It’s being billed online as an epic student sex club adventure — and in other corners of the web, a student orgy.
The University of Toronto Sexual Education Centre (SEC) is kicking off its annual Sexual Awareness Week next Monday at Oasis Aqua Lounge, a downtown club that bills itself as a water-themed adult playground, where swingers are welcome and sex is allowed everywhere but the hot tub.
“U of T is holding an orgy, and you’re invited! You just need your student ID” one Reddit user posted in a University of Waterloo forum.
“Our executive director made it very clear that this is not an orgy, we’re not funding an orgy,” says external education and outreach co-ordinator Dylan Tower, 22, as he sits inside the sixth-floor office of SEC. “People are allowed to have sex on premise … there is not any type of ‘You should be having sex when you’re here.’ It’s very much, come and enjoy the space, there’s no prodding or pushing in that direction.”
The event begins in the daytime, and organizers are asking students to keep their clothes on until 7 p.m., when the “party becomes clothing-optional so you can get naked with all your new friends.”
SEC is an affiliated levy group of the University of Toronto Students Union. Undergraduate students pay .25 cents a term for the services, and can opt out if they choose.
The group’s mission is to foster a sex-positive attitude in the greater U of T area, by offering information, programming, safer-sex supplies, and peer counselling in a welcoming environment. Their sexual awareness week includes a discussion on sex positivity, an interactive sex toy demonstration and an afternoon of pornography. The first event is the party at Oasis: the organization rented the club and lowered the price to $5 a person. (Admission for couples is normally $80.)
Tower said it is a safe and cheaper way to introduce curious students to the sex club scene in Toronto. The group plans to provide a “myriad of safer-sex supplies” so “everyone can be as safe as possible” and volunteers will circulate to “make sure everyone is respectful and having the best experience Oasis has to offer,” he posted online, addressing concerns.
The club is four storeys of easy-to-clean surfaces, with sanitizing wipes, baskets of condoms, and lots of places to mingle, including the back of a hippie van and a heated pool.
“I’m not in the lifestyle. It’s not for me, but I’m the owner, and it makes people happy,” said Jana Matthews, as she gave a tour of the facility on a quiet Monday afternoon.
Matthews said people like to visit the club because it is a safe space where there are rules and etiquette, but no judgment. Some people like to watch and be watched; other couples keep to themselves; some people go as a group and have sex with each other. Everything has to be consensual. Single men are only welcome one night a week. For the U of T event, there aren’t the same restrictions. Students are allowed to bring one guest, but must have their student ID cards. ...
A Lebanon, Mo., man accused of sexually torturing a young woman for years admitted Tuesday that he groomed her for a life of bondage and sadomasochism.
Edward Bagley Sr., 45, agreed with prosecutors to serve a 20-year prison sentence.
His guilty plea to using the Internet to entice a minor for illegal sex eliminated the need for a trial, which was to begin next month. In his plea agreement, Bagley admitted that the government could prove he had subjected the woman to harsh treatment for years.
In return for the plea and Bagley’s agreement to a long prison term, prosecutors agreed to drop other serious charges, including counts alleging conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking and document servitude. The agreement also spares Bagley’s young victim from having to testify at trial, though she can speak at sentencing if she chooses.
U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson said in a written statement that Bagley’s plea brought “closure to a shocking and horrific case.”
“Six defendants now have been brought to justice for their roles in the brutal sexual torture and enslavement of a young woman who was just a teenager when the victimization began,” Dickinson said.
Defense lawyer Susan Dill noted, however, that her client pleaded guilty only to a narrow violation.
“My client did not sexually torture or enslave anyone, nor did he plead guilty to a charge based on that,” Dill said.
U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple said he would delay formally accepting the plea agreement and binding 20-year sentence until after the court’s probation office prepares a pre-sentencing report.
The plea capped more than two years of hard-fought legal maneuvering.
“What is your plea, guilty or not guilty?” Whipple asked.
“Guilty, your honor.”
He also acknowledged knowingly inducing his victim to engage in prostitution and other sexual activity while a minor.
Prosecutors accused Bagley in September 2010 of abusing his victim for much of the previous decade. Prosecutors at the time called the allegations “among the most horrific ever prosecuted” in western Missouri federal court. ...
Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2013/01/15/2636964/missouri-man-admits-horrific-years.html#storylink=cpy
When James Franco approached us about producing a documentary on my company last year, I was flattered -- but hesitant. As the founder of Kink.com, the largest producer of fetish and BDSM pornography in the world, I've seen a lot of harmful misconceptions construed about the company, and BDSM in general. Next week, the documentary, kink, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It will be controversial, but I hope that it starts a conversation about sex and sexuality that goes beyond the walls of the Kink.com Armory.
Fifteen years ago, I started Kink.com out of my dorm room at Columbia Business School. I had been studying for a Ph.D. in finance, on my way to becoming a professor or Wall Street bond guru, but had always wanted to run my own business. After stumbling onto a newspaper article about a firefighter who was making thousands of dollars selling adult pictures over the then-novel Internet, it became clear that I could make a living creating fetish porn -- a genre that speaks to me personally -- and I jumped at the opportunity. But for me, porn has never been just a business -- it's about providing access for hundreds of thousands of people like me whose fantasies live outside the bounds of conventional sexuality.
I grew up with an intense desire to be tied up. Indeed, as a young child I remember getting turned on by cowboy and Indian movies where someone was being restrained. When walking home from elementary school, I remember gazing at a pair of handcuffs in the window of an Army supply store. However, it wasn't until I was a teenager that I discovered erotic bondage magazines in seedy London sex stores, which lead me to the conclusion that maybe bondage could be enjoyed with a consenting partner. Maybe, I reasoned, there was nothing actually wrong with me! I struggled to find others to continue this dialogue. Several years later when I began frequenting S/M clubs in the dead of night, I recall all the patrons wore only black leather and many had a secondary "scene" name for anonymity. Even then, it struck me that kink probably had a far wider appeal than those willing to frequent these clubs and I was confused by the shroud of secrecy.
As someone who has grown up with these feelings, I believe that the widespread availability of erotica depicting diverse sexual acts is a very good thing. Anyone with a fetish is likely to find content that appeals to them specifically and thus feel less isolation, shame or confusion. Such negative emotions about sexuality are not healthy for any of us.
The work we do at Kink.com focuses on a subset of those activities encompassed under "BDSM" (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, and Sado Masochism) -- which is in turn a subset of the broader idea of sexual "kink." As a commercial enterprise, our products gravitate toward that which sells -- beautiful people, elaborate sets and props. Having said that, authenticity to the underlying fetish has always been very important to us, and making porn is not merely about money. ...
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. ...
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. ...
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. ...
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Why handcuffs and submission may lead to even more LGBT liberation
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.