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Metamour Day is February 28th!

on Thursday, 21 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Metamour Day is meant to foster positive relationships between you and your metamours, whatever that might look like. It is not about forced compersion. It’s about communal appreciation within our family structures. Metamour Day is a celebration of the unique and special relationships between metamours.

Metamour Day

As society evolves and non-monogamy becomes more common, the traditional nuclear family structure is constantly being challenged. Metamours are often taking on important family roles such as cohabitators and parental figures.

Metamour Day 4

It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the special role a metamour has in your partners’ lives and tangentially (or directly) your own life. As a non-monogamous person, it is worthwhile to celebrate that relationship in order to continue to demonstrate the supportive and beneficial impact of non-monogamy on our lives.

Metamour Day 5

Please join the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in celebrating this day on February 28!

Guest Blog: The Scottish Government is Gaslighting Us

on Tuesday, 19 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

By Tiro

Recently the Scottish government brought in a new domestic abuse law, along with the promise to provide training and support for everyone who might be faced with identifying victims of every form abuse can take. This law, which was passed by a near-total majority, is being heralded as a gold standard that should be a model for other countries legislatures to take from as they recognize the paucity of their existing definitions of domestic abuse.

The law expands the definition of domestic abuse. It includes:

“Behavior that is violent, threatening or intimidating

Behavior whose purpose is one of the following:

Making a partner dependent or subordinate
Isolating a partner from friends, relatives or other sources of support
Controlling, regulating or monitoring a partner’s day-to-day activities
Depriving a partner of, or restricting, freedom of action
Frightening, humiliating, degrading or punishing a partner. (From the BBC)”


The text of the current law essentially makes my relationship illegal by omitting one key word: consent. Consent is not mentioned even once throughout all the law or any of the supporting documents. Without the provision that even some of these behaviors—as well as the fear and distress they can cause—listed above can be consensual, the law makes criminals out of even the most considered, mindful, carefully negotiated, and loving of power exchange dynamics.

There are now two criteria for determining whether the above behaviors are abusive. The first is whether the person doing them intended to cause physical or psychological harm or was reckless about whether they would cause such harm. Psychological harm is defined in the text of the law as, “fear, alarm, or distress”—again, no mention of consent or desire. The second is whether a reasonable person would consider the actions to be likely to cause physical or psychological harm.

This is a huge step forward in creating a safer climate for victims of abuse, but without any reference to consent in the text of the law or any of the surrounding guidelines, it opens the D/s community up to real dangers. Would a “reasonable person”—almost certainly a vanilla, monogamous person—think your relationship is abusive? Do you enjoy playing with fear and distress?

It only takes one malicious individual to call the police for a “wellness check” on a D/s relationship, and lives of everyone involved in it could be ruined. There would be nothing anyone could say that could help their case, not “we love each other,” “we’re happy,” “we deliberately created this relationship and negotiated every part of it,” “we’re sadists and masochists and we enjoy fear, alarm, and distress within the context of our relationship”—none of this would matter.

So why can’t I want someone to treat me like a slave? Why is it abusive even though I’m an educated, clear-minded man? Fear, alarm, and distress can all exist within the context of my D/s dynamic, as can coercion and control. I don’t feel like I’m being harmed or abused, but I’m sure many vanilla, monogamous people would disagree. It feels a lot like gaslighting: My consent to being treated this way isn’t important because nobody should want to be treated this way. And if I do, I’m not rational enough for my consent to count, and therefore, I really am being abused.

Let me be totally clear: Domestic abuse is a truly awful thing for anyone to experience or witness. Abuse of all kinds is possible in every kind of relationship, including power exchange, and the law should absolutely extend full protection to the victims of every kind of domestic abuse. Whether a particular behavior is abusive in BDSM, however, is sensitive to context. Thriving, happy D/s relationships can involve all of the behaviors on the list of psychological abuse, just as thriving SM relationships can involve behaviors that are legally classified as assault.

