Category Archives: kink

JSJ Therapy presenting at CARAS conference

It’s almost time for alternative sex therapists and researchers to get together and talk about big ideas in the field.

All are welcome to attend the upcoming CARAS Conference in Chicago on May 24th.  I’ll be presenting with Awen Therapy on the topic entitled :

Using the D/s Dynamic to Reach Therapeutic Goals In and Out of Session

This is such an important group of individuals who are looking to bridge the gap between therapy-research-and-community. This is going to be a great conference, join us!

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Amazon.com and lgbt — truths

I have gotten a lot of personal and professional questions about the recent issues concerning Amazon.com and lgbt literature. My basic understanding after having read numerous articles from friends, bloggers, and journalists from all sides of the controversy is that …

Well the facts are that amazon has some sort of system for filing lgbt and other (swing/poly etc) works under a system of “adult content.” They claim to do this because they reach a large audience. Okay, from a purely marketing standpoint I can understand it. You are running a business that caters to a ton of people and you want to be as boring as possible as not to freak any potential customers out. I’m with you on that one for a business profit ideal.

However, if you are going to do this to “protect children” for instance then 1) Perhaps you should screen the whole internet 2) take away the responsibility of parents to be responsible 3) allow for each family/person to make their own choice if they want this information censored.

I realize that I am an intense person who dramatically supports individual rights and those of sexuality.  I am also a marketing minded person who understand the necessity of certain choices for business-sake. Still, I think that censoring for everyone on the basis of “adult content” doesn’t make much sense.  We are not even talking about artistic nudes here. We are talking about non-fictional works (as well as fictional) about ideas surrounding gender and sexuality. How are these not educational?  Aren’t we past the whole burning book phases in our American society? Perhaps … we are not and it is just the circles I run in.

However, I do understand catering to the larger audience. So allowing you an individual or family to “opt out” of any content makes sense. For instance, I would opt out for books being shown books about poppy seeds. I’m allergic to them and pretty much hold no interest at all for me.  However, if for some reason I did want to search them I want the ability to opt back in for those results to come up in my searches and rankings.

Treating us like adults or adults of young children goes a long way. It allows you as a company to be respectful of the fact that not everyone wants to view (or have their children view) material they dislike or find offense. Also it allows the company to not think we are a bunch of idiots that can’t take care of ourselves.

Will there always be children and adults using the internet for unhealthy or inappropriate means? The answer of course is yes. However, we are not in the need of a large company dictating to us what literature (or anything else for that matter) we should or not be viewing. Let us make our own choices for ourselves and our family.

Now to directly address the questions I have been asked.  I do not actively think that amazon.com hates lgbt literature. I do not think they are directly trying to keep information away from people. I do think that either they were/are misguided in “adult content” choices as a rather big-brother business move OR that it was truly a glitch that happens a while ago and was not dealt with properly OR others took advantage of the system with ranking and other attributes as a means for dealing with their own personal agenda OR it is something else entirely that we are unaware of.

It doesn’t make sense for a company as large as amazon.com to damage their reputation with the lgbt community. I don’t think it is some hugely sinister plot as others may state. I think it is a poor choice in coding, some of the employees not handling the situation correctly, some mix up, some others exploting the system, or some combination there of.

I think the matter should be dealt with and corrected. I do think people (those authors specifically) should be upset by this and some actions be taken (what those actions are exactly I’m not sure).  I do think that amazon.com has hurt their reputation for a good while and will suffer some for it. However, I do not think they hate the lgbt community. Companies mess up, they make poor choices, and the market lets them know it… just like they have in this case.

I applaud the lgbt community for standing up and being heard… but I don’t think the heads of amazon.com should be put on sticks and marched around the town square. Just like I don’t think amazon.com is out to be evil. There is a gray area and we all live within it. Let’s try to remember that while the demonizing from all sides continues.  It takes all of us to make the truth.

Sweden figures out alternative sexuality

I have love the Sweds for as long as I can remember. I was raised on Abba goodness from an early age. The Swedish flag and the Sexual Equality sticker always remind me of one another. Perhaps all this and more has lead me not to be surprised at all that Sweden has gone and figured out how not pathologize those with a differing consensual sexual choices.

Basically the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden officially decided to declassify seven sexual behaviors because they felt they were not an illness.  The Swedish people will soon be able to engage in sadomasochism, fetishism, and transvestitism with more freedom than ever before.  I’d love to throw a little Swedish theme party in honor of such greatness. I have a visions of turning an Ikea into a club for a night. All that pretty furniture could be used for play-party fun.

While I celebrate for my sexual exploration friends in Sweden, I have to wonder if this has any impact at all on Americans. Marty Kline, one of my all time favorite people, has a great little article on this topic. I fear that we as a country are still struggling with the idea of homosexuality that it will be a while before real change occurs in our national outlook on other forms of sexuality.

