When most folks think leather or BDSM — that is, bondage, domination, sadism, masochism — chills might run up their spine. Or, perhaps, feelings of disgust flash through their mind.
It’s that initial, gut reaction that most upsets Pam Payne. She lives in and around Hickory and operates a mentoring program and four-bedroom “halfway house,” so to speak, for people in the leather and BDSM “lifestyles” who find themselves in flux or in need of some extra help. She is a part of the BDSM lifestyle herself and she says her way of living is about much more than images of sexual power, pain and perversion most people ascribe to it.
“It’s not purely a sexual identity,” Payne says in rebuttal to arguments about her life and family. “I’d say its a balance of 50-50 — people who just want to belong on a level that doesn’t exist in the vanilla world.”
“Vanilla” is how Payne describes mainstream society, whether gay or straight.
She says most people in the BDSM lifestyle simply long for acceptance and relationships that matter. “I want to be able to do this for you, give this to you, serve you in this way and, in return, I want you to take care of me in this particular way,” she says, describing a typical relationship which she says is built over periods of months — sometimes years — and depends on negotiation and contract.
Riverfront Times Kendra Holliday is a total slut. Go right ahead and say it — she does. She's not hiding from it anymore.
In some ways, she's always been honest about it. She's unflinchingly blogged every detail of her sex life for years — she's a bisexual, polyamorous, joyously partnered divorced mother, living and writing and fucking (and yeah, it's a lot of fucking) in St. Louis. Her blog, www.thebeautifulkind.com, details all of it. It has made her into a celebrity of sorts. It has cost her a job. She's called it her second partner.
But she's been hiding in plain sight, going to great pains to conceal her name, face and identity on the blog — even as she exhorts her readers to "be open and honest." The blog has become a safe space for sex-positive readers in St. Louis and all over the world to come together. It's created a virtual community, and Holliday and some of her kinky friends want to take that momentum and push the Midwest forward into greater sexual freedom and openness.
And it's hard to do that when you're hiding. So Holliday is coming out. ... The situation is definitely complicated. Susan Wright of the Baltimore-based National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a nonprofit that helps protect the rights of people with alternative sexual interests, applauds Holliday's decision to out herself.
"When people knew people who were gay and were able to think of them as their friends and family, they could think of them outside the stereotype," she says. "We need to get the help of the bulk of Americans who really don't care about other peoples' sex lives, so we can fight against the people who want to legislate morality." But Wright, along with others, can see the point in staying hidden.
"I would use as a caveat: If you are a parent of a child under eighteen, don't come out," Wright says. "You could have a great relationship with your ex — once you go public, they could get blowback from people in their lives and try to get custody. I would discourage it, but I admire it and support her wholeheartedly."
Throughout his journey from Ph.D. student at Columbia Business School to CEO of a bondage-porn empire based in San Francisco, Kink.com's Peter Acworth has had his finger on the pulse of sexual proclivities in America. Here, we ask Peter a few questions about his unlikely rise to Internet-sex power player and what the future holds for a public seemingly addicted to online porn.
Folsom Street Fair poster image draws inspiration from The Usual Suspects
San Francisco, CA - Monday, May 10, 2010 - Folsom Street Events has released poster designs for their annual events: Bay of Pigstm, Up Your Alley®, Magnitude®, and the Folsom Street Fair®. This year, the official Folsom Street Fair poster was inspired by both the film The Usual Suspects and the 2009 police raids on gay bars like the Atlanta Eagle and The Rainbow Lounge in Ft. Worth, Texas. In light of these recent events, the organization felt it was important that the Folsom Street Fair – and San Francisco – highlight issues of crime and punishment in the community. Folsom Street Events sought to juxtapose the crimes of Wall Street (e.g. Goldman Sachs) against behaviors in the BDSM community which may be punishable in some states.
According to Demetri Moshoyannis, Executive Director, "This year’s Folsom Street Fair poster is intended to draw attention to the ongoing discrimination and persecution facing consenting adults who practice BDSM. We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this poster because it maintains the tradition of our trademark cutting-edge commentary on our community within the broader society. We are very much looking forward to producing a fantastic series of internationally renowned events this year."
Mitchell Koonce, Administration and Special Projects Manager, who managed the creative process of producing the poster, commented, "Folsom Street Fair has a custom now of creating posters which are timely, provocative, and address vital community issues and values. At the same time, we like to give it our own ‘cheeky’ spin. With everything that has been happening on Wall Street, we think it is important to spotlight the real criminal behavior in society."