Sexual minorities, like people who live in power exchange relationships, need explicit consideration whenever new laws are developed. A healthy, secure relationship for us doesn’t look like it does for most people, so any test of abuse that focuses on what a “reasonable person” might think is automatically going to put us at an unjust disadvantage. The BDSM community in the UK shouldn’t allow itself to be labeled as a group of abusers and victims. We have to do more, as a community, to make our voices heard in the vanilla world. We need to be involved in the consultation process for laws that could harm us, as individual reasonable people and through activist groups. We can’t just assume that we’ll be fine so long as we stay behind closed doors; domestic abuse legislation is designed to open those doors.

Why Polyamory May Be The Future of Love

on Friday, 15 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Men's Health UK

The problem is that most of us are frightened of what we want – we attach shame to it, or we worry it might imperil the social structure. “It’s worth interrogating these questions: what do I desire? What do I want from my partner? You might find your relationship works well enough as it is – but a tiny thing might open it up into something unexpected. It might be even better than you could have imagined.”

An intimate chat with the couple selling the '50 Shades of Maple Glen' home

on Thursday, 14 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Philly Voice

“It’s a sexy thing,” said Priscilla, explaining they were welcomed at the clubs, not seen as sexual tourists asking annoying questions but first-timers trying to find their way. "It was hard for me, but I never felt judged when we were there. They were so respectful," she continued. "There's nothing forced. No one's touching you. It was actually super fun because we learned so much and opened our minds even more, right?"

19 02 14

Work The Kinks Out: Pittsburgh’s BDSM Community Has A Place For Everyone

on Monday, 11 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Pittsburgh Current

That’s a common refrain throughout the community, though, one of wanting acceptance. When asked what’s one misconception they would like to lay to rest about BDSM it’s that people stop thinking of them as ‘other’ or weird. As Gelsomino said, most people feel something deviant. “It’s okay to feel the way you’re feeling,” Mistress Kye said. “There are places you can go, and our community is so welcoming. I always suggest people attend a munch to learn more.”

 

SouthEast Consent Summit

on Monday, 11 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

SouthEast Consent Summit on February 23-24, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. www.consentsummit.info

Flyer SebastianGray

Is 2019 the Year of the Consenticorn?

on Monday, 11 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The New Yorker

When House of Yes opened at its current location, a few years ago, Kaywin thought that she would become a regular. Instead, every time she went she got groped. After she posted about an incident on social media, Jacqui Rabkin, the club’s marketing director, hired her as a consultant. Along with the House’s founders, Kae Burke and Anya Sapozhnikova, the women began proselytizing the ideal of a better party environment. The goal is not to police but to educate.

APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force Initiatives

on Friday, 08 February 2019. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

The American Psychological Association Division 44 Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force promotes awareness and inclusivity about consensual non-monogamy and diverse expressions of intimate relationships. These include but are not limited to: people who practice polyamory, open relationships, swinging, relationship anarchy and other types of ethical non-monogamous relationships.

 

Finding love and/or sexual intimacy is a central part of most peoples life experience. However, the ability to engage in desired intimacy without social and medical stigmatization is not a liberty for all. This Task Force seeks to address the needs of people who practice consensual non-monogamy, including their intersecting marginalized identities.

 

The goal of the Task Force is to generate research, create resources, and advocate for the inclusion of consensually non-monogamous relationships in four areas: 1) basic and applied research, 2) education and training, 3) psychological practice, and 4) public interest.

 

We have included our current initiatives and leadership team. Currently, we have a diverse group of 75 professionals who are volunteering with the Task Force. If you are interested in getting involved with an initiative and/or have an idea for a new project, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We welcome support from mental and medical health professionals, legal professionals, graduate students, and community members alike.

 

We would also like to invite you to join our mailing list to receive updates when you sign our petition to support relationship diversity. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

We are honored to serve in this role and organize to promote the interests of the consensual non-monogamy community on behalf of APA Division 44. Thank you for your interest support in this endeavor.

Sincerely,

 

Heath Schechinger, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist, University Health Services, University of California, Berkeley

Co-chair, APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force

 

Amy Moors, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Chapman University Research Fellow, The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University

Co-chair, APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force

 

APA Division 44 CNM Task Force Initiatives & Leadership

 

1. Consensual Non-monogamy Fact Sheet (Lead: Amy Moors, Ph.D.): An easy-to-read infographic that provides helpful information about CNM, including a definition, stats, dispelled myths, and recommendations for further reading.

