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Media Updates

"Another Tacky Headline: The Media Outing of Alisha Smith, Lawyer and Purported Fetish Worker"

on Friday, 30 September 2011. Hits 582

SWOP-NYC

In a culture in which celebrities regularly don latex or leather and talk about kinky sex, our media outlets still have a way of trying to keep the average individual’s sexuality in check when it comes to private sexual behaviors. Tabloids such as the New York Post has a long history of taking pieces of schoolyard-like gossip and treating them like news articles, especially when it comes to women’s sexuality. In the last year alone, the Post has thrown the title of “hooker” at no less than three women in its headlines, one of which was a murder victim, and even managed to get the frontpage headline of “Crazy Stox Like a Hooker’s Drawers…UP, DOWN, UP,” complete with a photo of a lady in red, to fit what might otherwise have been a piece about the fledgling economy. The Post, it would seem, has got sex (and sex workers) on the brain.

The latest victim of the the Post‘s sharpened tongue is a lawyer for the state Attorney General’s office, Alisha Smith, who was suspended without pay from her position, following the Post’s inquiry regarding her participation in BDSM activities in her off hours. An anonymous source for the Post cited a standing executive order in the Attorney General’s Office, stating that employees must “obtain prior approval from the Employment Conduct Committee before engaging in any outside pursuit…from which more than $1,000 will be received or is anticipated to be received.”

Whether Smith is in breach of her contract remains to be seen. However, the ability of the Post to create the piece out of Smith’s story, which they then published, is now well documented. Using little more evidence than some tweets by Smith about personal lubricant and the unsubstantiated claim that “it is common in the S&M community for dominatrixes to receive payment for appearances at fetish parties,” the paper has singlehandedly managed to call a professional’s conduct into enough question to launch an internal investigation.

Responding to the suspension, the spokeswoman for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Susan Wright, had this to say: “NCSF supports the rights of consenting adults to have a private life apart from their employment. Alisha Smith is another victim of the persecution that often occurs against people who engage in BDSM. Our research has found that one out of three kinky people have lost their job, lost child custody or has been the victim of violence because of their BDSM interests. The media should never out individuals simply to create a sensationalized story.” ...

"Sex clubs not welcome in Peoria County"

on Wednesday, 28 September 2011. Hits 443

Journal Star

The Peoria County Board wants to end the potential for swingers clubs sprouting up under its jurisdiction.

When the city of Peoria banned sex clubs within city limits earlier this year, the county wanted to make sure businesses wouldn't move to unincorporated regions. The proposed amendment clarifies some points that were not previously outlined.

"We just wanted to make sure there wasn't some loophole," said Stephen Morris, chairman of the land use and transportation committee.

The county ordinance does not currently include language banning live sex acts in licensed businesses. Citing public health concerns as the main cause of action, the committee introduced an amendment to the Peoria County code.

"(The amendment) will reenforce that the county of Peoria and the city of Peoria are like-minded in the respect to businesses who provide pay-to-play entertainment to adults," board member Andrew Rand said.

The committee passed the amendment with unanimous vote.

"I don't think anybody in good taste and good conscience would permit these businesses to exist," Rand said.

Only one adult entertainment business is currently licensed by the county - Pulse, a strip club on Farmington Road.

The County Board will vote on the change at the meeting on Oct. 13.

"From flogging to fisting: Providing answers to curious kinksters"

on Wednesday, 28 September 2011. Hits 738

The Badger Herald

Hey there curious kinksters. This week, let’s explore the joys of bondage, discipline, dominance, submission and sadomasochism.

Keep in mind there’s no hard-and-fast definition of “kinky.” To some, using a pair of fuzzy handcuffs is the kinkiest, hottest, most out-there thing they want to try. Others think, “Been there, done that; I have a whole under-the-bed harness system installed!”

Both ends of the spectrum can be deliciously, wickedly fun.

How and where can you meet kinky 20-somethings in the Madison area?

Create a www.fetlife.com account. Do it. Now. It’s pretty much the Facebook of the kink scene.

There are also plenty of cool, kinky groups in Madtown. We have the Madison Area Whippersnappers, who meet the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Noodles & Company on State Street. Club Inferno out on Commercial Avenue hosts “Leather + Lace” parties the first Saturday of every month and Sabbat de Sade play parties the third Sunday of every month.

There’s also the Madtown Kinkfest, which is coming up in February. Now I ain’t gonna lie to you. Sometimes it does take people a bit of time and life experience to discover and define their inner kinks. Hence, you’ll likely encounter more “seasoned” kinksters in the scene. What can I say hun, you’re mature for your age. ...

"Is Sex the New Selling Point in Fall Season Premieres?"

on Sunday, 25 September 2011. Hits 571

Huffington Post

Fall season premieres have been airing for the past week, more to be aired in the next few weeks, and a popular theme this fall is sex positivity. Compared to their ancestors, Sex and the City and Will and Grace, this season, shows cover a wide spectrum of relationships.

