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See the Consent Summit Panels and Plenary on NCSF's YouTube Channel

on Tuesday, 17 May 2016. Hits 157

See the Panels and Plenary on NCSF's YouTube Channel
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NCSF Consent Summit

The goal of the NCSF Consent Summit was to bring people together across cultural lines to discuss consent in order to help promote consent in our own communities. Now you can watch the Plenary and Panel discussions online!

Tristan Taormino's Keynote Speech

The State of Consent Plenary
Susan Wright gave the State of Consent Plenary for a sold out crowd of over 100 people at the NCSF Consent Summit on April 23rd at the Center for Sex Positive Culture. The State of Consent Plenary explores consent and the movements for social change that have fought against sexual violence.

Consent & the Law

Legal and policy experts discussed issues related to Federal and state laws involving consent to sexual activities, including those used to criminally prosecute consensual BDSM. Presenters (from left): Robyn Friedman, Rudy Serra, Judy Guerin, Riddhi Mukhopadhyay and Dick Cunningham.
Consent Activism: Past, Present and Future
Consent activists who are making a difference in their own communities discuss their current projects, what's in the works, and how you can get involved. Presenters (clockwise from top left): Tobi Hill-Meyer, Tristan Taormino, Susan Wright, Mercy Stackhouse, Doris O'Neal, Kitty Stryker and Ashley Haymond.

Watch here!


Affirmative Consent & College Campuses

"Yes means Yes" is replacing the old paradigm of "No means No" on college campuses and in state assault laws. What does that mean for you? Presenters (from left): Rudy Serra, Ruby B. Johnson, Robyn Friedman, Cassie Lawrence, Dick Cunningham and Judy Guerin.

The NCSF Consent Summit was an all-day event of workshops and discussions on consent on April 23rd that was sponsored by the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival and the Foundation and Center for Sex Positive Culture.
The NCSF Consent Summit was held in April to help further the goals of Sexual Assault Awareness Month to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it.
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Sold Out Crowd at the NCSF Consent Summit

on Friday, 29 April 2016. Hits 322

See Tristan Taormino's Keynote Speech on NCSF's YouTube Channel
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Sold Out Crowd at the NCSF Consent Summit!
The NCSF Consent Summiton April 23rd welcomed over 100 people for an all-day discussion about consent at the Center for Sex Positive Culture. The live broadcast of the event drew nearly 50 people who attended throughout the day.
Tristan Taormino's Keynote Speech is posted on the NCSF YouTube channel for everyone to see. The State of Consent Plenary and all three Panel Discussions will be posted over the next week, so tune back in to see what's new.
NCSF would like to thank all of the amazing presenters who gave their time and experience to make this Consent Summit a success:

Kevin Carlson, Dick Cunningham, Jim Duvall, Robyn Friedman, Allena Gabosch, Judy Guerin, Ashley Haymond, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Brett Houghton, Ruby B Johnson, Cassie Lawrence, Riddhi Mukhopadhyay, Doris O'Neal, Rudy Serra, Mercy Stackhouse, Kitty Stryker, Sar Surmick, Tristan Taormino and Susan Wright.

NCSF also thanks Sophia, Jan, Sar and the volunteers at the Center for Sex Positive Culture for making this event happen.
The NCSF Consent Summit is an all-day event of workshops and discussions on consent that was sponsored by the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival and the Foundation and Center for Sex Positive Culture.

PolyDallas Millennium

on Monday, 18 April 2016. Hits 326

2nd Annual Symposium "Designer Relationships"

July 22-23 in Dallas, TX

Our vision begins with our desires. - Audre Lorde.

What vision do you have for your intimate relationship future?

What if you had a choice to structure, quantify, and love without another’s manufactured design?

With generous intention, this symposium celebrates the unique way that we love and relate. With enthusiasm, we express our relational intimacy, emotional capacity, and sexual fluidity with tenacity and fervor. The consequence of inhibition and oppression is to be held captive by socially constructed parameters. Our symposium aims to educate, expose, and disseminate the knowledge and expertise of the authors of Designer Relationships, national speakers, community organizers, mental health practitioners, and creative spirited individuals who have lived and advocated for surpassing those parameters.

