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In International News...

on Sunday, 29 April 2012. Hits 288

"Fifty Shades is 'changing bedroom habits'"

The Times of India

What's driving independent successful women around the world to a tale of BDSM? Author EL James talks about how her erotic Fifty Shades trilogy is changing bedroom habits In the first of the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, the 21-year-old Anastasia Steele has a fateful meeting with her hero, the uber rich, sinfully sexy entrepreneur Christian Grey. The only catch is that Mr Perfect is a bossy dominant who likes to whip women into submission. Will they have an, er, happy ending?

EL James may have unwittingly tapped into a primitive and primal urge in women around the world to hand over control between the sheets. How else do you explain the runaway success of the racy series that was originally written as Twilight fan fiction? It became a mega success as an e-book and its popularity had publishers and Hollywood studios falling all over themselves to bid for the rights to the "mommy porn". Racing to the top of the bestseller lists, it has become the fastest selling book of the year. That's multiple-orgasms material for publishers.

Fifty Shades... reads like the Twilight of erotica. It will never win awards for its quality of writing but the books are simply and inexplicably addictive. Christian wants to spank, whip, handcuff and do sadistic things to her in his 'playroom'. He wants her to sign a detailed, explicit contract about the rules of a submissive that involve clamps, steel balls, fisting and even how the fuzz down there should be fashioned. And while the flawed side of the irresistible billionaire disturbs her, Ana still has enough orgasms for the entire city. She flutters at his mere touch, her uniquely mobile 'inner goddess' does back flips and they climax on demand. But the trilogy is essentially their love story as they negotiate boundaries that involve domination, bondage, pain as pleasure and absolute submission. Ultimately, despite the explicit scenes, the sex stays in a reassuringly safe area as Ana is given the choice to stop any time she likes.

British author EL James is shocked that her shocking tale has unleashed this tidal wave of interest. Sex shops have reported a boost in sales, bedroom habits around the world are changing, sexperts and feminists are getting their knickers in a twist. The unassuming author says, "I never expected this kind of success. I'm overwhelmed. Women mail me to say that it's a page-turner and they've made their husbands read it. Submissives get in touch and say 'I want to do this'. My time is no longer my own. I'm not used to the attention." She pauses before adding, "I've got e-mails from very young readers from India, which is a bit alarming really." ...

"Too Many Shades of Grey"

on Sunday, 29 April 2012. Hits 1180

Huffington Post

In last week's Newsweek cover story, "Spanking Goes Mainstream," author Katie Roiphe set the blogosphere atwitter with her commentary on the cultural trend of bright young women willingly engaged in BDSM relationships: 50 Shades of Grey, Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls --even the wedding night of teen heart throbs Bella and Edward in the third Twilight movie. Roiphe pointed to the paradox that our postmodern freedoms are leading to an embrace of sexual subordination. Because Roiphe's modernist assertions of individual responsibility often clash with postmodern feminists' more nuanced understanding of how cultural and social forces shape us, her analysis was largely dismissed as just another of her potshots against contemporary feminism. But she's picking up something about female agency that I've had on my radar for a while, something women need to think about deeply: Why, when the women's movement aimed to liberate us from being sexually objectified and degraded in a male-dominant culture, are so many women objectifying and degrading themselves?

Feminists get their knickers in a twist, as they say in the UK, whenever anyone dares to question a women's right to choose whatever she wants to choose -- particularly in the bedroom. Culturally mandated chastity, modesty and marriage were the means of controlling women's reproductive lives and their sexuality between the 17th and early 20th centuries. The "Sexual Revolution" of the 1960s and the second wave of the women's movement were deeply intertwined, and for complex reasons, sexual freedom became the sine qua non of women's liberation. I show how free I am by flaunting the taboos that cloistered women's sexuality for hundreds of years. The funny thing is that this form of sexual-transgression-as-liberation has been going on now for fifty years, with each upcoming generation feeling that they have discovered something new. Choice is, of course, the expression of human agency; and it's only right that women choose their own path to sexual pleasure. But at this point, I would argue that our continued focus on sexual agency is a distraction.

