If you were to visit one of the newest businesses licensed to operate in St. Louis, you wouldn't see people having sex. Not that.
But you might see a person getting florentined: They'd be cuffed standing, facing a wall, with a person behind them wielding a pair of multi-stranded leather implements called floggers hitting them -- hard, yes -- in a pattern of interlocking ellipses. It's possible you'd see a woman bound to a pillar in the middle of the room with Saran wrap, her every curve hugged close by the cling. You might see people taking turns shocking each other with an ultraviolet wand. And you might leave with bruises on your ass that take weeks to heal -- but not if you don't ask for them.
BDSM -- which stands for bondage, discipline, submission and dominance, also known as sadomasochism -- is nothing new to St. Louis. The city has a sizable population of BDSM enthusiasts: folks who practice consensual exchanges of power or pain, or other forms of extreme physical sensation.
The news here is that these kinksters are coming out of the shadows and into your neighborhood. And that's a good thing, proponents say -- for the community, for the economy and for society at large. After all, they're already in your neighborhood. They just want to be aboveboard about it.
There are at least four groups around the city, if not more, who routinely host play parties. The parties follow strict codes of behavior: There is no sex and no nudity. Party guests compare notes on bondage techniques, pleasure and pain, and they demonstrate what they've figured out. Participants show identification at the door, and parties require guests to be of-age -- 18 years old at some parties, 21 at others.
But despite the strict rules, such gatherings have long operated in a legal gray area. One group had operated in a residential home out near the airport, drawing participants via word-of-mouth and FetLife.com, a kink-oriented social networking site. Other groups rent out halls for their parties. Some parties are hosted in back rooms of established venues like bars. All of them operate at the risk of running afoul of city codes, in terms of safety and occupancy permits. ...
Transvestism, sadomasochism and fetishism are not going to be officially considered diseases in Finland for much longer. The National Institute for Health and Welfare is removing them from Finland’s lists of diseases because there is no proper medical basis for classifying them as such.
An analogous change to the classification of diseases was carried out in Denmark in 1995, while Sweden and Norway made the same step in 2009 and in 2010 respectively.
Sadomasochism means receiving sexual gratification from humiliation or pain, for example from being whipped or tied up. Fetishism refers to a sexual attraction to objects or materials, while transvestism denotes cross-dressing.
The change has been submitted to the International Classification of Diseases through the corroboration of SETA, the organisation for LGBT rights in Finland, and the Sexpo Foundation. A group made up of experts in medicine, sexology and sociology also took part in the preparations.
Northwestern University students will not be offered a course on human sexuality during the upcoming school year following an explicit after-class demonstration involving a woman and a motorized sex toy in February, school officials announced Monday.
Professor John Michael Bailey, who has taught psychology at the Illinois university since 1989, said the Feb. 21 after-class presentation on "networking for kinky people" to his 600-student human sexuality class was entirely optional. Students were also warned prior to the demonstration that the material -- which would not be covered on examinations -- wasn't for the faint of heart.
On Monday, Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations, said Bailey will now have "other teaching assignments" in the coming year.
"Courses in human sexuality are offered in a variety of academic departments in other universities, and Northwestern is reviewing how such a course best fits into the University’s curriculum," Cubbage said in a statement. "At Northwestern University, the dean of a college/school has the right and responsibility to determine course assignments." ...
Northwestern University will no longer offer a popular course on human sexuality that made national news after the professor who taught the course allowed a live demonstration with a motorized sex toy.
The class, taught by Professor Michael Bailey, has been dropped from the psychology department’s curriculum next school year, chairman Dan McAdams told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday.
“I did not make the decision,” McAdams said. “It was made by the central administration, either the president or the provost.”
McAdams said the administration doesn’t typically choose which classes are offered, but the human sexuality class was a “pretty extraordinary case.”
After asking about the class’s future, he received an e-mail from the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences informing him not to offer it next semester.
Northwestern spokesman Alan Cubbage issued a written statement on the class but declined to answer questions.
“Courses in human sexuality are offered in a variety of academic departments in other universities, and Northwestern is reviewing how such a course best fits into the university’s curriculum,” Cubbage said in a statement. “At Northwestern University, the dean of a college/school has the right and responsibility to determine course assignments.” ...
Dear Miss Manners: I have several friends in open or polyamorous relationships. Because I'm happy for their happiness together, I would like to make sure that I'm not excluding or slighting any partners.
If I am sending them an invitation to a gathering, how on earth do I address it? "Mr. and Mrs. Jane Doe and Ms. Lily Smith"? "The Doe and Smith Family"? "John and Jane Doe and Lily Smith"?
I don't want to draw overmuch attention to the fact that one couple is legally married and the other is "just" secondary. (This is insulting in polyamorous circles.) Also, am I correct in assuming that if the third partner has taken the legally married couple's name as part of a long-term arrangement, the correct address is "John, Jane, and Lily Doe" or "The Doe Family"? It seems silly to use "Mr. and Mrs. and Mrs. Doe."
Also, how do I introduce a polyamorous group socially? Do legally married partners have status over second partners, meriting first introduction, or do I simply say, "Ms. Jones, these are my friends, the Does" and leave Ms. Jones to establish how they interrelate? ...
Notorious "orgy" organizer Palagia has been banned from throwing her monthly sex bashes at the Chelsea Hotel. After throwing wild parties at the iconic location for 11 years -- allegedly attended by actors, musicians and TV personalities, as well as some hotel residents -- the 37-year-old Greek Madonna look-alike was notified her reservation was canceled just hours before her April 30 bash "due to liability."
Hotel manager Arnold Tamasar told Palagia in an e-mail obtained by Page Six: "We would advise not to book any reservations under your name or alias . . . We are not honoring your reservation for today or future." Palagia's rep blamed the ban on an impending change in ownership of the hotel. It's allegedly in contract for $80 million, but the buyer remains a mystery.
"Managers used to come to the party," her rep told us. "That's the saddest part because her parties are legendary. The Chelsea is her favorite location." Palagia was out of the country and couldn't be reached.
A Justice Department decision to fold a controversial DOJ anti-pornography task force has reignighted the battle over exactly what type of material and prosecutions the department should focus its attention on.
On one side are the senators and anti-pornography activists who say the DOJ needs to target pornography that features adults.
On the other side are DOJ officials who contend that they should focus their limited resources on the most egregious type of material - pornography involving children. ...