I’m not quite sure how to say this, so I’ll just come right out with it: Washingtonians are kinky.
Based on a 2014 report, more than 11,000 residents in D.C., Maryland and Virginia participate in BDSM. Based on population size, this makes Washington, D.C., the kinkiest place in the nation.
California based pornography giant Kink.com recently published an article rating the 10 kinkiest cities in the U.S. It listed D.C. as number five based on porn consumption habits. I spoke with Mike Stabile, Kink.com’s communication director. He explained that Kink’s article used data on users of Kink.com combined with data from FetLife.
So is D.C. the capital of kink? And if so, what does that say about us? ...
A changed stance
For years, the American Psychiatric Association categorized people who participated in BDSM as mentally ill.
“It really had a chilling effect on everyone who was kinky," says Susan Wright, the founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. “It really kept us isolated. It keeps people from coming out because there is such a stigma.”
She created the coalition in 1997 to advocate for consenting adults with sexual interests outside the mainstream. And after more than a decade, her hard work paid off. In 2010, the psychiatric association changed its stance.
"They came right out and said kinky people are perfectly mentally healthy.”
In the D.C. region, there are more than 10,000 people who practice BDSM, according to a study last year examining social network use. So why is it so popular in the nation’s capital?
"I think that politics is about power and how you wield that power and in a lot of ways so is kinky sex. Its about the power exchange," Wright says. "So its really no wonder to me that people in D.C. are into BDSM."
For many, she says, the BDSM lifestyle is more like a sexual orientation than a choice: “People’s sexual desires are as individual as a fingerprint.”
Two dominatrix pornographers have become the first adult filmmakers to fall foul of strict new regulations governing online pornography.
In December hundreds of pornographers took part in a “face-sitting” demonstration outside of parliament to protest against new rules which brought niche internet porn in line with DVD sales in sex shops.
They said the rules effectively banned a range of sex acts on film, including face-sitting, strangulations, canning and spanking.
Now, a ruling from the television on demand regulator has found that videos from professional dominatrix Megara Furie and a Welsh dominatrix operating under the name Mistress R’eal were in breach of the new guidelines.
In the first ruling of its kind, the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod) found that sites run by the two dominatrix filmmakers breached rules designed to prohibit scenes that range from detailed portrayals of violence to scenes of criminal activity.
According to Atvod “banned pornographic material” on the websites included “heavy whipping likely to cause lasting physical harm, the infliction of pain on a person who appears unable to withdraw consent, and repeated strong kicks to the genitals which appear to draw blood.”
Critics of the new rules have long argued online viewers of niche pornography are still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, and new rules amounts to “arbitrary censorship”, while Myles Jackman, a British obscenity lawyer said that the case showed regulators were “making up their interpretation” of obscenity laws “as they go along”.
A spokesperson for Backlash UK, which is campaigning to defend freedom of sexual expression, added: “Atvod have erected themselves - pun intended - as the UK's Pornfinder General…. The sole purpose of this new puritanism is mass control and surveillance, under the pretence of protection. “ ...
'Like the WWE...kids don't try this at home. I just want to be treated like every other extreme performer,' Santos told Dailymail.com
There is a fine line between what's acceptable and taboo in the practice of S&M in which partners consent to test one another's limits.
And now an anesthesiologist named Dr. Edwin Perez is defending his right to perform a controversial bloodletting practice at an event called Cirque De Plasir in New York, after an anonymous party attendee has demanded that he stop.
The party guest witnessed Edwin Perez engage in a practice called 'arterial tapping' at a recent event and it chilled her to the bone.
The S&M act is performed by the dominant party who hits his submissive partner's artery in such a way that he can control his or her blood flow.
'Some people just do blood play where they just get some kind of rush out of releasing blood from their arteries,' said the fetish party attendee to NBC.
She criticized the demonstration in which Santos, a name Perez uses when he is performing, splatters his submissive partners blood onto a canvas.
She said that because Perez is an anesthesiologist the act of bloodletting is disturbing.
'I think there’s definitely more of a shocking aspect that [he is] a doctor who took a Hippocratic Oath to help and heal,' she said.
'It just seems so contrary to his profession.'
DailyMail.com spoke with Dr. Perez who said his activities at parties have absolutely no place in his professional life. Perez is an anesthesiologist who practices in Newark, New Jersey.
Perez is active in the S&M community and says he and his submissive partner don't just do arterial tapping at parties but they do it at home as well.
Perez reiterated the fact that his partner enjoys the activity and that he would ever hurt any of his patients.
'Basically I present myself as Santos to the public and perform with others. I never present what I do for a living except to people that ask me privately,' said Perez of his sex party alter ego.
'I also perform with my personal partners. The girls that I date or have dated. We do these things in our personal life as well,' he added.
Santos says that the blood splatter painting from the party has been hanging in his date's room since the event.
He also says that he warns other against doing what he does, especially if people do not know what they are doing.
'Like the WWE...kids don't try this at home. I just want to be treated like every other extreme performer. It just turns out that I have a day job.' ...
MADISON, Tenn. (RNS) Goodpasture Christian School sits on a sprawling, bucolic campus seven miles north of downtown Nashville, where 900 students ready themselves for adult lives of college, career and loving the Lord.
Right next door sits the United Fellowship Center, a planned church where adults will ready themselves to have sex with each other after enjoying a little BYOB togetherness.
It’s the newest incarnation of The Social Club, a whispered-about swingers club in downtown Nashville that left for the suburbs when a building boom took its parking lot. The community went bonkers after zoning hearings revealed the club’s plans to relocate in a former medical office building in Madison — adjacent to Goodpasture and within a mile of an Assemblies of God megachurch.
After months of debate, an emergency city zoning amendment and a state law designed to stop the relocation, the club’s attorney made an announcement: The Social Club would open in its new location as a church.
Protection via the First Amendment effectively silenced zoning complaints — for now. But it sparked conversations about what it means for a secular organization suddenly to label itself a church, and religious scholars seem no more ready to plunge into that debate than American courts have proved to be.
“When I see this case, I do roll my eyes, but I also know Protestant Christians in America don’t own ‘church,'” said Kutter Callaway, assistant professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.
“What is a church, what’s the point of it, and why have we as a society said religious groups are exempt from things other groups aren’t? Those are really core questions. We don’t get to them, because we founder upon the rocks of politics and legalese.”
The church’s attorney, Larry Roberts, makes clear that United Fellowship won’t seek nonprofit status — removing its exposure to a 14-point list that the Internal Revenue Service uses to determine whether an enterprise is religious. Members will pay about $150 a year to belong, plus a per-visit fee, he said.
When The Social Club first announced its plan to move to Madison, remodeling plans for the new space submitted to Metro Nashville’s zoning department labeled two rooms as dungeons. Now, as United Fellowship, those same rooms are labeled “choir” and “handbells.”
Roberts said members can bring their own alcohol, and if they show up and want to have sex, they’ll have to take it off campus. United Fellowship Center doesn’t align itself with any world religion, and its belief system is brief: “Do not steal, do not lie, do not cheat, do not take the life of another, do not commit adultery — without the knowledge and consent of your spouse,” Roberts said.
The debate gives churches the opportunity for some introspection, said Craig Detweiler, a communication professor at Churches of Christ-affiliated Pepperdine University. For example, he asks, when buildings house coffee shops, bookstores or gyms, are those part of the church — or are they not another form of social club?
“The swingers club may be gathering to worship the body,” Detweiler said. “But what does it mean to be the Body of Christ? Maybe we need to redefine why we gather. … Perhaps this is a post-Christendom moment that we’re in.”
After all, he noted, the Apostle Paul advised the Corinthians on how their church should stand out from temples where patrons had sex with prostitutes to get closer to God. ...
Natalie Bennett has told PinkNews her party is open to polyamorous marriages and civil partnerships - how would that work in practice?
By Anna Leach , Federica Cocco
It took decades but eventually gay marriage was legalised here in the UK.
So what's next? How about three-way unions?
The leader of the Green Party was asked if the party would do anything to further the rights of people in three-way relationships, specifically allowing them to marry. And Natalie Bennett said the Greens would be up for legalising three-way marriages.
