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"Lots of people like kinky sex psychologists call abnormal"

on Sunday, 20 March 2016. Hits 460

Reuters

by Lisa Rapaport

Reuters Health - Lots of ordinary people are into sex with a dash of voyeurism, fetishism and masochism – all habits classified as deviant in the manual doctors use to diagnose mental health disorders, a survey of Quebec residents suggests.

 

Researchers focused on what the manual calls paraphilic disorders – sexual behaviors labeled as abnormal, illegal or inducing suffering or impairment – and so-called normophilic, or typical, activities.

 

Most people have probably never heard of the guidebook in question, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

 

But this book that once called homosexuality a deviant act can still help create and reinforce negative stereotypes for perfectly healthy sexual behavior, said lead study author Christian Joyal, a psychology researcher at the University of Quebec Trois-Rivieres.

 

“The adjective `abnormal’ is judgmental,” Joyal said by email. “I don’t think it should appear in a psychiatry manual.”

 

“Paraphilic disorders are rare because people who practice kinky or atypical sex are virtually all happy with it,” Joyal added.

 

Researchers surveyed 1,040 adults in Quebec to see how often they desired or practiced eight sexual behaviors defined as outside the norm in the manual – fetishizing objects, wearing clothes from the opposite sex, spying on strangers, displaying genitals to unsuspecting strangers, rubbing against a stranger, pedophilia, masochism and sadism.

 

Overall, almost half of the respondents expressed interest in at least one of these eight sexual behaviors that the manual labels as deviant, researchers reported in the Journal of Sexual Research.

 

Roughly one third of the people surveyed said they had experienced one of these behaviors at least once, the survey found.

 

Participants either practiced or fantasized about four behaviors so often that it’s difficult to consider them outside the norm, the authors point out.

 

Slightly more than one third of people were interested in voyeurism, while 26 percent expressed interest in fetishism or rubbing up against strangers, and 19 percent liked masochism, the survey found. ...

"Lots of people like kinky sex that psychologists call abnormal"

on Saturday, 19 March 2016. Hits 375

Fox News Health

Lots of ordinary people are into sex with a dash of voyeurism, fetishism and masochism - all habits classified as deviant in the manual doctors use to diagnose mental health disorders, a survey of Quebec residents suggests.

 

Researchers focused on what the manual calls paraphilic disorders - sexual behaviors labeled as abnormal, illegal or inducing suffering or impairment - and so-called normophilic, or typical, activities.

 

Most people have probably never heard of the guidebook in question, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

 

But this book that once called homosexuality a deviant act can still help create and reinforce negative stereotypes for perfectly healthy sexual behavior, said lead study author Christian Joyal, a psychology researcher at the University of Quebec Trois-Rivieres.

 

"The adjective `abnormal' is judgmental," Joyal said by email. "I don't think it should appear in a psychiatry manual."

 

"Paraphilic disorders are rare because people who practice kinky or atypical sex are virtually all happy with it," Joyal added.

 

Researchers surveyed 1,040 adults in Quebec to see how often they desired or practiced eight sexual behaviors defined as outside the norm in the manual - fetishizing objects, wearing clothes from the opposite sex, spying on strangers, displaying genitals to unsuspecting strangers, rubbing against a stranger, pedophilia, masochism and sadism.

 

Overall, almost half of the respondents expressed interest in at least one of these eight sexual behaviors that the manual labels as deviant, researchers reported in the Journal of Sexual Research. ...

Silicon Valley Welcomes the NCSF Coalition Partners!

on Friday, 18 March 2016. Hits 462

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

"Sexual Assault Survivor Stages Powerful S&M Photos At Frat Where She Was Raped"

on Tuesday, 15 March 2016. Hits 624

Huffington Post

by Priscilla Frank

During her freshman year at Wesleyan University, Karmenife Paulino was raped in the basement of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. Up until her junior year, Paulino said nothing of the assault, feeling that, as a woman of color, the attack on her body and mind would go unrecognized.

 

On campus in Middletown, Connecticut, Paulino saw her rapist everywhere. As she explains in her short memoir Sea Salt and Sandalwood (she was an English major with an emphasis in creative writing): "I would see him in the eating hall, in the coffee shop, in the campus grocery store. I would see the length of his limbs stretching over the steps of the library. I would smell his presence wafting through the mailroom. I'd freeze, my brain begging my legs to stretch and take me away from his frame, his eyes. M.'s eyes would shoot straight into my abdomen, twisting my insides until I found myself in a bathroom assuming the position."

 

Paulino also saw her rapist's name all over campus. He came from a wealthy background, she said, and two of the buildings in which Paulino had classes bore plaques reading his family name.

 

But, during her junior year, the same frat, Psi Upsilon, was hit with a separate sexual assault lawsuit, and Paulino couldn't stay quiet any longer. "I felt so powerless on campus," she explained in an interview with The Huffington Post.

 

In September of 2015, Paulino reported her rape to the university administration and Eclectic House, the co-ed housing collective of creative-minded individuals. "They were my best friends, my family," Paulino said. However, when she asked the house to ban her rapist from the property, Paulino said she was verbally attacked in return, interrogated and asked to explain why she was with him in the first place. "It turned into this horrific cycle with all of these people I considered to be my people," she recounted. "I had to deal with not only with my attacker on campus but this house full of people who would either look at me in disgust or not at all."

 

Because of the lack of support she received from her classmates and administrators, reporting her rape only made Paulino feel more powerless. "It was a very dark time," she said. "The administration basically laughed at me. My anxiety was so bad I couldn’t leave my room for days. I had hand tremors and anxiety-induced vomiting."

 

So Paulino found a source of strength through making art. Her first artistic endeavor was a performance piece addressing themes of campus sexual assault and accountability. "I had people dress up as Eclectic members and I did a monologue about everything that happened to me, and then these people violently tied me up in front of the audience," she said. "The audience then had to decide: am I going to help her or am I going to watch her writhe in pain? On a campus, that's really what it's like. People know what happened and they don’t do anything. We’re all a part of rape culture."

 

For the first time in a long time, Paulino felt empowered. And she wanted to do more. Specifically, she wanted to use art to make her school feel safe again. "I thought: I need to do something where I can reclaim this space and just exist."

 

For the resulting photo series, titled "Reclamation," Paulino collaborated with friend and photographer Tess Altman to reclaim her campus, her body and her life. In the images, Paulino dons dominatrix attire -- "something I feel powerful and really beautiful and confident in" -- and revisits both Psi Upsilon and Eclectic House, assuming positions of authority and control. ...

"Is the Family of the Future Polyamorous?"

on Tuesday, 15 March 2016. Hits 503

Connections.Mic

By Oliver Bateman

When it comes to marriage, three is still a crowd. But that might be changing sooner than we think. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, a small-yet-growing percentage of Americans report that they find the concept of plural marriage "morally acceptable," while polyamorous relationships are increasingly receiving mainstream media coverage. A 2014 Newsweek article even estimates that there are more than 500,000 openly polyamorous families living in the United States today.

 

Of course, not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of polyamory becoming more socially acceptable, particularly the remaining conservative jurists on the Supreme Court. Writing in dissent in the 2015 Supreme Court decision that made same-sex sexual activity legal throughout the United States, Chief Justice John Roberts, wrote that the legalization of same-sex marriage "would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage," echoing anti-same-sex marriage arguments Justice Antonin Scalia had made years before.

 

The rise of polyamory (as well as the possibility of a more liberal replacement for Scalia, who passed away in February) begs the question: Will multiple-partner relationships eventually become the norm? And if so, what would actually change from a legal perspective?

 

When discussing plural relationships, it's important to note that polygamy (usually understood by to mean polygyny, or the taking of multiple simultaneous wives) is often conflated with polyamory, a term that refers to the practice of maintaining intimate, consensual relationships with two or more people.

 

While there are many differences between the two — for starters, polygamy is usually religious in nature and refers to a man having multiple wives, while polyamory is secular and refers to people of all genders having multiple partners — both polygamists and polyamorists live on the fringes of society. In fact, despite increasingly visible activism and public recognition, individuals in polyamorous unions remain outside the mainstream of American life, in part thanks to cultural discrimination against alternative lifestyles.

 

"Our entire system is geared toward the nuclear family model, two biological parents," Sandy Peace told Mic. Peace is a California psychologist and sex educator who has done extensive work with people involved in the polyamory community. "Many polyamorous families don't 'come out' to neighbors and school administrators because of concerns about prejudice and misunderstanding."

 

Yet there are also "real logistical problems" that are posed by polyamorous unions from a legal perspective. Peace said that issues related to divorce and custody in particular are complicated.

 

"Lawyers who are motivated to secure a better custody arrangement for the non-poly parent could make an issue of poly relationships, stressing that they are having a negative impact on the child's development," she said.

 

Although plural marriage is illegal, meaning that those in polyamorous unions do not receive the insurance or social security benefits that most spouses are entitled to, many polyamorous couples aren't particularly anxious for legal recognition.

 

Whether or not plural marriage should be legalized is "debated within our own community, similar to the gay community — there are people who don't believe we should go after plural marriage, and there are those who do," Robyn Trask, the executive director of the polyamory support organization Loving More, told U.S. News & World Report in 2015. ...

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

on Monday, 14 March 2016. Hits 636

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.

 

"Consent Accidents and Consent Violations"

on Sunday, 13 March 2016. Hits 574

Make Sex Easy

by Charlie Glickman

I was at a discussion group recently and someone shared a term that I hadn’t heard before: consent accidents. This is a really valuable nuance in the ongoing conversations about consent and nurturance culture because it recognizes that there’s a difference between a consent violation and a consent accident.

