Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Poly Songs and Videos of Note

It's always fun to encounter the artistic results of creative poly minds. In addition to the kinky poly long-time favorite "Polly Wally" (see below), recently two newly released videos have captured our attention. Just in time for Christmas, some very clever Australians released The Twelve Poly Days of Christmas. (You can find the lyrics here.)




The second is All my Lovers by Black Tape for a Blue Girl (Lyrics follow below)






And of course, as referenced above and likely the best known Poly video of all, there's Polly Wally.



Hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

12/15 IS THE DEADLINE: Nominate ITCR, NCSF and LovingMore for Charitable Giveaway

AdultFriendFinder and Alt.com are giving away $200,000 by year end to worthy charities, and ITCR, the foundation of NCSF , and LovingMore need your nomination. TODAY IS THE DEADLINE!

You can create a free profile on AFF and Alt.com, which will then allow you to post your comment in support of these, hard-working, volunteer-staffed organizations.

Mention NCSF's much-in-demand services to polyfolk who are facing child custody battles, and about ITCR's education outreach program to marriage and family therapists in order to improve availability of poly-friendly, swing-friendly and kink-friendly therapists.

While you're at it, mention LovingMore and its excellent work, especially it's highly successful media outreach efforts to help the world understand and accept polyamory as a valid alternative to monogamy.

Please tell them know that LovingMore, NCSF and ITCR are important to you! You can make a nomination or agree with an existing nomination.

Vote at Adultfriendfinder here.

Vote at Alt.com here.

Thanks a bunch, and happy holidays!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Taking Marriage Private

There's an important Op-Ed in today's NY Times by the fabulous Stephanie Coontz called Taking Marriage Private in which she advocates for the ending government's role in marriage. Coontz is a well-known author and commentator on family matters in western society. She has testified before Congress as an advisor on family matters, and her opinion on this specific matter will carry a lot of weight.

In 2004, she received the Council on Contemporary Families first-ever "Visionary Leadership" Award. She serves as a marriage consultant to The Ladies Home Journal.

From her website:

"Stephanie Coontz teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and is Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families, which she chaired from 2001-04. She is the author of Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage, (Viking Press, 2005), The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (1992 and 2000, Basic Books), The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families(Basic Books, 1997), and The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families.

One of her biggest contributions is the debunking of the nostalgia surrounding the concept of the "nuclear family", i.e. one man and one woman married for life with two kids and a dog and the white picket fence, as the ultimate form of family.

What has this to do with polyamory? I am convinced that it is the only way to even the playing field that at present unfairly grants benefits to couples that other committed partnerships are denied.

For a more detailed treatise on this subject, see the 2006 visionary statement entitled Beyond Same-Sex Marriage - A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships which advocates for:

Ø Legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families – regardless of kinship or conjugal status.

Ø Access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital government support programs including but not limited to health care, housing, Social Security and pension plans, disaster recovery assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.

Ø Separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and recognition of relationships, households and families.

Ø Freedom from state regulation of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities and expression.

Poly Jealousy Survey Participants Needed

Rachel Clark is a final year Applied Psychology student at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and is conducting research concerning jealousy in polyamorous relationships. Her survey is limited to questions for people who use the primary/secondary relationship structure, I imagine for good reason, since polyamorous relationships take so many forms that the data would be difficult to quantify without such specifics.

If you are in a poly relationship and use the primary/secondary model, please take a few minutes and complete the survey - it's vitally important to learn more about jealousy in poly relationships, since this is understandably the highest hurdle to cross in making polyamory work for the average poly person. You can find the survey here.

This research is especially important to me as a poly educator who regularly presents programs on resolving jealousy in polyamorous relationships and who is making plans to write a book on the subject in 2008. If this subject interests you, feel free to download my handout and bibliography on it here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Margo Explains

I'm happy to say that advice columnist Margo, on whose advice to a poly woman I recently commented, has posted a follow-up in her latest column on the offense many polyfolk took at the tone of the advice given. I very much appreciate her going to the trouble to clarify her remarks and her open minded, realistic point of view.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What I Find Exciting About Polyamory

Recently Crabmommy commented on Miriam Axel-Lute's excellent essay, And Baby Makes Four, in which Miriam talks about the benefits of poly parenting. Several of us responded with information about polyamory in general as questions by other commenters were posted. We polyfolk were focusing on the practical benefits of polyamory, but Crabmommy wanted to hear about the exciting stuff, stating that calendars and scheduling sounded very boring and like a lot of work. And of course, we polyfolk had intentionally not focused on sex when explaining our relationships.

Since Crabmommy was so respectful and seemed so sincere in her interest, here's how I responded.

It's exciting to be loved by more than one person. It's amazing to have the ardor of more than one, have more than one who is happy to kiss you hello, happy to cuddle with you, and yes, happy to make love with you. It's very validating. And it helps a lot in that we don't end up in the rut many find themselves in in long term monogamous relationships, no matter how committed and generally satisfied we are with that partnership.

Especially when we are getting involved with someone new, we have all the same falling in love excitement (we call that new relationship energy). That excitement follows us home to our existing relationships and often recharges them as well. We are grateful to our existing partners for their generosity of spirit in being willing to share us, and that enhances the existing relationship even more.

And yes, making love with and being pleasured by two people creates a lot more sexual energy and powerful loving feelings than we experience with one. This is not to put that down, one-on-one sex has it's own charm and intensity and is plenty gratifying for plenty of people, myself included. Most poly people still have sex the majority of the time with only one person at a time. Some never have sex with more than one at a time and conduct their relationships separately. That's certainly true for me and my partner these days.

It's exciting to be in relationship with someone who doesn't want to own you and who doesn't have excessive expectations about your meeting all their needs all the time, someone with the confidence to give you the gift of freedom to love others without being threatened. It's not always easy, but those who succeed at this eventually get to that point, and it's a powerful bonding experience when they do.

After having been cheated on in a former marriage, it is also exciting to me to know that the trade off for sharing my partner with others is that he's never going to cheat on me and I don't have to worry about going through that kind of betrayal and heartbreak again. There's no reason for him to.

For some it's exciting to have an extended family, a "bouquet of lovers" as Morning Glory Zell, the person who coined the term "polyamory", referred to it in her excellent essay of that title, penned in 1990. We and our partners gather with their partners for holidays, birthdays, commitment ceremonies, and so forth. It's sort of an instant group with whom to party and celebrate.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NCSF Media Update

I'm a former board member of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a wonderful and worthy organization that supports polyamorists and other sexual minority groups. I'm also co-founder of it's foundation, The Institute for 21st Century Relationships.

One of NCSF's many services is it's regular media update, which is always informative and offers regular opportunities for writing letters to the editor and to journalists and includes instructions for effectively doing so. See the end of the article for further instructions.

Here's the current NCSF Media Update.
November 12, 2007

1. Sex school? Class dismissed
2. Forget the Pulitzers -- 'The Sexies' Want Your Best Work
3. Sex Toys 101
4. Loyola University pulls student mag's sex issue
5. Sex-Related Injuries
6. A Different Sort of Ball
7. Cheap date -- what to do?
8. The Pleasures and Dangers of Bondage
9. Bob Shell apologizes for photos, not death
10. The Sex Police

NCSF Media Updates represent a sampling of recent stories printed in US newspapers, magazines, and selected websites containing significant mention of SM-leather-fetish, polyamory, or swing issues and topics.

These stories may be positive, negative, accurate, inaccurate - or anywhere in between.

NCSF publishes the Updates to provide readers a comprehensive look at what media outlets are writing about these topics. NCSF permits and encourages readers to forward these Updates where appropriate.



Sex school? Class dismissed:
Gallery proprietor plans to challenge eviction notice over kinky seminars
by Joseph A. Gambardello
The Philadelphia Inquirer
November 10, 2007

A Rittenhouse Square co-op board is terminating the lease of an art gallery that is staging a show called Red Hot and featuring seminars on such subjects as Basic Bondage and Spanking 101.

Perry Milou, who operates Galleria 1903 at 1903 Walnut Street and is one of the exhibiting artists, said yesterday he plans to challenge the decision to end his lease.

In a letter dated Nov. 6 and now displayed in a larger form in the window of the gallery, the Rittenhouse Plaza Co-op Board gave Milou the required 90-day notice that his lease would be terminated.

