Charles Gatewood, the prolific San Francisco based visionary and photographer who was called “the family photographer of America’s erotic underground” died early this Thursday morning, April 28th. He had been in the ICU at SF General Hospital after suffering complications from a three-story fall that tragically ended his life at age 74.
News of his death falls on the eve of the date he took his first published picture of rock musician Bob Dylan, on April 29th, 1966. Gatewood would later say, “Taking the Bob Dylan photo gave me faith I could actually be a professional photographer.” He built his career documenting the antics of the beat generation with Dylan, Ginsberg, and Burroughs, and legends alike, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Joan Baez, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald. His documentation of body modification, fetish, and radical sex communities also paved the way for those subcultures and sex-positive players like Annie Sprinkle to enter into the mainstream.
Family, friends, and fellow artists from around the world are taking to social media to offer their respects and memories of the great photographer:
“Charles was in with the beat generation, not many can say that.” – Bill Macdonald, “Forbidden Photographs”, producer
“He was legendary for his photos of both ‘famous’ counterculture- Burroughs, Dylan, etc… but he was also a true believer in the REAL counterculture- which never makes the headlines- and he devoted his entire life to chronicling all of the gay rights struggles, feminist marches, and subcultural tendencies in in NY and SF, and he was lauded for it.” – Anthony Buchanan, filmmaker
“You will live on forever through your stories, artwork & vision of life. You were a game changer, my friend.” – Jean Jett, model and friend ...
Kinky sex has been around for eons, since long before Richard von Krafft-Ebing popularized the terms “sadism” and “masochism” in 1886 with his seminal work, Psychopathia Sexualis. But for a long time, it hasn’t really been spoken about in polite company. Only recently, with the wildly popular Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, has kink — generally defined as BDSM, which includes bondage, dominance and submission, and the consensual use of pain and humiliation for pleasure — earned a sort of mainstream acceptance. People are now willing to test the waters more than ever before.
Naturally, this is an area rife with misinformation and stigma. That’s part of why the Alt Sex NYC Conference, held last week in New York, was so important. The conference allowed researchers, clinicians, sex educators, and community members to discuss the most up-to-date research on what is known in the field as alternative sexuality (a term which encompasses kink, consensual non-monogamy, polyamory, and non-traditional relationship structures). For a population that has long been misunderstood and marginalized, the sharing of this information was much needed. Presentations ranged from myths about non-monogamy to best clinical practices when working with individuals from the community.
In honor of the conference — I streamed it remotely from Toronto — here are three key insights from the scientific study of kinky sex and non-monogamy.
(1) Swingers don’t get more STIs than everyone else
“Consensual non-monogamy” is an umbrella term referring to relationships in which partners agree that romantic and/or sexual relationships with other people are allowed. This includes swinging (which is primarily sexual in nature), polyamory (which is primarily romantic in nature), and open relationships (which are a mix of both sex and romance).
A frequent theme throughout the conference was the preconceived notion that monogamy is associated with better sexual health. It is widely believed that monogamy prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and many people will say fear of getting HIV is their main reason for not “opening it up.” In theory, this makes sense, considering how nonmonogamous couples are exposed to a greater number of sexual partners (and if those partners are also nonmonogamous, then their partners, too, by proxy). In actuality, though, this isn’t the case, as research has shown that rates of STIs do not differ between monogamous and consensually nonmonogamous people.
The similarity in STI rates between the two groups exists for a few reasons. First of all, nonmonogamous people are more likely to engage in safe-sex practices, such as discussing their sexual history and being tested for STIs (roughly 78 percent compared to 69 percent of monogamous folk). When engaging with other partners sexually, nonmonogamous people are also less likely to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol — substances that can impair one’s judgment and lead to high-risk (or condomless) sex.
By contrast, monogamous couples don’t tend to follow these sexual health practices. They typically stop using condoms as soon as they decide to be exclusive with each other, and don’t often get tested for STIs or discuss their sexual-partner history before doing so. Needless to say, going exclusive doesn’t get rid of any STIs that are already there. This would also suggest that rates of STIs in monogamous relationships are, in fact, underreported.
And although consensual non-monogamy may appear to be driven by reckless passion and spontaneous sexual encounters, a great deal of thoughtful planning and preventive measures are involved. These relationships revolve around consent, transparency, and communication, and — at least in the best cases — any “extracurricular” sexual activities are discussed between partners well in advance to ensure that personal boundaries are respected. ...
If “Fifty Shades of Grey” was meant for the “mom” crowd, then Showtime’s new scripted mini-series “Submission” is for the more adventurous type.
From the mind of acclaimed adult film director Jacky St. James, the six half-hour episodes debuting May 12 dive deep into the world of BDSM. The series follows a young woman, Ashley, who becomes involved with a mysterious erotic novelist, Nolan Keats, after reading his book, Slave.
Anastasia-Steele-turned-up enters into the complex world of whips, chains, swings and more, as she falls into a dangerous love triangle only to discover her own sexual boundaries and the endless possibilities of BDSM.
“Submission” premieres May 12 on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET.
SadistFaction's coffee table is innocuous at first glance, but it's actually one of the most provocative pieces of home furnishing you're likely to ever see. That's because, unlike the generic stuff found in your average furniture outlet, this coffee table is also great for flogging, spanking, and general bondage fun.
These are things the only male, heterosexual professional dominatrix in Montreal needs to consider when he's entertaining company.
