Three panelists convened on Wednesday to dispel what they deemed myths surrounding a controversial sexual practice known as bondage and domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM).
Roughly 40 people filled a room in Linsly-Chittenden Hall to hear clinical sexologist Charley Ferrer and two representatives of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, Judy Guerin and Richard Cunningham, discuss issues relating to BDSM, including safe practices and attributes of what they called the BDSM community. The panelists said people often consider BDSM to be illegal, violent and impersonal, but argued that these are misconceptions and that BDSM can be part of a healthy relationship.
Ferrer, who has written several books on sex, explained that BDSM is about people exploring their bodies and personal preferences — not just about sex. She said many people in the BDSM community do not interact sexually, adding that dominance and submission can be seen as normal components of relationships.
“It is not domestic violence,” Ferrer said. “In [BDSM] you are sharing yourself with someone else and they care about you.”
Guerin, a former executive director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom — a group that advocates for adult privacy rights — said BDSM is about “comfort with your own body.” Cunningham, the group’s legal consultant said BDSM is not a hidden practice and that the community is open to everyone.
The panelists stressed the importance of practicing BDSM safely and maximizing communication between participants. BDSM practitioners use “safewords,” Cunningham explained, using the word “red” for “stop” and “yellow” for “slow down.”
Cunningham said the BDSM community values consensuality, and Ferrer added that BDSM is “a lot about respect.” ...
NCSF strives to involve the communities it represents every day. Now that inclusive attitude is getting revamped as a new volunteer coordination program is brought into the organization by an energized, excited volunteer.
Keira lives in New Orleans, LA with her boyfriend. She has been involved in kink/BDSM-related communities for three years, first on Long Island, then Philadelphia and Delaware and now New Orleans. Her personal long range goals are to make people in the community safe and united as well as making education, awareness, and play available to as many people as possible.
The new volunteer program will focus on open and reliable communication between volunteers and organizational leaders so that even more can be accomplished with even more people involved. Keira also plans to add achievement recognition for volunteers. Of course, we all do it for those warm fuzzy feelings, but she wants to show how important you all are!
Please volunteer to help NCSF by writing to
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is here for folks when they are being persecuted for their alternative sexual behavior. The problem we face is urgent and real—every year NCSF Incident Reporting and Response helps almost 500 individuals, groups, events and businesses that are being discriminated against.
Almost 30% are dealing with criminal charges because of their sexual behavior. NCSF’s Consent Counts Project is dedicated to decriminalizing consensual BDSM in U.S. law by ensuring that consent will be recognized as a defense to criminal charges brought under assault laws and other statutes. At the same time, our DSM Revision Project is leading the effort to depathologize BDSM in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnosis manual which is consulted by legal professionals as well as therapists.
NCSF can only continue to help consenting adults defend their rights because of your donations. NCSF doesn’t receive grants like other nonprofit groups; that’s just another example of the stigma our communities face. We have to help ourselves. That’s what NCSF does.
In these hard times, we need your help. Please join NCSF. Make a donation. And please continue to designate your fundraisers to benefit NCSF.
Let’s all make the New Year a better one for kinky people everywhere!
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is pleased to announce the addition of a new board member—Race Bannon.
Race is the founder of the popular Kink Aware Professionals free list service that refers people to kink-sensitive psychotherapeutic, medical and legal professionals. Race asked NCSF to take over the hosting and management of KAP, which is now one of our most popular programs. Race was also the leader of The DSM Project that led to a beneficial change in 1994 in the way the psychotherapeutic profession views BDSM. NCSF is currently building on the foundation laid by Race and Guy Baldwin in that project, moving closer towards our goal of depathologizing BDSM.
Kinky sex has been one of Race Bannon’s passions as a practitioner, organizer, writer, educator, commentator, activist and leader since his first explorations of the leather world starting in 1973. Race is the author of the best seller Learning The Ropes: A Basic Guide to Safe and Fun SM Lovemaking (Version 2.0 available soon); founder of Daedalus Publishing Company, the first publishing company dedicated to publishing nonfiction leather/SM/fetish books; writer of many articles on sexuality; former sex advice columnist; former producer and host of Bound To Talk, the first internet talk show about kinky sex; past Board member of NLA International, NLA Los Angeles and Avatar Club Los Angeles; and member of Chicago Hellfire Club. Race sits on the Board for the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (www.carasresearch.org) and also for the Leather Hall of Fame (www.leatherhalloffame.com). He is on the organizing committee for OpenSF, an upcoming 2012, 3-day conference focused on creating non-monogamy community (inclusive of polyamorous people, BDSM aficionados, swingers, sex workers, queer non-monogamous folks, and non-monogamous families).