In fact allowing three way marriages would solve several of Britain’s big social problems
1) Housing has become increasingly expensive. Mortgages would be a lot cheaper if you could share them three ways.
2) Your children’s university fees. The price of higher ed has rocketed up. Getting three earners to contribute could help fund many extra kids through uni
3) In-work poverty – add one extra income and you’ll lift thousands out of poverty.
But it might be a bureaucratic and legal challenge, if the Greens ever manage to get it passed.
Challenge #1: It's expensive because marriage couples enjoy state benefits
Polyamorous unions are illegal in our country unless you are domiciled in a country where polygamous marriage is permitted.
So if you come from one of the countries in blue, you move to the country with your spouse and your second spouse also moves here with, say, an employment or a student visa than congratulations! You're a legally recognised polyamorous household.
This means when you claim Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit and Housing Benefit as a three-way married partnership.
HOWEVER you don't get as much money:
"For income-replacement benefits such as income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and income-related employment and support allowance, the husband and first wife claim as a couple. Subsequent wives receive an additional sum which is less than the single person rate. These benefits are only payable for wives residing in Great Britain."
That's what Chris Grayling - then Conservative Minister for Employment - told Parliament in 2011.
And there are more exceptions: a wife in a polygamous marriage currently doesn't have the right to a state pension on the basis of her spouse’s contributions; while tax credits also recognise polygamous unions, mainstream tax doesn't; once fully rolled out Universal Credit rules will not recognise additional partners in polygamous relationships. ...
Listening to people describe their initial discovery of FetLife, the social network for those interested in the BDSM lifestyle, is not unlike listening to the newly converted describe their spiritual awakening. When the website launched in 2007, many who had never disclosed their sexual predilections felt free to do so in what they perceived as a digital safe space. FetLife soon became the home for kinky people seeking like-minded friends and partners, local event listings, and a forum to discuss BDSM in non-judgmental spaces.
But as many users learned last February, FetLife was also the home of an unsophisticated code that left its user data vulnerable to collection and re-publication elsewhere. The incident shed light on a number of FetLife's failures to protect its users. More broadly, the security leak was a reflection of how best practices around safety, privacy, and communication are inconsistently enforced on the site.
The most recent incident started when a man named Mircea Popescu published a blog post titled "The FetLife Meat List—Volume I," which he promised would be the first of several posts featuring a searchable list of female-identified FetLife users under the age of 30. The list contained the FetLife users’ usernames, ages, preferred BDSM roles, and number of FetLife friends, as well as their sexual orientations and locations. The post also included something of a preemptive FAQ about the list, in which Popescu claims the leak was motivated by a desire to call FetLife to task for “putting up the pretense of a ‘fetish for security,’” a reference to a message that shows up on the site when a user signs on for the first time.
While Popescu’s claims about FetLife’s lax security measures were valid, his decision to target women under 30, identify them as “meat,” and bemoan the “alleged abundance of tail” on FetLife in the post belies less than noble motives. But because he wasn’t actually breaking a law by leaking the information, he has already posted up to Volume IV as of April 25.
Of course, Popescu is not a sympathetic character in this story. But the ease with which he exploited the site’s vulnerabilities and FetLife’s subsequent failure to take meaningful action sheds light on the site’s history of turning a blind eye to abuses of people they claim to support.
While BDSM pops up in mainstream culture from time to time, it still remains largely misunderstood and frequently stigmatized. Until 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classified a number of BDSM behaviors as inherently pathological, and BDSM remains largely illegal under US law. Simply having a FetLife account is not necessarily identifying oneself as a practitioner of BDSM, as the site can be used anonymously with non-identifying email addresses and usernames. But it is still a powerful medium for connection.
“FetLife can be hugely important to someone who is feeling isolated. Facilitating community is a huge service. And ‘coming out’ can be a matter of liberation,” says Tanya Bezreh, who studies disclosure and communication in BDSM. “But there are dangers, and it's a question of risk tolerance.” ...
