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"Are Kinky Sex Clubs on College Campuses a Good Idea?"

on Friday, 28 December 2012. Hits 1198

Care2

Is kinky sex on the curriculum at Harvard now?

Earlier this month, Harvard University formally recognized a ­student-run BDSM group (short for bondage, domination, and sado­maso­chism). Now, in addition to the French Club and the Mathematica Club, and about 400 other student groups, freshmen at this Ivy League university can sign up for kinky sex.

As it turns out, Harvard is not at all the first university to approve such a group.

That honor belongs to Columbia University’s Conversio Virium (Latin for “exchange of forces”), which in 1992 was the first such university-recognized in the country. In 2003,the Iowa State University student body founded Cuffs, a college student group that teaches about bondage and other sexual fetishes, while Vassar College has the Sex Avengers, which holds an annual “Masturbate-a-thon.”

But while a few clubs have existed previously, it seems that the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” has promoted many more.

From New York Observer:

The popularity of 50 Shades of Grey has accelerated a mainstreaming of the BDSM subculture already underway—the initials stand for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism—and the trend has been especially pronounced in our more elite institutions of higher learning. Columbia has a BDSM group. So do Tufts, MIT, Yale and the University of Chicago. Brown, UPenn and Cornell have hosted BDSM educators for on-campus seminars entitled “The Freedom of Kink” and “Kink for All.” It looks like conservatives who have long viewed the Ivy League a bastion of depravity may have a point after all.

Harvard College Munch is the name of this latest addition; in case you’re wondering, the term “munch” is simply an amalgamation of “lunch” and “meeting.” Apparently the word comes from the 1980s: at that time some S & M enthusiasts used to meet at a restaurant in Palo Alto to discuss their proclivities for bondage, spanking, and leather goods. Since that time, munches have become synonymous with BDSM clubs.

But there is a downside.

From New York Observer:

While the scene’s mantra—“safe, sane and consensual”—is heard so often it might as well be translated into needlepoint, violations of these maxims are common. In the last year, hundreds of people have come forward to describe the abuse they’ve suffered within the scene. The victims are mostly women, and like 50 Shades’ fictional 22-year-old Anastasia Steele, many are also young, submissive and uncertain about their boundaries.

As word has spread about the number of abuses and violations of consent that have happened, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) decided to launch a survey.

“We haven’t closed it yet, but so far we have 5,000 responses, and over 30 percent of them had have their previously negotiated limit violated, which I think is horrific,” spokesperson Susan Wright told New York Observer. “There is still confusion between consensual BDSM and assault.”

As part of the survey, NCSF asks respondents to define what they mean by mutual consent, and to state whether “safe, sane, consensual” are adequate terms. The group also asks: “Are there behaviors that the BDSM communities don’t accept?”  “What is your experience with consent in the BDSM communities?”

BDSM clubs are a good thing as long as this means providing safe spaces for students to explore alternative sexuality, but clear rules on what “consent” means need to be in place.

What do you think?

Click the link to vote in the poll!

Action Alert: Leather & Grace Calls for Emails to Unitarian Universalist Leadership

on Thursday, 27 December 2012. Hits 911

Include Kink in Nondiscrimination and Diversity Education

Reposted for NCSF Coalition Partner Leather & Grace:
The Board of Trustees is the top governance body of the Unitarian Universalist Association, overseeing administrative operations, and setting policy in between General Assemblies.
Leather & Grace, an education and advocacy organization for UU kinksters, and a Coalition Partner of NCSF, is asking members and supporters to email UUA Trustees to include kink-oriented people under the Association's non-discrimination policies, and to urge UUA staff to begin wider education efforts on BDSM and other forms of alternative sexual expression.
Some key points to include:
  • Unitarian Universalism has been at the forefront of defending justice and equity for sexual minorities; the UUA first endorsed GLBTQ equality in 1970, developed groundbreaking curricula on sexuality education and diversity awareness, included a nondiscrimination clause for HIV-positive people in its employee manual as early as 1986, and has been at the forefront of the movement for marriage equality. Unitarian Universalist principles affirming the inherent worth and dignity of all people demands nothing less.
  • Despite this history, a number of UU kinksters have faced discrimination which has denied them equal treatment within their congregations, even forcing some to choose leaving.
  • Many ministers, seminarians and religious educators have stated they feel they have no guidance on how to deal with the subject of BDSM/kink/fetish sexuality, especially with the increased media attention given to this issue.
  • Some UUA employees have confided that they do not believe current policies protect them from discrimination or harassment; it was even reported that some UUA staffers were witnessed making disparaging remarks about the Leather contingent at Boston Pride marches.
  • We understand that implementing the educational element of this proposal will take time and effort. Leather & Grace stands ready to provide resources to assist with this.
To make it easy for you, we've included the email addresses for UUA Trustees and key staff in condensed format – just copy and paste where you'd put the recipient's address.
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To contact Leather & Grace, our email address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; our website is http://leatherandgrace.wordpress.com

