All interested individuals who are involved in BDSM/Leather/Kink lifestyles are invited to participate in a survey about intimate partner abuse.The purpose of this survey is to gather information regarding the quality of experiences had by those who sought help from domestic violence service providers, or those who wanted to seek help, but did not do so. The overall goal is to help service providers and outreach educators improve the quality of information, responses and interventions regarding the unique needs and experiences of individuals who live a BDSM, Leather or kinky lifestyle.
You are invited to take the survey whether or not you have been involved in an abusive relationship because the survey will collect basic demographic information about those who engage in BDSM, Leather and/or kink, as well.
The survey will take approximately 25-35 minutes to complete.
Please respond no later than January 31, 2014.
Your participation is voluntary.All responses are anonymous.However, there is potential risk of loss of confidentiality in all email, downloading and internet transactions.The final results of this study will be used for research and may also be published in a summary format in a peer-reviewed journal.
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Elizabeth Fawcett, Ph.D., M.P.H., at
.This study has been reviewed according to accepted Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures for research involving human subjects, and approved.If you have questions about the rights of research participants or the way this study is being conducted, you may contact Texas Woman’s University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at 940-898-3378 or via email at
When It Is Abuse
by Elizabeth Fawcett, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Trust has been lost; consent has been revoked; the relationship has become threatening; you face real danger and possible harm.It’s not the “lifestyle”—it’s this relationship—and you need help. Where do you turn?
What happens when kinky folks seek help from publically available domestic violence services to deal with a relationship that may have become abusive?Are the unique circumstances of those who engage in relationships with negotiated power exchange dynamics such as BDSM, Leather or kink, understood and treated with sensitivity and respect by service providers?
“When I called the police, they said it was my fault because I consented.”
“The people who worked at the shelter talked openly about my D/s relationship, and it got back to my kids.They didn’t know! My children were bullied by other children at the shelter because of it.”
“Every time we had a disagreement, my partner threatened to call the police and tell them I beat him. But he asked me to! Who am I going to ask for help? I’m the Dominant! I’m the sadist!”
“I was told to leave the lifestyle altogether; they said that the power/control dynamic ISabuse.”
Anecdotes such as these prompted my interest in researching and documenting the experiences of those who engage in BDSM, Leather and kinky lifestyles whose relationships became abusive.Do kinky folks feel that they are discriminated against by service providers?Do they feel that they can even ask for help? These are the two major questions I aim to answer in a ground breaking research project on “Intimate Partner Abuse Among Practitioners of BDSM/Leather/Kink Lifestyles.” By placing a spotlight on the experiences and perceptions of individuals who have ever sought help in dealing with an abusive power exchange relationship, or who wanted to seek help, but didn’t, it may be possible to determine if kinky people comprise an underserved population, in order to promote improvement of the quality of information, responses and interventions provided by outreach educators and service providers.
I am very grateful to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for supporting this important research.
This is a Public Service Announcement for San Francisco Bay Area Kinksters! Race Bannon, author of NCSF’s Finding Kink-Aware Medical Care will be attending the following Town Hall Meeting:
Kink Health Project Town Hall Meeting #1
“Whip your doctor into shape!!! Expose yourself to your therapist!!!”
Thursday, August 08, 2013 * 7:30-9:30pm Center for Sex and Culture 1349 Mission Street, San Francisco
Are you tired of having to educate your physician about your Kink lifestyle? Do you wish your therapist could really understand your relationship dynamic?
CALLING ALL KINKSTERS 18+
Make your voice heard at:
THE KINK HEALTH PROJECT TOWN HALL MEETING #1
Come voice your opinions about kink and healthcare:
Help us answer questions such as:
- What is it like to be kinky in the healthcare system? - Have you had negative or positive experiences with healthcare providers? - What are the most pressing health issues that kinksters deal with? - What do clinicians and therapists need to know about you and your lifestyle or sexuality?
The Kink Health Project is a research study investigating the physical and mental healthcare needs of kinksters.
We need your input so we can train healthcare providers to deliver competent and compassionate care to ALL sexual minorities.
The Kink Health Project is a collaboration between The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance (TASHRA) and UCSF.
For more information:
On behalf of NCSF, Jim Fleckenstein and Susan Wright attended the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) Annual Conference on June 5-9th in Miami, Florida.
NCSF organized the AASECT Alt Sex Special Interest Group munch that took place Friday evening in the Hilton Miami Downtown hotel. Over 40 AASECT members attended this dinner to ask questions of several volunteers who are experienced in the BDSM and polyamory communities. It was an informative meeting and provided specific information that the professional service providers wanted. The sharp rise in attendance from last year’s 25 attendees indicates a rise in interest in alternative sexual practices.
