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The NCSF Coalition Partners Met in Portland

on Monday, 11 March 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

The 22nd Annual Meeting of the NCSF Coalition Partners took place in Portland, OR, on March 2-3rd. The Coalition Partner representatives elected the Board Members and discussed new and ongoing projects, like Consent Counts which aims to decriminalize sexual conduct between consenting adults. The Annual Reports on NCSF programs and our goals for the year were discussed by Coalition Partner representatives.

18 Coalition Partners attended the NCSF Annual Meeting in person, online or by proxy:

1st Capital Finance
Adventures in Sexuality
Arizona Power Exchange
Asylum Buffalo
Black & Poly
Catalyst
Columbus Space
F.I.R.E.
FLOG St. Louis
MAsT Boise
New Mexico Leather League
PanEros Foundation
PolyDallas Millennium
Satin Sheet Dreams
StL3, Inc
TES
The Red Chair (TRC)
The Woodshed Orlando

This year, 9 people ran for 5 elected Board seats, all of whom had excellent qualifications. The members of the new NCSF Board are:

Susan Wright – Chairperson
Keira Harbison – Vice-Chair
Ben Schenker – Treasurer
Tess Zachary – Secretary
Archer Shelton
Choc Trei
Elizabeth Newsom, LCSW-Supervisor
J. Tebias
Jackie “Bebe” Harris
Judy Guerin
Rich Richbart
Ruby B Johnson, LCSW, LCDC
Russell J. Stambaugh, PhD, DST, CSSP

Rubys workshop at Annual Meeting

NCSF thanks Ruby B. Johnson, LCSW, LCDC, for providing a Consent Workshop entitled Power: The Individual following the Annual Meeting for CP reps, NCSF Board Members, Advocates and Staff. By the end of the workshops, participants could evaluate coercion, capacity, and advocacy in negotiating power exchange.

Immediately following was a special meeting of the Portland Sex Positive Community Council that discussed the upcoming Northwest Consent Summit on October 5-6th. We hope to see you there!

 

Guest Blog: Celebrating Metamour Day!

on Wednesday, 27 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

My name is Intimacy ConAmore. I am the Ambassador for PolyDallas Millennium. I am the creator of Polyamorous Freedom to Love. Thank you to my Metamour, Keira Of NCSF, for the opportunity to share my story.

Recently I was informed that there was going to be a day to celebrate Metamours, and I was excited to find this out. A Metamour is the title for describing your partners other significant others. I love having and being Metamours, some do not care to have or for being a Metamour. This is my experience with Metamours in my life. Growing up I was loved by my Grandparent's Metamours and those interactions are memories of joy.

My very own first Metamour and I decided to be friends and teach our cheating Jr. High Captain of the Football Team, Mr. popular boyfriend to be honest. And to this very day, he appreciates my decision to reach out to her and propose that she and I team up on him about his previously dishonest ways and encouraged him to be ethically non-monogamous. I still consider her a friend even though both of our relationships with him ended before freshman year of high school.

My next Metamour relationship was brief and sad. We didn't get to meet each other until the day of his funeral 23 years ago this coming March, the week of my Sr. Prom. To this day, I know that if I needed her help, she would be there for me and vice versa. This was bittersweet because we knew each other from school but I didn't really care about who else he was dating when I was with him so we just spoke in general terms about other partners. Recognizing her as a classmate at his funeral and then to have her embrace me and acknowledge me as his fiancé was an act of love that I felt she didn't have to do but she chose to do. In my mind we both loved him and we were both grieving, to me she was just as important on that day as I was even though she wasn't engaged or married to him. I have never really believed in the traditional ideas of relationship hierarchy. I give all of my Metamours the same initial opportunity to let me be a good friend to them regardless of how long they have been around or whether they are married to our shared love or even if they are just a new person that has been on just one date.