"Op-Ed: Kink as the Next LGBT Rights Frontier"

on Thursday, 20 December 2012. Hits 1086

Why handcuffs and submission may lead to even more LGBT liberation

The Advocate

The people have spoken: gay is OK. The recent election gave us political and legislative victories for the LGBT community, including same-sex marriage in three states and Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. Senator. On television we have sitcoms like Modern Family, and The New Normal, which portray gays and lesbians as good friends, neighbors, and parents. Finally, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo emerged as leading advocates for same-sex marriage and shedding the homophobic image associated with professional sports.

Now, there is only one thing left to do: get kinky. Incorporating kink into the LGBT movement--and here I mean bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM), as well as the alternative sexualities community like the polyamorous--begins to include all of those struggling for sexual freedom. And, a kinky LGBT movement allows us to think about additional groups to include and form a coalition in the fight for causes that affect a larger collective.

A kinky LGBT movement would mean a long overdue return to the Stonewall Riot-era advocacy in which community identity celebrated difference. Like many identity-based social movements, incremental change was necessary for laying the groundwork of acceptance by the broader public. As protestors became lobbyists, the face of the LGBT movement became male, white, privileged, and arguing for traditional marriage. Radical transformation became assimilation into mainstream society and its institutions.

The strategy is working but the concessions made are at the expense of many. In theory, anyone in the community should reap the benefits for any LGBT rights victory. However, sexual and gender minorities of color continue to suffer a unique sort of discrimination and victimization, perhaps due to the image of what it means to be gay, that has emerged. Integrating kink into the LGBT movement may reignite a more inclusive agenda by recognizing the highly varied sexual and gender diversity within the greater community.

Challenging the status quo through non-normality is not new for many queer radical advocates. The deviance of kinkiness creates an opportunity for several marginal groups to align and frame causes with larger appeal, such as “civil rights.” For example, University of Chicago Professor, Cathy J. Cohen, believes that queer politics offers an opportunity to examine power and not exclusively based on heteronormativity and consider the possibility of “progressive transformative coalition work”. Kink, unlike queer, challenges more axes of oppression, allowing the LGBT community, specifically, and other groups (e.g., race, class, and gender), more broadly, to question their marginalization. In other words, non-normativity unveils the universality and commonalty of grievances and aspirations for social change, and in this case, BDSM and alternative sexualities touch on larger frames, including equality, privacy, and intimate association.

Attempts to move the LGBT agenda down an expansive road is not without risks. Claims of equality are universal in many respects, but I fear that BDSM and LGBT would be simultaneously everywhere and nowhere; we must preserve fundamental values, histories, and identities that defined and connected these communities in the first place. A far-reaching agenda may also obscure the causes that are unique to particular groups.  BDSM is pathologized in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and criminalized under assault and battery law, whereas homosexuality is not. And yet, a heterosexual BDSM practitioner can marry and adopt children, whereas gay and lesbians in many states cannot.

Finally, bringing kink to the fore provides greater potential to challenge the institutions that normalize inequality and structure society. This theoretical rumination and political strategy forces us to question why social structures developed the way they did and whether they need to persist. The LGBT movement has played it smart by highlighting its similarities to the heteronormative majority. We can all agree that the defining marriage as a union between man and a woman, or defining family as two parents of different genders, are merely social constructions meant to preserve status quo and those in power. As I see it, current progress, while noteworthy, is not enough. To be content with the current state of affairs would be satisfaction with immobility in sheep’s clothing.

Bottom line, it may be bondage that is liberatory.


JILL D. WEINBERG is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Northwestern University, a research associate at the American Bar Foundation, and an instructor in the master's of sports administration graduate program at Northwestern University. She is an associate editor of Law and Social Inquiry.

NCSF Action Alert – The Advocate

on Thursday, 20 December 2012. Hits 2374

 

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.

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Online: http://www.advocate.com/contact (The Advocate website is refusing links from the NCSF website, so please use the email address above.)

