Mercury takes presentation very seriously. Impeccably dressed in a dark suit and tie, he keeps his hair cropped close, and the narrow gap between his two front teeth underscores his symmetrical features. He folds his long hands into each other when he's listening, and he moves them in circles around his wrists when he's making a point.
Right now, his point is safety, which he says is the most important thing about this place. But later, he'll show off his pommel horse and the 700-pound stainless steel surgical table he keeps in the back room. By then, his point will be pure seductive theater.
"What you'll find," he explains, "is that our crowd is interested in symmetry. We are educated in the physiology of safe play. So we're not going to strike joints — the knees, the ankles, the wrists, the spine — because that's where you cause harm. In S&M play, we don't mind hurting, but we don't like to harm. There's a huge difference."
The Mark is Nashville's BDSM dungeon, and Mercury is its executive director. It is, according to Mercury, inarguably one of the top 10 dungeons in the United States, and arguably among the top five.
In the old days before the Internet, you had to snoop around to find a club like The Mark. You had to answer cryptic personal ads in the newspaper, or scour seedy adult bookstores for clues. These days, the Internet, including social media websites like FetLife, seems tailor-made for BDSM. FetLife has a subgroup dedicated to The Mark, which counts more than 1,900 among its members.
But if you really want to know more about his lifestyle, Mercury says, all you have to do is ask.
"We have, in the Nashville area, at least six munches that meet a month." Mercury says, his demeanor both guarded and charismatic. A munch, in BDSM terms, is a casual social gathering in a public place where people can be introduced to the lifestyle over food. After the munch, sometimes play parties are scheduled. ...
On Valentine's Day, images of couples are everywhere. They're buying each other diamond rings, making eyes over expensive restaurant meals and canoodling over chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne. But two-by-two isn't the only way to go through life. In fact, an estimated 4 to 5 percent of Americans are looking outside their relationship for love and sex — with their partner's full permission.
These consensually nonmonogamous relationships, as they're called, don't conform to the cultural norm of a handholding couple in love for life. They come in a dizzying array of forms, from occasional "swinging" and open relationships to long-term commitments among multiple people. Now, social scientists embarking on brand-new research into these types of relationships are finding that they may challenge the ways we think of jealousy, commitment and love. They may even change monogamy for the better.
"People in these relationships really communicate. They communicate to death," said Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist at Champlain College in Vermont. All of that negotiation may hold a lesson for the monogamously inclined, Holmes told LiveScience.
"They are potentially doing quite a lot of things that could turn out to be things that if people who are practicing monogamy did more of, their relationships would actually be better off," Holmes said. [6 Scientific Tips for a Successful Marriage]
The study of consensual nonmonogamy is a relatively new field. In the 1970s, partner-swapping and swinging (recreational sex outside of a relationship) came into the public eye, and psychologists conducted a few studies. But that research was limited to mostly white, heterosexual couples who engaged in swinging for fun, according to Elisabeth Sheff, a legal consultant and former Georgia State University professor, writing in 2011 in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.
That means little is yet known about who participates in consensual nonmonogamy and why. Research is largely limited to self-report and surveys, in which people can be tempted to present themselves in a positive light. There are, however, some key definitions to understand. Consensual nonmonogamy contains multitudes. It includes sex-only arrangements, such as two committed partners agreeing that they're allowed to seek no-strings-attached sex with other people. It also includes polyamory, which involves multiple committed relationships at once with the consent and knowledge of everyone involved.
Consensual nonmonogamy does not include cheating, in which one partner steps out without the permission of the other. ...
The NCSF office in Baltimore, MD, was destroyed in a fire a few weeks ago. We’ve lost everything: computer, office supplies and furnishings, tee shirts, and all of our stored printed literature are gone.
Please donate to the NCSF Fire Recovery Fund drive:
Kink. What is the first thing thought of when this word is used? Whips or chains? Leather and bondage? My answer would be yes to all of the above and then some!
But after experiencing the Kink 101 class, I came away with a few more words to describe the class as well as the group of individuals that participate in the local kink scene in Nashville. Those would be communication, community and freedom.
For eight years running, Nashville’s local dungeon has been operating as a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization for those who seek to participate in the local kink scene. Activities range anywhere from your “traditional” lover of bondage and spankings, to the more acquired taste of the furry population.
Furries are a subculture of the kink scene that dress up in fur suits to do animal role playing. Not your cup of tea? No worries. There are also leatherfolk, rope experts and bears, oh my!
When corresponding with the teacher Meronym, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I showed up. I was a bit apprehensive given the subject matter, but decided in the name of all things journalism to put on my big girl pants and see what this fetish stuff was all about.
Meronym, who has been an active member of the kink community for four years, as well as some other kinky folk that attended, seemed a bit nervous about my presence but I assured them that I would not be taking any pictures or using any of their names.
Privacy is of course a very important subject of the class given some preconceived notions about the types of individuals that participate in kink activity. The class does a wonderful job of putting those hasty assumptions to rest.
Numerous topics were covered ranging from the basic vocabulary associated with the kink community to safety procedures that are encouraged. Despite what the kink novice make think, it is considered unacceptable practice to tie someone up and leave them. This is a big no no and will definitely get you a slap on the hand … and not in a good way!
