There are times in my life when I feel that everything I do, everything I say, and everything going on around me is exactly what it should be. When I arrived for the Fires of Venus ritual at the Free Spirit Alliance’s Beltane event in May, I knew this was definitely one of those times.
I could feel that I was about to participate in something different, something special. The evening ritual wasn’t just preparation for the weekend-long Fires of Venus event, a sacred sexuality fire circle that will be held in September. This was an opportunity for me to connect with the Divine - a chance to serve, a chance to heal, and possibly a beacon to guide me on my path.
The ritual set in motion a spell to bring Venus (love in all of its many forms) more fully into our lives. Circled around a flickering bonfire and held within a ring of glowing torches, perhaps a hundred people gathered for an evening of drumming, dancing, chanting, singing, sex, and SM to raise and sustain a sacred, sensual energy for several hours.
There were two main ingredients for the spell: Sacrifice and Gratitude. Every person was invited to commit to a specific personal sacrifice and to acknowledge their gratitude for the blessings in their lives. Paper and pencils were available for us to write down our “ingredients,” which we took to the Cauldron of Venus where they were “stirred” with the others to begin the spell. The papers are being saved and will be used to light the first fire—and bring our spell to fruition—in September at Fires of Venus.
While the “official ritual” lasted only a few hours, the energy and sacred space remained in place until after the sun came up the next morning. And the spell that I cast that night to bring love and Venus into my life? It’s proved to be much more powerful than I anticipated, though it is still a work in progress.
I’ve had an interesting ride so far and I’m sure I’ll have quite a tale to tell when the spell is completed. If you want to see how it ends and hear that tale, meet me at Fires of Venus in September for some show and tell.
A PHOTOGRAPHIC REMEMBRANCE OF SAN FRANCISCO'S SAME-SEX MARRIAGE REVOLT
May 26, 2009
The California Supreme Court has issued the ruling that everyone expected, affirming the constitutionality of Proposition 8.
Surely, with organizing work and effort, Proposition 8 will be reversed by voters next chance they get. California progressives were taken by surprise by the money and effort poured into Proposition 8 by the Mormon and Catholic churches, but they're not going to be taken by surprise again. Obviously there is still a long way to go on these issues but, historically speaking, acceptance of equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders is coming quite quickly and is just a matter of time, patience, education, and organizing.
Still, this is a sad day for California. Everything that needs to be said about this has already been said, and will now be said many times again. The only useful thing I can think to add is my own photographic record of what turned out to be the last day in 2004 that same-sex marriages were performed in San Francisco -- March 10 -- before the Supreme Court ordered the practice to stop.
I had gone to City Hall that day to take photographs that would accompany an article about same-sex marriage I had written for a Santa Cruz newspaper. I was moved to tears by what I saw -- dozens of marriages being performed everywhere, from the grand rotunda to the balconies, to the little alcoves that help make City Hall such a marvelous piece of architecture. Volunteer county clerks performing one ceremony after another, helping people choose where they would tie the knot, grinning as broadly as the betrothed and their families, it seemed. It was a day of joy and celebration for all, and these photos are, I believe, as clear a statement as any about love, understanding, and the simple goodness of promoting full life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all....
Discovery is producing a new documentary series for Discovery Health Channel that explores pregnancy through the eyes of various expecting mothers. For this installment, we would like to feature a woman in a poly family, due to give birth between June and August of this year. The goal of this episode is to illustrate a nurturing, alternative family group as they welcome in a new life.
$1500.00 will be awarded to each of our expecting mothers for their participation, which consists of five, non-consecutive days of filming. It is my hope that you will present this opportunity to the members of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
Interested parties may contact me directly via phone or email. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Sirens Media produces award-winning series for Discovery, Bravo, TruTV and Animal Planet. For more information please visit www.sirensmedia.com.
It looks like some of the information about the annual meeting got truncated! Here's ALL of the information you need about the annual meeting:
Our annual meeting is just around the corner, June 6 and 7th in Dallas, TX.
Lots of information is packed in this email. Please read all of it! Please email Leigha at
if you have any questions. Alternatively, you can call her cell phone at 443-280-0457.
Here is what you will find in this update:
1- hotel info
2- tentative annual meeting agenda
The annual report and committee reports will be available after the meeting.
We will have the annual meeting in Dallas, TX at the Marriott Residence Inn at the DFW Airport. The address is:
We’ve gotten a terrific deal - $89 a night plus tax for either a one bedroom or a studio suite.