Stanton Oswald, the co-op board's president, did not immediately respond to messages left at his office and home yesterday. But he told 6ABC this week it was the seminars - not the art - that prompted the action.

"This is not what we lease the space for," he said. "This is not normal activity for - quote - an art gallery."

Milou said the four-day show, which ends tomorrow, is a celebration of "love, marriage and relationships."

He said that if he had staged a baseball art show featuring seminars by members of the Phillies, he would not have received a termination letter.

"It's obvious that there is discrimination of people's sexual preference going on here, there's discrimination of the erotic art," he said.

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here.
To respond, write to the author here or the editors here.


Forget the Pulitzers -- 'The Sexies' Want Your Best Work
by Joe Strupp
Editor & Publisher
November 8, 2007

NEW YORK - They will probably not get the prestige of the Pulitzer Prizes, but the new Sex-Positive Journalism Awards, which announced a call for entries this week, may well tap into a news criteria unacknowledged in the past.

The creation of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, the Center for Sex and Culture, "Babeland," and journalist Miriam Axel-Lute, the awards seek to "promote fair, accurate, and non-sensationalized coverage of sexual topics," according to a release that dubs the prizes, of course, "The Sexies."

"To hear some people tell it, all of 'the media' is a degenerate, sex-drenched affair. But although there's plenty of talk about the sex lives of celebrities and a willingness to use a scandal to sell a paper, when you get into the content of actual news stories, things often take a turn for the Puritanical: Soccer moms' fabricated allegations about kids being exposed to nudity in a hotel hosting a swingers conference get printed as fact and never retracted," the release states. "Religious minorities are assumed to speak for all religious Americans, or even all Americans, when it comes to whether "abstinence" should be the teen sex-ed gold standard. Usual standards of fairness and objectivity fall prey to reporters and editors' squeamishness."

Organizers are asking potential entrants to submit their nominations here.

"For the past decade, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has dealt with media reports that include sensationalized and false information about sexual issues," says Susan Wright, NCSF spokesperson. "These articles cause harm by encouraging discrimination and persecution of adults who engage in consensual sexual expression. NCSF is proud to support the Sexies and sex-positive journalism in America."

Winners will be chosen by a group of judges that include syndicated columnist Dan Savage; Carol Queen, PhD; Liza Featherstone, journalist and author of "Sex, Lies, and Women's Magazines"; Jack Hafferkamp, a former journalist, journalism professor and co-editor/publisher of LIBIDO: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility; Judith Levine, journalist and author of the award-winning "Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex"; Doug Henwood, contributing editor to The Nation; Marty Klein, PhD, certified sex therapist and author of "America's War on Sex"; and Claire Cavanah, an activist, writer, speaker, and educator in human sexuality and a founder of babeland.com.

The Sexies will be given for articles in four categories: news, feature, opinion, and "unsexy." The first three categories have four divisions each: daily newspaper, weekly or biweekly newspaper, online news publication, and sex- or sexual orientation-themed news publication (any print medium).

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. To respond, write to the author here or to the editors here.


Sex Toys 101
by Lucy Moore (opinion column)
Student Life (Washington University in St. Louis)
November 6, 2007

While browsing the Internet, you might ask yourself if you have checked Facebook in the last twenty minutes or if you have visited 'I Can Has Cheezburger' to your satisfaction. Or, alternatively, you might ask yourself, "Is a vibrating penis ring what I need?" In the event that you find yourself shopping for sex toys, there are a few things you need to know.

Sex toys are not necessary to have pleasurable sex. But if you're interested in enhancing pleasure, toys and other sex aids can be useful. There are several categories to choose from. At a basic level, you have your male pleasure, female pleasure, and co-ed pleasure toys. There are toys for any level along the BDSM spectrum (Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism and Masochism). There are also toys that enhance lubrication, heighten arousal points such as nipples and provide tickling sensations.

Interested in exploring sex toys? My recommendations are to try a small ribbed silicone vibrator for clitoral stimulation during sex, sensual massage oil (like Victoria's Secret's Mood in Succulent) for lubrication, warming and other foreplay, and/or the traditional set of handcuffs for role-playing or light domination (just don't lose the key!).

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. To respond, write to this address.


Loyola University pulls student mag's sex issue:
'PORNOGRAPHIC' Nude drawings too much for Jesuit school
by Dave Newbart
Chicago Sun-Times
November 4, 2007

On the front cover of the recent issue of Diminuendo, Loyola University's student literary magazine, a pencil drawing depicts the body of a woman wearing nothing but electrical tape on her nipples, straps across her body and panties with the word "slut'' on them.

Inside the magazine, another drawing shows a nude woman in high heels penetrated from behind by a naked man.

The student editors chose the pictures to illustrate their recent issue devoted to the topic of sex, which they said was a taboo topic at the Jesuit school.

But the issue caused such a firestorm that the religious leaders of the school ordered the magazine pulled from news racks across campus -- something officials say they've never before done to a student publication.

Members of the largely female staff of Diminuendo defended their decisions to publish the images -- which also included a variety of poems, essays and other pictures -- even though they knew they were pushing the envelope.

"We were just talking about sex,'' said editor in chief Bre Kidman, 19, of Rhode Island.

Both sides accuse the other of disrespecting Jesuit values: [Rev. Richard] Salmi, [Loyola's vice president for student affairs] said the drawings don't show "dignity and respect for others,'' while editors question whether the school is limiting free and open discussion.

Before editors decided to devote three of this year's issues to the separate topics of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, Kidman said she wasn't sure most students even knew her quarterly literary magazine existed. It operates from a cramped room in the basement of the student union on $7,500 from the student activity fund.

They received 60 submissions to publish in the 32-page, black-and-white glossy. Student Ashley Davis submitted five drawings, including the one that ended up on the front cover, another showing the back of a woman's body in a dominatrix outfit and the picture of the couple having sex. Two other drawings she submitted -- including one depicting oral sex -- were rejected for publication.

Davis, 19, an international studies major from Portage, Ind., admitted she "wanted to spark controversy'' because "so many people are afraid to talk about sex.'' She said the underwear worn by the woman on the cover was something she has seen for sale at mainstream shops.

"I don't think of slut as a degrading term,'' she said. "It's someone who enjoys their sexuality.'' She said the art depicted women engaged in consensual sex and also in a position of power."

The uproar, she said Friday, "is a little ridiculous.''

"Labeling the woman a 'slut' as the cover does, I think, demeans women,'' said Salmi, who years ago worked as a domestic violence counselor. "I personally feel that these kinds of images lead oftentimes to abuse.''

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. To respond, write to the author here or to the editors here.


Sex-Related Injuries
by Katherine Oyster
Manitou Messenger (St. Olaf's College, MN)
November 2, 2007

One of the best things about sexual activity is that it is very physical. Sex quickens the heart rate, increases breathing and, if done vigorously enough, can actually be considered a form of cardiovascular exercise. However, like any other contact sport, what makes sex fun also makes it dangerous.

Allow me to introduce a new term to the St. Olaf Campus - sex-related injury (SRI). An SRI is a specific malady that is an instant and obvious effect of nookie. SRIs can range from the mundane to the meriting of an ER visit. They are also always fun and awkward to explain.

SRIs are nothing to be ashamed of. They can occur for a multitude of reasons: you experimented with a position that didn't work, you or your partner are inexperienced at sex, you and your partner are into S&M (sadism and masochism for those of you playing the home game) or you were just too caught up in the moment to notice risky sex behavior. Do not assume that you suck at life or in bed because of an SRI - anyone who plays the game chances an injury. Think about how many injuries or maladies you see on different Ole's bodies throughout the day - I guarantee that at least some of them are SRIs.

So, the next time you encounter an SRI on another, be as sensitive, understanding and non-judgmental about it as you can. It's simply luck of the sexual draw. And your own number might be up sooner than you think.

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. To respond, go here.


A Different Sort of Ball:
Alternative music, lifestyles explored in leather and latex
by Kurt Brighton
Fort Collins Now (Colorado)
November 2, 2007

Leather and latex and spanking - oh my!

We're definitely not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. In fact, conservative Sen. Sam Brownback of the Sunflower State would probably have a heart attack on the spot if he saw what was going on at the Fetish Ball, the latest incarnation of which is taking place at Club Osiris on Sunday, Oct. 28.

