The spiritual path will burn away all illusions, including the sexual kind. The good news is that something better is reborn in the ashes.
by JESSICA GRAHAM
Mel was tall and lanky with short dark hair, good tattoos, and a black motorcycle. I wanted her bad. Lucky for me I was in an open relationship with my partner and he was all for it. It had been a long time since I had gone for a bad girl like Mel. I figured since it was just going to be a fling, it didn’t matter that a truck full of red flags were dropped on the first date, the biggest of which was the dopamine rush coming on hard and fast like a fat line of cocaine after a long time sober. I knew I was in trouble the first time I smelled her salty skin and felt her nicotine stained fingertips on my throat.
I wasn’t practicing polyamory, per se, and my partner was my top priority. I’ve always been fluid when it comes to monogamy, depending on the relationship I’m in and how I’m currently feeling. I’m sure my poly friends probably cringe and call me a swinger. I prefer to think of myself as a free spirit. Since I wasn’t looking for another serious relationship, I needed to keep my feelings in check for the sexy butch I was drooling over. This meant getting mindful about lust.
You know the way it goes. Constantly checking your phone, even on the freeway, thinking you see the object of your desire everywhere you go, dreaming about them, the extreme highs and lows that come with seeing or not seeing them. The throes of a new relationship make most of us temporary drug addicts looking for the next fix. I didn’t want to get carried away with this culturally acceptable insanity. Lucky for me, as a meditation practitioner, I had all the tools to observe this crazy ride without climbing on it.
So I let the affair run its course (trust me, it burnt out quick—I’m not a kid anymore), while I deconstructed and carefully explored the activity of my body and mind. At first I fell into the lust trap and caused some trouble with my partner. But soon I was able to ride the wave of new relationship energy like a pro. It was absolutely comical how the chemicals would flood my system and my mind would start to swirl when I got a text from her. Pretty soon the experience became something I could just watch without getting involved in. Those sensations and thoughts were just impermanent activity and they were certainly not me. How could they be if I was witnessing them?
This wasn’t the first time I’d had the insight that I am not my mind or my emotions. Each time that insight deepens, I experience a period of disillusionment. It had happened with my career, with habits, and so on. Basically I see the emptiness in the experience and I “lose” it. That’s to say I lose my attachment to it and my ability to get a fix from it. When I saw through the self who viewed herself as an actor, my acting career crumbled. Once I knew that my enjoyment of a film or a big piece of chocolate cake was simply a collection of thoughts and emotions, I lost my taste for them as well.
This can be a painful and scary part of spiritual development. It can feel like nothing is enjoyable or meaningful. I often have meditation students report that they feel depressed and apathetic during this stage. My first meditation teacher sat me down after few classes and told me, “Meditation is going to ruin your life.” He wasn’t joking. The cost of waking up is everything. With each awakening I’ve “lost’ a little more, but I wouldn’t want to give any of it back.
So here I was getting mindful about the off-the-hook sexual attraction I had for Mel. I didn’t really consider that I was in the process of screwing up my sex life, just like I had once screwed up my career, and my love of cake. The road to hell is paved with good intentions I suppose. By the time my bad girl fling had run out of steam, my sex drive was plummeting overall. Sex just didn’t seem that important anymore. Thanks to good old mindfulness, sexual disillusionment had kicked in. ...
A sex bondage book author has pleaded guilty to sending obscene material to a 17-year-old girl from New York who wanted to be a “submissive” in his polyamorous family.
Charles Michael Segaloff, 59, of Lawton, told an Oklahoma City federal judge Friday that he would have been the girl's “dominant” in a type of “BDSM” relationship.
Segaloff has authored multiple books under the pen name Michael Makai, including "Domination & Submission: The BDSM Relationship Handbook" and "The BDSM Coloring Book: An Activity Book for Kinksters with Crayons," an FBI special agent reported in a court affidavit.
“BDSM” stands for bondage, domination, sadism and masochism. Polyamory is described as being romantically involved with more than one person at the same time.
Segaloff initially was indicted in January after traveling in December to New York to pick up the girl. He brought her to Lawton to engage in a "BDSM" sexual relationship with him and his 26-year-old girlfriend. The agent reported the girlfriend was "a submissive to Segaloff by choice."
Segaloff had been charged with traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a juvenile, kidnapping a juvenile, sex trafficking of a juvenile and enticement of a juvenile.
On Friday, Segaloff, instead, pleaded guilty to one felony count of sending offensive material to an individual under 18. U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton will choose Segaloff's punishment later. Records show Segaloff could face up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A plea agreement also requires Segaloff to register as a sex offender.