Studio Suites: use code: NCSNCSB
One Bedroom Suites: use code: NCSNCSA
The hotel serves a complimentary hot buffet breakfast 7 days per week. There is shuttle service between the hotel and the DFW airport.
Dallas/Fort Worth - DFW
1- Hotel direction: 3 miles N
2- Driving Directions from DFW: Take the North airport exit. Look for exit Hwy 114 East. Proceed on Hwy 114 East Exit Esters Blvd. Turn left. Hotel is on your right about 1 mile. Complimentary Shuttle hours are 8AM-10PM Monday through Friday; Weekend courtesy shuttle is limited; call hotel for more information on weekend shuttle services.
If anyone experiences a message that they can not book online, have them contact the hotel directly and we will identify the problem on this end. If you plan to stay Thursday and/or Sunday nights as well, please contact the hotel directly to book as they will not be able to book it online.
Friday June 5th –
BBQ Cookout poolside at 8pm at the hotel!
Saturday June 6th
9:30am-9:45am – Welcome
9:45am-10:30am – Ice Breaker & Introductions
10:30am-12:30am – Year in Review Reports
- Message from the Chair
- KAP Report
- Media Report
- Communications Report
- Marketing (CP Stewardship is here)
12:30pm-1:30pm – We will provide a working lunch.
We will have speakers in from various Dallas metro area groups and the new IML will stop by!
1:30pm-1:45pm – Break
1:45pm-3:00pm– Year in Review Reports (continued)
- IT Report (including Salesforce)
- Marketing & CP Stewardship
- Incident Response
- Development Report
- 2008 Financial Review and 2009 to date.
3:00-4:15pm - Break Out Groups – Where are we going??
4:15pm-5:00pm – Wrap up break out groups & adjourn
Munch invite by the DFW Power Exchange
Invite to Hardy Haberman’s demo
Invite to Sanctuary party
You and any guests MUST RSVP and wear your NCSF badges to attend these optional events.
The munch begins at 7pm and is off site. The party is also off site and begins at 9pm. If you are not attending the munch, should plan to arrive *no earlier than* 9pm. Doors close to the party at 10:00pm.
Sunday – June 7, 2009
9:15am-9:30am – Welcome
9:30am – 9:45am – NCSF’s Volunteer of the Year
9:45am - 10:15am – Elections
10:15am – 11:00am – The union of the two (c)3 and (c)4
11:00am-12:00pm – More Committee Reports
- Bylaws Amendments
- 2010 Budget
12:000pm – 12:15pm – Take aways
1:00pm – 3:00pm – NCSF & You Workshop by Susan Wright
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
Will Rockwell - $pread Magazine,
Audacia Ray - Sex Work Awareness (SWA),
Susan Blake - Prostitutes of New York (PONY),
Michael Bottoms - Sex Workers Outreach Project - New York City (SWOP-NYC),
With Craigslist’s recent announcement that its Erotic Services category will be discontinued within the week, hundreds of thousands of erotic service providers will become more vulnerable to dangerous predators. Eliminating erotic listings as Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and others propose will only drive us further underground.
Policing the masseuses, phone workers, pro-dominants, and escorts using Craigslist fails to protect those of us who are coerced into the sex industry. Preventing the use of Craigslist advertisements also eliminates the advantage of screening clients online, which makes for a safer work experience by filtering out potentially dangerous individuals. Furthermore, keeping us offline hinders police investigations of violent crime. In the Boston murder of Julissa Brisman, it was online tracking that enabled the police to identify the suspect. One has to wonder: are the Attorneys General examining the evidence or simply enforcing their moral values?
“Removing the erotic services category from Craigslist does not help prevent violence against escorts and other sex workers. It only pushes me and people like me out of the places where advertising is available,” said Jessica Bloom, a sex worker from Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK). In the face of increasing criminalization, we insist upon respect. As mothers, daughters, brothers, and members of your community, we claim that sex work is real work, work that we are entitled to conduct in safety. As such, we must be accorded the human right of full protection under the law.
**EDIT** an addendum. I just typed this up in response to a Facebook friend asking what he could do to help. Here are some suggestions:
You can totally help, mostly by speaking up and jumping into the fray!