Consensual BDSM can be prosecuted in many jurisdictions under felony laws dealing with assault and sexual abuse with the potential for serious jail time. Criminal laws that are used against consensual BDSM practitioners can include assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sadomasochistic abuse, lewd or lascivious conduct, selling or possessing certain sex toys, kidnapping, rape, prostitution, and trafficking. For many other categories of sex-related crimes, proof of consent defeats the prosecution’s case – not so with BDSM, which is treated as violence instead of consensual sexual conduct.
The criminalization of our communities can also be seen in recent local police actions targeting gay and leather bars. At the Atlanta Eagle, 62 patrons and eight employees were searched without a warrant, reasonable suspicion or probable cause on September 10, 2009. Some were forced to lie face down on the floor for over two hours, and the police used excessive force by bringing in the "Red Dog Unit" which typically deals with crimes such as gang violence. A similar show of unjustified and excessive police force took place during the raid on a gay bar in Forth Worth, Texas on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June 2009. Less extreme but still troubling, some local community members have accused the ABC in the State of California of unfairly targeting gay events and leather bars to seek out "crimes" committed by consenting adults.
This targeting of consensual, adult behavior is often a way of harassing sexual minority communities. According to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), a national organization focused on the sexual freedom rights of alternative sexuality practitioners, numerous BDSM practitioners face criminal charges each year for consensual activity. According to NCSF spokesperson Susan Wright, the Coalition’s help hotline dealt with 106 criminal incidents in 2009. NCSF is actively working to decriminalize BDSM through its Consent Counts Project.
The Folsom Street Fair poster was made possible in part by Brian Mills of Titan Media who brilliantly photographed the images. Titan Media generously volunteered their studio for the photo shoots. Additionally, all of the models volunteered their time, including (in order from left to right): Alix (cow-punk), JR Matthews (rubber cop), Ken (pink furry pig), Sparkly Devil (Betty Paige), Jason (Wall Street guy), Mark (leather daddy), Monistat (drag queen), Mollena (Ms. SF Leather 2009 and International Ms. Leather 2010), and James (uniform/leather man), all of whom brought vitality and diversity to the final image.
Posters for Bay of Pigs, Up Your Alley, and Magnitude as well as Folsom Street Fair are available online at http://www.folsomstreetevents.org. The Up Your Alley poster was illustrated creatively by the talented Rob Clarke (robclarke.net). The Bay of Pigs poster features model Torrez, as photographed by Joe Oppedisano (http://www.joeoppedisano.com). The Magnitude poster features local SF models John, Keith and Mark, as photographed by Brian Mills.
At the time of this press release, Folsom Street Events sponsors include: PRESENTING RECON, NakedSword, Steamworks, Mr. S Leather, Kink.com, Manhunt, and GLOSS; PREMIER Elbow Grease, Blow Buddies; CHARTER ExtremeRestraints.com, TitanMen.com; SUPPORTING The Stockroom, Powerhouse, Gold’s Gym, Adult Friend Finder, StraightHell.net, TheDiscoSF, Past Curfew, and Cruzliner Tea Events; MEDIA Bay Area Reporter/BAR Tab, SF Weekly, SF Station, Frontiers Magazine, GAYVN; HOST HOTELS SF Marriott Marquis, Joie de Vivre, and Renoir Hotel.
Folsom Street Events receives support from SF Grants for the Arts for its top entertainment.
Bay of Pigs – Saturday, July 24, 2010
Up Your Alley – Sunday, July 25, 2010
Magnitude – Saturday, September 25, 2010
Folsom Street Fair – Sunday, September 26, 2010
About Folsom Street Events
Folsom Street Events® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that produces four fetish events annually: Bay of Pigs, Up Your Alley, Magnitude, and Folsom Street Fair. The mission of Folsom Street Events is to create volunteer-driven leather events that provide the adult alternative lifestyle community with safe venues for self-expression while emphasizing freedom, fun, frolic and fetish and raising critical funds to benefit local charities. In 2009, Folsom Street Events marked the 26TH Folsom Street Fair with nearly 400,000 attendees and over $333,000 donated to charity.
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.
Which means it’s especially helpful at KinkForAll, a conference about sexuality’s more intricate possibilities. Attendees, whose name tags feature blog pseudonyms or Twitter handles, deliver 20-minute presentations on everything from the logistics of orgy participation for oral-herpes sufferers to the latest in “teledildonic” technology. (Another session, about the importance of keeping one’s “real life” and “kink life” separate, explains why KinkForAll participants’ full names won’t be revealed here.)
DSM-IV, which was published in 1992, defined kinky behavior as a “paraphilia,” a fancy word for any path to sexual arousal that’s not standard foreplay. The language of DSM-IV “is unclear and sometimes contradictory about whether a paraphilia is a disorder,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), an advocacy group for the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. Although the language hasn’t been finalized, it’s looking as if DSM-V, which will be published in 2013, will make it clear that a person can be kinky without having a disorder.