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NCSF History

Hard at Work to Defend Your Rights

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) was formed in 1997 by a small group led by Susan Wright under the auspices of the New York SM Activists. The goal was to fight for sexual freedom and privacy rights for all adults who engage in safe, sane and consensual behavior.

The first five organizations who joined reflected our desire to be a nationwide organization:

  • National Leather Association—International
  • Gay Male S/M Activists
  • The Eulenspiegel Society
  • Black Rose
  • Society of Janus  

Today, NCSF has over 50 Coalition Partners who elect the board that runs NCSF, and establish our goals at the annual Coalition Partners meeting. Coalition Partners are groups and businesses who serve BDSM, swing and polyamory practitioners and also support NCSF by holding an annual fundraiser. NCSF also has over 50 Supporting Members – groups and businesses that support NCSF.

Over the years, NCSF has formed alliances with other organizations that defend sexual freedom rights: Free Speech Coalition, the ACLU, American Association of Sex Educators Councilors and Therapists, Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance, among others.

 NCSF Timeline FINALlores s

First 5 Years: 1997-2001

1997 NCSF formed as a sexual freedom advocacy organization directed by 5 BDSM groups.

1997–2017 Launched Incident Response program to directly help people who are being discriminated against for being kinky.

1997–2017 Launched Media Outreach Project and began giving interviews to educate about BDSM, and training people to speak to the media about sex and BDSM.

1997-2017 Launched the Media Updates to track BDSM in the media and to alert constituents to write in to media outlets to correct the stereotypes.

1997-1998 Conducted a national survey on Violence and Discrimination against BDSM practitioners.

1998-2017 Assisted multiple communities throughout the U.S. related to event and venues being shut down, criminal prosecutions and pressure on hotels not to host BDSM or kink events.

1998-2017 Developed Resource Materials for individuals and groups related to child custody and job discrimination.

1998-2017 Began presenting at professional conferences: Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality; American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists; World Congress on Sexuality; Creating Change; Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

1999 Won Pantheon’s Best Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award for 1999.

1999-2000 Lobbied to change the alcohol regulations in DC to allow BDSM and sex in venues serving alcohol.

2000-2017 Launched a national law enforcement outreach program and soon expanded it to include educational outreach programs (EOP) to educate kinky people about the law and how to run events and set up groups/clubs.

2000-2006 Filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Government regarding the constitutionality of the remaining portion of the Communications Decency Act.

Second 5 Years: 2002-2006

2002 Expanded the mission to include the Lifestyle, non-monogamy and other alternative sexuality groups.

2002-2017 Formed a legal advisory committee and legal research staff.

2002-2006 Fought a series of attacks against BDSM conferences by Concerned Women for America, American Family Association, and the American Decency Association by lobbying state officials and through a public education campaign.

2002-2006 Successfully lobbied the big hotel chains – Cendant and Intercontinental Hotels – to allow BDSM conferences to take place in their hotels.

2003-2017 Launched a line of NCSF merchandise.

2003-2017 Launched the quarterly NCSF Newsletter that contains updates on NCSF’s projects and programs.

2005-2017 Formed the NCSF Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit, by acquiring the Institute for 21st Century Relationships.

2005-2016 Supported Free Speech Coalition in filing a constitutional challenge to injunction against U.S.C. 18, Section 2257 requiring websites to provide proof of age for sex-related photos.

2006-2017 Acquired the Kink Aware Professionals database and expanded it to include a wide range of professionals worldwide.

2006 Hosted a Leather Caucus at the Creating Change conference that resulted in the community-wide Consent Counts Project.

Third 5 Years: 2007-2011

2007-2017 Assumed responsibility for the community-wide Consent Counts Project.

2007-2010 Started the Sex-Positive Journalism Awards.

2008 Conducted the second Violence and Discrimination Survey and three other surveys related to alternative sexuality.

2008-2013 Launched the DSM-5 Revision Project to depathologize BDSM in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

2008-2017 Developed a state-by-state database of assault, sexual assault and related offenses, researched all relevant case law related to BDSM and produced resource materials and educational programs for Consent Counts.

2011-2013 Developed a community-wide Consent Statement.

2011-2017 Developed social media programs and started discussion groups on FetLife.

2011-2017 Developed informational resources for victims of domestic violence, those accused of assault and for groups and individuals related to consent policies and violations.

2011 Successfully lobbied to introduce modified legislation in CA related to strangulation laws that might impact BDSM practitioners (CA SB 430).

The Fourth 5 Years: 2012-2017

2012-2016 Conducted five surveys related to alternative sexuality and consent issues.

2012-2017 Launched a Media Kit targeting reporters researching 50 Shades of Grey and BDSM.

2013 Achieved success in its DSM-5 Revision Project to depathologize BDSM in the American Psychiatric Associations’ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

2013-2014 Filed an Amicus Brief in an Appellate Case (U.S. vs. Miles).

2015 Launched Consent Month in September.

2015-2017 Launched the American Law Institute project to change the Model Penal Code on sexual assault and related offenses to include BDSM activities.

2016-2017 Started an outreach program to victim advocates and began giving the IPV and BDSM webinar around the world.

2016 Held a national Consent Summit in Seattle, WA.

2016-2017 Launched the Sexual Freedom Resolution and began signing on national mental health organizations, institutions and professionals.

2016-2017 Appointed regional and special NCSF Advocates who speak about NCSF.

2016-2017 Became a co-sponsor of the Journal of Positive Sexuality.


We Need You! 

ACT Now - Support NCSF!In the past decade, alternative sexual expression has become much more visible to the general public. As we continue to move into the streets of mainstream America, we face an increasing number of attacks against our right to freedom of sexual expression. While the battles that NCSF has waged have been successful, our resources are depleted. will continue to defend against these attacks, but the success of that fight depends on your support. You can provide that support by becoming an individual member of NCSF, volunteering to join the NCSF staff, making a donation to NCSF, or encouraging your group to become a Coalition Partner of NCSF.


How You Can Help

    • Work to change antiquated laws
    • Work to change the social climate about sexual issues
    • Promote acceptance of safe, sane, and consensual alternative sexual practices among consenting adults
    • Oppose censorship of consensual sexual expression
    • Fight for freedom of academic expression about sexual issues
    • Help communities and individuals facing the threat of prosecution or legal action
    • Support the right of adults to express their sexuality, gender identity and orientation freely and openly without fear
    • Learn more about NCSF

Why You Should Care

Because your sexual expression...
  • Can result in discrimination, prosecution, and even violence against you
  • Can cause you to lose your children
  • Can cause you to lose your job or your income
  • Can lead you into a maze of antiquated laws and regulations you never even knew existed
  • Is arbitrarily criminalized by state and local authorities
  • Is used by the radical right to marginalize minority groups
  • Can result in the invasion of your privacy by the government, both within your own home or in educational, social and group environments