Legislation about consensual adult sex work (not trafficking, coercion, or child prostitution) mostly happens on the state level - since you’re in NY, you can find your assembly person here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ - write to him or her and tell them how you feel about the risks created and perpetuated by continued criminalizing of sex work and cracking down on advertising
Write letters to the editor of newspapers that publish misguided pieces about how the elimination of craigslist erotic services will “help” women
Comment on blog posts and online articles (if you’ve got the stomach for it!)
Want to know what we've been working on at the NCSF? Here are the summaries from our departments!
INCLUDED: Vivienne - Treasurer, Tim Murray - Marketing, Klawdya Rothschild - Membership,Klawdya Rothschild - Newsletter/Web 2.0, Levi – Office,Vicki Ballinger - Outreach Coordinator,Susan Wright – Media Outreach
NCSF participated in an evening discussion at Leather Leadership Conference in Atlanta. Spearheaded by Richard Sprott, Executive Director of CARAS, representatives from LA&M, LLC National and NSCF joined Richard for an early dinner. The four organizations shared their current and future projects, issues of the day and explored the possibility of working together on a joint event.
Vivienne Kramer, Board Member, and Vicki B. Outreach Coordinator, spoke for NCSF and will continue to participate in any joint committee work. It was a productive discussion and was very encouraging to have all parties present and cooperative.
Our annual Coalition Partner meeting will be held in Dallas on June 6th and 7th of 2009.We will be at a hotel close to DFW to enable easy in and out transportation; the name will be disclosed as soon as the contract is signed. Room night rates are $89 plus tax and include hot breakfast both Saturday and Sunday. Please talk to your group about sponsoring your trip to Dallas. It is truly an amazing meeting that leaves activists renewed and re-energized for the coming year. The agenda for the weekend will be developed shortly but we typically meet 9:30-4:30 on Saturday and 9:30 am to 12 on Sunday. We are also trying to make arrangements with the local club for a Saturday evening entertainment option. NCSF has a working board that tries hard all year to keep the organization running but it's YOU - the Coalition Partners - that hold the power. There will be elections, budget review and many reports on activities. Please join us.
Tim Murray - Marketing
Coming soon to the CP's will be a fundraiser template. A collection of best practices, resources and concepts complete with professionally designed flyers, posters & more for the CP's to easily throw fundraisers of various sizes. We want being a Coalition Partner to feel easy and beneficial to all parties involved. So let us take off some of the stress. Watch for it soon.
Klawdya Rothschild - Membership
In an ongoing effort to increase communications efficiency and maximize funds, the NCSF Memberships are going Paper Free! Not only with this increase membership process time, and save the NCSF thousands of dollars, but is also much more eco friendly! Following in the footsteps of the ACLU and AASECT, who converted to paper free memberships and renewals years ago, we will also link our paper-free membership system to Salesforce, which will help us organize and maintain better email lists, keeping our constituents better informed!
Klawdya Rothschild - Newsletter/Web 2.0
The Newsletter has been changed from bi-annual to quarterly and increased from 2 to 4 pages in an attempt to deliver more information, and serve the community better and more frequently. With that in mind, the NCSF has also embraced Web 2.0 with such things as the blog: http://ncsf.wordpress.comand http://www.twitter.com/ncsfto keep you up to date on news, both good and bag, that pertains to our mission and related communities! We aim to show the positive and strong aspects of our community as well as inform when tragedy strikes and alert when action is needed—with this in mind we have decided to accept article submissions from all members of our communities for both our blog and website. Email email@example.com submit articles on events, books, art, news and more of interest to our communities and affiliate communities!
Levi – Office
It’s spring, and lots of change is in the air at our national office!
We have received our t-shirts from the printer – same great design, now with the NCSF logo on the front (so you can wear our colors proudly, even under a bar vest or jacket!). Please email
to place your order.
If you have not yet emailed the office to confirm your contact info, alternate rep (and their contact info), please do! We still have many question marks on our contact list, and want to make sure that all of your information is going to the right place.
Levi will be moving to California later this summer, and NCSF is looking to hire a new part-time Office Manager to run the Baltimore office. Please contact
to request a copy of our advertisement for the position if you or someone you know would be interested. Note: the office manager must be local or within reasonable driving distance of Baltimore, MD.