Before the judge accepted the guilty plea, Segaloff was asked by a prosecutor to explain what he was admitting to in the case. Segaloff said he sent Facebook messages to the girl that suggested she be part of his "extended family."
The prosecutor said the communications were obscene and dealt with "BDSM" and polyamory.
According to the affidavit, the girl and Segaloff emailed for months about his erotic books and the polyamorous lifestyle. The agent reported the girl found Segaloff on Facebook because she was curious about the "BDSM" lifestyle.
At the time of the emails last year, the cultural interest and presence of "BDSM" had been increasing. This was, in part, due to the 2011 erotic romance novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" being made into feature film that released in February 2015.
The girl "stated she left New York because she believed she was coming to a better life with Segaloff and his girlfriend," the agent reported. "She was aware she would be entering into a polyamorous lifestyle and would be a submissive to Segaloff who would be the dominant.
"(The girl) stated that as the submissive, she is to do what she is told, as long as it did not make her feel uncomfortable." ...
CLARKSVILLE — Two roommates were found guilty of murder and two others were convicted of lesser charges Friday in the beating death of a BDSM "house slave."
Matthew Lee Reynolds and Alphonso Richardson were both found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping in the beating and strangulation death of 39-year-old Shirley Beck. They could face life in prison, which means they would not be eligible for parole for at least 51 years.
BDSM "mistress" Cynthia Dianne Skipper, who kept Beck as a "house slave" was found guilty of lesser charges — two counts of criminally negligent homicide and especially aggravated kidnapping. She could have one to two years on the criminally negligent homicide but 15 to 25 years on the especially aggravated kidnapping charge.
Derek M. Vicchitto was found guilty of two counts of facilitation of second-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping. He could face eight to 12 years on the facilitation charge and 15 to 25 years on the kidnapping charge.
All had been charged with murder, murder during a kidnapping and especially aggravated kidnapping in the June 26, 2014, beating at the home they all shared at 108 Wilson Court.
The jury returned the four verdicts shortly before lunch Friday. They began deliberating Thursday afternoon after a three-day trial.
Beck was a "house slave" who did all the chores for the roommates, and, by her consent, was punished for doing anything wrong.
Things took a different turn in June 2014, when she was beaten by four hours by Reynolds and Richardson. Reynolds kicked and hit her at least 50 times using martial-arts style techniques. Richardson hit and kicked her and beat her with a metal pole while she was hanging from the ceiling. ...
Meditation and bondage might seem like strange bedfellows, but they actually pair together like milk and cookies.
When you hear the word "bondage," you probably think of pain, humiliation and degradation. You might also think of Dakota Johnson bent over a table getting paddled in Fifty Shades of Grey.
Well, there are more shades of bondage than that. One practice called meditative bondage has nothing to do with sex, violence, misogyny, or whips and chains. It’s about finding Zen, and it’s part of a growing trend I'm dubbing "New Age kink," which combines spirituality with sexuality.
"It's about providing containment for another human being, and it's a conduit for connection,” explains Orpheus Black, a sex educator who teaches private and group workshops in meditative bondage, as well as other aspects of BDSM. “It's a way to feel cared for and tended to, and a method to clear your mind and let go. It's similar to the reason parents have swaddled their babies for centuries — the containment makes them feel safe, secure and taken care of. This is the same idea."
In a meditative bondage session I witnessed, a clothed Orpheus Black stood behind his half-naked wife and "slave" (their words) of 20 years, Indigo Black, and slowly bound the upper part of her body. He tied her arms behind her back with a traditional Japanese bondage rope made of soft cotton. "I only bind as tight as a good hug; this is like an extended hug over time. It's loving, not painful," Black explains. He also sets a meditation timer, and participants typically start at just a few minutes before building up to the maximum 15 minutes. (Any longer and you might get a little numb in your extremities.)
"I only bind as tight as a good hug."
The way he tied and untied Indigo was loving. He caressed her slowly and gently with the soft ropes, letting the rope drape down her body. Once bound, he whispered positive affirmations in her ear with warm breath on her neck, and stroked her arms with a sensual, feather-like touch. "I'd tell her she's beautiful and remind her she's safe and cared for. While we don't engage in sex during this, this is great foreplay for sex and helps open your sexual energy," he says.
The last major element is anticipatory touch. "Where would you like me to touch you?" he asked his bound wife. "My arms," she replied. "This isn't about sexual touch. It's about sensual touch. I pause about 10 seconds before I touch her because that pause heightens the touch and gets her to be more present in her body," he notes. Through this process, you could see Indigo deeply relax and even sway a little as she stood there in a meditative state. When the meditation timer went off, he untied her. (Participants can ask to be untied at any time during the practice, though.) ...