Your celebratory experiences occur on July 22-23, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. Our Saturday Night Keynote Speaker is innovator and educator Tristan Taormino. Our Friday Night Opening Speaker is very talented speaker and galvanizing force Joe Kort PhD and our Saturday Afternoon Jazz Brunch Speaker is the brilliant and very powerful force within black sexologist and sex therapy community, James Wadley PhD. Our symposium’s name “Designer Relationships” is inspired by the book of the same name, Designer Relationships: A Guide to Happy Monogamy, Positive Polyamory, and Optimistic Open Relationships, which was written by multi-award winning authors, Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson. The author’s approved our symposium using the name and both of the authors agreed to attend our symposium as our Banquet Q&A panelists! Our Friday Night Entertainment is Dem Damn Dames Burlesque Troupe with featured sensual, fluid, and gender bending performers: Tifa Tittlywinks, Onyx Fury, and Chess Shires.

First ever national survey about health of BDSM communities and kink-identified individuals

on Friday, 15 April 2016. Hits 528

The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance (TASHRA), a San Francisco non-profit community research organization, announces that on April 1st, 2016 it will launch the first ever national survey to examine the impact of kink sexuality on health and healthcare usage.

Background:


Why the survey?

 

Patients who engage in non-traditional sexual practices, including kink, BDSM, and fetishes (see terminology, below), have been largely ignored by healthcare providers and clinical researchers. TASHRA’s research strives to explore the interaction between kink and health, and specifically to describe the physical and mental health of the kink population, their use of healthcare, and their experiences engaging with the healthcare system.

TASHRA’s pilot study (manuscript in review), was a qualitative study based in the San Francisco Bay Area, conducted from 2013-2015. The study concluded that patients have genuine healthcare needs relating to their kink practices and identities, and that they wish to “come out” to their clinicians about their kink sexuality. However, only 38% are out to their current primary care clinician, with most citing fear of stigma as the reason for their non-disclosure.

TASHRA’s pilot study was conducted in a single urban setting, and the results should be generalized with caution. As a qualitative study, the results serve to bring salient issues to light, but do not provide statistics relating to the frequency of the findings, nor do they permit comparisons between subgroups of study participants.

The next step in TASHRA’s research agenda, then, is to distribute a survey to a national kink population, which will allow us to quantify the impact of kink on both physical and mental health, and examine nation-wide issues of healthcare access, specifically as they relate to the experience of healthcare-related stigma.

TASHRA will be recruiting U.S. adults, 18 years and older, who practice at least one non-traditional sexual behavior or fetish, including but not limited to: bondage/discipline, sadism/masochism, domination/submission, sexual role-play, or sexual objectification.

The survey is available online at:  http://tinyurl.com/kinkhealth. It will be advertised at kink conferences and community events across the country, along with kink-oriented social media sites and Facebook.

More about TASHRA:

TASHRA is a community-based organization whose mission is to improve the physical and mental health of people who engage in BDSM, kink and sexual fetishism. This is achieved by conducting community-based research, educating healthcare professionals and patients, and by fostering the development of kink-friendly healthcare services.

TASHRA was started in 2012 by Jess Waldura, MD, Richard Sprott, PhD, and Anna Randal, MPH MSW. Jess Waldura, MD, is a family physician, HIV provider, and researcher at UCSF. Richard Sprott, PhD, is a developmental psychologist and director of the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS). Anna Randall, MPH MSW, is a clinical sexologist and researcher in private practice. TASHRA is guided and supported by a Community Advisory Board consisting of 16 kink-identified community members.

 

For more information, contact Jess Waldura, Richard Sprott and Anna Randall at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Guest Blog: The Need for KAP/Poly-Aware Networking Groups for Psychotherapists

on Thursday, 14 April 2016. Hits 450

by Keely Kolmes, Psy.D.

In the fall of 2009, I started Bay Area Open Minds a clinician networking group for psychotherapists and psychotherapy students who affirm that sexual and gender diversity are natural expressions of the human experience. Our psychotherapy practices welcome and serve clients who engage in consensual sexual behaviors, including but not limited to kink and polyamory and clients who are gender variant. One of our primary goals was to provide mentorship and community to students seeking support in working with these communities who may not be getting such support in their graduate programs.

We now have over 160 mental health professionals in our thriving group. We have an active listserv where we can seek consultation and referrals. And we have developed a brochure and website so that clients can find clinicians and graduate programs can advertise our group.

We’d love to help other communities to create their own groups. If you’re interested in starting one, here are our recommendations.

