Manhattan Alternative Represented at Upcoming SSTAR Conference

Dr. Eli Mayer will be presenting a talk on Saturday, March 28 at the 40th annual conference of the Society of Sex Therapists and Researchers (SSTAR) in Boston.  The theme of this year’s conference is: Healthy Sexuality as a Human Right: Making Sex Therapy Available to Diverse Populations.  The conference provides an opportunity to educate “mainstream” sex therapists and researchers about how to provide quality Sex Therapy to those of us whose sexual… Read More

Intimate Partner Violence in Sadomasochistic Relationships

The following is an excerpt from research inspired by four individuals’ experiences of intimate partner violence in the context of what they had initially believed to be consensual sadomasochistic relationships. The individuals came forward with the common motivation of giving hope to others who have felt similarly trapped by the conspiracy of silence, and to help generate discussion in support of those who find themselves in an abusive relationship disguised as D/s. […] Contemporary society has… Read More

Grappling with Consensual Non-consent, part 2

Continued from Grappling with Consensual Non-consent, part 1. Langdridge’s1 chapter on the eroticization of pain in BDSM interactions describes the concept of losing control in a different way. Though CNC is not mentioned explicitly, the type of interaction described intimates an interaction that is initially consensual, but then brings the bottom to an altered state of consciousness in which there is a complete loss of agency and separation from reality, which the… Read More

Grappling with Consensual Non-consent, part 1

The concept of consensual non-consent1 (CNC) relates to the type of BDSM interaction in which there exists a mutual agreement between participants that allows for an atmosphere of suspended consent2 or suspension of limits3. This type of interaction can take place within the parameters of a time-delimited scene, such as a heavy discipline scene or rape roleplay4,5, or a D/s relationship in which the power dynamic extends beyond sexual interactions, such as… Read More

Depathologizing Casual Sex

I recently read an interesting albeit brief article discussing research on casual sex, and calling out the different types and functions of casual sexual encounters (click on the following to read)… …and I really appreciated that it calls out the oversimplification of these types of sexual interactions. I often have a strong reaction to the way that certain words are reductive, and used to pathologize or stigmatize non-reproductive sex—casual sex, hypersexuality, promiscuity to name a few. The phrase “casual sex”… Read More

All of the Shades

I started out thinking that this would definitely not be a blog post about the 50 Shades books or film, but about the myriad of ways to identify outside of binaries—for example, all of the shades of gray between straight and gay, top and bottom, kinky and non-kinky, and all of the intersections thereof and beyond.  It can be a tricky for people to admit that they reside in the gray area somewhere between the categorical… Read More

Poly Perfect

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about non-binary intersecting identities—well, actually, I’ve always thought a lot about them, but lately I’ve decided to more fully flesh out my thoughts in order to share them with you—and right now I’m thinking about the poly lifestyle, and what it means to identify as poly, and how the meaning of the identification can change depending on other lifestyle intersections. Not too long ago I had a conversation… Read More

The Intersection of Gender Roles and BDSM Power Roles

I was so pleased when the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom—an organization which I have long admired for their tireless support of alternative lifestyles—asked me to submit a guest blog for their site, and posted a excerpt on the presentation I gave at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit in 2014 based on my paper “The BDSM Power Exchange: Subversion, Transcendence, Sexual (R)evolution.”  The excerpt they included was chosen because it aligned well with one of their main goals,… Read More

The Cultural Relativity of Male Sexuality

Over the past few decades, various feminist movements as well as the more recent movements in queer politics have fought for access to rights for marginalized individuals. The strides that have been made toward visibility and sexual freedom have not only been important for individuals within these groups, but have the potential to benefit all individuals. Cultural norms around sexuality do not only affect those who identify outside of the mainstream, but… Read More

The (In)visibility of Gender Diversity in Graduate Level Education

While the abstract below refers to the lack of education on gender diversity in graduate level psychology programs and to the pathologization of gender diversity in related literature, it’s clear that the reification of heteronormative gender roles is also rampant in the field of social work (Hicks, 2014). As someone who holds master’s degrees in both psychology and social work, I experienced this phenomenon first hand twice, and as someone whose practice… Read More