Category Archives: sexuality

Seducing the Seducer — Part 1

I spend a ton of time reading, thinking, discussing, and implementing topics that have to do with power dynamics, evolutionary psychology, seduction, mental health, and emotional authenticity.  They all flow for me into a sex positive approach to therapy.

I have been a student of Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP for over 10 years. From those trance-induction building blocks,  I learned about Speed Seduction (the older term).  Ross Jefferies was really the only person at that juncture combining the ideas of natural rapport with sexuality. I was intrigued and actually am proud to say that I had numerous conversations  with him.  At the time, it was ground breaking concept formation to marry these two obviously similar seeming schools of thought.

Yet, there was a problem area with all this new exciting information. The thorn in my psychological side with Speed Seduction was often the same concern  I later had with the emerging  PUA communities. It all seemed so harshly negatively based. I would read these people (mostly men at that point) talking about picking up women and it was a very pump-em-and-dump-em kind of system. There was little to no discussion about seducing from an emotionally authentic way.  The focus was to build a man up by diminishing the self-esteem of a woman (remember this was all single hetero male focused).

Side Rant for clarification —  I have no problem with people engaging in sex casually or otherwise. I’m all for being primal- spiritual- kinky -romantic (or a zillion other variations) sexually.  I’m even an avid supporter of using your personal skill set, trance-rapport techniques, science, and any positive physical features one has to attract another person. In fact, I often work with many clients on these very things.  However, the difference is I specifically do so  from a positive-consent-based foundation.

Everything I saw was focused on feeling good about yourself by making another person feel less than.  I’m all about the truth of determining value based on your own personal values and social mores. Yet, when you are acting in a way to belittle another person to get them to have sex with you it  just seems shady. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, but I am saying there is some lack of personal integrity. If one is working to establish high-value (as most seduction techniques express as a goal) I never saw the high value in lying or being cruel. It feels a bit like a crude hack as opposed to a well thought out positive sculpting process.

It seemed obvious to me that you would want to be seduced or seduce another by lifting up their self respect…even if your intent is for a one night stand.  I just kept thinking that if you can’t seduce someone into wanting to date or have sex with you and have them feel better about you and themselves afterward, it doesn’t seem like you did a very good job.  However, I appeared to be the only one thinking this. And basically the hetero female population that was paying attention to seduction culture was just outraged and dismissed it all.  Both sides seemed to say it was an all or nothing system. I felt stuck within my own world of knowing the value of these ideas but still not having a delivery system that was uplifting.

So time went on and The Game was published. Pick up artistry began to gather a bit more attention. By this point Mystery and a few others were riding on the coattails and creating a more up-to-date community for seduction. The trend was to make things look a more palatable for the general public and even open up the marketplace to women. It was a step in the right direction as far as I was concerned.   I felt personally intrigued and continued to use many of the techniques in situations…but nothing felt healthy and positive enough to share with clients.

Then a friend, who also studies seduction personally and for business use, recommended The Authentic Man Program. I was thrilled to see people using the  rapport skills in a non-shaming way. They were taking all the NLP, psychology, and sexuality concepts and rolling them together. It made my heart sing. Finally, there was something I could recommend to clients.  I took the courses online and learned a lot. I really enjoyed Bryan and Decker. They felt like honest people using these ideas in a healthy way. I recommended the classes in person or online to clients.  One small problem is that it is expensive. Not every client that could benefit from their ideas was able to be exposed to them.  The search continued.

More time passed and another friend was looking into David Deida’s work,  so I happily joined in the fun. Deida’s ideas had a wonderful sensual and spiritual feeling to them.  They were direct in the evolutionary psych components and incorporated the piece of creating a higher sense of purpose as a way to seduce. He also came from a perspective of being in a long-term relationship.  I loved stitching as many elements as possible into the fold.  And now I had at least one author that I could recommend and felt comfortable sharing with clients.  However, there were a few small concerns.  If the client was not naturally leaning towards being introspective, open to some spiritual elements, or already had a base for seduction skills …it was a bit too much to take on for the first round. Clients reported that there was some good stuff but didn’t exactly resonate.