Choice is a most precious capacity. It makes us human. It's not simply about preferences -- soup or salad, flats or heels, top or bottom. Human agency, expressed through our creative engagement with choice, is how we expand the measure of freedom that we have as human beings. Through it, we can define new potentials and pathways in culture. The capacity for creative agency through choice is what has enabled human beings to thrive and will be the only thing that will enable life to develop further here on Earth. Expressing sexual agency -- doing whatever the f--- we want to do -- has little to do with stretching our capacities toward anything new or significant. It should be a given, exercised in our personal lives, rather than some badge of courage. There's nothing new there. ...

"Former Royal Spa Exec Claims Sexual Harassment"

on Friday, 27 April 2012. Hits 502

Man Makes Lurid Accusations In Lawsuit

ABC News - RTV6

INDIANAPOLIS -- A former executive of Indianapolis-based Royal Spa has filed a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against the company and its owner, leveling several lurid allegations against the owner.

Kevin Roessler claims that when Robert Dapper, the company's owner, discovered that he and his wife were swingers, Dapper forced his employee to involve him in sexual activities or lose his job. Roessler said that he was employed by Royal Spa from 2008 to March 2011 as director of business development.

"Fearing for his position at Royal Spa, Kevin eventually relented and secured him an invitation to several of the events," part of the lawsuit read.

Roessler claims that Dapper's sex-related demands escalated over time and that Dapper asked him to acquire more sexual partners for him.

"Using a variety of websites related to the swinger lifestyle, Kevin would arrange sexual encounters for Dapper," part of the lawsuit read. "Kevin was required to attend each of these encounters and to initiate sex in front of Dapper."

Roessler claims in the lawsuit that he was "sickened by the behavior he was being forced to engage in" and that some of the sexual activity involved his wife. "Although these were consensual sexual encounters, he felt that he was being used as (a) pimp to acquire sex for Dapper," part of the lawsuit read. "At all times during these events, Kevin was informed by Dapper that his employment would be adversely affected if he failed to comply." ...

"Holy Boycott Groupon, Touring the Armory: What's All the Fuss About? "

on Friday, 27 April 2012. Hits 358

Huffington Post

The boycott against Groupon has nothing to do with morality. It has to do with intolerance and sex-negativity. This blog is a direct response to "Groupon's Latest Deal? Torture Porn," by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of Porn Harm and Morality. Hawkins takes a hard strike at Groupon, kink.com and the porn industry in general. My first question to Hawkins is, "Have you ever taken a tour of the Armory?" For a place she claims to know so much about, I don't believe she ever mentions a visit to the home of kink.com. Since I have been to the Armory on many occasions, including taking said tour, I thought I would clarify any misconceptions.

Hawkins stated, "Pornography's purpose is primarily the sexual exploitation of women and children for pleasure of men." The purpose of pornography is not to exploit women and children for men. In the words of the great Nina Hartley:

"The most important thing about pornography is that it hosts our sexual dreams. Those dreams tell a lot about who and what we are. How we feel about ourselves, how we interact with the world, and most importantly, how we create intimacy with ourselves and others. We get to be who and what we want in our dreams. Everything is perfect in our dreams. It's smooth and nice and runs along on greased rails. Porn as fantasy is really important, because that's where we imagine our sexual selves and bring those selves out to play."

Hawkins continually refers to the degradation and exploitation of adult performers, namely women. She even goes so far as to say women who make porn and find it acceptable are simply influenced by their male predecessors. I find it insulting that Hawkins is taking the position that women who do porn are doing so because of men and have no idea what, if anything, they are doing to themselves. That statement implies that women do not know how to think for themselves, which is an insulting and degrading statement. ...

"Local women love erotic ‘Shades of Grey’ for characters, fantasy"

on Thursday, 26 April 2012. Hits 1042

InForum FARGO – For years, the only books Megan Riegel read were “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “Breastfeeding 101.”

