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"Panel addresses BDSM myths"

on Thursday, 09 February 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News, Media Updates

Yale Daily News

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.” ...

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