The ball is at 9 p.m. at the Fort Collins club, 2649 E. Mulberry St.

The event is a celebration of various alternative lifestyles, featuring darkwave goth/industrial DJs spinning their happy-go-lucky music and several wandering dominatrixes plying their trade. Sunday's event will also include a demonstration of shibari, a form of traditional Japanese rope bondage. And although the show promises to bring out all sorts of costumed leather and latex enthusiasts, organizers say that it's also about educating and enlightening those of us who aren't quite ready to don a leather corset - at least not yet.

"We have a very diverse crowd at these events", said Sarah, an organizer who declined to give her last name due to family and job concerns. "Some people participate, others just observe, some people dress up, where others dress casual. Either way, everyone is welcome".

In addition to making even the, er, under dressed feel welcome, the show's performer-participants are also careful about just how much they include newbies in the evening's festivities. Mistress Jae is one of the dominatrixes who will be attending, and she said she gets volunteers at every show who want to try a little spanking.

Jae won last year's Miss World Leather title - sort of a darker version of Miss America for leather enthusiastsband she spends much of her time traveling around the country to appear at various events like the Fort Collins Fetish Ball. But in addition to providing a bit of safe titillation for gawkers and leather fans alike, she said her mission is mainly to educate people about alternative lifestyles.

"It's about being an activist and helping young adults learn about alternative lifestyles", she said. "I'm out there demonstrating techniques, and showing that it's fun. Traditionally it's been people in their '30s, '40s and '50s getting into the lifestyle. Now, though, we have younger people getting into it, and I want to help them find out what resources are available out there, and show them ways to be safe".

Even if you're pretty sure that spanking and leather aren't for you, the Fetish Ball is a way to check out what normally goes on behind closed doors in a fun, safe environment. Besides, as Mistress Jae might say, how can you know won't enjoy it if you don't try it?

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. To respond write to this address.


Cheap date -- what to do?
by Jocelyn Voo CNN.com
November 2, 2007

Anna Hake, 24, and her boyfriend were hunting for some interesting -- and inexpensive -- ways to spend time together. Their solution: making a date to attend the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, touted as the world's largest showcase for S&M products and culture.

"We walked by a table with floggers and whips on it, and the guy running the booth encouraged us to give it a try," says Hake, a nonprofit organization program coordinator who lives in San Francisco. "We both looked at each other and were, like, 'When in Rome...' "

Though the couple decided it ultimately wasn't for them, the experience was memorable.

"We may not be into bondage," Hake says, "but it was good for bonding."

And all it cost was a small donation that benefited local nonprofits.

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. To respond, go here or comment at bottom of the article.


The Pleasures and Dangers of Bondage
by Tristan Taormino (opinion column "Pucker Up")
The Village Voice
October 29, 2007

Last week, the autopsy report was released for Rev. Gary Aldridge, who died in June of accidental asphyxiation while engaged in self-bondage and autoerotic asphyxiation. By now, you've probably heard something about the pastor of Thorington Road Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, who was a friend of Jerry Falwell and was found dead in lots of rubber with a butt plug in his ass.

There have been plenty of blog entries about how he was yet another closeted, kinky, conservative hypocrite who preached salvation but practiced sin. But in reading the details - especially from the coroner's report - I was struck by something else: Man, this guy was really into bondage. He was found alone wearing two rubber wet suits, a face mask, a rubber head mask, rubber underwear, diving gloves, and flippers; the various ways he was restrained seem to indicate he was hogtied, which is difficult (but not impossible) to achieve by yourself. He was definitely not a novice bondage fan.

So, it seems, he died doing something he loved. Some people put themselves in bondage because that's their turn-on, but it's much more often a two- (or more) person sport. I wonder if Reverend Aldridge did it by himself because he couldn't bear the shame or potential exposure of sharing it with someone else. If he could have found someone to share his kink with, he might still be alive.

When many people recall their first experience of bondage, it usually reaches all the way back to childhood. As part of cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, or another kids' game, someone had to be restrained at some point. You'd grab a necktie or a belt or something from one of your parents' closets and tie up the bad guys. Some people look back on those experiences as fun memories; bondage enthusiasts usually remember the first time they were tied up (or tied someone else up) with a lot more detail and glee.

Browse a list of workshops at a BDSM event and you'll see just how popular and varied bondage can be: rope bondage, suspension bondage, Japanese rope bondage, metal bondage, bondage for sex, decorative bondage, creative bondage, head and face bondage, genital bondage, hand and foot bondage, body harnesses, latex bondage, and predicament bondage. Google the word "bondage" and you'll get about 32 million links. According to Alexa, the kinky bondage site Hogtied.com (which is owned by Kink.com) has more traffic than MSNBC.com.

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. To respond, write to the author at this address or to the editors here.


Bob Shell apologizes for photos, not death
by Shawna Morrison
The Roanoke Times (Virginia)
October 27, 2007

RADFORD -- The Bob Shell trial was different from the start, with bondage photos displayed on the courtroom wall, a model dead of a morphine overdose, and the stark reality that it was all happening right on Main Street.

The trial continued to have its moments as Shell was formally sentenced Friday to 32 years and six months in prison -- plus a $5,000 fine -- in the accidental 2003 death of 19-year-old Marion Franklin.

Before Circuit Court Judge Joey Showalter imposed the jury-recommended sentence, Shell, a photographer with an extended following, took the stand and apologized -- not for Franklin's death, but to anyone who may have been offended by his erotic work. Some of that work was displayed in the form of four hours' worth of sexually explicit videos during his August trial.

"I never would have wanted that material shown before a public forum in any way," he said.

"Is that your biggest concern?" Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Rehak asked Shell during cross-examination.

Shell also said he wanted to convey to Franklin's family how much he shares in their grief over her death. If he'd realized how serious Franklin's drug problem was, he said, he would have pushed harder for her to get treatment.

"He's not accepted responsibility," Rehak said after the hearing.

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. To respond, write to the author at this address or the editor at this address.


The Sex Police:
An anti-porn crusader wants Kansas City juries to redefine what's obscene
by Justin Kendall
The Pitch (Kansas City, MO)
October 25, 2007

A post-lunch porn rush is under way at Hollywood at Home Movies and Magazines. A few men ranging in age from late 20s to upper 60s pass by the new releases and classics in the front of the Overland Park store. Over the course of an hour on a Tuesday afternoon, men march up the stairs at the back of the store, push through the see-through, baby-blue curtain and enter a tiny room dedicated to adult magazines and videos. They browse the movie titles, flip through the magazines and, eventually, drop $7 apiece to rent videos for four nights.

On September 25, a Johnson County grand jury indicted the video store on misdemeanor criminal charges of promoting obscenity. The store's alleged crime was renting out four allegedly obscene movies - Don't Kiss Me I'm Straight, Hellcats 12, Anal Machines and Real Female Masturbation. A man who gave his name as Sean O'Cleary rented the videos in late August and never returned them. He had paid a $100 deposit and, later, called to tell the store that he'd turned the films over to the grand jury.

The grand jury handed down 15 obscenity charges against the store and three other Johnson County businesses. They're accused of renting out racy videos, selling sex toys and displaying obnoxious Halloween costumes.

Johnson County isn't alone. Citizen petitions have forced grand juries to convene throughout Kansas. This grassroots effort is the work of Phillip Cosby, a Ned Flanders look-alike and anti-pornography crusader. The 56-year-old retired Army master sergeant is the zealous leader of the Kansas City office of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families.

Cosby calls sex shops "an open sewer," "a moral cancer" and "a wicked stronghold." He has cautioned that "a tsunami is hitting our community." He blames the sex industry for causing rape and pedophilia. (Violent secondary effects of porn consumption have been widely discredited.) He has even coined a pet name for businesses that sell adult videos or sex toys: SOBs - an acronym for "sexually oriented businesses."

The coalition's vision of community standards may not be representative of Johnson County, as a trip to Hollywood at Home and the other accused stores implies. Still, Cosby's Kansas City pornography jihad will serve as a test run for the rest of America: If he successfully shuts down the metro area's porn shops, the national office will wage similar holy wars with porn stores across the nation.

But Cosby's efforts are toothless. The Kansas obscenity statute that Cosby relies on has been ruled unconstitutional, and the stores he has targeted can beat the charges - if they choose to fight.