1. If you are a student, find a Kink Aware Professional or Poly-Friendly Professional in your community and inquire as to whether they are willing to be a support/contact person to initiate group. It can be very stressful to take this on as a student but immensely helpful to have the support of licensed colleagues.

2. Our approach was to send the announcement to local LGBT therapy groups, graduate programs, local Kink Aware Therapists and Poly-Friendly colleagues who were known to Dr. Kolmes, founder of our group.

3. We got some more visibility through newspapers, at some graduate schools, through Good Vibrations magazine, and social media.

4. The first flyer was a blog post on Dr. Kolmes’s website and a paper announcement posted in public spaces. It read:

Please join our group: Bay Area Therapists Affirming of Diversity in Sexuality

This is a free group for mental health professionals in the Bay Area of California. We offer support, networking, and consultation for Bay Area clinicians and mental health trainees who embrace the full range of sexual expression of consenting adults. Our respective practices explicitly welcome and serve clients who engage in alternative sexual behaviors and relationships, including kink and poly folks.

We offer an email list (no consultation takes place on-list) and meet every other month at a member’s office.

We are especially interested in reaching out to students who may not have mentors or support in their clinical programs around working with sexually diverse populations.  Most clinical programs encourage students to explore their cultural identities and offer student groups organized around ethnicity, religion, LGBT-identity, disability, or other cultural affiliations.

But students who are kink or poly-identified or who want to work with these populations may have a more difficult time identifying one another and forming such groups. Many schools still don’t recognize these alternative identities as deserving of non-biased care and respect. We are seeking to bridge this gap. We offer a safe space to connect with other mental health professionals who are affirming of the full range of diverse sexual expression.

Contact me if you would like to get connected with us.

5. Our first meeting had 8 clinicians show up and the group evolved to monthly two hour meetings. Volunteer efforts started with naming of our group and we came up with Open Minds. After 3 years, we formed our Board of Directors and began collecting dues. At that point, we created a logo, website, and brochures.

Our aim was to keep membership fees low so as to make our group accessible to students.

6. Having funding became important because while our local queer therapist group was amenable to our sharing booth space with them at some events temporarily, we needed funds in order to be able to purchase our own booth space and have an independent presence at street fairs.

7. Towards end of the first year with Board of Directors (June, 2012) , we consulted with a Certified Public Accountant for pursuit of non-profit status and submitted forms to the Tax Board to become tax exempt professional organization. When we have funds in excess of $5000, we may apply for non-profit status, or we can donate to community groups to keep our funds in the $5000 range.

8. Over time, we found that there is a strong need for a social and networking component to our group. Additionally, the email list has continued to be a good resource for seeking referrals and information. We have also been able to offer educational offerings such as managing sexual transference and countertransference as well as business networking issues. We also had a discussion on working with mono/poly pairings.

We hope we can encourage other communities to develop similar groups. It is clear that clinicians serving altsex and gender diverse communities can benefit from support and networking.

 

Join us and help serve as role models to student therapists in your community.

Consent Summit

on Tuesday, 05 April 2016. Hits 440

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Consent Summit is an all-day event of workshops and discussions on consent in Seattle. The NCSF Consent Summit is sponsored by the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival and the Foundation and Center for Sex Positive Culture.

Keynote Speaker for the Consent Summit, Tristan Taormino says, “It’s important enough to devote an entire summit to it!”

10 am – 6 pm on April 23rd

@the Center for Sex Positive Culture, 1602 15th Ave W, Seattle, WA

See the Program and Presenters here!


Plenary: State of Consent

Keynote Speech by Tristan Taormino

Panels: Consent & the Law
Consent Activism: Past, Present and Future
Affirmative Consent and College Campuses 
Workshops:  Consent & Negotiation
Consent in Power Exchange Relationships
Train the Trainers: Teaching Consent

 

All tickets include Seattle Erotic Arts Festival admission on Sunday and 15% off the Weekend Pass for the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival. Register here: https://www.strangertickets.com/events/31789308/ncsf-consent-summit

$50 - All day event with luncheon ticket for Keynote

$40 - All day event without luncheon

$35 - All day reduced price and students

$30 - Luncheon and Keynote ticket

$75 – All day event with luncheon ticket and Pay It Forward*

*Pay It Forward allows those who are economically advantaged to assist people who are not. It's a reminder to all of us that money can create barriers between us. If you need a scholarship to attend, please contact NCSF to find out more - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Now everyone can join in the NCSF Consent Summit! Watch the Keynote Speech, Plenary and Panels live online. You can ask questions and make comments via the chat function. RSVP to register for free online viewing: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Silicon Valley Welcomes the NCSF Coalition Partners!

on Friday, 18 March 2016. Hits 346

March 18, 2016 – The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s annual Coalition Partner Meeting took place March 4-6, 2016, in San Jose, CA. For the first time, the annual meeting was made accessible by video conferencing for Coalition Partners and NCSF staff members, so they could actively participate in the meeting.