Another really important function of the class is its mission to dispel the fears those who are unfamiliar with kink might have. One of the biggest misconceptions is those in the kink community are into hurting one another.
This is simply not true. Does this mean there is not pain? No. But the boundaries are clear. Lines are drawn. And there is of course negotiation....
Two of the four defendants named in a civil suit launched by a Coquitlam RCMP officer after his online fetish photos were made public have filed their responses.
Cpl. James Brown filed the lawsuit last November in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, claiming damages for "substantial and persisting injury to the plaintiff's reputation, injury to his pride and self-confidence, and severe emotional distress."
The suit names New Westminster resident Grant Wakefield, Vancouver lawyer Cameron Ward and two unidentified people, who Wakefield names in his response as Denman Island residents Mike Webster, a well known police psychologist, and his wife, Moira Webster.
Brown's suit alleges Wakefield set up false profiles to access the members-only fetish website Fetlife, where he then copied Brown's online profile information and photos. He is then alleged to have sent the material to the media, as well as Ward, resulting in the unlawful breach of Brown's privacy.
Brown alleged the resulting media coverage, as well as posts on blogs and Twitter, were caused by the defendants and either stated or implied Brown is corrupt, has engaged in criminal activity with numerous victims, poses a risk to society and is violent and sadistic.
Cameron Ward, who represented several families of the missing women during the Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry, was named in the suit for three blog posts in which Brown is said to be a sexual sadist with close ties to the Pickton family.
Brown's lawsuit alleges the posts suggest the RCMP knew of Pickton's killing spree but failed to act "for fear of implicating one or more of their members in criminal activity," due to Brown's "lifestyle and predilections." ...
The Ipswich man accused of assault after repeatedly beating a woman with a rope as part of a BDSM sex game has been found innocent.
Steven Lock was charged with assault after a woman said he had caused her actual bodily harm during a sex session at his home in August last year.
The defending lawyer asked if he and the woman had read E L James' erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey beforehand, to which he replied: "That's where we got the idea from."
The couple, who met on an online dating website and participated in bondage and group sex sessions, had discussed the fantasy of slave/master and had both consented to the act.
However, the woman said she was left with huge bruises after he hit her with a rope so hard she could hear the whistling sound.
She sent a text message after the beating telling a friend how she had been "chained up and whipped like a dog". She also said Lock had put a rope around her neck, pulled it tight and then padlocked her wrists to a chain that was fastened to his bedroom floor.
Lock was arrested and charged with actual bodily harm. He denied the allegation, saying he and the woman had consented.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court: "I knew there would be pain involved and I knew I wasn't going to like it but I'd agreed to it and had to follow it through."
E! News’ Alicia Quarles Hosts One-Hour Exposé Premiering Tuesday, January 22 at 9:00pm ET/PT
Whether shock, excitement or simply curiosity, it seems that everyone has a strong reaction to the bestselling erotic book trilogy that includes Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Having sold more than 60 million copies worldwide, the series set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time. What is it about the provocative lifestyle of the protagonists that has readers throughout the world riveted? Is it the non-traditional sex, the excitement of the unknown, or simply the story of love between two people expressed in a unique way? Hosted by E!’s Alicia Quarles, this one-hour special features commentary from therapists, authors and other experts about the practice, and also profiles the real-life experiences of couples who follow this lifestyle. Don’t miss a fascinating look at what used to be a very secret world in the E! Special “The Real 50 Shades of Grey” premiering Tuesday, January 22 at 9:00pm ET/PT, only on E!
In this special, real-life practitioners open up about the BDSM lifestyle. Viewers find out how they got involved, what the challenges of this lifestyle are and what they tell their families and friends about their choices. The show also looks into a high-profile case in which the sex game turned dangerous for the players, and experts weigh in on the risks and dangers of the lifestyle, and what participants must do in order to remain safe, both physically and psychologically. Find out how the “business” of bondage is growing too, as an instructor discusses the popular classes that are filling up with individuals and couples eager to enter this sexually-charged world.
Whether you find it shocking or exciting, you’ll definitely find this all-new exposé to be an hour of stimulating viewing, when “The Real 50 shades of Grey” premieres Tuesday, January 22 at 9:00 PM/ET, only on E!
Kink, an X-rated BDSM-porn documentary, opens with a director, who goes by the nom de guerre Maitresse Madeline, grilling her novice male subject with a series of probing questions.
We are going to tie you up today. We are going to spank you. We are going to flog you. We might cane you. We might paddle you. We like to choke around here. Do you like to get choked? Can we slap you in the face? What about your nipples? Can we clamp your nipples? Can we punch you in the stomach? We’re going to make love to your butthole, too.
Directed by Christina Voros and produced by the ubiquitous James Franco, the film, which made its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, paints a sweaty, screaming portrait of life inside Kink.com—the world’s premier BDSM-porn site, made up of 18 subscription sites and housed in the historic San Francisco Armory. The company, founded by Brit Peter Acworth, shoots all its videos in the 200,000-square-foot space that, in addition to room for offices and gear, also has about 50 movie sets.
“I am kinky,” Acworth, who founded the site out of his Columbia University dorm room in 1997, tells The Daily Beast. “I’ve always had an intense desire to be tied up, since childhood, so when I discovered bondage pornography around 17, then I felt, I guess I’m kinky, and that’s OK. So I started a business to help people demystify it and help them find their sexuality.” ...