Cosby's strategy is possible thanks to a Kansas law that allows any citizen to convene a grand jury.

Cosby declined to discuss his strategy with The Pitch for this story, citing the paper's "bent." "We're not really moving in the same direction," he said. "I know you believe what you believe, and I believe what I believe, and I think we're just not a good fit."

After the indictments were issued, Cosby claimed in news reports that law enforcement officials were "breathing a sigh of relief" and referred to himself and his followers as "the cavalry."

It's unclear whether law enforcement considers Cosby "the cavalry." Of the dozens of stores that Cosby has targeted over the years, none has closed its doors.

[continued]

To read this entire article, go here. Respond to this address or comment at bottom of article.



HOW TO WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Feedback letters are an effective way to convey a positive image of alternate sexual practices such as SM, swinging, or polyamory. You can help to correct negative social myths and misconceptions about these types of practices. These letters help achieve the advocacy goals of the NCSF.

Generally, for a letter to be published, it's important to include your name (or first initial, last name), city and daytime phone (for verification only). For more information, go here.

Please alert us to positive, negative or neutral stories about SM, swinging and polyamory by writing to us at this address.
Comments to the editor of this Update may be sent to this address.

###

A project of NCSF and ITCR: The Foundation of NCSF

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is a national organization committed to altering the political, legal, and social environment in the U.S. in order to guarantee equal rights for consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual expression. NCSF is primarily focused on the rights of consenting adults in the SM-leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities, who often face discrimination because of their sexual expression.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
822 Guilford Avenue, Box 127
Baltimore, MD 21202-3707
410-539-4824
Write to us at this address.
Visit NCSF here

Friday, November 2, 2007

Polyamory Watch - a Resource for Proponents of Traditional Marriage

Maggie Gallagher, the woman who Stanley Kurtz made very happy with his slippery slope argument against same-sex marriage, operates the conservative Institute for Marriage and Public Policy based in Manassas, Virginia. Maggie and her cohorts have been belly up to the feed trough of your and my federal tax dollars pretty much since George Bush took office. They use our money to oppress stable, healthy, loving homes and families that don't look like they think they should, which is basically anything that isn't one man, one woman, til-death-do-us-part monogamy.

Maggie Gallagher, with Kurtz's support, is, have no doubt, the chicken little of the debate on marriage and public policy, and she has taken to including a section in her daily postings called "Polyamory Watch" in which she provides links to on-line news articles that reference polyamory.

Many polyfolk want nothing to do with the mainstream and prefer to stick their heads in the sand in hopes of continuing to exist under the mainstream radar. If ever there was a sign that doing so is no longer possible, it is that there is now a regular feature on the website of a hugely well-funded organization that thinks polyamory is enough of a threat to marriage to warrant its own special reporting section. I don't know whether to be pleased or appalled, but I'm definitely not surprised.

There is Such a Thing as Bad Publicity

Over the last couple of days the online poly community has been buzzing about syndicated columnist Margo's response to a letter written by a poly woman. It's not at all positive, and as we usually hear when polyamory and its believers get mangled in mainstream media, some polyfolk have trotted out that old saw about there being no such thing as bad publicity. Others say it opens an opportunity for public discourse.

But this is NOT such an opportunity, because there is no way to respond that will be published. Margo's inaccurate and snarky statements just sit there in this instance for all to see with no opportunity for public debate. Sure, we can have an interesting discussion about it within the poly community, but we are preaching to the choir. And writing to Margo to enlighten her is all well and good, but she's not likely to amend her remarks. The best we can hope for is that she speaks more knowledgably and fairly if and when the subject comes up in her column again.

It's a mistake to rationalize away our discomfort by saying there is no such thing as bad publicity. There's a big difference that makes it not true for sexual minorities, who are already publicly skewered and the subject of strong bias and condemnation such as in this situation. Yes, it's good to have people who are open minded hear the term polyamory anytime. That part can be positive if they then seek out information and resources, but there is also considerable reinforcement for harsh judgments about polyamory at play. Respected public figures and pundits hold a lot of sway in terms of how they influence public opinion, i.e. if Oprah or Dr. Phil say it, then it's true. That saying applies more accurately in neutral circumstances where public opinion is not already very negative based on public taboo and the inherent nature of the behavior to which a substantial number of people already object.

In some circumstances there IS such a thing as bad publicity - like being a congressman and being outed as a regular seeker of sex in men's restrooms in airports, for example. I don't mean to come across as defeatist here - we aren't defeated. We push forward, and some will temporarily push us back, or try to, at which time we speak up and point out the inappropriateness of the push back. Ultimately we will find more tolerance and acceptance as time passes, but public advocacy for sexual minorities and the winning over of the hearts and minds of the public is not a linear process. The fewer times respected opinion makers speak against polyamory, the faster our progress will be and the less work will have to be done to achieve it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sugasm 103 and the US Constitution Erotic Coloring Book

So I submitted my post on abstinence-only sex ed to this week's Sugasm - glad to be able to contribute something practical and constructive to that excellent sex-positive forum. I also got a kick out of the US Constitution Erotic Coloring Book - see below.

Check out Sugasm 103 - highlights below.

This Week’s Picks
Urgent

The Man From Del Monte Says…Yes, Yes, Oh God! YESSS!

Traveling the road, Sharing a load, Side by side

Mr. Sugasm Himself
The US Constitution Erotic Coloring Book

Editor’s Choice
Dinner Date: Part 1

More Sugasm
Join the Sugasm

See also: Fleshbot’s Sex Blog Roundup each Tuesday and Friday.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Senator Cardin Supports Fact-Based Sex Ed

Last week I posted here urging everyone to register their support for cutting federal funding of abstinence-only sex ed programs. I did so myself, and the following is what I received today from Maryland Senator Ben Cardin - I've always thought well of him, and now I think even more of him.

Senator Cardin (or more likely an aide) wrote:

Dear Ms. Wagner:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about federal funding for abstinence-only sexual education. I too am concerned with the inefficacy of abstinence-only programs, and have long supported a more balanced approach to sexual education that promotes scientifically accurate information about contraception, abstinence, and the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

As a provision of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress mandated a federal evaluation of the Title V Abstinence-Only Education block grant program. The study, which was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., found that youth in abstinence-only programs were no more likely than control group youth to remain abstinent . Meanwhile, numerous studies have affirmed the effectiveness of a broad-based and balanced sexual education that teaches about the proper and responsible use of contraception as well as abstinence.

Yet, as in past years, President Bush's proposed FY 2008 budget would significantly increase funding for abstinence-only education to $191 million. I will urge my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services to spend our taxpayer dollars on more useful and science-based sexual education programs. Please be assured that I will also continue to fight against the encroachment of politics into policy decisions that should be based on the best available science.

I appreciate your letting me know of your interest in this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me again about this or any other issue of importance to you.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Having Your Kate and Edith, Too (plus your Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice and ...)

...is it normal for me to both want to seek loving relationships, and at the same time also desire more casual things? Is this taking "slut"hood to an extreme? Am i just a ho?
(Asked in an e-mail list discussion this week by a woman who lamented the struggle to reconcile her sexuality with societal norms.)

Ah the challenges of being a whole sexual being in a sex-negative culture! The answers depend on how you define normal. Normal doesn't always equal healthy, as it does not in this instance. As practices go, it is not especially normal in our society to act on the desire to have both committed sexually intimate relationships as well as more casual sexual encounters, because for centuries we've been taught (or more accurately, manipulated into believing) that sexual freedom is wrong, bad, sinful, unhealthy, etc., ESPECIALLY for women.

According to cultural anthropologists and biologists it is exceedingly normal for humans to pair bond non-exclusively. As humans evolved, non-exclusive pair bonding became ingrained deep in our DNA, a compulsion that historically supported the conceiving and raising of children at least until they are weaned. That's the pair-bonding part. As to the non-exclusively part, we are also compelled behaviorally from time-to-time to have other lovers. All of this is nature's way of better enhancing the likelihood of the survival of the species, i.e. by both pair bonding for the raising of children, but not so exclusively that we pass up opportunities to share our reproductive resources with others as well.

If you'd like to learn more about this, read the works of anthropologist Helen Fisher.