So when this 31-year-old Fargo mom of two and bank branch manager was looking for a little “me time,” a friend who’s an avid reader suggested she pick up “Fifty Shades of Grey,” an erotic romance that’s become enormously popular among women across the country.

The trilogy by British author E.L. James started as “Twilight” fan fiction, gained a following online, and was released in mass distribution earlier this month.

Locally, the series is as popular as anywhere else, says Mary Schimke, community relations manager for Fargo’s Barnes & Noble. The books are asked for all the time, a store manager says.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” has been described in some media reports as “mommy porn,” as it vividly depicts the world of BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism). The S&M scenes in the books worry some experts. Celebrity therapist Dr. Drew Pinsky called the books violent, and said the obsession with them is “disturbing.”

But local women who love the “Fifty Shades” trilogy cite the captivating relationship between its protagonists, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, as well as its comedic tone.

“When I first started reading it, I thought it as a bit degrading towards women,” Riegel says. “The farther I got into the books I realized their love is a special, unique love. I think everyone wants that for themselves. Relationships are different from couple to couple.” ...

"Possible new clues in Marine wife murder"

on Tuesday, 24 April 2012. Hits 828

CBS8.com

SAN DIEGO - Sexually explicit website postings are linked to a person of interest in the murder of a young marine wife.

News 8 has uncovered personal ads on bondage websites posted by 45-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine Louis Perez. Investigators say he is a person of interest in the death of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore, but he's being held on unrelated weapons charges.

With an active investigation, authorities aren't saying what connection, if any, Louis Perez's alternative lifestyle played in Killgore's murder.

The face of Perez is featured on alternative sex websites, catering to bondage, where the Marine goes by the alias Ivan and posted this: "I am lord and master, dom and daddy of my house. My slave, Ms. Dee, is a slave to no one, but myself."

News 8 is not showing Dee's face in the video reports or releasing her real name, because authorities have in no way connected her to the disappearance of Brittany Killgore.

The 22-year old Marine wife's nude body was found Tuesday in a rural area of Riverside County. Following the discovery, 25-year-old Jessica Lopez was arrested and charged with murder.

Lopez lived in a Fallbrook home, which is an address also shared by Perez. However, records show the home is owned by Dee, who also posts on a bondage website under the username Twisted 2 Plus You. She describes herself as "an alpha slave to master Ivan. We have a poly home in which I own two slave girls. Life is good." ...

Strange Attractions

on Sunday, 22 April 2012. Hits 506

20/20

From '50 Shades of Grey' to open marriages, what's going on with sex these days?

Check out BDSM, Polyamory, Male Escorts and What is Your Favorite Position?

"Posters cause outrage at USM"

on Sunday, 22 April 2012. Hits 741

Hattiesburg American

A poster promoting a show at a Hub City bar drew the ire of some University of Southern Mississippi students and faculty members as being "degrading to women," prompting school officials to pull copies down around campus Friday.

"There is a pervasive hatred of women in our culture, and it is scary to see an expression of that in our midst," said outraged Southern Miss English Professor Nicolle Jordan, co-chair of the university's Committee on Services and Resources for Women.

The poster, taped to approximately 20 campus locations Thursday for a Cash Fountain concert today at The Tavern, featured a drawing of a naked woman with her head bowed and her hands tied behind her back.

Cash Fountain is a local group of DJs that performed at Eaglepalooza last year.

Members Greg Brooking and Drew Bardin said they were surprised by the reaction to the posters that they admitted to placing around campus. "We weren't trying to make people mad," said Brooking a 2010 Southern Miss alumnus, who explained that it was for a BDSM-themed costume party.

BDSM is an acronym suggesting bondage, domination and sado-masochism.

But what troubled doctoral creative writing student Christina Rothenbeck, one of several English graduate students to complain, was the posters' decontextualized image of a submissive woman.

That's why she defaced many of the them Thursday with graffiti reading: "This is what rape culture looks like," "She is not an object," "Degrading women degrades everyone," and "Rape is everyone's problem." ...

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