I had yet more conversations  (well really me complaining) about this weird gap in teaching these ideas to others. A friend came to the rescue and started a blog  about seduction within long-term relationships.  I felt like I was finally able to reliably send clients to a site that I trusted would be smart, relationship safe, and that was teaching these combined principles.  Then due to the very hectic schedule of the author, the blog was simply not going to continue due to lack of time to commit to it properly. My heart sank… would I ever find the right mix for this approach to suggest to my clients?

It was becoming some sort of personal mission without consciously realizing it.  However,  now I was fully aware and had no idea where I was going to find the time to write this book, but I figured it would need to be done.  It would go on the list with the other projects I’m working on.

Then one day it happened…. there was this blog…. Married Man Sex Life by Athol Kay.  A man saying  the things that my clients had said:  all the things that they were afraid to admit to themselves,  all the things they felt shame about expressing to others, and all the things they resented and loved about dating and sex and marriage.  It was a real person who happened to be so smart and honest that it was almost impossible not to side with him. He wasn’t a jerk, he wasn’t single, and he didn’t naturally come to all this understanding with a dominant personality.  Kay was providing this knowledge base and it felt worthy of suggesting to a few clients.  The feedback was awesome and I just kept thinking about how great it would be if this guy would just write a book.   These core ideas are actually really important and of course it would make my life easier if someone would put all of it together nicely packaged so I could just tell clients to go get the book.

And then just like that… there was word that his blog was going to be turned into a book.  I began to get more and more eager for the release of The Married Man Sex Life Primer.   It was going to happen,  I was finally really and truly going to have material worthy enough for clients.  My standards are exceedingly high and so were my expectations of his work. Athol Kay had managed to seduce this therapist who loves  teaching seduction into wanting to read his book,  review it, and hopefully recommend it to clients.

In Part 2 of Seducing the Seducer … I’ll share how I read the book in record time,  got to talk with Athol Kay about his work,  and my review of the book The Married Man Sex Life Primer. And for the record, no one paid, asked me to, or even encouraged me to ever seek out this information, interview, or blog posts.  This is all about my interest in the field, being a therapist, and knowing that many of these ideas help others.

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A step forward

Wisconsin will become the first state in the nation with an existing constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and civil unions to enact domestic partnerships today when Governor Doyle signs the biennial state budget. The bill grants important and limited protections to same-sex couples in caring, committed relationships, including hospital visitation and the ability to take Family Medical Leave to care for a sick or injured partner. This makes Wisconsin the first state in the Midwest to legislatively enact protections for same-sex couples – putting the state whose motto is “Forward” back on a progressive track with this important step towards equality.

This historic achievement further illustrates the Wisconsin values of fairness and decency. “This is an important step toward ensuring that someone in a caring, committed relationship is able to care for his or her partner,” said Glenn Carlson, retiring Executive Director of Fair Wisconsin. “Fair Wisconsin applauds our Governor and state legislators who realize that no one should ever have to worry about being blocked at their partner’s hospital room door, or have to make the heartbreaking decision to quit their job in order to care for a seriously ill partner. This isn’t about being gay or straight—it’s about being decent.”

“Today is a tremendous victory for fairness,” says Fair Wisconsin Legislative Director and incoming Executive Director Katie Belanger. “We are very grateful for the exceptional leadership of Governor Doyle, the Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee Rep. Mark Pocan and Sen. Mark Miller, and the many state legislators who recognize and value our state’s same-sex couples. They know that the government shouldn’t stand in the way of someone being able to care for their long-term partner.”

The Wisconsin Legislative Council issued an opinion on May 6th, 2009, supporting the legality of domestic partnerships under the constitutional amendment, stating “it is reasonable to conclude that the domestic partnerships proposed…do not confer a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals in violation of art. XIII, s.13.”

To be eligible for a domestic partnership, two individuals must be of the same sex, both be at least 18 years old, share a common residence, not be nearer of kin than second cousins, and neither party can be married or in another domestic partnership with anyone else. Domestic partnerships will be administered at the county level, and couples must sign a legal declaration of their commitment. Couples can begin registering for a domestic partnership in 30 days.

by Christine Callsen

Tristan Taormino — Sexual Empowerment

I have been a long time fan of Tristan Taormino. She has done amazing work in the area of sexual positivity. She writes insightful books, creates a witty blog, and presents workshops. She was here in 2008  (and brought together our own locals like Minx and Gray ) so I wasn’t sure she would be here as part of her book tour or not. But she is going to be the keynote speaker for UW Madison Sexual Health Week — Date: Friday April 24, 2009  at 7pm.  Location: 2650 Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Madison Admission: Free

Tristan’s most recent book Opening Up is a great look into the why, how, and real life approach into an open relationship — everything from jealousy, honesty, and reality of exploring non-monagamy.  Having read just about any and all works that are out there on polyamory, I feel a specific connection to Taormino’s work. She takes on multiple perspectives on the topic. She is not out to convince anyone that open relationships are easy or perfect.