To see the Op-Ed, you can go to the NCSF blog: https://ncsfreedom.org/?option=com_zoo&task=item&item_id=658

or to the Google cache:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2012/12/17/op-ed-kink-next-lgbt-rights-frontier

"James Franco New Movie: 'Interior. Leather Bar' To Premiere At Sundance In January (VIDEO)"

on Wednesday, 19 December 2012. Hits 607

Huffington Post

What has James Franco been up to lately, you ask? The 34-year-old actor is set to publish a poetry book in 2014, but we're more interested in a recent collaboration with San Francisco filmmaker Travis Mathews.

Their film, "Interior. Leather Bar," will premiere at Sundance New Frontiers program in January. Originally titled, "James Franco's 40 Minutes," the "homo-sex-art-film" is an homage to William Friedkin's 1980 thriller, "Cruising," starring a young Al Pacino. Forty minutes were cut from Friedkin's racy film, but the results still prompted censor Richard Heffner to reportedly proclaim, "There are not enough Xs in the alphabet" to rate it, the filmmaker once told the Guardian.

Watch the trailer below, and let us know what you think of the project in the comments section:

James Franco New Film Interior Leather Bar

The Rev Mel Show: Interview with Susan Wright

on Monday, 17 December 2012. Hits 546

"Op-ed: Kink as The Next LGBT Rights Frontier"

on Monday, 17 December 2012. Hits 3356

Why handcuffs and submission may lead to even more LGBT liberation.

The Advocate

The people have spoken: gay is OK. The recent election gave us political and legislative victories for the LGBT community, including same-sex marriage in three states and Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. Senator. On television we have sitcoms like Modern Family, and The New Normal, which portray gays and lesbians as good friends, neighbors, and parents. Finally, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo emerged as leading advocates for same-sex marriage and shedding the homophobic image associated with professional sports.


Now, there is only one thing left to do: get kinky. Incorporating kink into the LGBT movement--and here I mean bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM), as well as the alternative sexualities community like the polyamorous--begins to include all of those struggling for sexual freedom. And, a kinky LGBT movement allows us to think about additional groups to include and form a coalition in the fight for causes that affect a larger collective.

A kinky LGBT movement would mean a long overdue return to the Stonewall Riot-era advocacy in which community identity celebrated difference. Like many identity-based social movements, incremental change was necessary for laying the groundwork of acceptance by the broader public. As protestors became lobbyists, the face of the LGBT movement became male, white, privileged, and arguing for traditional marriage. Radical transformation became assimilation into mainstream society and its institutions.

The strategy is working but the concessions made are at the expense of many. In theory, anyone in the community should reap the benefits for any LGBT rights victory. However, sexual and gender minorities of color continue to suffer a unique sort of discrimination and victimization, perhaps due to the image of what it means to be gay, that has emerged. Integrating kink into the LGBT movement may reignite a more inclusive agenda by recognizing the highly varied sexual and gender diversity within the greater community.

Challenging the status quo through non-normality is not new for many queer radical advocates. The deviance of kinkiness creates an opportunity for several marginal groups to align and frame causes with larger appeal, such as “civil rights.” For example, University of Chicago Professor, Cathy J. Cohen, believes that queer politics offers an opportunity to examine power and not exclusively based on heteronormativity and consider the possibility of “progressive transformative coalition work”. Kink, unlike queer, challenges more axes of oppression, allowing the LGBT community, specifically, and other groups (e.g., race, class, and gender), more broadly, to question their marginalization. In other words, non-normativity unveils the universality and commonalty of grievances and aspirations for social change, and in this case, BDSM and alternative sexualities touch on larger frames, including equality, privacy, and intimate association.

Attempts to move the LGBT agenda down an expansive road is not without risks. Claims of equality are universal in many respects, but I fear that BDSM and LGBT would be simultaneously everywhere and nowhere; we must preserve fundamental values, histories, and identities that defined and connected these communities in the first place. A far-reaching agenda may also obscure the causes that are unique to particular groups.  BDSM is pathologized in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and criminalized under assault and battery law, whereas homosexuality is not. And yet, a heterosexual BDSM practitioner can marry and adopt children, whereas gay and lesbians in many states cannot.

Finally, bringing kink to the fore provides greater potential to challenge the institutions that normalize inequality and structure society. This theoretical rumination and political strategy forces us to question why social structures developed the way they did and whether they need to persist. The LGBT movement has played it smart by highlighting its similarities to the heteronormative majority. We can all agree that the defining marriage as a union between man and a woman, or defining family as two parents of different genders, are merely social constructions meant to preserve status quo and those in power. As I see it, current progress, while noteworthy, is not enough. To be content with the current state of affairs would be satisfaction with immobility in sheep’s clothing.

Bottom line, it may be bondage that is liberatory.

