Rihanna's latest video for her song "S&M" hasn't even been out for a week, and it's already stirring up a controversy. Due to the sexual nature of the video and its subject, "S&M" has been banned in 11 countries, restricted on YouTube (it's only available if you log-in with an account that proves you're over 18), and pulled from play on some radio-stations until after 7pm. Some radio stations have even changed the name from "S&M" to "Come On."
But seriously, come on! While some critics and fans are outraged by her sexual lyrics and fetish-filled video, I can't help but wonder where the boundaries of entertainment actually stand.
Women are seen as sexual beings, but when they express that sexuality in any way that would make someone uncomfortable, it's not okay. Even recently, the indie film Blue Valentine with Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling came under fire for the scene where Ryan's character performs oral sex on Michelle. We live in a world where it's OK to fellate a man in a movie, but it's not accepted for a woman to receive cunnilingus. Although the NC-17 rating was eventually dropped (thanks to Ryan Gosling fighting for it in the press), it shows that double standards still exist in movies and in music. This isn't 1950!
Rihanna's "S&M" video plays with two concepts: Rihanna's public/private life being slung through the mud (thanks to the press) and Rihanna exploring her playful, sexual side that is turned on by sadomasochism (also known as S&M). Scenes include members of the press with ball-gags in their mouth, Rihanna walking celebrity blogger Perez Hilton on a leash, Rihanna wearing latex while holding a riding crop, and a Japanese bondage scene where Rihanna is tied up. It's a fluffy world of pop art - sexually inspired. The video is colorful and jam-packed with jaw-dropping entertainment.
The season-four premiere of Mad Men didn't just introduce SCDP’s cute new office and Peggy's adorable new haircut, it set up what could be this fetishistic show's kinkiest sexual relationship yet: Don Draper, the “son of a whore,” is regularly sleeping with a prostitute — and asking her to slap him, too. As far as mainstream TV dramas go, this is fairly unprecedented stuff: Masochism is typically treated as joke (Desperate Housewives) or as prelude to grisly murder (CSI). On Mad Men, however, Don’s shocking but brief, slap-happy sexual interlude is not just stratospherically, nakedly Oedipal, it makes sense — both for him, and as a kind of mirror of fans' obsession with the show. Weiner could kill this story line at any minute, but it will be fascinating to see how far he pushes it — and us.
At Duke University, a school that likes to tout its cutting-edge research, a sex toy study being conducted by a behavioral economist and student health workers has roused criticism. For much of October, researchers recruited female Duke students to take part in a "sexually explicit" study on Tupperware-style parties in which sex toys, not kitchenware, are the draw.
For some, even serial monogamy seems too restrictive. The 1970s introduced the concept of "open marriage" in which couples stayed married but were free to date other people.More recently, polyamory -- the practice of having romantic relationships with multiple people at the same time with the full knowledge and consent of all involved -- has been getting a lot of attention.
This Quarter's Newsletter was the most fun to write. It features several different community perspectives, inclduing an article by Catalina Loves, talking about how the NCSF helped her in a critical moment in her life; a youth group in Baltimore that serves to help newcomers find their second skin, Tabu Social Club a success story for the NCSF Incident Response Program and a lively swing community space, and the new changes the NCSF is facing to better serve you resultant from our first ever joint board retreat. This issue is indicative of the new communications you should expect to see from the NCSF, highlighting not just the critical threats facing us, but the joy our community has and the beauty we aim to share with the world--and now with color pictures and more content!
I hope you enjoy, and don't forget that now your stories, your opinions and your writing can be featured in the NCSF blog and newsletter so submit yours to: