SPACES: Sex Positive Autonomous Coalition for Environmental Sustainability. The wordy acronym may not roll off the tongue, but with this project, former Slug Elias Martinez and current UCSC student Aaron White hope to create a buzz and get people talking.
The work-in-progress is a multipronged project focused on promoting not only sex positivity but practices that are environmentally sustainable. For example, by making — and teaching how to make — vegan, “upcycled” (a term meaning repurposed from other objects) sex toys, SPACES is showing support for sexual freedom and eco-friendly practices with leather-free products.
“We decided to create an organization that addressed more of the needs and issues that we saw needed [to be] addressed,” White said. “When you have sex positivity, you are more open to the idea of sex. It doesn’t necessarily mean you engage in it, but you support people who are having it.”
Martinez and White make their products, including floggers, whips and harnesses, from extensively sterilized used bike parts, like inner tubes.
“It’s something that I’m really good at, and I really like making vegan alternatives,” Martinez said. “Our products are as good or better than the leather products in the market now.”
White said their products are user-tested and improvements are made based on feedback. They are not currently making products for penetration and have no plans to begin making them.
In the past Martinez and White have worked both independently and collaboratively on various workshops on topics such as queer anarchy and BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism). White said he’d like to see these workshops continued.
Both Martinez and White said they hope to see several large-scale projects come to fruition, including a database identifying what businesses are queer-friendly “safe spaces.” White said while there are regional networks of queer-friendly businesses, there is nothing on the national level.
“Creating a national registry insures businesses are staying true to their word and remaining queer-friendly,” White said. ...
Beyond the Bedroom is described by co-organizer Dan Powers, aka Daka-Dan, as an October 16 educational event about sex. But police in Lakewood, where Beyond the Bedroom was originally scheduled to take place, weren't so sure, due in part to a possible live demonstration of orgasmic meditation, not to mention a BDSM class and videos featuring female ejaculation.
"They didn't say we couldn't hold the event there," Daka-Dan recalls. "But they did say if any of the presenters did anything illegal, they'd be arrested, and me and my partner" -- pro-polyamory nonprofit Loving More's Robyn Trask -- "would be arrested, too."
Steve Davis, spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department, puts it differently, maintaining that only what he refers to via e-mail as "live sexual acts" were described as forbidden. But Daka-Dan and Trask were freaked out enough to relocate Beyond the Bedroom to Westminster anyhow.
According to Daka-Dan, "Beyond the Bedroom is a spinoff of what used to be called the Sex Show or the Sex and So Much More Show. That event was half adult-entertainment and half adult-sex education -- and the combination didn't work that well for the adult-education part.
"A lot of people didn't know education was available; they came for the porn. And even though they were appreciative of the education, it was hard to do a meditation-type class about slow orgasms when a screaming-orgasm event was happening onstage. So my wife at the time and I decided to put together an all-education event, with presentations about everything from relationships and how to communicate better to the wilder side of the lifestyle -- swinging, polyamory, and other things people might not have heard about but would want to learn more about."
With that in mind, Daka-Dan began looking for a hotel at which to base Beyond the Bedroom, and he eventually settled on the Sheraton at 360 Union in Lakewood. He says the sales manager at the Sheraton was kept fully informed about what would be taking place, and his fellow organizers went out of their way not to offend the sensibilities of other guests -- by, for instance, arranging for vendors of products such as dildos and vibrators to be located in a side room to which members of the general public wouldn't have access. ...
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.” ...
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.
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. ...
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.
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. ...
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 you’re 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.” ...