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Jaiya – “How do you keep your workshops engaging & dynamic?”

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Announcing www.ISISNetwork.org

ISIS Network
September 19, 2013
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I joyously announce the launch of the ISIS Network, an international collaboration of sexuality professionals dedicated to integrating sexuality, spirituality, and more.
www.ISISNetwork.org
Remarkably, we are all committed to promoting each others’ work as well as our own.
Explore the site to find trainings, retreats, and a broad network.
  • Trainings – to help you expand your practice of sex therapy
  • Retreats – to help you explore your personal issues
  • A Network – connect with experienced ISIS practitioners all over the US and beyond
There are 19 of us so far, and more in training.
  • Explore our lineup of Upcoming Events – it’s impressive and varied.
  • Find out how you can become an ISIS Practitioner
  • Join our lists of ISIS colleagues who have supported ISIS over the years – attending events, promoting ISIS work, offering technical support, and on and on.
Download free information about how you can immediately use the ISIS approach – for yourself and with your clients.
See the books that describe the ISIS approach and (sorry!) wait to read the blogs that are to come.  We have wonderful articles and even poetry in the works, but they’re not on the site yet, so keep on coming back!
“Temple Goddess,” a beautiful documentary on goddess history and the divine feminine, created by Robert Dunlap, ISIS board member and starring ISIS practitioner Linda Savage.
The ISIS Network, along with our website, is still a work in progress.  Write to me if you would like to become an ISIS colleague or if you want to explore what it would take for you to become an ISIS practitioner.
I invite you to explore our new website, download our freebies, write with your comments and questions, and expand our ISIS Circle now!

-Gina (for the ISIS Network)

Gina Ogden, PhD, LMFT

Cambridge, MA
Gina@GinaOgden.com

www.ISISNetwork.org
www.ExpandingSexTherapy.com
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Opportunities

2014 Transcending Boundaries – Proposal Deadline Extended

transboundWe are thrilled to announce that the 2014 Transcending Boundaries Conference is now accepting proposals for presentations! The theme this year is Inclusion in Action. TBC strives to be inclusive to people representing all aspects of the gender, sexuality and relationship spectrum and we’re thrilled to be highlighting that this year.

Transcending Boundaries, Inc. was founded in 2001 to provide education, activism, and support for persons whose sexuality, gender, sex, or relationship style do not fit within conventional categories. The organization serves our ever-evolving communities, including bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, intersex, polyamorous, and kinky persons, as well as allies and those who prefer not to use labels.

This year’s conference will include a variety of programming formats ranging from traditional informational lectures to panels to workshops to discussion groups to performances and everything in between. Whether you’re an experienced presenter or interested in leading a group for the first time, we’d love to consider your proposal.

Time slots for presentations range from 50 to 75 minutes. The 2014 Transcending Boundaries Conference will take place April 4-6 of 2014 at the Hartford Sheraton at Bradley Airport.  The deadline for submission is September October 15, 2013, but please don’t wait till the last minute! Presentations will be accepted on a rolling basis, meaning if we see something we like, we’ll put it in the schedule and programming space MAY fill before the deadline!

We are especially interested in presentations that address one (or more) of the following themes:

  • Activism
  • Relationships, Families and Parenting
  • Spirituality and Religion
  • Interactions with Professionals and Health Care Issues
  • Writing/Creative Arts
  • Identity and Community
  • Any presentation which has relevance to multiple sub-populations within our community
You can view our past program offerings at our Chronicle page.

To submit a Workshop Proposal, please fill out our Presenter Proposal form.

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Articles

The pain that is vulvodynia

VulvodyniaVulvodynia is pain of the vulvar area which is currently described by the  International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease as “discomfort, most often described as burning pain, occurring in the absence of relevant visible findings or a specific, clinically identifiable, neurologic disorder”.  Meaning, in layman’s terms:  there doesn’t seem to be a specific reason found for it occurring.  Research is ongoing and there are several theories developing, but so far no single or even regular grouping of causes have been identified.

The number of females who experience vulvodynia, depending on the study, has ranged generally from 5-19%.

While it is most often a burning pain, it can also be throbbing, itching, pain during intercourse, irritation or rawness, stinging, and other painful sensations.

Vulvar pain can be localized or at various points.  It can cause entering the vagina or even touching the vulva to range from uncomfortable to unbearable.