Vicki Ballinger - Outreach Coordinator
There are several events happening across the country worth mentioning
Kinko De Mayo - Ohio
Seattle Erotic Art Festival - Washington
Tribal Fire - Oklahoma
Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Western Region Conference - California
ASSECT Annual Conference - Arizona
Camp Crucible - Pennsylvania
International Mr Leather, Illinois
Shibaricon - Illinois
If you are having an event, please consider including the NCSF in your event. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is the only national organization devoted to creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that advances the rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual expression. We depend on support from events like yours to operate, so that we may continue to serve our constituents - like you! As a grassroots, volunteer driven organization primarily focused on the rights of consenting adults in the SM-leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities, we are always looking for ways to increase awareness of our projects and funds to continue operating. There are a number of ways that we can work together to make this happen. Write
if you would like NCSF info at your event!
Thank you for considering adding the NCSF to your plans!
Susan Wright – Media Outreach
Susan worked with NY Times reporter Jennifer Mascio on an article about the false arrests of professional Dominatrices for prostitution in NYC, arranging and sitting in on the interviews with several pro-Dommes, as well as getting a statement from one pro-Domme who was arrested. Jennifer says the article will be published at the end of April. So far, Susan has received over 20 inquiries about the pro-Domme arrests. This month she wrote to Police Commissioner Kelly asking for a meeting to discuss the issue.
Along with the interview to the NY Times, Susan gave 6 interviews to reporters with The New York Times Magazine (DSM and the paraphilias), Boston Phoenix (about the persecution of the BDSM community in Boston), NY Blade (regarding the murder of WABC host George Webber), Hustler (about Dressing for Pleasure and BDSM in general), SF Chronicle (on whether Obama will be a pro-sex president), and a Swedish journalist researching child custody and poly issues. Susan's letter to the editor about the top 50 influential people in the sexual freedom movement was published in the March issue of Playboy.
Susan is coordinating people and groups in NYC who are interested in working with the NY Health Department to obtain waivers for sex clubs that incorporate safe sex and harm reduction activities as part of their operation, including counseling and free HIV testing. The first meeting was at the Queer Justice League's April 2nd meeting, and the next will be at Paddles at 8pm on May 7th .
This new working group is an outgrowth of the Stop the Arrests Coalition.
Susan did website reviews for Ohio SMART's Kinko de Mayo, smOdyssey's Northeast Leather Celebration, and The Mark by CPI in Tennessee.
Lisa Vandever put out an Entertainment Media Update on American Swing, in which she said, "Though the 1970s styles and sensibilities on display in "American Swing" inspire some easy mockery, overall the documentary takes a respectful and even-handed stance towards its subject and the individuals involved--and towards swinging on the whole. In recounting their experiences at Plato's Retreat, many of those interviewed seem nearly reverential as they recall the sense of sexual freedom they discovered at the club, a good thirty years prior."
NCSF also received a thank you, as did many people who assisted in Brad Saragin's research on "Hormonal changes and couple bonding in consensual sadomasochistic activity," which is published in the current issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior. A PDF of the article can be found at http://www.niu.edu/user/tj0bjs1/papers/scclm09.pdf. The full reference is as follows:
Sagarin, B. J., Cutler, B., Cutler, N., Lawler-Sagarin, K. A., & Matuszewich, L. (2009). Hormonal changes and couple bonding in consensual sadomasochistic activity. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 186-200.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your look into the activities of the NCSF. Please look for another edition of the NCSF Tickler in May.
On Amazon.com two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: "Transgressions" by Erastes and "False Colors" by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book "The Filly." There was buzz, What's going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books? Is it just a major glitch in the system? Many of us decided to write to Amazon questioning why our rankings had disappeared. Most received evasive replies from customer service reps not versed in what was happening. As I am a publisher and have an Amazon Advantage account through which I supply Amazon with my books, I had a special way to contact them. 24 hours later I had a response:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.
Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.
Yes, it is true. Amazon admits they are indeed stripping the sales ranking indicators for what they deem to be "adult" material. Of course they are being hypocritical because there is a multitude of "adult" literature out there that is still being ranked - Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, come on! They are using categories THEY set up (gay and lesbian) to now target these books as somehow offensive.
Now in fairness I should point out that Amazon has also stopped ranking many books in the "erotica" categories as well which includes straight erotica. But that's a whole other battle that I'll leave to the erotica writers to take on.
Now I could probably convince the automatons at Amazon that The Filly is YA and therefore not "adult" in the least, and I could probably even convince them to reinstate my ranking. But if they are excluding books just on the basis of being "gay" then by all means exclude mine too because I don't want them just to reinstate the "nice" gay books, they need to reinstate all the gay books and if they are really going to try and exclude so-called "adult" material, then how come this has an Amazon ranking?