So, that's all well and good, but how do we reconcile our desires with the sex-negative culture in which we are all so thoroughly marinated? With polyamory still in the very early stages of becoming known in the mainstream, this is a challenge that practically all people new to polyamory face. The only one who can decide what works individually are the individuals who are affected. I personally don't think this woman has anything to be ashamed of so long as she always acts as lovingly and honestly as she can with her relationship partner(s) and herself. People who embrace their sexuality are to be admired, not criticized and villified. Bravo to her for being true to who she is and doing her best to live her life with authenticity.

And by the way, she is not at all unique in her desire for both multiple committed romantic relationships and lighter sexual ones. There are plenty of poly/swinger hybrids like her out there. A friend of mine calls them swollies. And with all due respect to my beloved poly community, I must say that when it comes to being whole, sex-positive women, few women embrace their sexuality as fully as do women in the swing community.

Bottom line - it's all good.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Abstinence Only Sex Ed On the Ropes?

I have strongly opposed abstinence-only sex education ("AOSE") ever since the concept was introduced over ten years ago and the federal government began provided funding for it. Over the time this program has existed, it has been repeatedly proven to be ineffective, thereby abandoning young people by leaving them on their own to learn how to protect their sexual health and prevent pregnancy. Sadly, without the facts many mistakes are made, some with life-altering results, or worse.

AOSE is also a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars and clearly panders to religious conservatives who continue to insist that they have a right to dictate what the American people do in the privacy of their bedrooms.

Right now you have a very valuable opportunity to express your support for significant funding cuts to this irresponsible, ill-conceived program, cuts now under consideration in the US House and Senate.

In just a couple of minutes you can send an e-mail to your senator and representative expressing your support for these funding cuts by going here. Advocates for Youth makes it easy for you - all you have to do is supply your address, and they look up your congressional representatives for you and address form email to them that you can edit as desired.

More details about what's happening here in Washington on this subject below - thanks for making your voice heard!
---------------------------------------------------------------

October 2007

WE DID IT!!!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yesterday, conservative Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) withdrew his amendment to increase funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and the Senate finally approved its fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill. The approved bill calls for a $28 million cut in the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program. Once again common sense has prevailed. But our work isn't over!!

Senate supporters are working hard to keep the CUT in the final bill. But they need your support!

Three months ago the House of Representatives approved a $28 million INCREASE for the CBAE program, even though a 10-year evaluation revealed that abstinence-only programs don't work. (Click here to read more.)

Now, the House and Senate have to agree on a final bill. Negotiations are moving quickly. The final bill could be voted out and on the President's desk by November 1st. Take action today!

Young people deserve accurate and complete information to help them make responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

Please tell your representative: It's time for a change -- Support the Senate's abstinence-only-until-marriage $28 million cut!

Sincerely,
Sonya Clay
Domestic Policy Director
Advocates for Youth

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sugasm #101

I'm in Sugasm again under the heading of Sex News & Reviews for my review of Poly Pride in New York City.

The following is just a sampling of the blogs Sugasm has recognized this week - follow the link for "More Sugasm" below to see it all, in addition to the picks included below.

This Week’s Picks
[XXXXXX] Sex
“As he brings me there, his hands and mouth on me are rougher and rougher.”

Romeo and Juliet: A Different Perspective
“Catherine!” Elizabeth gasped between her thighs. “You are like heaven’s own scent.”

Summer of Content
“Under the cover of my long skirt, my legs are spread for him, and I’m dripping over his fingers.”

Mr. Sugasm Himself
How to Hide Your Porn

Editor’s Choice
Tease

More Sugasm
Join the Sugasm
See also: Fleshbot’s Sex Blog Roundup each Tuesday and Friday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Polyamorous" as Metaphor

"Motorola’s polyamorous relationship with most members of the mobile software ecosystem is pretty confusing. It’s got its recently-renamed Motomagx Linux…."


This is not the first time I've noticed the word "polyamorous" being used as metaphor or analogy in news and reviews. I imagine that the writer is familiar enough with the term to use it in hopes of also sending a message that they are hip to the latest social trends. Since the linked article came from a tech-focused website, it's probably not a surprise with so many polyfolk being employed in that sector.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Family Law Academic Acknowledges Significant Difference Between Religious Polygamy and Polyamory as Regards Public Policy

Canadian Law Professor Lorraine E. Weinrib's column, Second Opinion, published today online at LawTimesNews.com includes the following statement, the first of its kind I've seen that recognizes the legitimacy of the interests of polyamorists in public discourse and debate over marriage rights as they apply to same-sex marriage, religious polygamy, and the slippery slope to polyamory as defined by Stanley Kurtz.

In forging public policy, it is important to distinguish between polygamous marriage within authoritarian religious communities and polyamorous relationships. The latter do not necessarily pose harm. They presumably involve mature, informed, and consenting adults, who have access to reproductive health information and health-care services, full exit rights, and access to enforcement of the relevant legal entitlements and protection.

It is heartening to now see that family law academics are publicly and knowledgeably identifying the significant differences in the context of public policy between the non-egalitarian ways of religious polygamy and the egalitarian ways of polyamory. These differences matter significantly in human rights terms.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Loving More Event November 3, 2007


Now that the LovingMore organization has become a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit, it is expanding its horizons and broadening its appeal. One way it is doing so is by hosting one day hotel-based seminars called "Loving More Loving Choices" that focus more exclusively on the practicalities of forming and conducting polyamorous relationships.

The next Loving More Loving Choices seminar takes place at the Clarion San Francisco Airport on Saturday, November 3, 2007. It's a great opportunity for those who:

* Can't spare an entire weekend to attend a retreat;

* Can't afford the price of attending an entire weekend retreat;

* Are mainstreamers who aren't interested in nudism, swinging, BDSM, tantra, etc.

* Are new to polyamory and find the idea of attending an entire weekend retreat overwhelming.

LovingMore intends to hold these one day seminars all over the country, so don't forget to check back with their website - they're planning to schedule at least one of them on the east coast in 2008.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Poly Pride NYC was Fabulous!




I had a truly wonderful time in NYC this weekend. I was invited to speak as a polyamory activist at Polyamorous NYC's annual Poly Pride Celebration on the great hill in Central Park. What a tremendous day - great weather and even greater friends. I estimate that about 150 people attended and enjoyed the entertainment and speakers.

I call the subject of my address, "The Polytics of Polyamory". You can read my remarks here.

Many thanks to Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski for the super massive cuddle party Friday night. What a playful, loving, vibrant bunch of people there were getting their cuddle on, and Reid and Marcia really know how to set the tone.



Birgitte Philippides is the organizer of this event, and the NY poly community is fortunate indeed to have her in its midsts. Her hard work and dedication paid off big time. I was her guest for the event, which offered me an opportunity to get to know more people than perhaps I would have otherwise, including .....





The Wet Spots, a/k/a John Woods and Cass King. They were the featured entertainment at the poly pride after party held Saturday night at the NYC LGBT Community Center, conveniently located right in Birgitte's west village neighborhood. They certainly surpassed my expectations. I had a front row seat for the performance, which offered an opportunity to catch every nuance of facial expression, which is vast, especially as Cass goes. She is a delightfully bawdy singer and comedienne, with her husband, John, a very fine musician and singer, sometimes playing the, er, straight man (so to speak). If you get a chance to see them perform, DO NOT miss them. They are cleverly hysterical.

I bought both their CDs and their DVD. Now their kinky, naughty little ditties are constantly running through my head, especially the one Cass belts out as well as anyone called "Booty Call" and the fun sing-along "Smack My Bottom."

And of course, just about everyone in the sex-positive community has seen the hilarious video of their song "Do You Take It". And with the holidays approaching, be sure not to miss the very special video of their holiday song which is sure to become a classic, Fist Me This Christmas (snicker.... Got that, baby???)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Poly Pride in NYC this Weekend!

I'm really looking forward to once again attending Poly Pride activities in NYC this weekend. The weather is predicted to be sunny and 80 degrees - perfect! There will be lots of friends to get together with and catch up. I'll have the honor of addressing those present on poly activism topics as well. They're brave folks indeed for giving me mic time! (Smile)

Many thanks to Justen Michael, Birgitte Philippides and the rest of the organizers for all their hard work. They've lined up a huge cuddle party Friday night and a great party on Saturday night, along with the main event, the Poly Pride Rally in Central park Saturday afternoon. Several of us who are poly activists will be pimping for LovingMore while there, including LovingMore executive director Robyn Trask.