Many people feel the need to shout the virtues of open relationships as if there is nothing but glory to be found within the relationship dyanmics. On the other end, it seems as if many want to villify the the alternative sexual/relationship approach.  It is hard to find a balance and I believe that Tristan manages to strike it.

Without going into the details of pro and cons of non-monagamy here in this post. I will say that  I think that Taormino provides a great look at  open relationships.  If you are curious about if you might be interested in an open relationship, looking for basics on the ideas, or just wondering what the topic is all about then Opening Up is a wonderful book to start with!

Here is a quote that I specifically enjoyed because I often need to help clients through the understanding that they create their own relationship that works for them not set by standards of others:

“Some people have confused equality with symmetry, making the assumption that everyone should have the same thing…. Sometimes setting the same rules for both partners simply doesn’t make sense because you are different people who want different things.   In attempting to give each person equality you could lose sight of what each person actually wants.  Work to achieve balance rather than equality.

I would highly recommend you go and see Tristan speak. She is fun, energetic, honest, and very smart. You will enjoy yourself if you take the time to go hear her speak this Friday.

One small side note, with all relationships, if you are looking for support, direct help, or specific questions then seeking out an alternative sexuality therapist, like myself, is a recommended.

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.

A new kind of porn star — Sasha Grey

Whatever you may think of pornography on a personal level, there is reason to consider informing yourself with information about current version of female porn stars. You might disagree with pornography on multiple levels or not but you can not push aside the fact that the women and men involved are real and should not be exploited.  No longer is it all about women being taken advantage of or females from abusive homes (although both of those do still exist).  There are numerous female run film studios, female pornography created with straight and gay women viewers in mind, as well as many female owned business catering to the industry … everything from health care to legal groups fighting for continued rights of this in the industry.

Jenna Jameson revolutionized pornography with her version of female empowerment a few years back. She started marketing herself, her work, and created an brand that she fully controlled. Jenna was no longer clumped with the idea that pornography is exploitative. She took control of her past, present, and future. There is a reason you have probably heard her name and if not I encourage you to read her best selling book, to learn more of her as a person.

With Jenna blazing the trail the roads have opened up for women joining the business. And that brings us to the Sasha Grey. She is a glorious intelligent woman with an intellectual and feminist stance on her life and work. She refuses to be stamped as just a mainstream artist or an up and coming porn star. Sasha speaks her mind truthfully and that often ruffles feathers. She is not ashamed of her choices and takes full responsibility for her body and mind.

To see a young woman defend her choices in an intellectual, calm, and strong way is a beautiful thing. She most recently was attacked in the press and Sasha came back with a vengeance explaining her views.

One of the great quotes from her letter is below:

I am neither ashamed or reluctant to admit what I do is performance art… This resonates two of my primary objectives in the adult business… one: challenge the idea of what women are supposed to like or be like in bed, and two: most of the porn I used to watch was boring and I wanted to make it more fulfilling for myself and viewers. These statements were made in order to challenge the one dimensional, romanticized Hollywood-idealized perception of “couples friendly sex”.

I am a very sexually healthy young woman and I take pride in the liberation of female sexuality, I have a cause, I am determined, and I am a hard worker (pun intended). As a sex symbol, with an intellectual stance, I am and will continue to be vilified, and I am ok with that…in fact I am content; it gives me the opportunity to shed the light on the darker areas of sex and validate the insecurities of sexually repressed women. The days of victimized, disturbed porn stars (and civilian women) are fading away… I am the new breed.

So beyond any and all negative views one may or may not have about pornography, there is something to be said for a woman making her choices in a conscious way.  Sasha is speaking her mind, declaring her independence, and quickly changing the way the public views the porn industry. I applaud her strength of will and intellectual abilities.  If one is going to choose to be in the sex industry, it is my hope that a male, female, or trans individual will do so as well informed, direct, and powerfully as Ms. Grey.

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!

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!