Race can be reached through his web site at www.bannon.com where you can read his sexuality and relationship blog. For more information on NCSF, go to www.ncsfreedom.org
Please Join Us Tuesday, Nov. 29th for the Second Annual NCSF Fundraiser...
The DC & Baltimore communities are once again joining together to host a fun-filled evening for the benefit of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) .
Please join us on Tuesday, 11/29, from 6-9:30 at 'The' Spot in DC (1214 18th Street NW). Entertainment includes:
* Musical entertainment by the Distillers * Burlesque performances by Cherokee Rose & Indiana’s Jewel * Fashion show featuring fashions by Girdlebound & Passional * Live auction of erotic art, event packages and other kinky items * Silent auction. * Online auction of sessions donated by some of the hottest Dommes/Doms in the country * Food catered by Chef Terry
Hosted by Judy Guerin (
). For more information, please see [Fetlife Event Page][https://fetlife.com/events/78543].
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is coming to San Francisco!
Please join us for an enlightening evening of discussion of NCSF’s Consent Counts project to decriminalize BDSM. You’ll find out about the state of the law regarding BDSM and consent and how you can help support this important national project.
Judy Guerin, NCSF Consent Count’s Director & Richard Cunningham, Esq., NCSF Consent Counts Advisor
Appetizers, wine & other beverages provided
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 7:30
The Law Offices of Alex Austin & Shannan Rapoport 799 Castro Street San Francisco, CA. 94114
Please RSVP to Judy Guerin at
Richard O. Cunningham, B.S., M.A., J.D., has advocated for over 30 years on issues of gender, race and sex. He has played a leading role in landmark legal cases, including being the supervising attorney on the Supreme Court Case regarding women in military academies and the initiating attorney for the lawsuit during the Vietnam War that resulted in equal media political coverage. He has served as chair of the boards of both the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom Foundation (NCSF) and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. He is senior international trade partner at Steptoe & Johnson, LLP in Washington, D.C. Dick is currently advising on legal and policy aspects of the NCSF Consent Counts initiative.
Judy Guerin is a well-known activist, writer, speaker and educator on issues of sexual freedom and gender expression and has been dedicated to activism on these issues for over 30 years. She is a long-time member of the BDSM/leather/fetish community and currently directs the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Consent Counts Project to decriminalize BDSM. She is the former Executive Director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and a former board member of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and GenderPAC. She is a former steering committee member of the National Policy Roundtable of GLBT & HIV/AIDS groups and an advisor to the European Union on issues of sexual freedom, gender expression and GLBT issues.
In an indictment rendered by a Grand Jury in the Western District of Missouri on September 9, 2010, five Missouri men allegedly participated in torturing a mentally disabled woman online or in person over a multi-year period when the victim was between the ages of 16 and 24. Among the charges are: Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud or Coercion, Forced Labor Trafficking, Transportation for Sexual Activity, and Conspiracy. The allegations involve sex with a minor, drug and firearms possession, forced prostitution, sexual abuse, and torture to the point that the victim suffered a heart attack.
These activities should not be confused with consensual BDSM. People who engage in BDSM and other similar activities do so as consenting adults and in a safe, sane, and consensual manner. BDSM activities are not violent specifically because all participants can stop any time they wish. Millions of people engage in BDSM: according to the Kinsey Institute's New Report on Sex, between 5-10% of the adult population engages in BDSM on at least an occasional basis.
NCSF strongly condemns criminals who commit violence and engage in non-consensual activities. We encourage the media to remember that the large community of consenting adults who engage in BDSM activities should not be conflated with these alleged crimes. Ordinary people do BDSM – parents, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. But because of the stigma against BDSM, most people are closeted and don't speak out about their interests because they fear condemnation and discrimination.
The NCSF is committed to creating a political, legal and social environment in the US that advances equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternative sexual and relationship expressions. The NCSF aims to advance the rights of, and advocate for consenting adults in the BDSM-Leather-Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory Communities. We pursue our vision through direct services, education, advocacy, and outreach, in conjunction with our partners, to directly benefit these communities.
As part of NCSF's website re-design, we've put together a fairly comprehensive survey that is designed to get the most feedback we can from the various people who visit our website. We need to know if the information and resources that NCSF offers is readily available to everyone.
There is also a Kink Aware Professionals (KAP) survey that will determine how NCSF can improve this important free directory. Both surveys will last from September 6-13: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NCSFWeb