I'm especially looking forward to seeing the Wet Spots perform - their witty and very adult compositions are not to be missed. I'm also looking forward to hearing Australian singer and poly-themed songwriter Penelope Swales whose local DC area performance for Chesapeake Polyamory Network I missed this last weekend - how great that I get a second chance!

Here's the lineup of speakers and entertainers - hope to see you there! It's going to be an experience like no other in terms of meeting cool polyfolk. And if you do attend, please introduce yourself and say hello.

Speakers:

Robyn Trask, from Loving More Magazine
Nan Wise (Poly Expert and Poly psychotherapist)
REiD Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski (Sex Educators/Relationship coaches, founders of Cuddleparty)
Ken Haslam, from the Kinsey Institue
Stephanie Sellars (NY Press sex columnist)
Diana Adams, Esq., Polyamory lawyer
Anita Wagner (Polyamory/Sexual Freedom Activist)
Barbara Foster, Letha Hadady, and Mike Foster (authors of Three In Love)
Julio Cortes


Entertainers:

Hedda Lettuce, Drag Comedienne
The Black and White Cookies, acoustic duo
The Wet Spots
Sean Graham, Comedian
Stephanie Sellars
Robin Renee and Jasmine
Shawna Hamic
Penelope Swales(polyamorous singer/songwriter from Australia)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Polyamory Weekly Podcast Declared "Socially Destructive"

This review of CunningMinx's Polyamory Weekly Podcast was posted yesterday by Alexander Cornswalled, self-described as " ... a Midwestern Conservative Christian, writing and podcasting about religion, morals and the fight to halt the decay of American society and civilization." (Can't you just imagine the fun sex columnist Dan Savage and his followers would have with Alexander's last name??)

In this particular post, Cornswalled reviewed several podcasts found by parents on their childrens' computers who asked him to review them and determine whether they were appropriate listening material for their children.

Now, we all know that the beautiful and sometimes not-so-beautiful part of blogging is that anyone with a blog can put forth just about any opinion on the planet. Yet as a polyamory activist, I have to say that the following comments about the Polyamory Weekly Podcast encapsulate exactly why there is so much intolerance to fight on behalf of polyamorists. It is the culture war writ large.

Cornswalled says of Polyamory Weekly:

This is easily the most dangerous and socially destructive podcast I've ever heard. The program is about Polyamory, the practice of having multiple sexual partners, provided everyone consents and knows what's going on. It advocates just about every form of perversion you can imagine and the host frequently decries the fact that group marriages aren't legal in the United States.

The program is not the most sexually explicit, nor is it the most offensive. It's dangerous because the program seeks to normalize Homosexuality, Bisexuality, wife swapping, bondage and a host of other unChristian behaviors. They side AGAINST the Mormons who want to legalize underage brides, but if all those Mormon brides are 18 or older, they're all for it.

If your child is listening to Polyamory Weekly, then I recommend you respond as if you'd found deviant magazines in their possession. Do not react with anger, as that will only make matters worse, but respond with Christian love and understanding. Your child has been exposed to dangerous and radical ideas, and needs help with the confusion of ideas that such exposure can create.

That's all for now. I'll post another batch of Podcast Reviews once I have the chance to listen to some more.

Bear in mind that Mr. Cornswalled also advises parents to immediately remove the "Prairie Home Companion" from their children's computers because it mocks "traditional values and smalltown life."

You can read Minx's rousing rebuttal here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

22 September is Polyday in the U.K.

Our poly cohorts in the U.K. are holding their third annual Polyday celebration on 22 September in London. So here's your chance to hang with UK polylads and polylasses. Maybe you'll meet a potential partner, and their partners (which could become your "metamour(s)") and get all "frubbly." It's a bit of an LDR (Long distance relationship) from the States, but I've heard of worse.

When
Saturday 22 September 2007, from 10:30am. Discussion sessions will run until 6:45pm, with a disco in the evening from 8pm to midnight.

Where
Doggett's Coat and Badge, a large pub at the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge, London SE1 9UD. Nearest Tube: Blackfriars. (map and venue info)

How much
£10 for waged people and £5 for unwaged. There are no advance bookings; simply turn up and pay on the day.

See workshop and presenter details here.

Sugasm #97

I'm in Sugasm #97 this week under Sex News & Reviews at
Polyamory Conferences and Events

This Week’s Other Sugasm Picks
The Manifesto of the Cuntcentric Hedonist
“I’m not being selfish, I’m being altruistic when I open my legs and offer my body up.”

No reservations, part 4
“By this time, said balls felt twice their normal size and very full.”

Sex Work And Religion: The Violent Priest
“We were to seduce one of the young ladies in the church’s choir.”

Mr. Sugasm Himself
JBS Underwear

Editor’s Choice
The Top 10 Reasons to avoid “Pregnancy & Sex” bulletin boards

More Sugasm
Join the Sugasm

I Love Dark Odyssey Summer Camp!

I'm a lucky polygirl. Two weekends in a row I've attended fabulous events designed with poly people in mind. You've perhaps read my last blog post about the LovingMore East Coast Retreat. This time I am happy to report on Fifth Annual Dark Odyssey Summer Camp.

Whereas the LovingMore conference's energy is very warm and loving, the energy at DO is much more raucous. Yet both conferences are quite radical in their own way. In the case of DO, wow! For a sex-positive person, DO continues to set the standard as the ideal setting for sexual self-expression and to indulge that fantasy you've always wanted to role play in a safe, welcoming, sensual and electrifying environment. If you're a kinky person, there's a huge dungeon. If you're into swinging and/or public sex, there's the Sex-O-Rama. On one night it was transformed into the "Garden of Carnal Delights" which included a brothel with play money to negotiate with, plus a peep show, where you could go behind the glass and see what it's like to be a sex worker in that line of work.

There were lessons on BJs and stripping from sexual dynamo Nina Hartley (who T and I had the pleasure of being cabinmates with - woohoo!) There were lots of classes on all kinds of kinks. As a basically vanilla poly person, I was certainly engaged - there was lots to do for polyfolk. Though a lot of attendees make play dates with friends old and new, it's perfectly fine to go there and never have sex, or do it only with your sweetie(s). What matters is that you only do that with which you are comfortable and only with other consenting adults, or just yourself. Some people come for the show, soak up that sexy energy and take it back home to energize their personal sex lives. And quite a show it is. (Don't even get me started on the f***ing machines show!)

Programs particularly appealing to polyfolk were:

The Art of Partnership: Creating Partnership within Relationship by Cuddle Party co-creator Marcia Baczynski

Designing your Poly Lifestyle by polycoaches Jon and Carin

Ethical Sluts: How to Do Polyamory Well and Thoroughly by Ethical Slut co-author Dossie Easton

Making Poly/Mono Relationships Work by Cuddle Party mavens ReID Mahalko and Marcia Baczynski

Making Your Move: a Flirting Class by Bear and Bobbie

The Tantric Erogenous Zones (Kama Marmas) by Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson

(To Be or Not to Be) Monogamous by Helen Boyd

Uneven Libidos: When Your Partner Isn't as Sexual as You by Helen Boyd

Urban Tantra: Tantric Connections for Couples by Barbara Carrellas

Bridging Romantic Differences also by Cuddle Party co-creator ReID Mahalko

Sandbox Explorations by Michelle Zee (a/k/a Abundant Michael)

So, polyfolk, don't be shy! Come to DO:Winter Fire - 2008 (a hotel convention in Washington, DC) March 21-24, 2008. Get the latest info on DO events by signing up for e-mail announcements - send an e-mail requesting same to info@darkodyssey.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

LovingMore East Coast Conference was FABULOUS!

I'm just back from the LovingMore East Coast Conference, and this may well have been the best LovingMore East Coast Conference I've ever attended. The vibe was extra warm and loving. LovingMore managing director Robyn Trask and her staff, Elise and Chuey, did a fabulous job, and we who were presenters were treated extremely well.

LME was held at the lovely Easton Mountain retreat facility in upstate New York an hour north of Albany. The food was fabulous, including fresh vegetables grown in the garden out back. The Easton Mountain staff couldn't have been more friendly and accommodating - we love those guys - and the sleeping rooms were very clean and comfortable. Best of all, there is a wonderful, ecstatic spiritual feel to the place which I think must surely bring out the best in all who stay there.

The program was also excellent. Dawn Davidson and Aiken MacIain of Mandala Enterprises Relationship Coaching are not to be missed for poly relating skills. Also especially good is Michelle Zee (a.k.a. Abundant Michael). But then, all of the presenters do a great job.

The weather was warm, and though not everyone chose to take advantage of it, the clothing-optional option was one many did. I know this aspect of it isn't for everyone - if you are looking for a poly con in a more mainstream setting, I recommend staying tuned to the LovingMore conferences webpage, as LovingMore, with the blessing of the late George Marvil's spouse, Cat, is going to put on the PolyLiving Conference in February 2008. PolyLiving will be held in a hotel setting.

Also see my previous post on polyamory conferences. To my knowledge all of the camps are in public campgrounds, and some are child-friendly.

Polyamory Conferences and Events

I've been working lately on assembling an up-to-date list of poly resources. I thought I'd post here the current list of poly conferences and conferences that include poly programs and welcome polyfolk. (Please e-mail me at imapolygirl@yahoo.com with any corrections or additions.) Note that the link for east coast polycamp seems to be down - this should be temporary. Same with Poly Big Fun in Texas. I imagine event organizers have taken their 2007 sites down since the 2007 events are already passed. Both have been taking place for quite a few years, and I know of no reason why they won't happen again in 2008.

Dark Odyssey
Brings together sexuality, spirituality, education, and play in a fun, supportive, non-judgmental, diverse environment

Free Spirit Sacred Sexuality Beltane
Weekend that falls on or is just prior to May 1 each year

Poly Camp East
First weekend in August
Seneca Rocks, WV

PolyCamp Ontario
Labor Day Weekend
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PolyCamp Northwest
Second weekend in August
Bow, Washington

Loving More Conferences and Retreats
Dates vary
Location varies

Heartland Polyamory Conference
Labor Day weekend
French Lick, IN

Poly Big Fun
Second weekend in April
Bastrop, TX

Family Synergy Conference and Reunion
Second weekend in September
Los Angeles, CA

Florida Poly Retreat
Last weekend in March
Brooksville, FL

PolyLiving Polyamory Conference
First weekend in February
Philadelphia, PA

World Polyamory Association Conference
First weekend in October
Harbin Hot Springs, CA

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Media Alert for the Polyamory Community

LovingMore is doing its best to get this message out to as much of the poly community as it can, and we appreciate your giving it your attention. As you can imagine, this incident is one of great concern in terms of how it may color public opinion about polyamory.

Anita Wagner
Member, LovingMore nonprofit Board of Directors

Robyn writes:

I thought this was important news that the poly community should know about. I was contacted by a reporter this week who is doing a story on a murder/suicide in North Carolina involving a poly triad. I have no idea what spin the media will put on this because, of course, these kinds of things never happen in monogamous relationships. I want everyone to be aware of this tragic news. It involved a married couple who, according to the wife, were living together with a woman for five years in a triad. The young woman who was 20 left the couple last week. The man, who was 34, went after her over the weekend, killed her and himself.

See the article in the Raleigh News & Observer.

This is a real tragedy that will most likely be played out as polyamory gone wrong. If what the wife is saying is true then they moved this girl in when she was 15. I pointed out to the reporter this was not your typical polyamory triad and did my best to give him information about polyamory and what it is about. I also let him know that Loving More does not condone 29 year old adults dating 15 year olds. I did point out that it can be a challenge to find therapy and help for poly people in rural areas with no support, especially when there are no therapists familiar with this relationship style.

With polyamory so much in the media there is the possibility this will be picked up nationally, especially to those who condemn polyamory. We all know this kind of tragedy happens in monogamous relationships, too.

If anyone is contacted about this by the media please let us know and feel free to call if you need help in answering them.

You are welcome to copy this message and pass it on to others.

Warmly,

Robyn Trask
Loving More
robyn@lovemore.com
303-543-7540

Poly-Related "Giving Back" Activity: Volunteering for CARAS

I volunteer for and support several organizations whose mission involves serving the polyamory community. Thank you for considering the following about one of them, an exciting organization doing work essential to the wellbeing of the polyamory community, amongst others - the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS). Note at the end there is a ringing endorsement from a local poly community organizer, Marly Davidson.

Thanks also for permitting me to post it here. I promise not to be a nuisance and appreciate everyone's patience.

This from CARAS board chair Jonathan Krall:

The Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS) is dedicated to the support and promotion of excellence in the study of alternative sexualities, and the dissemination of research results to the alternative sexuality communities, the public, and the research community.

We hold monthly staff meetings in the Washington DC metro area and are in need of volunteers. This is an opportunity to work with a team of bright and dedicated volunteers who are helping to bring a community voice to research and to assist researchers with work that is important to the BDSM, swinger, and polyamory communities.

*** Media Expert ***

Work with staff to produce one news release each quarter and no more than one per month. Send out by fax, hardcopy, or e-mail as needed to major news outlets in North America.

*** Development Program Director ***

Keep track of volunteers, action items and produce reports for the ED (informal, monthly) and for the board approx quarterly). Attend monthly meetings in DC. Keep up with e-mail (average 1 messages per day).

*** Webmaster ***

Get our web page on track within the Expression Engine content managment system, set up paypal (or similar) for subscriptions and donations, and deal with SQL database info to securely handle donor and subscriber info.

*** Community Outreach ***

CARAS serves the swing, polyamory and BDSM communities, as well as subcultures, such as related queer or sexworker communities. We could use volunteers from all of these communities to come to our meetings, learn about CARAS, and spread the word about what we are doing.

Other volunteer opportunities are available in the DC area, especially for people with computer skills. If you can attend a monthly staff meeting, please come out and find out more about us.

Also: CARAS has its corporate headquarters in the San Francisco Bay area--volunteer opportunities are available there as well (Contact: richard.sprott@caras.ws)

Thanks kindly for your attention. :)

Yours,
Jonathan

---------

Jonathan Krall
Board Chair
Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities
jonathan.krall@caras.ws


Recommendation of CARAS volunteer Marly Davidson:

Good Poly People,

I recommend to you the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS). I am on the east coast staff (it's national) and attend monthly meetings in the DC area, volunteering alongside academics and community leaders from the various alternative sexuality communities (BDSM, poly, and swing, and related subcultures). Jonathan Krall, PhD, a member of our DC-area poly organization, the Chesapeake Polyamory Network, is the board chairman.

You can read about CARAS, join, sign up for the listserv, participate on the forums, and volunteer as staff and/or as research subjects. There are several positions open for volunteers, especially if you have computer skills. I helped staff their booth at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in NYC a couple weeks ago and enjoyed hanging out with them and talking with graduate students and academics who are doing research on these communities.

The staff meetings are a blast, and since it's designed to support researchers of BDSM, poly, and swing communities and put them in touch with these communities, the subject matter is always interesting. CARAS is committed to involving community members so the research protocols ask the right questions. If you want more information, contact me at marlycharley@yahoo.com. Thanks for your interest!

Marly Davidson
Emeritus Board Member
Chesapeake Polyamory Network
www.chespoly.org
Washington DC metropolitan area

Monday, August 27, 2007

From Polygamy to Polyfi in Order Categorical

Wow, I became giggly myself when reading sheelangig's post parodying "A Modern Major-General" from the Pirates of Penzance. She invites comment and says it's presently a rough draft. She was inspired by having seen something similar on the internet in the past, could no longer find it so wrote up one herself.

Rough draft or no, I say, good show!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Join me at LovingMore East Coast Retreat September 6-9

Join us for an enriching and educational weekend at Loving More's 2007 East Coast Polyamory conference and retreat. The annual East Coast National Conference is held at the beautiful Easton Mountain Retreat Center in upstate New York. Enjoy hiking on 175 acres, soak in the hot tub, relax in the sauna, and enjoy the wonderful food and
hospitality of the Easton Mountain Staff.

The regular member registration price is $465 for the four day three night retreat.

Price includes:

Three nights shared lodging
Delicious Meals (breakfast lunch and dinner)
Workshops
Playshops
Use of Easton Mountain facilities

Three day two night option is also available for $360 for Friday evening through Sunday. We offer a $35 discount for people who choose to campout.

