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Media Updates

"Are Kinky Sex Clubs on College Campuses a Good Idea?"

on Friday, 28 December 2012. Hits 1585

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 1193

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 673

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 3780

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 1045

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.

"Why Pink Loves Consent Is Important"

on Monday, 10 December 2012. Hits 1048

Huffington Post

...

I soon received an email from Rebecca Nagle from FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, a feminist activism effort that promotes awareness about rape culture, informing me that Pink Loves Consent is not an official Victoria's Secret PINK line, but rather an effort by FORCE to promote awareness about rape culture.

Even though I was disappointed that Victoria's Secret wasn't actually promoting this positive image, I was very happy to realize that I had been tricked. I was so impressed that an activist group was able to reach so many people and garner such a positive reaction to a campaign that has to do with women's bodies and sexuality. After an election year in which women's bodies became a figurative stage for what has now been dubbed a "War On Women," it was really encouraging to see women successfully reaching out to other women about how our culture's perception of female sexuality must change.

---

I got the opportunity to chat with Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato (the duo behind FORCE) and ask them about the Pink Loves Consent campaign:

How did the Pink Loves Consent campaign start?

Nagle: Upsetting Rape Culture actually started as an art exhibition in Baltimore in 2010. After we did that, we wanted to keep working, so the next thing we did is we made a line of underwear called "Consent Is Sexy." We came up with this three-pack of underwear with a set of "No" underwear, "Yes" underwear and "Maybe" underwear, which we thought was a cute way of wearing what you were in the mood for. About a month later, Victoria's Secret came out with this underwear that said "Yes, No, Maybe," but it was all on the same underwear. Instead of saying yes, no or maybe and "I get to decide about what happens to my body," it's like, yes, no, maybe, I don't know.

pink_loves_consent

 

So instead of "No" being a way for young women to set a boundary, it is a way for them to flirt, which I think is part of this understanding we have in our culture that creates and perpetuates rape. So we were like, wow, this is crazy problematic. So the idea started to do a knock-off of Victoria's Secret PINK line and we decided to time it with the fashion show."

What is rape culture and do you think that VS/Pink promotes it?

Brancato: Rape Culture is all the things that allow rape to seem normal and prevent survivors from being able to speak up and out. Rape Culture is silencing. In a rape culture, people are surrounded with images, language, laws and other everyday phenomena that validate and perpetuate rape. It includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. Rather than viewing the culture of rape as a problem to change, people in a rape culture think about the persistence of rape as "just the way things are."

PINK is specifically marketed towards younger and younger girls, and like the rest of Victoria's Secret, PINK is selling a specific brand of sexuality. VS PINK has co-opted the idea of sexual freedom and twisted it into an image of sexuality in which the woman (or girl) is not really in control. The "Sure Thing" and "Yes, No, Maybe" and "NO peeking" underwear promote the idea of limitless availability, or on the other hand, leaving the choice up to the (presumably male) partner. The brand teaches girls to be coy instead of vocal and makes it seem uncool and unsexy to say no and mean it. By re-enforcing that sex is about an image, that looking good is more important than feeling good, PINK promotes rape culture." ...

"Marilyn Bagley, Wife Of 'Master Ed' Bagley, Pleads Guilty In Sex Slave Case"

on Friday, 07 December 2012. Hits 620

Huffington Post

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A woman accused with her husband of forcing a teenage girl to be a sex slave for years in their mobile home pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal conspiracy charge in a deal contingent on her being sentenced to probation.

Marilyn Bagley, 47, admitted that she helped groom the girl to be her husband's sex slave after the teen moved into the couple's trailer in February 2003 in southwest Missouri. She began living there intermittently the year before.

Bagley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in exchange for prosecutors dropping all other charges against her and recommending that she serve only probation. If the judge rejects the recommendation, she can plead not guilty again and go to trial. There was no indication of when the judge might rule on the matter.

Prosecutors said the girl was a mentally deficient runaway who was recruited at the age of 16. Bagley said the girl moved in when she was 17 and never had sex with her husband until after she turned 18.

Thursday's hearing was not announced beforehand and came as a surprise to the attorney for Bagley's husband, Ed Bagley, who is scheduled to stand trial in February. Susan Dill said she was disappointed that nobody told her about the hearing and questioned why it was kept so hushed.

"I really question why this was done in secret, and I wasn't given notice as I would be normally," said Dill, who declined to speculate about how the Marilyn Bagley's plea deal might affect her husband's case.

Three men – James Noel, Michael Stokes and Dennis Henry – have pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and are awaiting sentencing. A fourth man, Bradley Cook, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and is expected to be sentenced to 20 years as part of his deal with prosecutors. ...

"Wife accused in Lebanon, Mo., sex slave case pleads guilty"

on Friday, 07 December 2012. Hits 627

Kansas City Star

The wife of a Missouri man accused of brutalizing and sex trafficking a young woman confirmed Thursday that the woman was a minor when the sexual activity began.

Marilyn Bagley made the admission in court records filed with her guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to commit commercial sex trafficking.

Before her plea at a hastily called hearing Thursday morning, Bagley, 47, was scheduled to go to trial in February with her husband, Edward Bagley, 45, of Lebanon, Mo.

“She is in the unique category of being a victim turned perpetrator,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes said at the hearing.

Marilyn Bagley’s plea agreement recommends that she be sentenced to probation. If the sentencing judge does not agree with that recommendation, Marilyn Bagley will be permitted to withdraw her plea and go to trial.

Prosecutors have alleged that in 2002, Edward and Marilyn Bagley offered help to a troubled a 16-year-old girl, who moved in with them the following year. Authorities allege that Edward Bagley began having sexual intercourse with her before her 18th birthday. After she turned 18, he allegedly coerced her into becoming his sex slave. He purportedly tortured her, with the help of other defendants, until she was hospitalized in February 2009.

Edward Bagley allegedly sexually tortured and mutilated the young woman with techniques that the indictment described as “flogging, whipping, shocking, choking, piercing, sewing” and “stapling.”

At times, the indictment alleged, he nailed her most intimate body parts to slabs of wood, sewed private orifices closed, waterboarded her and used a crank telephone to force “high levels of electric voltage” through very sensitive parts of her body.

Susan Dill, Edward Bagley’s lawyer, has argued that the relationship was consensual and merely part of the bondage, discipline and sadomasochism lifestyle.

But Marilyn Bagley’s plea Thursday could moderate the impact of the consent argument. She confirmed in court records that Edward Bagley’s sexual relationship with the alleged victim began when before she turned 18, the age at which she could have given consent under federal law.

Prosecutors had described that relationship before, but, with Marilyn Bagley’s admission, they have someone other than the victim to confirm it.

Dill said she still was trying to sort through the plea but was surprised that it happened without her knowledge. No public notice had been posted ahead of time. ...


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/12/06/3951516/wife-accused-in-lebanon-mo-sex.html#storylink=cpy

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