TransferWise is known for its provocative publicity stunts — particularly those involving nudity.
In January 2015, the Estonian money transfer app sent a dozen nearly naked employees running through London to protest banks' "unfair exchange rates." It was at it again in February, leading a 200-strong underwear-only march through Wall Street in New York to celebrate their launch in the US.
Even the founders have had a go: Back in June 2014, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann stripped down to their underpants along with dozens of employees in the City of London to illustrate how, they said, the banks “screw you by charging huge hidden charges.”
But TransferWise is less keen on risqué activities when they're not helping to promote the company.
Dimo Trifonov is the founder and CEO of 3nder, an alternative dating app. It focuses on polyamory, kink, and alternative sexual preferences, describing itself as a "way to date awesome people around you who are kinky, curious and open-minded." (It has also been described as "Tinder for threesomes.") It has 650,000 users — 70,000 of which are in the UK, where Trifonov is based — and handles 3 million messages a month.
However, 3nder's unconventional audience has caused problems for Trifonov, both in his professional and personal life.
TransferWise refused to let the company open a business account because of the "nature of [his] business," according to an email seen by Business Insider, with a customer-service representative classifying the dating app as "adult" content, Trifonov says.
And when a landlord discovered what 3nder is, he backed out at the last minute, refusing to rent to Trifonov, the app developer says. He claims the landlord said: "I don't want this champ in my property" — discriminating against him because of his non-monogomous lifestyle. Cluttons, the estate agents that Trifonov found the property through, did not respond to a request for comment.
Trifonov argues TransferWise is also guilty of "double standards" — presenting itself as progressive while acting just like the banks it seeks to supplant.
Meet the guys behind the No Safeword podcast, the guys behind the YouTube channel Watts the Safeword, and the woman behind the Center for Sex Positive Culture.
by Matt Baume
It was in 1991 that one of Allena Gabosch's friends came to her with a problem. The friend was taking a class on sexuality at Highline Community College, and told her, "We just got to the part about S&M, and it's all wrong. Can you come in and speak?"
Allena was a little taken aback. Sure, she was well known in the kink community. With a friend, she ran the fetishy Beyond the Edge Cafe, located on Capitol Hill where Honey Hole is now. (Back then, there was a dungeon in the basement, and she recalls some guy named Dan Savage regularly coming by to get cookies.)
But she was also unaccustomed to public speaking. Professionally, she was a restaurateur; although she was recognized as a leader in the kink community, it was still just a pastime. The first time she'd ever addressed a group, it was a bunch of students who'd come to hear about healthy food, and her hands shook so hard she could barely pick up a can of tuna.
To make matters worse, sexual anxiety was an integral part of her childhood. She was raised fundamentalist, and as a teen she was forbidden from talking about boyfriends.
But as a young adult, Allena discovered an attraction to kinky sex—what was then referred to as S&M, and today more commonly as BDSM. What's more, she reminded herself, she'd gotten into the restaurant business because she liked nurturing people, and opening eyes about sexual fulfillment could be a way to do that.
"I can do this," she told herself, and she told her friend, "Sure."
"Great," her friend replied. Then she added sheepishly, "Just... don't tell anyone you know me."
Allena laughed as she told me the story. "And I've never looked back," she said.
Although she didn't realize it, Allena was about to embark on an accidental sex-lecturing career that blossomed throughout the 1990s. When Beyond the Edge closed in 1999, she and some friends founded the Center for Sex Positive Culture in the Interbay neighborhood, to educate the public and strengthen Seattle's kinky community.
Now nearly two decades later, the center's mission continues with multiple daily events. Items currently on the calendar: a workshop on incorporating martial arts into sex, a clothing-optional dance party ("Special note: Bring a fun hat!"), an erotic massage class, and an arts and crafts night. Whatever your predilection is, there's a good chance that you can hone it at the center—or if you don't think you have any kinks, that you'll discover one.
Allena is in the process of stepping back a bit from full-time education. She's reduced her involvement with the center, though her schedule remains busy. The week that we spoke, she was scheduled to appear at three colleges, participate in a panel, and present to two groups about senior sexuality. She has a podcast called The Relationship Anarchy Show and a coaching business at EroticCoaching.com. She's also a frequent podcast guest, appearing on shows like No Safeword and Polyamory Weekly.
"I have a personal mission statement," she told me. "Remove shame from sex and bring joy." Her college friend's reluctance to be publicly associated with her S&M talk remains a harsh memory, all these years later. She's seen firsthand that feelings of horror around sexual conversations are instilled in us from the time we're kids.