A consent violation happens when someone chooses to ignore or cross someone’s boundaries. People do that for a lot of reasons, including selfishness, arrogance, not caring about their partner, getting off on harming someone (which is distinct from the consensual experience of BDSM), or being somewhere else on the douchebag-rapist spectrum.

Consent accidents, however, are different because they happen because of error, miscommunication, misunderstanding, or not having all the information. That doesn’t make it less painful. If you step on my toes, it hurts whether it was an accident or on purpose. But how I approach the situation and what we do to resolve it might look very different.

There are some really big challenges for navigating this. First, if something happens that leaves you feeling hurt, it can really difficult to know the difference between accident and violation. That might be because of past experiences, wounds, triggers, or trauma which can amplify the hurt. It might be because it’s often difficult to know what someone’s intentions and motivations are. And in a world that excuses perpetrator’s actions and blames victims by saying things like “they didn’t mean to do it,” it can be incredibly hard to stand up for yourself.

Another difficulty is that identifying where things went awry is really hard when you’re feeling hurt. Pain, fear, anger, shame, sadness, and grief are all ways that you might feel when your consent isn’t attended to, whether it’s an accident or a violation. Any of those emotions, individually or in combination, can make it hard to see the situation with clarity, to talk about it with compassion for yourself and your partner, and to hold each of yourselves accountable for your choices and actions.

On the flip side, if you tell the other person what happened, they’ll also have their emotional reactions. Shame, in particular, tends to make us either attack the other person by blaming them or attack ourselves by giving up our right to our feelings and needs. If your partner gets defensive, they might try to dodge responsibility, take on all the blame, or attack you. Those are pretty common ways of reacting to shame, and most of us have done them at one point or another. Unfortunately, they also dovetail with victim-blaming, gaslighting, and the many other ways in which people who have been assaulted or abused get silenced.

Since it can be really difficult to identify what happened and know whether an event was a consent accident or violation, I’m really happy to have discovered this flow chart that Josh Weaver developed (used with permission). This was specifically designed for BDSM scenarios, so the acronym in the blue rectangle might not be familiar to you. WIITWD = What It Is That We Do (I think there’s a typo in the flowchart). ...

"This BDSM Consultant Teaches Famous Actors How to Use Whips"

on Sunday, 13 March 2016. Hits 393

Vice UK

By Julia Alsop

Growing up, Olivia Troy dreamed of being just like Xaviera Hollander, the high-class call girl who ran 1960s New York's busiest brothel and wrote a best-selling memoir called The Happy Hooker. When parents and teachers asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up, she said madam.

 

Troy's childhood fantasy didn't come to fruition, but sex is still her professional domain. For the past decade, Troy has become a career BDSM expert, consulting for TV shows, film sets, and Broadway plays to help actors and writers get it right when it comes to portraying kink on screen or stage. Her resume includes advising Paul Giamatti about the submissive he plays on Showtime's Billions and training actors on the Zach Braff-starring Broadway play Trust, and she's currently working on the forthcoming movie The Books.

 

A native New Yorker, Troy began exploring BDSM in her mid-twenties after an acquaintance confessed his shoe fetish to her at a company holiday party. They spent the rest of the night holed up in a corner while he pointed out women's shoes and explained what makes a hard stiletto so sexy. Her interest piqued, she began going to fetish parties, reading BDSM literature, and practicing the art of domination. At the time, she was a freelance lifestyle writer covering food, music, and relationships. But her curiosity for BDSM led her down the rabbit hole, and she eventually set up her own private dungeon.

 

Now in her mid-30s, Troy practices her kink personally, professionally, and legally with her business Kink on Set. At her consulting studio in New York's Flatiron District, she teaches actors, writers, and private clients how to play and punish. The studio is a BDSM enthusiast's dream, with over £62,500 worth of equipment she often rents out to production crews. Recently, I sat down with Troy among her whipping benches, puppy cages, and gimp masks to talk sex and power, on set and off.

 

VICE: Can you tell me about how someone becomes a BDSM consultant? What does the job actually entail?

Olivia Troy: Like a lot of the things I've gotten into in life, I fell into this unintentionally. It was 2010, I was practicing as a domme, and a colleague of mine was helping out with the Broadway play Trust, about a guy who goes to see a professional dominatrix who turns out to be his high school classmate. She wanted to show the crew what a real dungeon looks like and how to handle some of the equipment, so she brought one of the producers and three of the principle actors over to my space.

 

I ended up talking to the actors and coaching them on everything, from things like how to handle a flogger to how create that dominant presence. From there it snowballed, mostly via word of mouth.

 

What do you mean by dominant presence?

Like, how you talk to a submissive: the tone of voice you use, the different cues you use. When you talk, you talk with intention; you speak with purpose. The idea is to seduce, to be very clear and active. [A dominant presence] is very much about owning your power. There are no questions when I speak to someone. The language is very decisive. ...

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