Then it was some years before I healed enough to have any seriously loving relationships again. My next Metamour changed my life. She hated me from the get go. But our shared partner always chose me when she tried to force him to stop having a relationship with me. It was two decades of hell with her. And recently she reached out and we had a decent conversation. I do not feel like she hated me now. I do not hold her previous choices to mistreat me against her. I have always wanted nothing but the best kinds of love for and from her. But it was a rough thing to deal with for so long, over and over again. I am not unscathed from it. I am happy that I still chose to love her through it all even if she couldn't accept it.

Recently, I had to make a choice that I have never wanted to make with any of my Metamours and break up with a Metamour. She was the partner to my ex-partner whom I still loved like a sister wife. I called her my child's other mom. Often times people couldn't tell which of us was our son's biological mom. We were so close and happy as friends and co-parents. I choose to love my friends of any capacity for life. Especially my Metamours even after neither of us are in relationships with whomever we originally shared as a mutual love. But this Metamour lost her way to Alcohol Addiction. I had to sever her relationship with myself and our son because her actions toward myself and my son were causing us harm. I am still saddened about this happening last April. It has been surreal celebrating holidays without her presence. I wish the best for her and I left the door open for her to return when she finds her way to a sober life.

Recently, I experienced more love from my Metamours than I ever conceived was possible. I went to Philadelphia for a week to visit a close friend and one of my newer partners of one and a half years. While I was there, we all attended the Polyliving Philadelphia 2019 Conference. During the conference I experienced what I would describe as magical metamourship. I met some Metamours for the first time and they were so warm and loving and truly made me feel like I had known them for years. Others I had met before but never had social one on one time with them. I got lots of one on one moments with so many of them throughout the weekend during the conference. In my mind, I kept thinking, if only that one Metamour that hated me for two decades would have just let us have what my new group of Metamours and I have. I can't speak highly enough of my personal experiences with all of these Metamours. It was everything and more than most Metamours get to experience.

Reality is that all relationships of whatever type are never perfect, not always happy and fulfilling, but that doesn't take away from my intentions to be the best Metamour I can be. I want to be a source of empowering love for my Metamours. They are crucial to the love and happiness of my partners. I can never be the everything that any one partner desires, so why wouldn't I be anything but welcoming to others to help add love to my partners’ lives. I hope that everyone gets to experience Metamour love and friendships the way that I have received and the way that I give. Happy Metamour Day!

February 28th is Metamour Day!

Metamour Day 5

Metamour Day 4

Metamour Day 9

Metamour Day 7

Psychology Today adds Non-monogamy and Kink to their Therapist Directory!

on Tuesday, 26 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

CNM Task Force
 
Some positive news to pass along from the APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Taskforce. Dr. Heath Schechinger led an initiative to reach out to Psychology Today on behalf of the APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force about adding a CNM-inclusive category to their therapist locator directory since February 2018. Recently, he was informed that Psychology Today added "Open Relationships Non-Monogamy" as a searchable category on their find a therapist directory, making it easier to find a therapist who specializes in this area.
 
While the Taskforce does not know the specific influence Dr. Schechinger's correspondence had as there may have also been other allies requesting this change as well, they were informed that the Psychology Today leadership was made aware of their arguments and had been taking their request into consideration for some time. Psychology Today also made a number of other inclusive changes to their therapist directory, such as adding "Sex Positive, Kink Allied" as a searchable category as well.  
 
Dr. Schechinger remarked that, "This change feels like a historic moment and another poignant shift in our cultural acceptance of diverse forms of sexuality and relationships." He went on to state that, "The CNM Taskforce now has a team of seven on our Healthcare Provider Locator Campaign and having the largest therapist locator directory on board will make our requests to other provider directories much easier to make."
 
Therapists with a Psychology Today profile are encouraged to update the categories they hold training/expertise in order to help clients holding or exploring these identities to find you.
 
You can read more about the arguments that the Taskforce provided to Psychology Today on Dr. Heath Schechinger's blog: https://www.drheathschechinger.com/blog/cnm-on-healthcare-provider-directories  
 
If you happen to have contacts at any other healthcare provider directory, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as they are currently compiling directories and contacts.  
 
You can also access the Taskforce's resources, including brochures for your therapist and medical providers, as well as an inclusive practices tool for therapists on their website: https://www.div44cnm.org/resources  
 
A very sincere thanks is due to Dr. Amy Moors for providing feedback on drafts and strategy discussions along the way, as well as to Dr. Eli Sheff for putting the Taskforce in touch with a contact at Psychology Today.
 
NCSF is proud to support the efforts of the APA's Division 44 Non-Monogamy Taskforce!
 

Metamour Day is February 28th!

on Thursday, 21 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Metamour Day is meant to foster positive relationships between you and your metamours, whatever that might look like. It is not about forced compersion. It’s about communal appreciation within our family structures. Metamour Day is a celebration of the unique and special relationships between metamours.

Metamour Day

As society evolves and non-monogamy becomes more common, the traditional nuclear family structure is constantly being challenged. Metamours are often taking on important family roles such as cohabitators and parental figures.

Metamour Day 4

It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the special role a metamour has in your partners’ lives and tangentially (or directly) your own life. As a non-monogamous person, it is worthwhile to celebrate that relationship in order to continue to demonstrate the supportive and beneficial impact of non-monogamy on our lives.

Metamour Day 5

Please join the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in celebrating this day on February 28!

Guest Blog: The Scottish Government is Gaslighting Us

on Tuesday, 19 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

By Tiro

Recently the Scottish government brought in a new domestic abuse law, along with the promise to provide training and support for everyone who might be faced with identifying victims of every form abuse can take. This law, which was passed by a near-total majority, is being heralded as a gold standard that should be a model for other countries legislatures to take from as they recognize the paucity of their existing definitions of domestic abuse.

The law expands the definition of domestic abuse. It includes:

“Behavior that is violent, threatening or intimidating

Behavior whose purpose is one of the following:

Making a partner dependent or subordinate
Isolating a partner from friends, relatives or other sources of support
Controlling, regulating or monitoring a partner’s day-to-day activities
Depriving a partner of, or restricting, freedom of action
Frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing a partner. (From the BBC)”


The text of the current law essentially makes my relationship illegal by omitting one key word: consent. Consent is not mentioned even once throughout all the law or any of the supporting documents. Without the provision that even some of these behaviors—as well as the fear and distress they can cause—listed above can be consensual, the law makes criminals out of even the most considered, mindful, carefully negotiated, and loving of power exchange dynamics.

There are now two criteria for determining whether the above behaviors are abusive. The first is whether the person doing them intended to cause physical or psychological harm or was reckless about whether they would cause such harm. Psychological harm is defined in the text of the law as, “fear, alarm, or distress”—again, no mention of consent or desire. The second is whether a reasonable person would consider the actions to be likely to cause physical or psychological harm.

This is a huge step forward in creating a safer climate for victims of abuse, but without any reference to consent in the text of the law or any of the surrounding guidelines, it opens the D/s community up to real dangers. Would a “reasonable person”—almost certainly a vanilla, monogamous person—think your relationship is abusive? Do you enjoy playing with fear and distress?

It only takes one malicious individual to call the police for a “wellness check” on a D/s relationship, and lives of everyone involved in it could be ruined. There would be nothing anyone could say that could help their case, not “we love each other,” “we’re happy,” “we deliberately created this relationship and negotiated every part of it,” “we’re sadists and masochists and we enjoy fear, alarm, and distress within the context of our relationship”—none of this would matter.

So why can’t I want someone to treat me like a slave? Why is it abusive even though I’m an educated, clear-minded man? Fear, alarm, and distress can all exist within the context of my D/s dynamic, as can coercion and control. I don’t feel like I’m being harmed or abused, but I’m sure many vanilla, monogamous people would disagree. It feels a lot like gaslighting: My consent to being treated this way isn’t important because nobody should want to be treated this way. And if I do, I’m not rational enough for my consent to count, and therefore, I really am being abused.

Let me be totally clear: Domestic abuse is a truly awful thing for anyone to experience or witness. Abuse of all kinds is possible in every kind of relationship, including power exchange, and the law should absolutely extend full protection to the victims of every kind of domestic abuse. Whether a particular behavior is abusive in BDSM, however, is sensitive to context. Thriving, happy D/s relationships can involve all of the behaviors on the list of psychological abuse, just as thriving SM relationships can involve behaviors that are legally classified as assault.

Sexual minorities, like people who live in power exchange relationships, need explicit consideration whenever new laws are developed. A healthy, secure relationship for us doesn’t look like it does for most people, so any test of abuse that focuses on what a “reasonable person” might think is automatically going to put us at an unjust disadvantage. The BDSM community in the UK shouldn’t allow itself to be labeled as a group of abusers and victims. We have to do more, as a community, to make our voices heard in the vanilla world. We need to be involved in the consultation process for laws that could harm us, as individual reasonable people and through activist groups. We can’t just assume that we’ll be fine so long as we stay behind closed doors; domestic abuse legislation is designed to open those doors.

SouthEast Consent Summit

on Monday, 11 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

SouthEast Consent Summit on February 23-24, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. www.consentsummit.info

Flyer SebastianGray

APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force Initiatives

on Friday, 08 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

The American Psychological Association Division 44 Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force promotes awareness and inclusivity about consensual non-monogamy and diverse expressions of intimate relationships. These include but are not limited to: people who practice polyamory, open relationships, swinging, relationship anarchy and other types of ethical non-monogamous relationships.

 

Finding love and/or sexual intimacy is a central part of most peoples life experience. However, the ability to engage in desired intimacy without social and medical stigmatization is not a liberty for all. This Task Force seeks to address the needs of people who practice consensual non-monogamy, including their intersecting marginalized identities.

 

The goal of the Task Force is to generate research, create resources, and advocate for the inclusion of consensually non-monogamous relationships in four areas: 1) basic and applied research, 2) education and training, 3) psychological practice, and 4) public interest.

 

We have included our current initiatives and leadership team. Currently, we have a diverse group of 75 professionals who are volunteering with the Task Force. If you are interested in getting involved with an initiative and/or have an idea for a new project, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We welcome support from mental and medical health professionals, legal professionals, graduate students, and community members alike.

 

We would also like to invite you to join our mailing list to receive updates when you sign our petition to support relationship diversity. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

We are honored to serve in this role and organize to promote the interests of the consensual non-monogamy community on behalf of APA Division 44. Thank you for your interest support in this endeavor.

Sincerely,

 

Heath Schechinger, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist, University Health Services, University of California, Berkeley

Co-chair, APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force

 

Amy Moors, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Chapman University Research Fellow, The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University

Co-chair, APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force

 

APA Division 44 CNM Task Force Initiatives & Leadership

 

1. Consensual Non-monogamy Fact Sheet (Lead: Amy Moors, Ph.D.): An easy-to-read infographic that provides helpful information about CNM, including a definition, stats, dispelled myths, and recommendations for further reading.

 

2. Healthcare Brochures (Co-leads: Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D. & Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.): Resources designed to educate medical and mental health providers about consensual non-monogamy.

 

3. Consensual Non-monogamy Inclusive Practices Tool (Lead- Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.): A benchmarking tool to highlight inclusive clinical practices and policies related to equity and inclusion for people engaged in CNM.

 

4. Therapist Recommendations (Co-leads: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., Dossie Easton, Geri Weitzman, Ph.D., & Amy Moors, Ph.D.): This team is creating a guide with empirically informed recommendations for therapists working with clients who engage in consensual non-monogamy.