 

2. Healthcare Brochures (Co-leads: Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D. & Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.): Resources designed to educate medical and mental health providers about consensual non-monogamy.

 

3. Consensual Non-monogamy Inclusive Practices Tool (Lead- Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.): A benchmarking tool to highlight inclusive clinical practices and policies related to equity and inclusion for people engaged in CNM.

 

4. Therapist Recommendations (Co-leads: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., Dossie Easton, Geri Weitzman, Ph.D., & Amy Moors, Ph.D.): This team is creating a guide with empirically informed recommendations for therapists working with clients who engage in consensual non-monogamy.

 

5. CNM Literature Project (Co-leads: Daniel Cardoso, Ph.D. & Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D.): A resource designed to summarize, index, and organize peer-reviewed and historic CNM literature that can be used by researchers, educators, and clinicians.

 

6. Special Call Campaign (Co-leads: Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Ph.D., Sharon Flicker, Ph.D., Daniel Cardoso, Ph.D., & Ashley Thompson, Ph.D.): This team is responsible for organizing special calls (e.g., journal issues, conference symposia) related to consensual non-monogamies.

 

7. Intersecting Identities Campaign (Co-leads: Leonore Tjia, M.A., Roberto Abreu, Ph.D., & Christopher Stults, Ph.D.): This team is promoting awareness of issues facing individuals engaged in consensual non-monogamy with multiple marginalized identities through writing a peer-reviewed paper on the topic, compiling a list of advocacy groups that work intersecting CNM identities, and challenging common homogeneous narratives about CNM.

 

8. LGBTQ Training Resources Campaign (Co-leads: Dawn Brown, M.S. & Stephen Forssell, Ph.D.): This team will work with local and national LGBTQ leaders to increase CNM representation in LGBTQ resources (e.g., The Safe Zone Project , Healthcare Equality Index). They are creating resources addressing the intersection of CNM and LGBTQ identities and providing recommendations for how to can be inclusive of CNM.

 

9. Anti-discrimination Campaign (Ashley Thompson, Ph.D. & Ryan Witherspoon, Ph.D.): This team is committed to addressing discrimination issues related to consensual non-monogamy, such as the effects of stigma and discrimination and the implications for family law and employment discrimination, as well as CNM being a protected status. This team is producing a peer-reviewed paper.

 

10. Therapist Locator Campaign (Co-leads: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., Bree Zimmerman, M.A., & Deanna Richards, Ed.M.): This team is dedicated to removing barriers to accessing culturally competent care by organizing a campaign to include consensual non-monogamy (and/or related terms) on therapist locator directories.

 

11. Inclusive Education Campaign (Co-leads: Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Ph.D. & Apryl Alexander, Psy.D.): This is developing a pledge campaign to promote CNM inclusion in education and training programs. One project will include recruiting educators to pledge being inclusive of consensual non-monogamy in their courses. They will maintain a database and promote awareness of individuals and organizations who pledge in order to increase visibility and advocate for inclusion.

 

12. Inclusive Demographic Forms Campaign (Co-leads: Jen Rafacz, Ph.D. & Rachel Ann Kieran, Psy.D.): This team is committed to increasing awareness about including relationship status/structure (e.g., monogamous, polyamorous) on client history/intake and demographic forms. A couple initiatives of this group include writing an article addressing inclusive demographic forms, organizing a pledge campaign, and providing sample language for assessing relationship style on demographic forms.

 

Advisory Board

 

Our Advisory Board consists of individuals with substantial experience in a particular domain (e.g., therapy, public outreach, research) who have made themselves available to provide consultation and guidance to the Task Force Co-chairs and project Leads. Our network of advisors include:

Alan MacRobert

Charles Moser, PhD, MD

Cris Beasley

Cunning Minx

Dave DoleShal, Ph.D.

Dossie Easton

Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D.

Jes Matsick, Ph.D.

John Sakaluk, Ph.D.

Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D.

Richard Sprott, Ph.D.

Susan Wright, M.A.

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