Vulvodynia can be short term or chronic.

Due to no known, set origin treatment methods are also widely varied and hit-or-miss in effectiveness.  Some involve physical therapy, psychiatric care and therapy, medication for pain and topical anesthetics, anti-depressants and anti-convulsants to address potential nerve pain, local injections of various medications, dietary changes, clothing and soap changes, hormonal treatments, and more.

Given these facts it’s easy to see how this can interfere with many females’ sexual lives and for some even daily non-sexual activities.

It can be not only physically painful but also emotionally distressing for both the female effected and for any partner(s).

I can speak on vulvodynia’s effects to an extent personally.

At first, there was rare and minor discomfort during sex and nothing that was enough to cause concern.  It was the type of thing one associates with being positioned just wrong or perhaps not well enough lubricated that time.

Then it became slowly more common and intense during any insertions into my vagina… eventually the sensation was that of being burned by acid when anything even slightly entered me.  It stopped any type of sexual encounter of that type between my partner and I and I decided it was necessary to pursue help from a gynecologist.

I was given pelvic examinations a couple of times, by two different doctors, which were excruciating. As each time no irritation or unusual discharge could be found and the STD testing they did each time came out negative, I was told to come back in a few months if I still had pain.  They couldn’t see anything wrong with me, so I was brushed aside so to speak.

On my third visit to the gynecologist, the second one pelvic exam doctor, I had expected more testing or another pelvic.  I was told frankly and directly at a sit-down office meeting that they did not know what was wrong with me and they couldn’t do anything for me.  He then got up to end the appointment.  I stayed seated.

Through pure stubborness on my part he eventually offered to sent me to both a psychiatrist to try and find out if my pain was caused by a mental health issue and to another gynecologist that specialized in vaginal pain.

The psychiatrist referral never came through, but the gynecological one did.  I was given a pain-mapping procedure where the doctor uses a swab and touches various areas of the vulva and vagina to find where exactly the pain is occurring.  Mine was not deeply internal so he chose not to subject me to an internal ultrasound due to the extreme pain any insertions caused.  I was put on an anti-depressant used for nerve pain and assigned a course of 5 weeks of daily lidocaine application, with the plan for physical therapy to be started.  However, I had to move states shortly after and could not follow with this gynecologist further.  He assured me that at that point I would have his files to continue forward with care at my new doctor.

The trip to that specialist helped to such an extent I cannot say emotionally.  With no diagnosis and essentially no treatment prior to him I was at a loss as to why I was experiencing such intense pain, concerned it may be something along the lines of cancer potentially, and I was frustrated with my body and my sexual limitations with my partner.  But now, finally, I had a name for what was wrong, vulvodynia, and a doctor who was completely honest about the facts concerning it but had begun a course of treatment.

Given the word, I was able to better Google.  I found other females experiencing the same and similar pains; I found sites filled with information.  I was no longer completely blind as to what was going on with me.  Still concerned, still morbid worries, but no longer at a complete loss and alone.

Moving states and file-transfer issues have started my treatment from square one again, but thankfully with another gynecologist who is motivated to help me find a cure if possible.  A doctor who has sent me for an external ultrasound to rule out more possible causes and who has expressed full willingness to refer me to a specialist again if the basics he wants to cover don’t find anything.

Thankfully, my ultrasound has come back just fine.

But it has now been twenty-one months, a year and nine, that a part of my body has been only a source of pain with no explanation as to cause, no set and reliable course of treatment known, and has hindered my private and partnered sexual life.  It is frustrating.  It is scary.  It is something awkward to explain to new potential lovers… “No, I can’t have anything involving my vagina. Yes because of pain. No, I don’t know why. Yes, I promise it is not due to infection as I’ve been repeatedly tested”.

If you are female and experience unexplained vulvar pain or are involved with one who does, know you are not alone.  Push for testing to rule out what can be.  Don’t let yourself be set aside medically.  Seek out support groups and information in hard copy and online.

Try to be understanding and accepting of yourself or your partner.  Patience is hard, especially when it comes to such an important part of one’s identity, physical functioning, relationship interactions and how or if the cause will be resolved.

It has a name, many of us experience it, and help can be pursued.  Again, you’re not alone.