Jim Fleckenstein was the lead presenter on What Do Polyamorists Want? A National Survey of an Underserved Population, a workshop discussing the key findings from the Loving More and NCSF internet survey, the largest-ever sample of self-identified polyamorists.
“We made some very important discoveries about this large sample of the polyamorous community,” says Jim Fleckenstein. “Our findings refute a number of negative stereotypes about openly non-exclusive relationships, especially in terms of reported health and happiness. Sharing these findings with the therapeutic community is an essential part of NCSF's service to our constituents.
Susan Wright was the presenter on Understanding Consent in a BDSM Practices, a workshop presenting survey data from the NCSF Consent Counts survey assessing kinky peoples’ attitudes on consent in a BDSM context.
The NCSF booth in the Exhibit Hall featured free copies of NCSF’s newly refreshed guide: "What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory" courtesy of a grant by Alan of Polyamory in the News (http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com), as well as brochures on NCSF’s projects and programs.
This year for the first time at AASECT, two of the plenaries dealt with kink issues: Dr. Ken Zucker and Dr. Michael First discussed the DSM-5: Implications for the Field of Sexuality that explained the process by which the paraphilias were separated from the Paraphilic Disorders. As the plenary description stated, the “(DSM) has proven both helpful and hurtful for addressing sexual concerns throughout history.”
The plenary held on Friday afternoon was “A Journey into BDSM & Race” by Mollena Williams, who discussed her personal narrative of being a black submissive (a minority within a minority group) in the kink world. Mollena’s plenary drew hundreds of people and was well-received by the attendees.
Please help NCSF continue our important outreach at events like the 2013 AASECT conference. Please join as a member now, go to our donation page, or encourage your group to hold a fundraiser for NCSF. Your support is critical to NCSF and we need it to continue to help the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. www.ncsfreedom.org
Polyamory Research Survey Background From February 10th to April 2nd 2012, Loving More (http://www.lovemore.com/) ,with the endorsement of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom https://ncsfreedom.org/) (NCSF) conducted an internet-based survey of over 4000 participants who self-identify as polyamorous. This is the largest survey of self-identified polyamorous individuals to date. Individuals were recruited through local and regional listserves, Loving More email list, the Poly Researchers list, the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality's (IASHS) student and alumni lists, and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists' (AASECT) AltSex list. With the exception of five questions, all the questions were drawn from among those asked in the NORC's biennial General Social Survey (http://www.norc.org/Research/Projects/Pages/general-social-survey.aspx) (GSS) in order to compare a sample of the polyamory community with the general US adult population.
The American Psychiatric Association has depathologized kinky sex – including cross-dressing, fetishes, and BDSM – in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Now the paraphilias are considered to be “unusual sexual interests,” while those who have sex with children or people who haven’t consented, or who deliberately cause harm to themselves or others, may be diagnosed with a Paraphilic Disorder.
“The APA has made it clear that being kinky is not a mental disorder,” says Susan Wright, Spokesperson for NCSF. “That means people no longer have to fear being diagnosed as mentally ill just because they belong to a BDSM group. We’ve already seen the impact – NCSF immediately saw a sharp rise in the success rate of child custody cases for kinky parents after the proposed DSM-5 criteria was released three years ago.”
NCSF would like to thank everyone who participated in signing our DSM Revision Petition and for telling the APA about their own stories of discrimination and persecution. NCSF also thanks every member of the APA Paraphilias Subworkgroup for responding to our concerns, and drawing a hard line between consensual adult kinky sex and those who willfully engage in nonconsensual or harmful activities.
NCSF is proud to build on the work of kink-aware professionals who have come before us, including Race Bannon and Guy Baldwin, who helped make seminal changes in the DSM-IV in 1994.
The following are some statements about the various paraphilias in the DSM-5. Although highly clinical in language, they show the APA’s intent to not demand treatment for healthy consenting adult sexual expression:
“A paraphilia is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for having a paraphilic disorder, and a paraphilia by itself does not necessarily justify or require clinical intervention.” p. 686
“In contrast, if they declare no distress, exemplified by anxiety, obsessions, guilt or shame, about these paraphilic impulses, and are not hampered by them in pursuing other personal goals, they could be ascertained as having masochistic sexual interest but should not be diagnosed with a sexual masochism disorder.” p. 694
“Many individuals who self-identify as fetishist practitioners do not necessarily report clinical impairment in association with their fetish-associated behaviors. Such individuals could be considered as having a fetish but not fetishistic disorder.” p. 701
“Clinical assessment of distress or impairment, like clinical assessment of transvestic sexual arousal, is usually dependent on the individual’s self-report.” p. 703
NCSF relies entirely on your donations to advance the rights of consenting adults and to do advocacy like our DSM Revision Project. Please donate now!