“Opening up the NCSF annual meeting to everyone regardless of whether they can travel will allow more people to get involved in our work,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. “NCSF has made a lot of progress over the past 19 years fighting for our rights, and we are seeing a drop in persecution because of our successful efforts with the American Psychiatric Association. We look forward to more progress with our new American Law Institute project to make consent a defense to BDSM in criminal proceedings.”

“Opening up the NCSF annual meeting to everyone regardless of whether they can travel will allow more people to get involved in our work,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. “NCSF has made a lot of progress over the past 19 years fighting for our rights, and we are seeing a drop in persecution because of our successful efforts with the American Psychiatric Association. We look forward to more progress with our new American Law Institute project to make consent a defense to BDSM in criminal proceedings.”

Some highlights from NCSF:

· The first NCSF Consent Summit will take place on April 23rd in Seattle

· Over 60 people have signed up to take NCSF’s BDSM and Intimate Partner Violence Training with workshops scheduled through the next quarter

· NCSF worked with the American Association for Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists Alt Sex SIG to produce “A Taste of Kink” at the AASECT annual conference in Minneapolis last June

· NCSF introduced the new Got Consent? brochure on communication and negotiations

· NCSF launched a series of FAQs for groups and events on how to deal with consent violations

· NCSF directly helped 198 people, groups and businesses in 2015 through our Incident Reporting & Response

· The Kink Aware Professionals database was accessed by 1,800 people, a 30% increase over 2014

· NCSF exhibited and presented at over 33 events in 2015

· NCSF gave 38 interviews last year including a big media push around the 50 Shades of Grey movie launch

The annual reports and financial statements are posted on the NCSF website:

https://ncsfreedom.org/images/stories/ABM/2016_meeting_packet.pdf

 

Saturday afternoon was devoted to discussing the services NCSF provides to people who are non-monogamous, and how to further develop the resources people need, like help with housing, child custody and legal forms of protection. The CPs and Board members also discussed a proposal on Disabilities and Sex Workers, which dovetails with NCSF’s mission to defend the right of consenting adults to have freedom of sexual expression.

Saturday evening, the NCSF staff, Board members and Coalition Partner reps attended the San Francisco’s Leather Alliance Weekend main event, the Mr. SF Leather Contest, where 10 amazing contestants vied for the sash. NCSF congratulates Mr. San Francisco Leather 2016: Cody Elkin (Mr. Lonestar 2016)!

The Consent Counts Discussion on Sunday drew a crowd of 38 people who were eager to discuss various issues of consent. It was a wonderful showing of interest and support from the local San Jose community.

 

The new NCSF Board of Directors consists of:

Kevin Carlson – Chairman (Boise, ID)

Keira Harris – Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator (New Orleans, LA)

L.V. "Sassy" Reese – NCSF Treasurer (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)

Jim Fleckenstein – NCSF Foundation Treasurer (Manassas, VA)

Susan Wright – Media and Incident Reporting & Response Director (Phoenix, AZ)

Judy Guerin – Consent Counts Director (Washington, DC)

Julian Wolf – Newsletter Director (Albuquerque, NM)

Mercury – Literature Director (Nashville, TN)

Devin MacLachlan (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Allena Gabosch (Seattle, WA)

Billy Lane (Philadelphia, PA)

Jackie "Bebe" Harris (St. Louis, MO)

 

NCSF looks forward to seeing you in the Midwest for the 2017 Annual Coalition Partners Meeting.

Please support NCSF by becoming a member, volunteering or donating today! NCSF is here to help you, so please help us! www.ncsfreedom.org

Guest Blog: Judges Still Cannot Accept a Right of Privacy for BDSM

on Monday, 14 March 2016. Hits 528

A look at Lawrence v. Texas and Doe v. George Mason U

By Richard O. Cunningham, Esq.