 

 

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Opportunities

SSSS Student and Early Professional Ambassador Program

np-col-14The SSSS Student and Early Professional Ambassador Program was developed to recognize future leaders and support the work of students/early professionals. The program hopes to promote professional development by providing learning experiences, mentoring, and advice through active participation in the Society.
During the annual conference, the Ambassador Program provides opportunities for students or early professionals to assist with moderating sessions; welcome new and returning members and attendees; give directions and provide general information; help with registration and events; and provide general support to meeting staff.  In exchange, Ambassadors can earn partial meeting registration reimbursement, develop relationships with established and senior members, engage in networking opportunities, and receive recognition in the program. SSSS also asks the Ambassadors to volunteer/work as a representative of the organization throughout the year.
Ambassadors who go above and beyond in their service to the organization will also be considered for the “Outstanding SSSS Student Ambassador” award (if a student) or the “Outstanding SSSS Early Professional Service” award (if an early professional). Winners will be recognized during the Awards Ceremony and receive a free one-year membership in The Society!
Interested in being a SSSS Ambassador? Apply HERE before September 21st! 
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Opportunities

Write for Dominant Guide

Thanks for your interest in writing a guest post for Dominant Guide.

We’re really looking for guest posts that present new ideas, fresh perspectives, and innovative approaches. We like to present readers with ideas that we haven’t seen elsewhere online.

We’re not able to use everything that’s submitted.  We may decline to use your post because of its quality, the relevance of your topic, because we have more posts than we can use, or because we’ve published a number of posts on the topic recently. We may also decline to use your post if it covers information we’ve already covered on the site.

Please note that it can take up to 10 days for us to review your submission. Please do not send us “reminder” emails within this time—they won’t help us get to your submission any faster.

Click here for more information

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Events

Leather Leadership Conference – Faces of Freedom – April 11-13, 2014 Philidelphia

philly LLCInterested in Teaching Tomorrows Leaders?

 Submissions for presentations will be accepted until September 1st, 2013. The programming committee will be reviewing proposals and responding by November 15, 2013 (at the very latest, we expect to have the program completed sooner).
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Articles

Genderfree Female – No, I’m not the girl in our relationship.

Gender People without gender are largely an overlooked group even within the transgender community. And anyone who is not cisgender tends to run into expectations to be so… and then on top of that, cisgender and transgender people tend to be expected to fall into stereotyped gender/sex roles.

So what to do when you’re a genderfree female, especially in a heterosexual relationship where you’re default not just by body but by partnership assumed to be “the girl”?

Not just the outside world can have a difficult time with this concept, even our own partners. Add on top of that that many of us do “do” feminine at times or all the time. Then add on top of that that many of us are perfectly comfortable being in a female body. Not on the binary, no gender at all, feminine at times, transgender and fine being female. It can make for confusion in those that live with and love us.

Partners often at first and even down the road can be unsure on how to address our bodies, sexually and non-sexually. If you’ve never been part of or heard a discussion on what people prefer their body parts like their genitals or breasts to be called or even if they want them acknowledged then you may not be familiar with this issue. But it’s there… When I’m speaking of my female partner’s body, what is the right word to use that will be fine by them but hopefully not confusing to others? During dirty talk is it okay to say things like “your pussy”?

Partners often don’t know how to address us as people… what pronouns, what references, to use in speaking with others. Is “she” okay? If not, what is? Do I refer to my genderfree lover as my girlfriend or wife, is that comfortable and/or appropriate? Again, if not, what is?

Partners often wonder why a female companion expresses not having a gender while dressed up to the stereotype of femininity: lacy undies, clinging dress, high heels, long and elegantly styled hair, the oh so carefully applied makeup. While presenting within more masculine expectations can also be confusing for them, the seemingly matched femininity and female body can raise a lot of questions.

That brings us then to the confusion that does also occur when a genderfree female partner presents as masculine part of or all of the time. “Are they actually female-to-male transexual?”. “Will they be mistaken for a lesbian?” (because, of course, there are stereotypes to sexualities, too).

Then throw in those who genderfuck on top of identifying with no gender and things get messier.