Historically, there have been shows that have made waves and were up-to-date with the family structure. Roseanne, which was one of the first shows to have an openly lesbian character; Full House, child of the '90's here, which show-cased a widowed father; Step-by-Step that showed the realistic family dynamic between two combined families; and most recently Big Love, which represents the very controversial polyamorous lifestyle, are just some.

Sex has always been a key component of marketing. Jewelry, certain fashion merchandise and even shoes use sex appeal to gain a customer base. The past week of watching different premieres, produced by different stations, makes me question which base is this season trying to reach?

The Playboy Club, which can be seen on NBC Mondays 10/9c, is perhaps the most outright example of how the view of sex is changing. The show, which apparently the plot is not historically accurate, provides a look into one of the more controversial jobs in the 1960s. Based in 1963, we are taken into the first club in Chicago. Near the end of the pilot episode we are brought into two different historic scenes that portray the changing sexual politics in the 1960s. The Mattachine Society, formed in the 1950s to protect and improve the rights of homosexuals, illustrated the atmosphere of Chicago in the 1960s. In the next scene we see the new playboy club house mother, played by Jennifer Lewis, speaking to an uncredited actor portraying Hefner, during one of the famous Playboy parties. Both scenes, representing some of the more criticized activities in the sixties, still receive some backlash even now.

Two and a Half Men, airing on CBS Mondays 9/8c, is trying to revive itself after Sheen and brought up the unspoken risks of sex in the first three minutes. Herpes, Chlamydia and genital Warts -- all three of which are very common STIs and not commonly heard on sitcoms -- were brought up by three different former sex partners in the funeral scene marking the character's untimely death in Paris. Later in the episode, Cryer, who portrays Dr. Alan Jerome Harper, is hugged by a naked Kutcher, who replaced sheen and portrays Walden Schmidt.

In the more alternative lifestyle choices New Girl, airing on Fox Tuesdays 9/8c, and stars Zooey Deschanel, makes waves of its own while possible reviving Three's Company for generation y. Set this time with three men and one woman, who happen to find her roommates via Craigslist, we are re-introduced to cohabitating without sex. Near the end of the show, when Deschanel is stood up for a date at a restaurant, her roommates make a heroic move to save her night. Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, and Damon Wayans Jr. -- Wayans seemed to be only cast for the pilot -- show up at the restaurant and introduces themselves to the waitress as her polyandrous lovers.

Along with New Girl, Free Agents, which airs on NBC Wednesdays 8:30/7:30c, eerily reminds me of some of my past relationships. A show based on two office workers, who are both single and both getting over past relationships, shows the struggles of emotional de-attachment and remembering the rules of Human Resources and inter-office dating. The term "safe word," which is used in BDSM (the acronym for bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadomasochism) also known as kink, was used repeatedly through the pilot episode. "Safe word" is used primarily for checking in with a friend via phone when going on a first date or when participating in a sexual activity. The word "potato" chose by characters Alex and Helen, who are portrayed by Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn, is probably the most realistic portrayal of sex positive practices this fall. The word is simple enough to remember, especially when used in real world situations, and would not be used in usual conversation during sex... if you do talk during sex.

For a more toned down version of sex positive shows Up All Night, a new show this season that airs on NBC on Wednesdays at 10/9c , represents the new trend of stay-at-home fathers and working mothers. Glee, which airs on Fox at its normal Tuesday time slot at 8/7c, is back with its normal relationship entertainment value. In tow Sister Wives, the highly controversial show on TLC that begins airing again this Sunday, October 25th, at 10/9c, will pick up from the end of their mid-season break this past spring. The Browns now find themselves in Vegas and despite the ongoing investigation by Utah, the family is finding themselves in a new culture, new family conflicts, and Robyn Brown, Cody's Brown fourth wife, is now expecting her third child.

"Deviants' fair returns to Folsom Street"

on Sunday, 25 September 2011. Hits 738

Bay Area Reporter

More than 400,000 people from around the world attend the Folsom Street Fair each year, making it the largest leather/fetish event in the world and the third largest outdoor one-day event in California.

Only San Francisco's Pride celebration and the Rose Parade in Pasadena top it in number of participants, but you can't be flogged in public for charity at the Rose Parade.

"One of the great things about the leather community is the creativity and openness around sexuality and self-expression," said Jacob Richards, president of Folsom Street Events, during a recent coffee date with the Bay Area Reporter. "It's not specific to the fair, but the fair is a wonderful celebration of this aspect of the community."

Folsom is just one day, but there's plenty of buildup.

It starts the last Sunday in July with Up Your Alley Street Fair – Dore Alley, in common parlance. Last Sunday, September 18 saw Mama Reinhardt's Family lead its annual Leather Walk (now in its 20th year) to fight AIDS and breast cancer. The Leathermen's Discussion Group holds a Fetish Fair.

Preceding the main event this Sunday, September 25 is Leather Pride Week: seven salacious days of film screenings, discussion panels, spanking parties, motorcycle rides, and a formal dinner, climaxing with the world-renowned street fair.

For some, kink is confined to just one weekend of each calendar year or their tourist photos of San Francisco. To others it's a pervasive hobby, even something approaching a philosophy, code of conduct, or way of life. ...

"Europe's Dangerous Sex Craze"

on Thursday, 22 September 2011. Hits 1443

Daily Beast

An Italian man is on trial for the death of his girlfriend during a Japanese bondage scene. Barbie Latza Nadeau on what happens during 'Shibari'—and why extreme sex is on the rise.

Apparently monogamous sex gets tedious even when youre tied up with rope.

Italian engineer Soter Mule, 42, and his girlfriend Paola Caputo, 24, were avid practitioners of Shibari, an ancient Japanese erotic art. More refined than your typical night of bondage, Shibari involves the use of thin pieces of rope to bind the submissive partner in ways that are meant to be both artistically beautiful and also heighten the sensation of his or her orgasm.

But last Saturday night, the couple was looking to spice things up even more. They met up with a friend of Caputo’s at a local pub in Rome and, after drinking heavily and smoking hashish, the three headed to the parking garage where Caputo worked as a daytime attendant. The dimly lit space was closed and desolate, the perfect setting for a kinky sex act. Mule strung the two women, with their consent and help, from a rafter with strategically placed soft ropes. He used their weight to counterbalance them, each with one foot on the ground. When one woman moved, it tightened the ropes and intensified the sensation for the other, and vice versa.

Everything was fine until the less-experienced woman fainted. The force of her sudden dead weight quickly lifted and strangled Caputo, even though Mule quickly tried to cut his girlfriend free. She died of asphyxiation, and the couple’s new friend nearly suffered the same fate. Mule was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, and later released on house arrest.

In detailed testimony to the arraigning judge on Wednesday, Mule described how extreme sex like Shibari involves total control. He explained how he alternately teased and penetrated the women for maximum pleasure. He admitted that he made a mistake by not cutting Caputo from her bondage ropes sooner, but insisted that the extreme sex was consensual. “No one forced anyone,” he told the court. “Paola and her friend consented, but I was the master and I ultimately made the fatal mistake. I should have had the knife closer, as they suggest when practicing this type of bondage. By the time I found it, it was too late.” ...

"NY Asst. Attorney General a Fetish Worker?"

on Thursday, 22 September 2011. Hits 538

ABC News

A New York assistant attorney general who has brought lawsuits against Bank of America and Royal Bank of Canada has come under fire for her salacious personal life--one that involves whips, dominating, and S&M.

Alisha Smith, 36, who won a $5 billion combined settlement from the banks through her work in the Investor Protection Bureau of the AG's office, has been suspended from work without pay for possibly earning money in her side-job as a dominatrix performer, according to the NY Post.

A story in the Post alleges that Smith works as a performer at S&M events and may have violated internal rules of the department that require employees to consult with supervisors when earning more than $1,000 for outside work.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office confirmed that the employee has been suspended without pay. ...

"Manhattan AG's office suspends lawyer who moonlights as a dominatrix"

on Thursday, 22 September 2011. Hits 493

New York Post

A well-respected lawyer in the state Attorney General’s Office spends her days toiling in securities fraud -- and her nights moonlighting as a dominatrix, The Post has learned.

Alisha Smith, 36, who dresses demurely as a buttoned-down prosecutor, turns up the heat when she becomes perky persecutor “Alisha Spark,” a nom de dom she uses when she performs at S&M events for pay, according to a fetish source.

“They pay her to go to the events. She dominates people, restrains them and whips them,” the fetish source said.

At a recent event in which she posed for photos with fellow fetishists, she was espied wearing a skin-tight, see-through latex dress with heart-shaped pasties.

Now Smith is on the receiving end of some serious discipline from her bosses at the AG’s office.

Yesterday, she was removed from her duties -- for which she earns $78,825 annually -- after The Post inquired about her saucy S&M lifestyle.

“The employee has been suspended without pay, effective immediately, pending an internal investi-gation,” said a spokesman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The spokesman would not elaborate on why Smith was being professionally spanked.

It comes just three years after she was lauded by then-AG Andrew Cuomo for her role in obtaining a $5 billion settlement from Bank of America and others in a securities-fraud case.

Smith declined to speak to The Post when approached outside her Manhattan home.

Her attorney, Marshall Mintz, would not comment on her side work or on whether she’s been paid.

Sources familiar with the issue say Smith’s punishment has less to do with her personal pleasure and more to do with the possibility that she profited from it.

It is common in the S&M community for dominatrixes to receive payment for appearances at fetish parties, where they unleash tawdry torments on eager submissives.

Sources cited a standing executive order in the Attorney General’s Office that requires employees to “obtain prior approval from the [Employment Conduct Committee] before engaging in any outside pursuit ... from which more than $1,000 will be received or is anticipated to be received.”

Smith has left traces of her secret S&M life online. ...

Latest Reader Comments

  • Feminists and christian groups push narratives which become 'fact' (see definition of 'Woozle effect ). These are ideologically driven...

    Elle

    09. April, 2015 |

  • Fetlife works very hard to keep members safe. They also work to protect everyone's freedoms. Criminal accusations should be made to local...

    Daisie

    23. March, 2015 |

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    11. March, 2015 |

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