Last summer, at a friend’s birthday, a man sat next to me, explained that he’d heard I was polyamorous and asked if we could talk about it. He proceeded to explain that he’s a poly person at heart, but that his partner would never go for it: that’s why he cheated on her. I asked if he’d tried communicating about the kind of relationship he really wanted. No. He couldn’t. His partner was too traditional, too closed-minded. I asked how he’d feel if she became romantically involved with someone else. This was a moot point – she would simply never do that. Oh dear.
Polyamory is usually described as ethical non-monogamy – that is, non-monogamy with the consent and knowledge of all involved. But, of course, there are infinitesimal interpretations of that. Whose ethics? Which actions need consent? What exactly do we want or need to know?
It’s not always easy to define exactly what polyamory is, but it’s pretty easy to say what it isn’t. Poly isn’t cheating. It isn’t lying. It isn’t a disregard for the agreements you share with the people you love. And it certainly isn’t positioning monogamous people as more blindly traditional or less emotionally evolved than you.
Despite my interlocutor’s unfortunate attempt to use poly identity as an excuse for shitty treatment of his girlfriend, the conversation did raise an interesting question for me. Are some people “poly at heart” while others are fundamentally monogamous? Is poly something you are, or something you do?
As an academic who’s read too much Judith Butler, I tend to consider action and identity in the same breath. I think the actions we perform over time become our identities. There’s no “deep down”, there’s no “at heart” – rather, if you act mean all the time, then you are mean; and if you act kindly, you are kind.
According to this theory of identity, everyone has the potential to be monogamous or polyamorous. But, given that monogamy is socially sanctioned, while there’s much suspicion and judgment around polyamory, it’s interesting that people end up “acting” or “being” poly at all. Perhaps, like sexual orientation, there’s a genetic component to poly preferences. Certainly – whether because of life experience, biological drive or a combination of both – some people are more drawn to polyamory than others.
Serial monogamy characterised my early romantic life, as it does for many people. By 19, I’d already had four “serious” relationships, each lasting between six and 18 months, and each pursued with the unwavering belief that I’d found my one and only true and lasting love (again).
However, around that time, I also had a period of polyamory. I had no word for it but, for a while, I was dating two people, who were aware of each other and who seemed content to date me anyway. “Emer’s got a boyfriend and a girlfriend!” my friends teased, remarkably cool about my queer polyness in an Irish town where the majority would have prescribed immediate and urgent exorcism. And, as lucky as it was that I managed to count some of the most supportive people in Galway as my besties, it’s also pretty interesting that I found my way to something resembling polyamory in the first place. After all, there’d been no signposts: I’d never seen poly relationships on TV or in real life.
Looking back, I wish I’d had a word. And more: some stuff to read – a copy of What Does Polyamory Look Like? or a poly web-comic such as Kimchi Cuddles. I lacked the tools I needed to communicate and behave in loving, respectful ways; to do poly right. And, unsurprisingly, I made a balls of everything. Like monogamy, poly needs work. But, perhaps unlike monogamy, it also helps to have some theory. You can’t just imitate the patterns you see around you. ...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Is it a church or a swingers club posing as a church? That’s the big question posed Monday by the councilwoman who represents the Madison district.
The question comes in the wake of a once-proposed swingers club, The Social Club, filing paperwork to renovate the building to become a church.
News 2 learned more about the church Monday, called United Fellowship Center, and how easy it is to become a minister.
In a March 25 interview with the property owners’ lawyer, Larry Roberts told News 2, “My clients pulled a permit for a church.”
But many are skeptical, including District 8 Councilwoman Karen Bennett.
“Do I really think they are a church? Not really,” she said.
Bennett received an advance flyer for the church, which says it will be honoring all yearly subscribers and members of The Social Club. The flyer for the United Fellowship Center said men are charged $50 and women $20.
It also states the center believes that “we are children of the same universe,” where everyone is welcome, including Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, agnostics, pagans and wiccans.
The church’s primary belief is to “do only that which is right.”
“If you have researched constitutional law in Tennessee, a church is something you cannot regulate,” the attorney told News 2.
According to Bennett, the owner of the building has become an ordained minister, a process online that takes less than a minute and requires nothing more than a name and password.
“Churches have a lot of rights, but it is also federally regulated,” she said. “They certainly have their right to become a church; they just need to make sure they follow guidelines. ...