 

5. CNM Literature Project (Co-leads: Daniel Cardoso, Ph.D. & Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D.): A resource designed to summarize, index, and organize peer-reviewed and historic CNM literature that can be used by researchers, educators, and clinicians.

 

6. Special Call Campaign (Co-leads: Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Ph.D., Sharon Flicker, Ph.D., Daniel Cardoso, Ph.D., & Ashley Thompson, Ph.D.): This team is responsible for organizing special calls (e.g., journal issues, conference symposia) related to consensual non-monogamies.

 

7. Intersecting Identities Campaign (Co-leads: Leonore Tjia, M.A., Roberto Abreu, Ph.D., & Christopher Stults, Ph.D.): This team is promoting awareness of issues facing individuals engaged in consensual non-monogamy with multiple marginalized identities through writing a peer-reviewed paper on the topic, compiling a list of advocacy groups that work intersecting CNM identities, and challenging common homogeneous narratives about CNM.

 

8. LGBTQ Training Resources Campaign (Co-leads: Dawn Brown, M.S. & Stephen Forssell, Ph.D.): This team will work with local and national LGBTQ leaders to increase CNM representation in LGBTQ resources (e.g., The Safe Zone Project , Healthcare Equality Index). They are creating resources addressing the intersection of CNM and LGBTQ identities and providing recommendations for how to can be inclusive of CNM.

 

9. Anti-discrimination Campaign (Ashley Thompson, Ph.D. & Ryan Witherspoon, Ph.D.): This team is committed to addressing discrimination issues related to consensual non-monogamy, such as the effects of stigma and discrimination and the implications for family law and employment discrimination, as well as CNM being a protected status. This team is producing a peer-reviewed paper.

 

10. Therapist Locator Campaign (Co-leads: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., Bree Zimmerman, M.A., & Deanna Richards, Ed.M.): This team is dedicated to removing barriers to accessing culturally competent care by organizing a campaign to include consensual non-monogamy (and/or related terms) on therapist locator directories.

 

11. Inclusive Education Campaign (Co-leads: Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Ph.D. & Apryl Alexander, Psy.D.): This is developing a pledge campaign to promote CNM inclusion in education and training programs. One project will include recruiting educators to pledge being inclusive of consensual non-monogamy in their courses. They will maintain a database and promote awareness of individuals and organizations who pledge in order to increase visibility and advocate for inclusion.

 

12. Inclusive Demographic Forms Campaign (Co-leads: Jen Rafacz, Ph.D. & Rachel Ann Kieran, Psy.D.): This team is committed to increasing awareness about including relationship status/structure (e.g., monogamous, polyamorous) on client history/intake and demographic forms. A couple initiatives of this group include writing an article addressing inclusive demographic forms, organizing a pledge campaign, and providing sample language for assessing relationship style on demographic forms.

 

Advisory Board

 

Our Advisory Board consists of individuals with substantial experience in a particular domain (e.g., therapy, public outreach, research) who have made themselves available to provide consultation and guidance to the Task Force Co-chairs and project Leads. Our network of advisors include:

Alan MacRobert

Charles Moser, PhD, MD

Cris Beasley

Cunning Minx

Dave DoleShal, Ph.D.

Dossie Easton

Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D.

Jes Matsick, Ph.D.

John Sakaluk, Ph.D.

Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D.

Richard Sprott, Ph.D.

Susan Wright, M.A.

New Laws Forced Sex Workers Back On SF Streets, Caused 170% Spike In Human Trafficking

on Friday, 08 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News, Media Updates

San Francisco KPIX

Violent crime is way down in San Francisco, according to the latest police statistics. But one major category is bucking the trend: police recorded a 170 percent jump in reports of human trafficking in 2018.

The huge spike appears to be connected to the federal shutdown of sex-for-sale websites. The goal of shutting them down was to curb human trafficking. Instead, it seems to have had the opposite effect.

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