NCSF’s Coalition Partners Join Together for Consent Summit
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition Partner meeting in Phoenix, Arizona from February 8-10, 2013. The Consent Summit took place Friday evening, and Coalition Partners were able to participate via streaming video to give their input on the new Consent Statement. Go to www.ncsfreedom.org to see the Consent Statement and comment on it.
“The Consent Statement is now launched to the BDSM-leather-Fetish communities for input until July 1st,” says Judy Guerin, Director of Consent Counts. “This statement outlines the current legal climate in regards to BDSM practices, and describes the ethical responsibilities of kinky people, as well. The Consent Statement will be used to change assault laws so that consensual BDSM won’t be mistaken for assault.”
One focus of the weekend was how to move forward now that a fire has destroyed the NCSF office. An emergency fund drive is underway to raise money to replace what was lost in the fire. Please help us reach our goal!
The new board of directors voted in Kevin Carlson as Chairman, Mark Richards as Secretary, and John Baku as Treasurer. The CPs also heard reports on NCSF projects and some of the stats include:
·Incident Reporting and Response received nearly 500 calls for help
·The Kink Aware Professionals list is up to nearly 1,200 professionals
·The Media Outreach Project gave over 60 interviews
·Over 600 NCSF Facebook page members and nearly 5,000 twitter followers
·98 Coalition Partners!
Friday evening’s Pizza Meet & Greet was sponsored by the AZ TNG, while lunch Saturday was sponsored by FetLife and lunch on Sunday at the APEX BBQ was sponsored by AZ Men of Leather. NCSF thanks APEX for welcoming CP representatives, NCSF board members and staff to their APEX Dungeon Party on Saturday night, and at their Sunday afternoon BBQ and NCSF Meet & Greet. NCSF also thanks Kelly Beaton, Master Bleu Sadist, slave alena girl, and Karen for volunteering and helping out in all sorts of necessary ways at the meeting!
The Board of NCSF currently consists of:
Kevin Carlson – Chairman – Boise, ID
Mark Richards – Secretary – New York, NY
John Baku – Treasurer – Vancouver, BC
Race Bannon – San Francisco, CA
Laura Carlson – Boise, ID
Jim Fleckenstein – Manassas, VA
Leigha Fleming – Fort Worth, TX Vivienne Kramer – San Diego, CA Mercury – Nashville, TN
Stephanie "Sassy" Lynn – Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Julian Wolf – Albuquerque, NM Susan Wright – Phoenix, AZ
NCSF helps you, so please help us in our time of need! Support us by becoming a member or donating today! www.ncsfreedom.org
Please contact The Advocate and protest their removal of their Op-Ed by Jill D. Weinberg entitled “Kink as The Next LGBT Rights Frontier: Why handcuffs and submission may lead to even more LGBT liberation” posted on December 17, 2012.
The comments were very negative against kinky people and demanded The Advocate remove the Op-Ed because it was harming the LGBT movement. The Op-Ed was up for less than 12 hours before The Advocate removed it from their website.
Please contact The Advocate and respectfully tell them that their silencing of this important issue leads to more persecution and discrimination against kinky people. Tell them you want to see more coverage of kink issues in The Advocate. And tell them that 1 in 3 people who identify as kinky are persecuted because of it, and the question of “Kink Rights” as the next frontier should be taken seriously.
Adventures in Sexuality raised over $4,000 for NCSF at their COPE conference in Columbus, Ohio (Sept 14-16). Along with a Special Drawing and table donations, the "COPE Grand Prize Auction" received 2 separate donations of $1,800 each from the auction winners! All of the funds went to NCSF, with AIS donating over $2,300 in prizes: 3 Winter Wickedness tickets, 2 nights hotel rooms, 6 meals and 1 piece of AIS Kink Labs furniture to each of the 2 winners.
NCSF gives a big thanks Barak, Sheba and everyone at AIS for putting together a fabulous event. WE also thank them for hosting NCSF Board Members Mercury and Julian Wolf so they could spread the word about NCSF projects and programs that help kinky people. It really shows that size doesn’t matter when it comes to passionate support for NCSF! You can find out more about AIS at: http://www.adventuresinsexuality.org/