UPDATE: The comments were very negative toward this Op-Ed and the concept that kinky people might need help because they're being persecuted. Several called for the Op-Ed to be removed because it reflected badly on the LGBT movement.

NCSF was raising awareness about this Op-Ed on our Facebook page, and a handful of kink activists began making comments along with NCSF staff. The Op-Ed was deleted from The Advocate along with the comments approximately 12 hours after it was posted.

The entire text of the Op-Ed is above, and you can see it on the Google Cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2012/12/17/op-ed-kink-next-lgbt-rights-frontier

Guest Blog: “BDSM Contracts: When the Law Doesn’t Protect You, Protect Yourself”

on Saturday, 15 December 2012. Hits 1836

By Tiffany D. Jones, M.A.

In BDSM, a slave/master contract is an important element to ensure that parties know and understand their respective rights and responsibilities within the context of their consensual relationship. Further, as experienced practitioners of BDSM well know, the drafting, negotiation, execution, and enforcement of such contracts is part of the fun and fantasy of BDSM.

However, BDSM practitioners should not forget that the legal system will not enforce slave/master type contracts no matter how well and emphatic they are written. Worse yet, some players will inevitably want to attempt to manipulate for their own purposes the language of such slave/master contracts. Thus, it is important for BDSM practitioners to take steps to keep their slave/master contracts confidential and to prevent even those who one day might sign such contracts in earnest, from turning on their play partners when their relationship may no longer be as trusting. Participants who enter into a BDSM contract should only do so if they have the intention of honoring the agreement. However, in the BDSM world as in the real world, things change, feelings change, desires change, circumstances occur, etc.

Moreover, when things are in writing, there are inherent risks that the document, rather than benefit parties, could be used to harm one or more of the individuals in terms of custody, divorce, employment, criminal and civil disputes. Regardless of the motivation for drafting and signing a BDSM contact, think in terms of potential forthcoming problems and as well as unforeseen, individual protection.

Cultural anthropologists can provide insight into protecting identities of subjects. Those involved in BDSM can learn techniques utilized by anthropologists to provide protection and anonymity for themselves. On the one hand, think in terms of ‘protection from others’. What if a child, neighbor or relative has discovered your BDSM contract? What if one party dies? Or what if a family member was searching for evidence to use for a custody dispute?

One way to protect both parties is similar to the protection techniques utilized by anthropologists. Code your contract using code words and lock the code key in a different location. For example, if Zeb signed and dated a contract pertaining to ownership, punishment, servitude etc., those parties’ drafting the contract may use “Green” for Zeb, “moon” for ownership, “banana” for punishment etc. In the event, the signing parties forget the code, they simply find the code key locked away. Any person not a party to the contract would face a challenge proving or decoding its content.

On the other hand, consider the need to protect ourselves from each other. Without being paranoid, and in an attempt to prepare for the worst, consider the issue in terms of assets, children, or other investments. If you have anything to loose, and we all do, consider adding a disclaimer to your contract. Whether you are Leopold van Sacher Masoch or John Doe, a disclaimer on the contract can specify that the contract is null and void by either party at any time, or that the contact is non-binding and up for reconsideration, or that what is stated above is agreed upon by both parties but is for entertainment purposes only and not to be used for legal purposes.

Slave and BDSM contracts are as old as masochism and sadism itself. As risk aware consensual kinksters, we must draft and sign contracts with consideration. Those who enter into contractual relationships must consider the risk of others discovering our rules, and the potential of our partner using our own words against us.

Tiffany Jones, M.A. is a registered psychotherapist and has been a sex and relationship coach for the last 11 years. She started Denver Sexology LLC in 2005 to help individuals and couples who are struggling with intimacy issues and seek to improve their sexual satisfaction. She is a kink friendly professional.

 

Latest Reader Comments

  • in a bdsm community
    it is important to keep verbal abuse and arguments to a minimum.

    bdsm community

    26. July, 2015 |

  • i often think it would be helpful to advise such people in terms they'll understand: if you alienate given sector of the population,...

    Ian

    22. July, 2015 |

  • NCSF posts Media Updates on articles that we want people to comment on. Whether they're positive or negative articles, we help drive...

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    25. June, 2015 |

  • Someone dropped the ball on this whole story. How did he get a license in Virginia with what happened in Florida? Simple. He got the...

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    23. June, 2015 |

  • I agree. I would highly recommend NCSF not repost articles defaming feminists.

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    08. June, 2015 |

  • Females didn't 'submit'. They were overtaken without choice.

    Many anthropological studies fail to mention the native ancient...

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    04. June, 2015 |