poetry book in 2014, but we're more interested in a recent collaboration with San Francisco filmmaker Travis Mathews.

Their film, "Interior. Leather Bar," will premiere at Sundance New Frontiers program in January. Originally titled, "James Franco's 40 Minutes," the "homo-sex-art-film" is an homage to William Friedkin's 1980 thriller, "Cruising," starring a young Al Pacino. Forty minutes were cut from Friedkin's racy film, but the results still prompted censor Richard Heffner to reportedly proclaim, "There are not enough Xs in the alphabet" to rate it, the filmmaker once told the Guardian.

Watch the trailer below, and let us know what you think of the project in the comments section:

James Franco New Film Interior Leather Bar

"Op-ed: Kink as The Next LGBT Rights Frontier"

on Monday, 17 December 2012. Hits 2467

Why handcuffs and submission may lead to even more LGBT liberation.

The Advocate

The people have spoken: gay is OK. The recent election gave us political and legislative victories for the LGBT community, including same-sex marriage in three states and Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. Senator. On television we have sitcoms like Modern Family, and The New Normal, which portray gays and lesbians as good friends, neighbors, and parents. Finally, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo emerged as leading advocates for same-sex marriage and shedding the homophobic image associated with professional sports.


Now, there is only one thing left to do: get kinky. Incorporating kink into the LGBT movement--and here I mean bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM), as well as the alternative sexualities community like the polyamorous--begins to include all of those struggling for sexual freedom. And, a kinky LGBT movement allows us to think about additional groups to include and form a coalition in the fight for causes that affect a larger collective.

A kinky LGBT movement would mean a long overdue return to the Stonewall Riot-era advocacy in which community identity celebrated difference. Like many identity-based social movements, incremental change was necessary for laying the groundwork of acceptance by the broader public. As protestors became lobbyists, the face of the LGBT movement became male, white, privileged, and arguing for traditional marriage. Radical transformation became assimilation into mainstream society and its institutions.

The strategy is working but the concessions made are at the expense of many. In theory, anyone in the community should reap the benefits for any LGBT rights victory. However, sexual and gender minorities of color continue to suffer a unique sort of discrimination and victimization, perhaps due to the image of what it means to be gay, that has emerged. Integrating kink into the LGBT movement may reignite a more inclusive agenda by recognizing the highly varied sexual and gender diversity within the greater community.

Challenging the status quo through non-normality is not new for many queer radical advocates. The deviance of kinkiness creates an opportunity for several marginal groups to align and frame causes with larger appeal, such as “civil rights.” For example, University of Chicago Professor, Cathy J. Cohen, believes that queer politics offers an opportunity to examine power and not exclusively based on heteronormativity and consider the possibility of “progressive transformative coalition work”. Kink, unlike queer, challenges more axes of oppression, allowing the LGBT community, specifically, and other groups (e.g., race, class, and gender), more broadly, to question their marginalization. In other words, non-normativity unveils the universality and commonalty of grievances and aspirations for social change, and in this case, BDSM and alternative sexualities touch on larger frames, including equality, privacy, and intimate association.

Attempts to move the LGBT agenda down an expansive road is not without risks. Claims of equality are universal in many respects, but I fear that BDSM and LGBT would be simultaneously everywhere and nowhere; we must preserve fundamental values, histories, and identities that defined and connected these communities in the first place. A far-reaching agenda may also obscure the causes that are unique to particular groups.  BDSM is pathologized in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and criminalized under assault and battery law, whereas homosexuality is not. And yet, a heterosexual BDSM practitioner can marry and adopt children, whereas gay and lesbians in many states cannot.

Finally, bringing kink to the fore provides greater potential to challenge the institutions that normalize inequality and structure society. This theoretical rumination and political strategy forces us to question why social structures developed the way they did and whether they need to persist. The LGBT movement has played it smart by highlighting its similarities to the heteronormative majority. We can all agree that the defining marriage as a union between man and a woman, or defining family as two parents of different genders, are merely social constructions meant to preserve status quo and those in power. As I see it, current progress, while noteworthy, is not enough. To be content with the current state of affairs would be satisfaction with immobility in sheep’s clothing.

Bottom line, it may be bondage that is liberatory.

UPDATE: The comments were very negative toward this Op-Ed and the concept that kinky people might need help because they're being persecuted. Several called for the Op-Ed to be removed because it reflected badly on the LGBT movement.

NCSF was raising awareness about this Op-Ed on our Facebook page, and a handful of kink activists began making comments along with NCSF staff. The Op-Ed was deleted from The Advocate along with the comments approximately 12 hours after it was posted.

The entire text of the Op-Ed is above, and you can see it on the Google Cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2012/12/17/op-ed-kink-next-lgbt-rights-frontier

"BDSM Comes to Harvard"

on Tuesday, 11 December 2012. Hits 757

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.

Latest Reader Comments

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