Right now, we’re talking more about rape and sexual assault possibly than we ever have before, and it’s obviously a conversation we need to be having. We also, however, need to be talking about recovery after sexual assault — but for some reason, we’re not. Why? Tracy Clark-Flory makes an effort to break down this taboo in her piece for Refinery29, “What Sex After Sexual Assault Is Really Like”; it introduces an important element to the ongoing conversation about rape and sexual assault, and honestly, it should be required reading for everyone. We’re still fighting an uphill battle with regards to things like legal definitions of consent — but it’s also important to remember that our work isn’t done when that whole part of the conversation has finally been satisfactorily addressed.
One of the things that makes talking about recovery so difficult is that, as Clark-Flory put it, “There are as many different symptoms and coping strategies as there are survivors.” In order to demystify it, though, Clark-Flory spoke both to individual survivors and to Wendy Maltz, a sex therapist and author of the book The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Here’s kind of the Cliff Notes version of what I think are the most important takeaways; the whole piece is definitely worth reading, though, so head on over there to check it out. ...
Just a week after her assault, Donna wanted to have sex with her boyfriend in an effort to reclaim it — “It’s important for me that rape and sex are not the same thing,” she said to him at the time. She doesn’t remember having sex with him then, though, and now she says she knows it was too soon. As she worked through what had happened to her over the following weeks, sex with her boyfriend got less traumatic; she learned how to communicate clearly, to set boundaries, and to explain both what she needed and what was OK. Donna and that boyfriend eventually broke up — but afterwards, she met the man who would become her husband. “He’s very passive,” she said, both personality-wise and sexually. “He’s not a dominant force and, for me, that was something I needed. I needed to feel safe.” ...
When toys are made for movies, they are usually intended for children.
But with the Valentine’s Day weekend premiere of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” many of the tie-ins to the film are for adults only.
The sex toy industry is banking on the hope that the Universal Pictures film will generate soaring sales, much the way the blockbuster erotic novel of the same name created thousands of new customers from the female readers who passed the book around their suburban culs-de-sac.
In anticipation of such keen interest, mainstream retailers are stocking up on the pleasure industry’s blindfolds, whips, handcuffs and masks. Manufacturers have designed new packaging and products to fit the kinky tone and theme of the film, which is based on E. L. James’s story about a naïve young woman’s introduction to games of sexual bondage.
Even Target, one of the nation’s largest retailers, recently began selling an official “Fifty Shades of Grey” “vibrating love ring,” an item intended for wear by men, but not on the finger.
“It is the biggest moment for our industry in popular culture pretty much ever,” said Claire Cavanah, a co-founder of Babeland, an adult novelty retailer. “We’re all sort of preparing for what could be another wave of toys.”
Ms. James’s sexually charged trilogy — two followed “Fifty Shades of Grey” — became a cultural phenomenon, and turned Ms. James into something of a legend.
She sold the publishing rights to Vintage Books, a division of Random House, and soon reached even more readers who may never have normally read erotic fiction.
Last year, Vintage Books announced that it had sold 100 million copies of the series. Ms. James, a middle-aged British mother and former television producer, was credited with introducing the concept of BDSM (standing for, loosely: bondage/discipline, domination/submission, sadism/masochism) into the mainstream vernacular.
She also ignited a huge bidding war in Hollywood. Executives vied for a chance to pitch Ms. James and her literary agent, Valerie Hoskins, on how best to tell the story of Anastasia Steele, a virginal 21-year-old student who becomes the submissive sexual partner to Christian Grey, a successful 27-year-old businessman.
Universal Studios and Focus Features eventually won, and agreed to pay $5 million for the rights to make the film.
The studio wanted to capitalize on the same readers — and others — who sent sales of adult products skyrocketing after “Fifty Shades of Grey” had its debut as an e-book in 2011. Suddenly, retailers had trouble keeping once-obscure products in stock. The novel spurred a 7.5 percent jump in sales of sex-themed products, including toys, videos and books, in 2013, according to a report from the research firm IBISWorld.
“We were kind of taken by surprise when the book came out,” Ms. Cavanah said. “But we’re much more prepared for the movie.”
The movie will not be as graphic as the book. Neal Slateford, a co-founder of Lovehoney, the only company that has the rights to make the official “Fifty Shades of Grey” adult products sold in Target and elsewhere, does not expect certain toys used in the book’s steamiest scenes to appear in the movie. ...
Keeping the spice in a marriage can be difficult. Some turn to therapy or date nights, others have sex with other couples.
Tina and Fred, who wish to remain anonymous have been married for 30 years and are swingers.
They've been in the "lifestyle" as it's called, for seven years.
