BDSM Romance Fifty Shades of Gray is a National Phenomenon
March 4, 2012 -- Everyone is talking about the run-away success of the novel Fifty Shades of Gray by E. L. James, the first book in a BDSM romance trilogy. On March 1st, 2012, the novel hit #1 on the Amazon ebook bestseller list in the genre, romance and erotica categories.
The book got a big boost from The Today Show, with supervising producer Joanne LaMarca saying, “I downloaded a copy and don’t think I put it down until I finished it, despite what the pilot on my flight to Florida said. I can say, along with many other women I’m sure, that reading this book is very good for your marriage!"
In a segment televised on Today on March 2, 2012, sexologist Dr. Laura Berman touted the appeal of submission: “Now we’ve moved on to a new generation where women are more empowered than ever before, the glass ceiling has been broken, and we have as much control as we want—and what are we longing for? A little bodice-ripping.”
NCSF supports the open discussion taking place about Fifty Shades of Gray, and celebrates the fact that acceptance of kinky sex between consenting adults is taking place. NCSF has worked hard to educate the media and the public about BDSM, and the benefit of having responsible, healthy sex through negotiation, communication, trust and honesty.
The only sour notes were sounded by Today’s Chief Legal Analyst Savannah Guthrie, and Dr. Drew Pinsky, who called the BDSM romance “violence against women”:
“But there is something about this. It’s not just a matter of steamy sex scenes. The context is this bondage, this submission, and frankly stripped bare: violence against women,” said Guthrie.
“It does disturb me actually… the swept-away fantasy is a common fantasy but as you’re saying, Savannah, it’s going beyond that into violence against women,” said Pinksy.
The voice of reason was relationship expert Dr. Logan Levkoff who said, “I’ve read these books. I don’t see these particular books as violence against women.” She added, “The community has very organized rules. It’s consensual. Let’s be clear, this does not depict rape or anything like that.”
See the video on: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/46602040#46602040
NCSF believes that adults who engage in BDSM with other consenting adults, as well as those who just want to fantasize about roleplay and power dynamics, should not be stigmatized. Experts who voice their opinions on television should make the distinction that consensual sex is good and nonconsensual sex is violence. Until that happens, the BDSM community will continue to be discriminated against and persecuted because of the misconception that we are violent people.
If you'd like to let Today know your opinion, write to: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/29041920/ns/today-today_participate/t/email-today/#.T1OLHPUzB8E
NCSF Launches the Next Chapter for Consent Counts
February 27, 2012
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) announces two new publications as part of its nationwide campaign, Consent Counts. The Consent Counts Project was launched by the BDSM-leather-fetish communities in 2006 to decriminalize consensual BDSM in U.S. law by ensuring that consent will be recognized as a defense to criminal charges brought under assault laws and other statutes. "For the past 18 months, NCSF's Consent Counts Project has almost exclusively focused on the legal and policy issues surrounding decriminalization of BDSM activities," says Leigha Fleming, NCSF Chairperson. "We have learned that the Consent Counts project also needs to do more to work within our own communities to better understand and articulate what consent is and to better educate about the importance of prior informed and ongoing consent."
NCSF is proud to announce the publication of two new guides "The Aftermath: A guide for victims of sexual assault and/or intimate partner violence in the BDSM community," by Natalie Quintero, and "When the Levee Breaks: A guide to dealing with and avoiding arrest and prosecution in BDSM scenes." "The Aftermath" is a compilation of advice that is regularly provided to victims who ask for help through NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response project. This guide will educate anyone in the BDSM community who has been victimized on what one might expect to experience after an assault, what one's options are, things to consider when weighing options and making decisions on what to do next, what one might expect if one decides to report the experience, as well as the resources available to assist in coping with and healing from abuse.
"When the Levee Breaks" is a companion to the NCSF publication, "The Aftermath," and is a guide to provide a perspective for those who have, through mistake, misunderstanding, or a fleeting lapse of reason, committed an act of criminally actionable sexual assault. It is not intended to provide a defense for indefensible acts. "When the Levee Breaks" also provides information on how to better protect oneself against arrest and prosecution.
Both guides are now available on the NCSF website: www.ncsfreedom.org/consentcounts.html
You can join the NCSF Consent Counts community at FetLife to talk about these two new NCSF guides online! Join our Consent Counts group www.fetlife.com/consentcounts to discuss issues of consent with kinksters both in the US and around the world."Sexual abuse and intimate partner violence are a real problem in the kinky community. The nature of BDSM greatly increases the importance of having a clear definition for consent when addressing these issues - both inside our community and at the legal and legislative levels," says James Lennon, VP of FetLife. "That's why FetLife has decided to partner with the NCSF on the Consent Counts project. Together, we can make the BDSM community a safer place for everyone."
"The Aftermath" and "When the Levee Breaks" are only a couple of the tools developed by NCSF as part of our Consent Counts Project. In the coming year, Consent Counts will be presenting continuing legal education (CLE) programs to attorneys, prosecutors and law students, and participating selectively with "friend of the court" briefs in legal cases.To date, the Consent Counts Project has completed a review of the relevant laws in all 50 states and on the Federal level, and has developed educational programs and outreach materials. These resources, including a state-by-state guide of relevant consent related assault laws, the appellate legal cases involving criminal prosecution of BDSM as assault as well as some of legal cases relevant to the alternative sexuality communities have been posted on the NCSF website under Resources,
The final piece of the expanded Consent Counts project will be released by March 15, 2012. To facilitate a community-wide discussion on and about consent, Consent Counts has created a Community Discussion Guide and a survey that groups, munches, individuals and events around the country can use to create a framework for the thoughtful examination of the nuances of consent.
In an indictment rendered by a Grand Jury in the Western District of Missouri on September 9, 2010, five Missouri men allegedly participated in torturing a mentally disabled woman online or in person over a multi-year period when the victim was between the ages of 16 and 24. Among the charges are: Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud or Coercion, Forced Labor Trafficking, Transportation for Sexual Activity, and Conspiracy. The allegations involve sex with a minor, drug and firearms possession, forced prostitution, sexual abuse, and torture to the point that the victim suffered a heart attack.
These activities should not be confused with consensual BDSM. People who engage in BDSM and other similar activities do so as consenting adults and in a safe, sane, and consensual manner. BDSM activities are not violent specifically because all participants can stop any time they wish. Millions of people engage in BDSM: according to the Kinsey Institute’s New Report on Sex, between 5-10% of the adult population engages in BDSM on at least an occasional basis.
NCSF strongly condemns criminals who commit violence and engage in non-consensual activities. We encourage the media to remember that the large community of consenting adults who engage in BDSM activities should not be conflated with these alleged crimes. Ordinary people do BDSM – parents, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. But because of the stigma against BDSM, most people are closeted and don’t speak out about their interests because they fear condemnation and discrimination.
To read the Federal Indictment:
The NCSF is committed to creating a political, legal and social environment in the US that advances equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternative sexual and relationship expressions. The NCSF aims to advance the rights of, and advocate for consenting adults in the BDSM-Leather-Fetish, Swing, and Polyamory Communities. We pursue our vision through direct services, education, advocacy, and outreach, in conjunction with our partners, to directly benefit these communities.
NCSF's Communications Decency Act lawsuit with Barbara Nitke made history by challenging the Miller standard of obscenity as it applies to the Internet.
Media reports covering the Communications Decency Act lawsuit launched by co-plaintiffs NCSF and Barbara Nitke: