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Articles

“That” Question

“So, what did you say you do for a living?”

That question, no matter how many times I’ve heard it, always makes my heart skip a beat. It is not a simple question to answer and only opens up a torrent of other questions inside my head, which causes me to pause. And the pause rarely goes unnoticed. Who doesn’t know how to explain what they do for a living?

My answer depends a lot on those other internal questions: How long have I known this person? What is the context in which they know me? Do they appear open minded? Is an honest answer going to change the way they interact with me? Is this going to out-right freak them out?

My experience of sharing honestly has varied considerably. I have certainly had positive experiences, but I have frequently been surprised by those that I thought would take it in stride but instead become offended, even disgusted. All too often I have felt sad at how the declaration of my career choice has derailed a conversation or friendship that otherwise began very well.

My having moved much more into the education realm has admittedly made my response more palatable to others. Hearing “sexuality educator” is very different than “professional dominatrix.” The individual might not really know what I mean by either phrase, but the former is certainly less intimidating than the latter. Regardless, deciding how to respond to this innocuous – but oh so bothersome! – question remains a difficult decision for me every time.

Frankly, either way I answer feels like I’m going to get screwed (and not in the fun way). If I lie, then I’m not being true to myself; I am not presenting the proud professional pervert that I actually am. I am proud of my life, my accomplishments, and the incredibly intimate and amazing experiences I’ve shared with so many in the kink community. But, on the other hand, if I tell the truth, then I have to see that “look.” The same look that everyone gets, whether they accept/approve of what I do or not. The look that says: “What the F*ck?! Really? YOU?!” The look that illustrates the shocking incongruity: this nice “normal” person does, um, illicit things for a living.

I have lied, many times actually. My usual answer is that I do “website and new media development,” which is both sufficiently vague yet accurate. If they probe deeper, then I say that I own my own business; that I have a tech person that handles the actual building of the sites, and I serve as the PR person and general manager of the business. Um, yeah.

Every time I say that half-truth, my heart hurts for a moment. But sometimes an honest response is just not appropriate given the time constraints (if I’m on an airplane and don’t want to spend the flight giving a kink 101 class). Other times I know that I’m going to be interacting with the person out in the “real” world, and it’s just not worth disturbing their image of me. But when the opportunity presents itself, and I sense that the person who asked the question – the inquiry that has become “THAT” question in my life – might be open to the real answer; then I take the plunge. I say it. And though my heart skips yet another beat, and I can’t help but (still) be a bit anxious about their response, I feel proud that I have stood up and spoken my truth.

Categories
Interviews

SPECTRA Interview with Kali Williams

1. Can you explain what type of coaching you offer?

My focus is on relationships with a Dominant/submissive dynamic as well as those who like to explore “kinky play” at any level. I help couples and individuals discover what they’re really looking for out of these experiences and provide them with concrete suggestions on how to make them happen. Focusing on “real life” solutions to bringing kink into a relationship, I use a playful approach to keep things sexy and fun.

2. How did you come into that style of coaching?

After being a professional dominatrix for almost a decade I’ve learned a lot about how to make play happen! Many kinky ideas come naturally to me, but that’s not usually the case for my clients. I started coaching so that I could help couples feel inspired about their kinky desires and to broaden their experience of trust, intimacy, joy and connection all through their kinky playtime.

3. Are you looking for a certain type of client?

I coach people at all levels, whether one partner is trying to introduce kink into the relationship for the first time or both partners have been playing for a long time and need a refreasher or some new inspiration. Regardless all of my clients walk away with an actionable plan to reach their sexy, kinky goals.
4. Please list any individuals that have influenced you in your practice?

All of my learning is self-motivated. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a strong mentoring process in the kink world, either for pro-domming or this type of coaching. I read a lot about psychology and relationships, communication and avoiding procrastination. Then I take those ideas and extrapolate them into a kinky experience.
5. What is one piece of advice you could give to professionals just starting in the field of sexuality?

Read, observe, ask questions, make notes and realize that the sexuality world has a lot of moving parts. Find the niche that suits you the best and focus on it. I’m a big believer in being a master of one subject rather than a jack (or jill J) of all trades. You can also use some of the great online learning opportunities such as Fetlife.com (although take a lot of that writing with a grain of salt, there are many people on there claiming to be experts that are anything but). I also run two websites that are great resources for sexuality professionals, KinkAcademy.com and PassionateU.com where you can watch videos featuring techniques and concepts by many of the most respected names in sex/kink education.

6. If you could recommend only one book for our readers, what would it be?

I have to pick just one?! For those looking to get into kink specifically, Dr. Gloria Brame’s “Different Loving” gives a good overview of the most frequently pursued kink experiences. Through anecdotes it’s a great introduction into the kink experience. You can check out her website here http://www.gloriabrame.com/

 

Originally posted on SPECTRA written by Lucy Lemons

Categories
Events

Good Vibrations Sex Summit

Good Vibrations, the trusted San Francisco-based company that takes pride in providing accurate information on sexuality and toys for grown-ups, presents a dynamic conference on America’s sexual state of the union with the 2012 Sex Summit.   Featuring authors and educators from various perspectives, this forum will examine the relationship between sex and the media, health, pop culture and politics in a series of panel presentations plus keynote presentations by esteemed author and research scientist Debby Herbenick, Brian Alexander, and Marty Klein.  Journalists, academics, sexologists, authors and the public will converge for this first-ever conference in a lively and relevant day-long discussion followed by a cocktail reception at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in downtown San Francisco.

Categories
Videos

Kali Williams – SXSW Proposal Video

Whips, chains, & floggers, oh my! Fifty Shades might not make good literature, but it is one hell of a catalyst for conversation. The astounding popularity of the Fifty Shades trilogy has brought kink out into the sunlight, but now what? What happens when poorly researched fanfic is used as a mainstream cultural reference point? These books could fade as a fad or they could be leveraged as a new way of being open about sexual desires & normalizing kinky fantasies. Couples have been furtively bought feathered riding crops & fur-lined handcuffs for decades, only now it’s becoming socially acceptable to admit it. Learning the difference between fantasy, reality & abuse is a key element to healthy kinky expression but on this point Fifty Shades fails miserably. The books start as sexy inspiration but ends up promoting unrealistic expectations & false stereotypes. Yet when the books are used to arouse a social sexual awakening & get people talking, they hit the mark perfectly.

 

Categories
Events

Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit

September 21, 22 & 23, 2012

Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Day Events in 2010 & 2011 Were Amazing

Don’t miss our 3rd Annual Sexual Freedom Summit in Washington, DC September 21, 22 & 23, 2012! The theme for the 2012 Sexual Freedom Summit, “Prohibition Politics: The Assault on Sexual Freedom,” highlights the increasingly vicious attacks in the resurgent war on sex. We will share information and strategies to use in the fight for human rights and sexual freedom, and against the denial of the right to relationships, and families.  We will address the undermining of access to health care and reduction of access to comprehensive sexuality education, as well as the criminalization of sexual expression and pleasure.

While the Summit’s focus is serious, it is also a time for fun and celebration too. Start your weekend off on Friday night with “Popcorn and Porn.”  Woodhull Board members (and consummate porn-makers in their own rights) Buck Angel and Nina Hartley, host this rollicking variation on more conventional movie nights and meet and greet events, with good food, good conversation, and good (and bad!) porn as well as a very special appearance by Porno Jim!

Saturday our work begins in earnest with a jam-packed educational program, our Sexual Freedom Institute. Expert panels and interactive workshops explore a full range of sexual freedom issues in the context of “Prohibition Politics:  The Assault on Sexual Freedom”. Confirmed speakers include Diana AdamsBuck Angel, Ajamu BarakaEric Berkowitz, Melissa Sontag Broudo, Brandon Lacy Campos, Kelly CooksonRev. Beverly Dale,  Kate D’Adamo, Alison GardnerHardy Haberman, Judith Lynne HannaAmber Hollibaugh, Anita Wagner Illig, Luke Lirot, Eva-Marie Malone, Robin MandellDan Massey, Reid Mihalko, Susan Miranda, Jill Mizell, Esther Perel, Christopher Ryan, and Lawrence G. Walters.

Categories
Opportunities

Active Participants for BASE

Since this is a crowd-sourced site, we need some people to start to ‘create’ the crowd!

To be an ‘Active Participant’ for BeASexEducator.com you just need to commit to being a VERY proactive member of this budding community

Search Out & Post:

Articles that are posted in free sites (with links to sites)

Articles posted from Fetlife (that have been fact-checked & have permission by author)

Resource Lists (websites, books, organizations, events)

Reviews (health aids, sex toys, books, websites)

 

 

Categories
Articles

Sex and the Law: Consent and Beyond

This article was written by Brian Flaherty and was originally published on Fearless Press

I presented a class on BDSM, Sex, and the Law: Consent and Beyond at the New England Dungeon Society last Friday, subtitle: “when things go horribly wrong.”   Because the truth is, “The Law” doesn’t get involved unless things do go horribly wrong.  In fact, some might say that getting “The Law” involved is the very definition of things going horribly wrong.  Nevertheless, I had the pleasure of doing this presentation, and it gave me a chance to think a lot about where the criminal law and BDSM intersect, how that intersection has changed over the years, and where we’re headed.  Note: I am not covering every relevant case here – for those interested in a comprehensive listing of state appellate decisions, check out the consent counts resources site at NCSF.

Looking at the cases and the law, it appears that over time, courts have become more willing to accept consent as a defense to assault in the context of a BDSM relationship.  The first important case here is from 1967, People v. Samuels.  This case is notable because it is the only case with no complaining witness – no “victim.”    Every other case here is based on a relationship gone horribly wrong; the prosecution was based entirely on a film.  In that case, the court wrote that it was a matter of “common knowledge” that nobody in “full possession of his mental faculties” would consent to such assault.  Nevertheless, the court continued, even if there was consent, Samuels would still be guilty of aggravated assault.  Again in 1980, the Massachusetts case of Commonwealth v. Appleby, the court wrote “Private consensual sadomasochistic behavior was not a defense to the charge of assault and battery.”

Fastforward to 1985, the Iowa cases of State v. Collier – another case where the court considers consent as a possible defense to BDSM.  This case is interesting because Iowa actually has a law that provides for consent as a defense to assault, so long as the assault is in the context of a “sport, social or other activity not in itself criminal,” for example.. boxing, or football.  Alas, the court didn’t see BDSM as a sport, a social, or even an other activity.  The court wrote: “it is simply preposterous to advocate…that the Iowa legislature even remotely intended that the sadomasochistic activity evidenced in this case was a “social or other activity” within the meaning of the statute.  Not good for our side – but I would call attention to “social or other activity” language.  I believe that as BDSM becomes a recognized “social or other activity,” the courts will be more likely to find consent as a defense. Moving on…

In 1999, the case of New York case of People v. Jovanovic is interesting with regard to consent to assault.  There was extensive email negotiation between Oliver Jovanovic and Jamie Rzucek.  They met, had a rather intense scene, & afterwards she went to the police claiming that it was assault (remember the part about relationships gone horribly wrong?).  At trial, the court excluded the email negotiation from evidence, saying that it should be kept out by New York’s rape shield law.  Oliver Jovanovic was convicted of sexual assault, assault, and kidnapping, and given a 15 year sentence.  The appeals court, however, said that the Emails should be allowed as a defense to sexual assault (where consent IS a defense) and Kidnapping (where consent is ALSO a defense), and so threw out those convictions.  The court also threw out the conviction for assault  suggesting that consent might have been a defense for that as well.  They wrote in a footnote that consent was still not a viable defense – despite the fact that they just allowed it.  Weird, huh?

One more state case – the 2009 Rhode Island case of State v. Gaspar: It begins the way many of these cases begin: Boy meets girl on internet, boy and girl connect & have intense scene, relationship goes wrong, boy is charged with assault.  But in this case, in instructing the jury, the judge writes that the case “ultimately presented only one question… did the events of the night in question constitute a mutually consensual sexual encounter between two adults, or a brutal sexual assault?”  While the judge writes about consent to sexual assault, he’s clearly talking about the BDSM scene as a whole.  And so in this case, the way I read it, consent could have been allowed as a defense to BDSM.  Alas, the case was decided on technical points, and so the court never really held that consent was or was not a defense.

As I was looking at these cases & preparing a presentation, there seemed to be a trajectory – that through the years, the courts have grown more willing to accept consent as a defense to assault in the context of BDSM.  In 1967, consent to assault was evidence of someone “not in full possession of his mental faculties.”  In 1985, it was “preposterous; in 2009 it seems as though the court was ready to accept this.  At the same time, BDSM itself seems to have gained a certain amount of public acceptability (evidence of this is easy to find, from the exponential growth of fairs and fleas, to the local bestseller lists).    I would argue that as the things we do become more culturally acknowledged, as we are considered in full possession of our mental faculties, as we are removed from the DSM-V, BDSM begins to be seen as a “social or other activity,” consent becomes more available as a defense.

This, for me, is something of an evolution.  At one point, I might have advocated for a specific defense for consensual assault in the context of BDSM.  However, in relationships and scenes that do not go horribly wrong, it is exceedingly rare that someone is charged with assault.   On the other hand, assault is all-too-common in relationships gone wrong: Domestic Violence.  In situations of domestic violence, it is also common for the complaining witness, the victim, to recant their story out of fear of future abuse.  If there was an explicit defense to assault between consenting adults in a relationship, it would be too easy for an abuser to claim that the assault, the violence, was consensual – especially where a victim recants their testimony.  As I said, I believe the answer is in a cultural recognition of BDSM relationships as a perfectly healthy relationships, and “assault” within such relationships as “sport, social, or other activity.”