"It's really scary to go to your mom and say, 'Mom, tell me about anal sex,'" Allena said, and I did not argue. "And what about kink or fantasizing? When I was a kid, I depended on Playboy or Playgirl—when I was young, there was nothing."
She added, "In sixth grade, the boys went to one room and the girls went to another. I don't know what the boys learned about. Girls learned about menstruation." (I experienced a similar lesson, and all I remember of what the boys were taught is that you're not supposed to say "boner" in public.)
The forbidden mystique of sex began to fade for her in the mid-1970s when she was 18 years old and living in Portland. Still a bit wide-eyed and innocent, "I snuck into a gay bar and met an amazing trans woman who let me ask her the most stupid questions," she said. It was the best sex education she'd ever had. ...
Being in love is one of the most amazing feelings you can have. You meet that one person who makes everything in your life so much better. Imagine having that same feeling with not just one person. I can remember all the times I have said, "I wish I could take Joe Schmo number one and Joe Schmo number two and combine them. He would be the perfect partner." The idea of a monogamist relationship does not sound appealing to me. I have done it before and didn't like it. Thinking about relationships in general does not make me super excited. In this moment of my life I may not be interested in the typical relationship of being in a committed relationship, but I am still open to the idea of intimacy and love. I want both of those things.
Polyamory is when you have multiple romantic or sexual relationships and not committed to one partner. I have been very open about this with many friends, co-workers and the men that I have been seeing. Some have looked at me with disgust or have a certain tone in their voice when I explain what being poly means. I personally don't want to feel like I belong to one particular person. I am not saying that I absolutely despise of monogamy and marriage. As a millennial I feel that the idea of marriage is not what it used to be. That is okay. I am all for embracing change. I am not sorry that I am not obsessed with the mainstream culture of saying yes to the dress and epic wedding reception flash mobs. ...
When you dedicate your professional life to working with human sexuality, you know from the beginning that you are working with a lightning rod topic. Have you ever been at a party, and someone casually asks you what you do? When you answer that you are a sex educator, a sex coach, a sex therapist, have you noticed how ears perk up around the room? People are fascinated, and people are opinionated. Like everything to do with the base level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, everyone has an opinion, and their own private battles, with sex.
We’re also still in the formative stages of an emerging trend – we’re seeing today the explosion in sex related information becoming available to the public at large. We’re seeing a proliferation of helping professionals specializing in sexual concerns. We’re seeing more people undertaking study of sexology in depth and building their knowledge beyond their own experience. Never before has the science of sexology and the knowledge it produces been more available to more people.
This is an extremely positive development. It means that people no longer need to suffer in silence alone. With the Internet in more homes around the world every year, even proximity is no longer a factor – people can access expert advice from professionals worldwide from the comfort of their own homes.
The other side of this coin, though, is that in this field terms are generally not regulated and standards of education vary. This means that, currently, anyone can call themselves a sex educator, a sex coach, or even a sex therapist. What we see now is highly educated and well trained professionals, mixed together under the same professional designators as pick-up artists and folks that have watched a couple of TED talks and decided that they are a sex expert.
This means that, if you are a human sexuality professional, there has never been a more important time to have credentials. You have invested a lot of time and money to develop competency in understanding sexual concerns and working with clients, and you have every right to want to set yourself apart from those that have not. It is therefore essential that you are aware of the sexology credentials available today, and have the information you need to decide which credentials are appropriate for you.
Here is an overview of 6 important sexology credentials available to human sexuality professionals today:
Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) Designation
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) formed in 1997 with the aim of fighting for sexual freedom and privacy rights for adults who engage in safe, sane and consensual behavior. Today, NCSF has over 50 Coalition Partners, over 100 Supporting Members, and over the years has formed alliances with other organizations that defend sexual freedom rights, including the ACLU, American Association of Sex Educators, Councelors, and Therapists (AASECT), Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), and the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, among others.
A key program of the NCSF since 2005 has been maintaining an online directory of Kink Aware Professionals. While sexologists and sexuality professionals are listed, the directory includes an incredible diversity of professionals – from accountants to doctors to realtors. The Kink Aware Professional designation signals to clients that a professional is accepting of diverse sexualities, forms of sexual expression, and sexual communities. The Kink Aware Professionals directory has grown to include over 800 professionals in the United States, Canada, and worldwide.
To receive the Kink Aware Professional designation, the following is required:
Membership in the NCSF, where there are 3 levels of membership available
Meet ALL requirements listed for Kink Aware Professional designation
To embrace the KAP Statement and to understand and agree to its terms
Once listed, Kink Aware Professionals can display on their own websites this status and membership, to show clearly their acceptance of diversity....