NCSF Legal Counsel

 

In Doe v. George Mason University, the District Court judge’s discussion of BDSM and of Lawrence v. Texas—which is an opinion, not a ruling—is yet another example of how a number of courts have twisted and turned to avoid applying Lawrence to sexual practices of which they morally disapprove. These decisions have involved BDSM, polyamory and even sodomy—which was, of course, the specific practice that was prosecuted in the Lawrence case.

 

The fact is that Lawrence was explicitly based on a fundamental ruling that applies broadly—but with some ambiguities—to non-injurious, non-commercial sexual conduct.  The constitutional right of privacy, the Lawrence court stated, prevents criminalization of intimate sexual practices unless there is a sufficient societal interest that needs protection by a criminal statute.  The court went on to hold—and this is the crucial point that the District Court judge ignores in Doe v. George Mason—that moral disapproval is not a sufficient societal interest.

 

But Lawrence, like most Supreme Court decisions, is a lengthy opinion that contains language which, although it in no way detracts from the basic ruling, can be twisted by the moralists to find ways to continue to prosecute the same sexual acts.  Thus courts have misused the Lawrence court’s references to “public sex,” or to the exchange of money, or to physical harm—all to justify the criminalization of “private, consensual conduct,” a criminalization which Lawrence explicitly condemns.

 

It is important not to oversimplify the issues and frame the debate in a context favorable to the sexual bigots. For our purposes, the question is whether the right to privacy contemplated in Lawrence protects people who engage in BDSM absent non-consent or serious physical injury.  We contend that it does.  This approach enables us to focus the courts and public opinion on the fact that prosecutions growing out of BDSM conduct—whether for assault or trafficking or other crimes—are based on precisely what the Lawrence court found impermissible—namely, moral disapproval.

 

The judge in Doe v. George Mason sets up a “straw man” when he states the issue as whether there is a “constitutional right to BDSM.”  Lawrence does not specifically mention BDSM, but instead establishes a broad principle that the right of privacy protects “private, consensual conduct” which includes BDSM as certainly as it includes same sex conduct.

 

It is also important to note that the Lawrence ruling says that conduct may be criminalized if necessary to protect a sufficient societal interest. That is why NCSF argues, and has had success arguing, that only BDSM cases involving serious physical injury warrant criminal prosecution if the activity is consensual.  Such an argument is both legally sound and appeals to the public’s sense of fairness and respect for privacy and personal dignity. NCSF is working effectively on this basis with legislators, lawyer groups, prosecutors and others, and is filing amicus briefs in key appeals related to cases involving alternative sexuality practices.

 

Of course we should continue emphasizing the general principle of Lawrence that a right of privacy protects sexual conduct unless there is a sufficient societal interest to warrant criminalization. But the balance between that right of privacy and the alleged “societal interests” claimed by our opponents to warrant prosecution will differ from one sex practice to another. Thus, for example, this argument will be different for BDSM than for polyamory.

 

NCSF is making real progress by presenting these issues in the proper way. An over-broad argument that “we can perform any sex acts we want” or that “BDSM is constitutionally protected in any circumstances,” won’t win over the courts or the legislators. And an over-broad strategy plays into the hands of our opponents, who want to portray us as perverts who want no rules in any situation that would prevent people from doing anything they want to do.

 

This District Court’s decision is nothing new, and there is no need—and a real downside—for focusing our battle on that opinion, incorrect and illogical as it is.

 

Latest Reader Comments

  • How do I follow this blog? How do I keep updated? Good that you have this.

    James Graves

    21. May, 2016 |

  • I would gently say that this self appointed "sexologist" needs some significant councilling to help him deal with his damaging and...

    Robyn

    12. May, 2016 |

  • I am looking forward to being able to hear the recorded sessions from the Consent Summit. So grateful that you were able to do this for...

    Chris

    28. April, 2016 |

  • Thanks for posting your note and calling out to others looking for professional dialogue, networking and resources around serving LGBTQ,...

    Cindy Trawinski, Psy.D.

    28. April, 2016 |

  • This makes a great deal of sense as it fits very much in with foreplay and some very sensual lead up to some excellent mind, body, soul &...

    M.Wryter

    13. April, 2016 |

  • The problem for the judge was that the cpomplainants withheld important relevant information and changed their stories significantly...

    Nancy

    26. March, 2016 |