However, I feel that each one of us can provide a pathway towards understanding and acceptance. You don’t have to be partake in any alternative sexuality to believe that what consenting adults do in their own bedroom is their own business. You can personally talk with another person, assuming the subject comes up, about how it may not be your kind of thing but that it doesn’t make it sick or dangerous.

Differing sexual acts can be scary to those that are not familiar with it. However, like most things in life when something is new it feels a bit anxious provoking. So remember if you have ever spanked someone lightly on the butt during sexual intimacy or perhaps had your hands held down … then you two are engaging in parts of alternative sexual behaviors. Should you be considered immoral, unhealthy, or a danger to others?  No… I didn’t think so.

We are all just people looking to explor our own sexuality. Whatever you choose is most likely positive and healthy for you. Let’s try to remember that and embrace our Swedish brothers and sisters as they forge a path towards more openness for the rest of the world.

Turn up the Dancing Queen song by Abba and enjoy yourself!

Express yourself …don't repress yourself

Remember the Madonna song called “Human Nature”?  Sure you do… she is walking around in leather and latex. The video was ever-so-scandalous at the time.

Oh fine, here is the link to the video if you can’t remember.

Anyway, the song came up on my pod the other day and I got to thinking about how great it was motivating a person to be open about their feeling (with their sexuality or otherwise).   There is something deep within each one of us that longs for the freedom to be truthful about who we are as a person.  We want to be understood and accepted for who we really are at our core.

Deciding to expose the raw parts of your soul can be freeing. So why on earth wouldn’t each one of us want to just spill our deepest secrets to someone we trust?  It is a scary thing to share your most intimate thoughts and feelings even if they are not about sexual desires.

The main issue though  is this little-big thing called rejection. It is human nature (idea pun intended) for each one of us to fear the risk of being mocked, ridiculed, or even pushed aside. The moment you share who you are is the moment you stand for something. In that very second you will find that someone you care about intensely either shares your views, disagrees with your views, or something in between. That risk can feel terrifying. We don’t want to lose the person we love so often we keep the most personal parts of who we are to ourselves.

Everything around us will tell us that our people want to know who we _really_ are but in reality they could just as easily decide they don’t like who we really are and leave. It is natural for us to want to minimize that chance. But yet… we long and crave to be understood. We want to know that the person we share our life with fully understands us (even if they can not full accept).

Here is where things get tricky. We are fearful of rejection so we do not share yet we bemoan the fact that our partner doesn’t understand us. We set up the very pattern that keeps us from drawing closer. I will not pretend that each one of us takes a big risk in sharing our truest feelings…. you could lose your partner. However, as cliche as it sounds, was that someone you really wanted if when you shared the core part of you they rejected you?  The answer may be yes or it may be no … however even that can be part of the growth process.

Assuming you feel that you want a truly open honest relationship with your partner, it is best to face your fear and share. The moment you risk (read: trust) your heart with another person is the moment that the two of you have a huge opportunity to connect on a deeper level. This new creation of intimacy will allow each one of you to feel safer in discussing anything from money problems to sexual desires.

It isn’t easy to be who you are in the face of fear and possible rejection. Yet, I claim your self worth and the potential for deeper trust out weighs any negative that could occur. I know it sounds like a dramatic claim, however I do speak from experience. I have risked it all and found myself alone and I have risked even more and found myself in the best relationship of my life. So in both ends of the spectrum I knew that I was proud of being true to myself.

Risk it… risk being afraid and all the glory that comes with being strong enough to be yourself! It is worth it!

Madtown Spank Fest

We are a lucky group here in Madison because we have just enough kink functions to keep most people busy every weekend. It also means that if you are new to Madison and/or the kink community you have an opportunity to learn at Madtown Spank Fest! It is an adult only function but you do not have to any previous knowledge of BDSM/kink to attend. You simply need to have an open mind and be ready to explore.

Now you can go on the website and see more details about presenters (myself included!) and demos but if you are new to “the scene” you may be a bit nervous about attending a mini-convention of this sort. Rest assured your friendly alternative-sex-therapist is here to help walk you through the basics.

1) Do I have to dress up in leather and/or be tied up in front a bunch of people?

This is pretty much one of the first things that always gets asked of me if it is about a convention or a play party. The answer is… no you do not have to do anything … unless you want to. You can wear casual clothing. Also, Spank will have specific times for a play party that you may or may not attend depending on your desire. You may also attend and just watch, I promise it is 100% okay to go and just be a voyeur!!

2) Will people try to talk to me and expect me to know all the terminology/lingo?

Well… some people may try to talk to you because they are friendly and eager to help but you are not going to be expected to talk or answer questions. And a huge part of this event is for new people to come and learn. The organizers really care about helping create a community that is welcoming. So if you want to talk you can, if you want to ask about stuff you can, and if you want to be silent you can do that too.