The restraints built into the table can be stowed away when more vanilla company is over, as can the whips and other toys on display in the retired teacher's apartment/dungeon. When SadistFaction's non-kinky friends are present, the only hint of sadomasochism is the Montreal Expos memorabilia, a constant reminder of the torture Major League Baseball put the team's fans through.
After first discovering his taste for kink at the age of 12 in the pre-internet 1970s, SadistFaction found kindred spirits through an ad in a swinger's magazine. Guys would get in touch to trade porn tapes; women would write hoping to get a spanking. In the 80s and 90s, he witnessed Montreal's kink scene come into its own as the taboo around BDSM began to lighten.
As more people got involved, though, the need for safe practices and awareness of how consent intertwines with domination also became more important.
"A few years ago, I started hearing these stories of women who wanted to get spanked or tied up but didn't want to have sex. They were placing ads on Craigslist or something like that. And the first thing someone would do is they would tie them up and they would [want to] fuck them, which is not what they wanted. So I decided to see if there was a market for women to pay for domination services."
It turns out that there is a market. SadistFaction charges $50 an hour for teaching services, where in he teaches couples how to safely indulge in BDSM sex.When it comes to actual domination, usually in the form of spanking, he accepts whatever someone is willing to pay. (He's also got some diversity in his portfolio in that he charges to rent out his dungeon to couples or for parties.) ...
See Tristan Taormino's Keynote Speech on NCSF's YouTube Channel
Sold Out Crowd at the NCSF Consent Summit!
The NCSF Consent Summit™ on April 23rd welcomed over 100 people for an all-day discussion about consent at the Center for Sex Positive Culture. The live broadcast of the event drew nearly 50 people who attended throughout the day.
Tristan Taormino's Keynote Speech is posted on the NCSF YouTube channel for everyone to see. The State of Consent Plenary and all three Panel Discussions will be posted over the next week, so tune back in to see what's new.
Smokey the Bear in a cheerleader outfit dances on a table; a pair of snow-white Grimm’s Fairy Tale wolves nuzzle noses, near a black dragon with motion-detecting video pupils. It’s “drag queens vs. furries” night at San Francisco’s maze-like DNA Lounge, but aside from a guy wearing a pompom wig, it’s a neon safari on hind legs.
I’m looking for a purple giraffe named Zarafa. Amid the Grimm’s Fairy Tale wolves nuzzling and about a dozen dogs, cats, foxes, and raccoons, Zarafa stands apart. He discovered the furry fandom at age 52 and now can’t imagine life without it. I thought he might be able to explain furriness, not as a niche subculture, but as an identity—one that for most of his life he’d never had a word for.
After a long and winding search through balconies, stages, bars, dance floors, and back, I finally spot him through the crowd. He extends a squeaky paw, leading me through winding bars and balconies to a quieter room. Contrary to his Kewpie doll eyes and sparkly blue mane, he’s sweaty and a little matted from partying. Walking behind a giraffe at a furry party feels like being Freddie Prinze Jr. in a teen movie: The seas part, dudes give him fist-bumps, girls grind on him and stop him for photos as a club version of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” blasts out from the main stage and the whole place goes bonkers. On the dance floor, I’m literally jumping up and down, because looking at a big smiling Bambi-eyed giraffe with a sparkly blue mane has that sort of effect on you.
Yellow light-up cat eyes emerge out of the darkness, belonging to a cheetah whose paw is waiting for the drop. I’d heard of Spottacus’s beautifully tailored high-tech suits, but it’s impossible to appreciate until you see him move; unlike the standard mascot silhouettes, the thick, realistic Steiff-like fur fits like a second skin. He is magnificent. There’s even something a little sexy about watching a giraffe sidle up and lock hips with an antelope, and the suits, with their broad shoulders and big hands, add some physical heft.
The suits are hot, and furries need to surface for air. But just steps outside the club, the magic fades. Having been warned about excess hugging, I’m surprised to notice that the other furries are a little standoffish. Everybody’s been burned by the press at some point; Zarafa says Fox News once ran the word “FREAK” over a clip of his face, and everyone’s quick to insist that it’s not all about sex, even though I never bring it up.
On cue, a French guy in a leather jacket quietly asks me to explain what’s going on with the suits. I tell him to ask the furries standing in front of us. He refuses. I turn to a white cat in a plaid-skirted schoolgirl uniform, who explains that animal anthropomorphism is a part of who she is. “Yeah, but, you, like, woke up one day and decided this was a thing?” he asks.
The conversation trails off, and soon Spottacus is scrambling to save his tail from some vomit on the street: an occupational hazard. Soon Zarafa experiences one, too; he overheats and faints, sinking in slow motion to the concrete.
We have to break a furry rule: taking off his head.
“Quick!” the cat shouts, and five dogs are on it. The face underneath couldn’t be farther from a cartoon; it’s angular, etched with lived experience, grayish and more threadbare. He reminds me of my uncle or my dentist, but it’s hard to picture him as a “Bob” or “Jim.” ...
Imagine Piper from Orange is the New Black hangs out with the ensemble from RENT except they are all into BDSM and identify with some characters from Transparent- You'd get "Incredible Girl".
We are making a 30 minute pilot for a series called "Incredible Girl" about a Southern Baptist young woman who realizes that her life doesn't make sense for her anymore and finds she belongs in the BDSM (or S&M) community.