And how as a cisgender man do you approach sexually someone who isn’t a boy or girl or even any other gender identity? There are traits assigned to these regardless of whether they universally apply. Their are understood and culturally imbedded expectations in the mating ritual from first date to full on fucking. Do they want the door held for them, should I be the one pursuing… and heck, the occasional “am I gay or not?” because deep down they still expect a binary identification regardless of body sex.

Sex itself… Less of an issue if the male partner doesn’t have firm gender roles assigned to bedroom activities, but oh it can and does come up for some. We get back to the above of what phrases and labels are okay for body parts during dirty talk? And what about vulgar descriptions and nouns otherwise used at times during The Deed… would “dirty whore” or “cumdump bitch” be correct phrasing?

(Let’s put aside for the moment whether or not these types of phrases would be acceptable for cisgender females, either. They’re just used here as examples of some very pointed ones ones out there in some people’s sex lives.)

Will my partner want to fuck me with a strap-on, since they don’t identify as female?” – again, that binary sexual stereotyping.

Would it be offensive to buy my lover obviously gender-oriented gifts or sex toys or lingerie?”

And endless other wonderings and questions that can’t all be touched on here and are also beyond my ability to think up there are so many.

The simultaneously unfortunate and fortunate answer to dealing with all of this is that one needs to take the time to talk to one’s partner. Learn what an absence of gender means to them, personally, and how it relates to their connection with their body. Have those detailed and in-depth discussions about sexual expectations and comfort-zones. Find out what makes them happy and acknowledged in how others are led to view them in your relationship. While, of course, they should be finding out all the same about you.

I’ve spoken from a heterosexual angle with a cisgender male lover referenced in this all, but only because I wanted to address the issues related to that specific arrangement. There are countless others and this is just one, I addressed it as it is the most common one I personally run into with myself being a genderfree female.

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Opportunities

Northampton Sex Therapy Associates is looking for a full-time sex therapy associate

now hiringNorthampton Sex Therapy Associates (NSTA) is looking for a full-time sex therapy associate, to work in a busy private group practice. Applicants must hold a mental health license in the state of Massachusetts and be able to demonstrate at least five years post-licensure clinical experience.  In addition, a background and/or demonstrated interest in human sexuality is required. Applicants will be expected to work three evenings each week and one weekend day. 

Please note:  Substantial training will be provided for the right candidate.

 

Applicants must possess the following: 


**  Be licensed in Massachusetts as a Ph.D., Psy.D., LMHC, LMFT or LICSW 

 

**  Give evidence of/or be willing to undergo substantial couples therapy training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Schnarch Crucible Model in Sex Therapy and Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

 

**  Be used to working with a range of sexuality issues, and be familiar with – or willing to train in -treatment protocols for ED, PE, DE and men and women’s sexual health and sexual pain disorders

 

**  GLBTI friendly, aware and welcoming


**  Be willing to sign a non-compete for personal private practice in couples and sex therapy within a 50 mile radius of NSTA

 

 Benefits to working with Northampton Sex Therapy Associates:

Competitive reimbursement rates
Paid AASECT Membership
Weekly supervision by certified sex therapist counting towards certification as a board-certified Sex Therapist
$500 annual training stipend
Beautiful newly-renovated space

Collegial, friendly working environment

Collaborative practice with training overlap between Northampton Center for Couples Therapy and Northampton Sex Therapy Associates

If you are interested, please send a cover letter and your resume to Jassy Timberlake at the address below:

 

Northampton Sex Therapy Associates
Director – Jassy Timberlake, M.Ed., LMFT, AASECT
40 Main Street, Suite 206
Florence, MA 01062
Tel:   413-587-0095

Sex and Relationship Therapy at http://www.NorthamptonSexTherapy.com

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New Members

Introduction: Sharps, Relationships, Enthusiasm

rumpusRP is an experienced and knowledgeable sharps player focusing on needle and cutting play, both permanent or temporary in either.  Being a genderfree female lifestyle dominant and starting early they have over 18 years of engaging in and enjoying sex, BDSM, and Female Led Relationships.  Passionate about body and sex positivity, feminism, and LGBTQ rights, Rumpus tries to do what they can to promote all of those things.

They’ve also been a sex-worker of various types over the last couple decades, fading in and out of the practice.  Rumpus has done a small amount of BDSM porn, selling of fetish items, doing audio and video clips, being a cam girl, fetish modeling, and working as an online, phone, and in-person professional dominant.