Special offers available:

• Group Discount when three or more attendees register together
receive $30 off each registration (good only for the full
Thursday-Sunday) .
• Work Exchange; on a budget? Work three hours helping the staff and
attend for only $325

Register at lovemore.com or contact us 303-543-7540,
lovingmore@lovemore .com

This is a chance to immerse yourself in polyamory community, connect with wonderful poly people from the US and overseas and make new friends. Have fun sharing knowledge, and support and escape to a magical place called Loving More.

This is the perfect place to learn for people who are polyamorous, new to poly, poly curious, or just exploring relationships.

Experience

• Connecting with people of like mind from across the country
• A place to be your authentic self
• Exploring possibilities in relationships
• Music, dance and play time
• Community building
• An opportunity to explore outside your comfort zone in a safe environment
• Heart and mind expanding workshops taught by trained professionals

Our experienced trained facilitators bring years of knowledge in relationship skills, communication, personal growth and sexuality that build relationship skills weather your single, coupled or have many partners.

To see a list of the wonderful presenters and presentations go here.

Am I poly or mono if I am in a monogamous relationship?

Someone on the LiveJournal polyamory community posted this common question, as follows:

As my currently monogamous relationship grows, I am wondering how this affects my poly identity. My current partner is not poly, and that's not a problem for me. I'm trying to figure out [how] to negotiate my own identity. Because poly is something I can enjoy and grow from, I do see it's value and don't eliminate it as an option... but it isn't intrinsic to who I am or what I need. Does that mean I'm not poly? Am I a poly poser? :) Does anyone else shift between poly and mono relationships and if so do you always identify as poly?


I don't think this person is a poser at all. There is nothing inauthentic about her situation from what I can tell.

Indeed, many poly people see polyamory for themselves as an identity. I believe that being a poly person is not about what (or who - *g*) we are doing at any given time, but instead think it's more about what matters to us and what we are open to.

My personal definition of a polyamorist is a person with the desire and ability to love more than one person at at a time with openness and honesty with all involved. I don't consider a failure to embrace polyamory as essential to one's life to equate to a de facto monogamous identity. I can identify as a polyamorist and still choose under some circumstances to be in a monogamous relationship. A polyamorous nature and a monogamous relationship are not mutually exclusive.

Over the 12 years I've been a poly person, for a variety of reasons I've been through periods of time where I had only one partner. I'm not someone who collects partners simply because I'm a poly person. I approach my relationship configurations primarily from a perspective of what needs are or are not being met by the relationship or relationships I already have. If an important need arises and is going unmet, it is important to me that I be free to connect with others who might meet it.

It's also important to me to be able to act on a strong attraction if one comes along, since from my perspective, that person's entry into my life is a gift from the universe. But that doesn't happen all that often. If my needs are being met with my relationship(s) as they exist at present, I don't tend to go around looking for new partners.

Another way of putting it I've seen is that just like people who are gay don't stop being gay just because they aren't in a relationship with a same-sex partner, neither do poly people stop being poly people merely because they only have one partner, or none at all. I suppose this analogy works for me because I do identify as a poly person in terms of polyamory being an essential component of who I am. But I think it also applies to people who don't see themselves this way, so long as they still appreciate the benefits of polyamory and consider it an option.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Join Me at Dark Odyssey Summer Camp!

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR
DARK ODYSSEY: SUMMER CAMP '07

Hey everyone! I will be at Dark Odyssey: Summer Camp 2007 this year and you should, too! It's an incredible experience like no other I've ever had in terms of exploring freedom of sexual expression in a safe, sex-positive, clothing optional environment.

Below are all the details. Hope to see you there.

Smiles,
Anita

------------------------------------------------

Imagine a vacation which brings together sexuality, spirituality, education, and play in a fun, diverse environment where fantasy becomes reality.

Dark Odyssey: Summer Camp 2007, a journey of sexual exploration for the spiritual and creative sex-positive communities returns for its fifth year. It will be held at a secluded, two hundred acre retreat in Northern Maryland. Our mission is to cross-pollinate ideas and concepts between diverse groups of individuals who desire to explore different areas of sexuality. The Dark Odyssey Community is truly multi-sexual, welcoming people of all genders and sexual orientations. We welcome people interested in everything from sex, Tantra, and BDSM to polyamory, swinging, Paganism, and spirituality; attendees come from all over the world and identify as sex-positive activists, nudists, LGBT, shamans, Masters, slaves, leatherfolk, genderqueers, sex bloggers, crossdressers, body modifiers, radical faeries, and perverts.

The event, from September 12-17, 2006 will feature top-notch sex educators, relationship experts, SM masters, and spiritual teachers from around the world, including:

Barbara Carrellas * Bear * Beth and Preston
Bobby * British "Lucky" Paul * Captain Beatrice & Benedick
Del * Dossie Easton * Felice Shays
Fräulein Rottenmeier * Helen Boyd * Jacq Jones
Jefferson * Jim Deuder * Jon and Carin * Lee Harrington
Levi Halberstadt * Lolita Wolf * Marcus
Margo Eve & Elkor * Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson * Michelle Zee
Nina Hartley * Reid Mihalko & Marcia Baczynski
Sarah Sloane * Scherzoid * Sir C * Susan B
Suzanne SxySadist * SwitchMe
Tristan Taormino * Whittney Matlock

Go HERE to browse the complete list of presenter's bios.

And over 75 of the most unique, exciting workshops anywhere, with an emphasis on hands-on demonstrations, including:

The Art of Partnership: Creating Partnership within Relationship
Beyond Bowed Heads: Rituals for Dominance and submission
Binding Intentions: The Art of Rope Magic
Border Crossing: Challenging Boundaries, Connecting Bodies
Bridging Romantic Differences
Delight in Difficult Dominance
Designing your Poly Lifestyle
Discipline and Awareness: How To Enhance Life And Play With Body/Mind Techniques
Japanese Rope Harness
Making Your Move: a Flirting Class
Making Poly/Mono Relationships Work
Pain: Plight-Punishment-Pleasure
Playing in the Dark: Journeys Through Humiliation
Radical Ecstasy
Spiritual Body Modification
Trans-Sex & Identity
Uneven Libidos: When Your Partner Isn¹t as Sexual as You
Urban Tantra

PLUS, LOTS MORE ON...

Sex: Lick her, Cocksucking, Anal Play, Fisting, G-spot, Threesomes
Identity: What Labels Give Us, What Labels Take Away
Relationships: 'Ethical Sluts' Workshop by author Dossie Easton
BDSM: Ecstatic Caning and Pick-Up Play for Bottoms
Spirituality: Energy Pull Ritual and Walking the Path of Ordeal
And An Entire Track of Classes & Events Devoted to Fireplay

Go HERE for classes and descriptions.

In addition to workshops, Dark Odyssey features creative social activities, nightly special events, erotic rituals, lakeside bonfires, the Sex-O-Rama playspace, and a 10,000 square foot fully equipped dungeon open for play around the clock. Legendary special events include:

Body Beautiful * PT for Perverts * Night in Flames
Energy Pull Ritual * Garden of Carnal Delights * Cupid's Gambit
Fucking Machines Show * Cigars & Chocolate * Cuddle Party
Perverts' Potluck * Fire Spinning * Petting Zoo * Pajama Party

All this happens in a fun camp environment at a retreat with great accommodations: forty cabins with real beds, full bathrooms, hot water showers, and electricity; two swimming pools, canoeing, and hiking; plus, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight snack included.

Unlike a typical conference event, where you have to pay for registration fees, hotel room costs, plus meals, Dark Odyssey is an all-inclusive event.
Current registration rates are good through August 20 (then prices go up), but you can register up until September 12. When you register, don't forget to check to see if you are a member of any of our Participating Groups which entitle you to a group discount on the registration rate!

Dozens of community organizations have signed on as participating groups in Dark Odyssey, and we add new groups every day. Check the website to see if your group is one of them, and you'll be entitled to a registration discount. If your group would like to be added to this list, please contact greg@darkodyssey.com

Visit the DO website for more details. We hope you will join us for this exciting event!

Best Regards,

The Producers of Dark Odyssey:
Tristan, Greg, Karri, and Colten