"It's fun. it's different. It's exciting." said Fred.
"We learn things from other couples. We learn things we like and things we don't like and try them out at home, said Fred's wife Tina.
Tina, an accountant, and Fred who is retired from the military, are among the estimated 4 million swingers in the U.S.
It's become a multi-billion dollar industry with conventions, destination resorts and cruises.
There's also apps, websites and private clubs.
One of the top clubs in the country is right here in San Antonio, The Player's Club.
"We are not out in the open because we don't want everyone coming by here. We want people to seek us out. People that are looking for this in their relationship. It's not for everybody." said club owner Tom, who prefers to keep his identity hidden.
Tom and his wife of 34 years opened the club 15 years ago as a hobby and it grew quickly.
Tom says the club now has 4000 members which consists of people who work in law enforcement, the medical field and even school teachers.
"This is a safe way to meet people in the swinging lifestyle to meet friends and socialize and interact. A lot of people not in the lifestyle will think it's just a wild orgy and it's not.
It looks like any other nightclub with a dance floor and music but this club has private cabanas and a special room with toys etc.
Sex is not allowed on the main floor but anything goes in the cabanas and that special room.
You can pretty much do anything you want. You can live out your wildest fantasy just remember women call the shots.
"We want women to be comfortable." said Tom.
There are rules to keep women feeling safe for example, couples are screened before they become members, single men have to be invited and you must ask before you touch.
"We don't like pushy behavior. We don't like groping." said Tom.
Privacy is of the utmost importance and for that reason Tina and Fred have become regulars at the club. ...
ARLINGTON, Texas -- An alleged swingers' club in an upscale Arlington neighborhood has been ordered to cease operation because it violates zoning.
On a swingers' website, Eutopia is promoted as an exciting, upscale "lifestyle" venue.
Neighbors say it's not a venue, it's a home. And they've been trying for weeks to get the city of Arlington to crash the party.
"This is a sexually-oriented swingers' club in my neighborhood," said neighbor Jon Vecchio. "We don't want it here."
Vecchio lives a few blocks from the half-million-dollar home at the corner of Cooper Street and Beady Road. The yard has been paved to accommodate 70 cars. It's owned by an Azle man.
But a man in Weatherford told us he's been hosting parties since last summer. The home has hosted close to 60 erotic parties, some with themes, since it opened in May 2014.
David Esopenko said off-camera it's not a swingers' club, because he doesn't charge... But the suggested donation is $80 per couple, $20 for single women and $80 for single men.
Esopenko said the money mainly covers snacks and drink set ups. The city says up to 200 people have attended some parties, which could add up to thousands of dollars in one night. Esopenko said not everyone pays and that no money is collected at the door. He saID guests write a number on an envelope, and drop the cash into a box.
"Shocked," Vecchio said. "Couldn't believe it was going on. We don't want it in our neighborhood."
The city just sent the owner, James Self, and Esopenko an order to cease operations. According to the city, Eutopia is a business because it offers promotional advertising, regular hours (every weekend from 8:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.), and services such as food, beverages, and condoms.
The house is furnished, but unoccupied. Esopenko said he plans to move in.
"Yeah, right," Vecchio said. "I don't believe that any more than he's just having parties for a hundred of his closest friends." ...
On a Monday night in late January, Liam and Tracie are cooking dinner for their daughter Emily. It’s her 16th birthday, and they’re having nachos and birthday cake.
As Liam and Tracie prepare dinner in the kitchen, Emily is on the couch in the living room talking with Melissa and Matthew.
Liam and Tracie are a married couple, and so are Matthew and Melissa. But they are also polyamorous. Liam and Melissa are paramours, which means they share an intimate relationship with each other. Matthew has a paramour outside the group, and Tracie currently is not in another relationship.
“Right now I’m invested in my own individual exploration,” she says. “I have a couple of projects that I want to work on now and am not really looking for another romantic attachment.”
THE START OF LIAM AND TRACIE’S POLYAMORY
Liam and Tracie decided to open up their marriage after Tracie had an affair with a friend.
“I made the mistake of not talking with Liam before I went ahead with it,” Tracie says. “But we decided to see what this could add to our marriage instead of taking away from it.”
Tracie and Liam met Melissa and Matthew through an online dating site a couple of years ago in Missouri. Liam and Melissa immediately hit it off, and got permission from their spouses to begin dating. After two years of the couples living separately in Missouri, they decided they were ready for their next adventure. They found an apartment in Rock Creek, a Portland suburb, and moved in together. They’ve been here for five months. ...
A metro Atlanta dominatrix who does play for pay is suing a DeKalb County private investigator for secretly filming their “role-playing” session as part of sting in a child-custody case.
Lakenya Monfort also contends Reginald Walker and Southern Professional Investigations also should be punished for breaching her privacy.
In the lawsuit filed Monday in DeKalb State Court, Monfort, of Clayton County, said she was contacted by Walker, of Woodstock, who posed as potential client for a “dominatrix session.”
She met with Walker at a Holiday Inn Express in DeKalb County in 2013 for an “unique role-playing session specifically requested by Mr. Walker” in exchange for a $300 fee, the lawsuit said.
Walker, however, had hidden a video-camera to record the session without Monfort’s knowledge. While the camera captured the couple in stages of undress, the video depicted no sex in exchange for money or requests for sex for money — acts interpreted as prostitution—according to the lawsuit, which was sparse on other details.
The hidden recording violated Monfort’s expectation of privacy, which was further “aggravated” because it was evidence against Monfort in her child-custody case, the lawsuit said.
Cassandra D. Sims, the paternal grandmother of Monfort’s child, sued for custody of her grandchild in 2013 after hiring Walker and Southern Professional Investigations to gather evidence, the lawsuit said. The video was played in Gwinnett County Superior Court in October 2013 in hearing for temporary hearing in the still unresolved custody case, the lawsuit said.
Monfort’s case boils down to the Georgia law that prohibits secretly filming or video-recording someone in a place where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
It is akin to the case brought by Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers against his former mistress who he said tried to extort money from him by video-recording potentially embarassing acts. ...
A Romeoville man pulled out of a bondage “slave school” business scheme, costing his partner nearly $15,000, according to a lawsuit filed in Will County court.
Defendant Scott Baker conceded that the allegations were “partly true” but denied owing any money to Dean Schoenewald.
“He’s a con artist and a scam artist,” Baker said of Schoenewald. “He’s a true sociopath.”
Schoenewald, who said he lives in Atlantic City, NJ, claimed in his lawsuit that Baker “withdrew from any and all participation in our start-up ‘BDSM slave school’ business, failing to adhere to our agreement and signed contract.”
Schoenewald, who wants $14,840 from Baker, said he did not wish to discuss his lawsuit.
“I’m not interested in publicity,” he said. “I’m interested in winning.”
Schoenewald was willing to talk a little about the slave school idea, which he said never got off the ground because of Baker.
“This is a sexual revolution that’s going on,” he said, claiming the market for sadomasochism is a veritable goldmine and pointing to the erotic romance sensation Fifty Shades of Grey as proof.
“In one month in 2012 it made $95 million,” Schoenewald said. ...
Like most of my generation, I grew up spoon fed monogamist fairy tales that pushed "happily ever after" endings as though achieving one was preordained.
It was like, once you found "the one" and stepped on to the relationship escalator, all the answers became clear -- so long as you kept your eyes on the prize and didn't stray (wait, what was the prize again?). You could spend your whole life living out this fantasy, blissfully ignorant that any other way might be possible, let alone desirable.
Nice enough, right?
But as a child of divorce and an aspiring designer-entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, I was suspicious of marriage. Out here, we're data-positive and solution-oriented and if your product (i.e. marriage) is failing for 50% of your customers, then you need to fix it or offer something better. So when I discovered polyamory and non-monogamy as I headed to Burning Man in 2013, I realized I'd stumbled onto another way.
Let's get our terms straight. Polyamory means "many loves." It often applies to one or more people who are romantically involved with (wait for it) one or more partners. Non-monogamy, meanwhile, applies to everything that isn't monogamy -- including polyamory -- but you can be non-monogamous and not polyamorous. Here, I'll draw you a Venn diagram.
Personally, I'm in a monogamish relationship. We're committed to each other, but have a porous boundary around our relationship, meaning we've agreed that it's OK for either of us to express romantic feelings toward other people or to be physically intimate with other people, so long as we're honest and transparent about our intentions with one another.
These things don't diminish the integrity of our relationship. Rather, they deepen our understanding of each other's wants and desires, and give us the space to grow independently, without growing apart.
So why non-monogamy now?
Well, people haven't changed much, but their environment has.
Just think: Monogamy established itself thousands of years ago, when society was ruled by scarcity and resources and potential mates were in limited supply.
We're now living in a period of great (though unequally distributed) abundance where our basic needs are sufficiently met, and reproduction is a choice. As a result, the reasons to be with a single mate for life are less urgent. And with the advent of connected mobile devices and the internet, we've entered into the era I've dubbed Big Dating.
Big Dating unbundles monogamy and sex. It offers to maximize episodes of intimacy while minimizing the risk of rejection or FOMO. ...