3) Do I have to know if I am a Dom/Top/Master/Mistress/Sub/Bottom/Slave/Switch before I go?

Goodness no you don’t have to know anything other than an interest in finding out about BDSM… that is it. I swear to you that no one will make you confess you know what flavor of BDSM you happen to like. However, this is a great place to help you discover possible interests and/or leanings you may have in the power exchange arena.

4) What if I don’t like something I see or here?

It is possible that you may go to a demo/class and realize that what you are learning about doesn’t work for you. That is totally okay and you are welcome to leave and wait for another presentation to begin. There is no hard and fast rule that you have to be “into” everything that is displayed. You are encouraged to have an opinion as to what works and what does not work for you personally.

5) What if I freak out?

Well, that all depends. If you feel overwhelmed by all the data that comes your way and it is positive then you can discuss that with others, write about it, go try something, and/or process it in the way that works best for you. If you feel like the whole scene is just too much for you right now then you are encouraged to do similar things as mentioned above for processing as well as perhaps leave Spank earlier than expected.  If you feel like you are enjoying things so much and your life will change forever and you are not sure how to go back to your old self, then I would say seeing someone like me could be helpful as a way to help you learn to accept your evolving sexuality in a positive way.  No matter what, you will have people there and/or in your life that will support you. I encourage you to share your experience with someone you trust in a way that feels safe for you.

Sexuality can be a tricky journey and Spank Fest is just another stepping stone in helping you along your path.  Still, I do know for a fact that if you have questions, are new to the scene, want to learn more, or see things in a safe way then Madtown Spank Fest is a really good place to start. Plus, I’ll be there and you are more than welcome to come up and ask me questions.  That is what I’m there for!

I hope to see you there in just a few weeks!

Happy and Healthy = Kinky?

A recent study by the University of NSW explores the idea of BDSM among Australians . The study conducted by Juliet Richters and her colleagues wrote in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that, “Findings support the idea that bondage and discipline and sadomasochism (BDSM) is simply a sexual interest “.

I got this link via a friend who got it through Adult Rope Art and it really did not surprise any of us. Does it shock you that someone could be involved in conscious choices of sexuality where there is perhaps some level of physical power exchange?

The average person thinks that BDSM (and most people have heard the term by this point) is either something very serious or very silly. Your friends may joke about wearing leather or maybe you have even thought about going to a Dominatrix but were afraid.

All this is actually good for mainstream America (even if the study took place in Australia). The more BDSM is talked about the more normal it becomes. Don’t believe me? The fact of the matter is that most of us that are sexually active have lightly spanked someone on the butt or held someone down for a passionate kiss.  If you are unsure about if this is BDSM, I’ll tell you… it is!!!

One does not have to dress up, pretend to be someone else, or even do anything extreme to dable in BDSM. The truth is, it is overall much more about sexual exploration, energy exchange, and allowing yourself to go where the moment takes you and your partner(s).  There are no rules as to what is BDSM (even if you hear others tell you so).  If you want to take a specific role, go to play parties, or head out for a special convention on rope bondage that is great. However, you can also cuddle up in bed, playfully tease one another with words,  and nibble on one another’s lips. It is all about BDSM it is just at the other end of the spectrum.

So don’t let these things scare you. You are your own sexual being and as long as there is consent (even non-consensual-consent — another topic for another time) with everyone involved then try something new and see what happens. Before you know it you might realize it isn’t so scary or funny but actually really sexy and someone you enjoy!

Madison WI aka A Kinky Community

A few months back I was interviewed by John Mendelssohn for an article on the Madison kink scene for Dane 101. I figured it would be questions about what I thought about the scene as a therapist in the community. Turns out Mr. Mendelssohn had a great number of truly interesting questions about my ideas on sexuality, kink, and the goodness of the two.

We talked for at least thirty minutes and I came out wondering what exactly would be used for the article. The results of the article can be found here It’s Easy To Be Kinky.  I admit that knowing pretty much everyone that Mendelssohn spoke to for the article made me smile. I enjoy the alternative sexuality community in Madison and am pleased that it would overall get such a positive review.

I must say that beyond all I think Mendelssohn did take away from his discussion with me one of my core beliefs as a therapist.  He quotes me in regards to those women that make the choice to be submissive by saying, “I celebrate their having the courage and strength of character. In my practice, I don’t want anyone, regardless of what may excite them, to feel pathologized.’

I believe that each one of us has a core sexuality. That may be all about making love, cuddling, sharing pillow talk, and falling asleep in each others arms afterwards. Or one’s sexuality may be about creating a shared experience with various levels of power exchange, pleasurable pain, and aftercare where everyone comes back to center again. Whatever version of sexuality you enjoy please remember it is an expression of yourself and it is beautiful.