NASHVILLE SCENE: Talking With Stephen K. Stein About the BDSM Movement in Modern America

Susan Sontag once called BDSM “the furthest reach of the sexual experience.” As historian Stephen K. Stein shows in his new book, Sadomasochism and the BDSM Community in the United States: Kinky People Unite, the sexual community of BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism) has evolved over the past half-century. Its practitioners have shifted their practices and gained more mainstream acceptance, fostering a broader culture of sexual freedom in the modern United States.

Stein is an associate professor of history at the University of Memphis. He answered questions via email. 

What is BDSM? How can a historian research it?

Generally speaking, BDSM includes a host of practices that inject a power dynamic into sexual activities, though many people engage in BDSM activities, such as flagellation, that do not specifically lead to sexual intercourse. 

The BDSM community offers rich opportunities for historians. The Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago is dedicated to preserving the community’s history, along with that of leather organizations, whose membership often overlaps that of BDSM organizations. It has the papers of many important BDSM activists, as well as club newsletters, convention programs and other publications. Most of these, though, date from 1980 to the present. The BDSM community’s earlier years are very poorly documented. 

How has the status of BDSM evolved in the United States since the 1960s? Have the sexual practices changed over this time?

Popular, psychological and legal perceptions of BDSM have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Previously seen as a mental dysfunction subject to criminal prosecution and requiring psychiatric treatment, BDSM activities today spark much less disapprobation.

Today’s BDSM community evolved slowly over time as people with BDSM interests found one another via personal ads, cruising bars and bathhouses, and personal introductions. The first formal, publicly advertised BDSM organizations formed in the early 1970s as forums for learning, personal exploration and finding like-minded partners.

BDSM organizations exploded in size and number in the 1980s, and these organizations helped institutionalize and normalize BDSM practice, encouraging some activities and discouraging others. Practically every American city has a local BDSM group (or several), and these remain the central institutions of the community despite the growth of [BDSM social network] FetLife and other internet sites, which connect kinky people.

Why did BDSM leaders advocate a “safe, sane and consensual” movement in the 1980s and 1990s?

Early BDSM organizations and activists struggled to define and explain their sexual interests. In the mid-1980s, they adopted the phrase “safe, sane, consensual.” It proved useful against both external critics (“What we do is safe, sane and consensual, so leave us alone”) and to police conduct within the BDSM community (“What you’re doing is not safe, sane, consensual, so knock it off”). Over time, the community’s emphasis on consent and the individual right to pursue happiness in one’s own way proved an effective counterargument to BDSM critics. 

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Talking With Stephen K. Stein About the BDSM Movement in Modern America by Aram Goudsouzian

Aug. 19, 2021

SLATE: The Indefensible Cruelty of OnlyFans’ Porn Ban

Since its launch in 2016, OnlyFans has become one of the biggest players in the so-called creator economy. Most of the company’s peers in that space have relied on a wide array of content providers to help them make their names. YouTube has remained the dominant catchall video platform because of a mix of video game streamers, musicians, actors, athletes, chefs, stylists, architecture experts, and nearly every other kind of person one could imagine. Instagram has whole ecosystems for 8-year-olds who want to watch baseball videos and 50-year-olds who want to trade photography tips. Patreon hosts writers, podcasters, comics, artists, and more. (Disclosure: I co-host a podcast with a Patreon page myself.) The diversity of offerings is the platforms’ strength.

OnlyFans is not that way. The company launched in November 2016, and if you have heard of it, the reason is probably that OnlyFans has become synonymous with the adult performers who use it to sell content to their fan bases without going through the old-school porn industry. For these performers, OnlyFans has become a source of stability in an industry that offers little of that. Creators keep a reported 80 percent of the revenue they generate from customers who pay to watch them, look at their pictures on the platform, and even interact with them. The exact percentage of OnlyFans content that is porn or porn-adjacent is unknown, but anyone not living under a rock could easily deduce that porn has been the driving factor in the OnlyFans’ rocket growth. On the backs of these performers, OnlyFans has generated a user count widely reported to be north of 130 million.

Now the company is charting a different course. OnlyFans said Thursday that it will ban sexually explicit content on the platform starting in October, while still allowing nude photos and videos that are consistent with its policies. That is ambiguous enough that it’s not clear what will be allowed and what won’t—maybe filmed sex acts are out, while solo modeling is in, and maybe performers will find workarounds—but the direction the company is heading in seems plain enough. Where previously OnlyFans has made unsubtle branding decisions to bill itself as a platform for things other than porn, it will now move overtly to roll back adult content on the platform. The company says it is making the change in response to pressure from banks and payment providers. At the same time, Bloomberg reports, OnlyFans is raising money in pursuit of a valuation north of $1 billion. In other words, OnlyFans is discarding the people who made it a behemoth and hoping to sell the platform those workers popularized to enough big investors for the company’s insiders to get rich.

OnlyFans’ decision to sell out porn creators fits neatly into a narrative of greed. Anyone can see that OnlyFans would be a fraction of its current self without this specific class of worker, and few misdeeds in business are easier to grasp than a company freezing out the people who helped build it. But OnlyFans’ move is actually more insidious than that. Because of the relationship the platform has with its creators, the structure of U.S. labor law, and the exploitative and abusive tendencies of the porn industry, what OnlyFans is doing is not just shameful, but fundamentally cruel.

Though creators deliver the content that drives users to the platform and thus makes the company money, they are not OnlyFans’ employees. They function like independent contractors operating their own businesses, even as that business is inextricably linked to OnlyFans’ own. The lack of employee status means a lack of legally recognized collective bargaining rights. There is not a union of OnlyFans creators, and so there is no collective force hanging around to negotiate the terms of a move like this one—whether that would mean contesting it altogether or securing some kind of severance payment for affected creators. (The siloed nature of OnlyFans, where creators work as individuals in an entirely remote setting, would probably work against a union drive even if creators had a right to it.) OnlyFans might portray delaying the policy change until October as an act of compassion on its part, but six weeks during which a creator still has to work if they want to make money is not akin to what they might get if they were classified differently under the law. OnlyFans, free of a legal requirement to collaborate with its workers in executing this decision, doesn’t even have to worry about them.

Read the Full Article Here:

The Indefensible Cruelty of OnlyFans’ Porn Ban by Alex Kirshner

Aug. 19, 2021

PAPER: This Healthcare Center Allows Sex Workers to Be Themselves

From societal stigma to privacy concerns to prudish insurance providers, it's no secret that sex workers have a particularly hard time receiving respectful and comprehensive medical care. Now though, the good folks at Callen-Lorde are trying to rectify this problem in NYC with their COIN Clinic, the first dedicated healthcare center for sex workers on the East Coast.

An acronym for Cecilia's Occupational Inclusion Network, the clever moniker was created in honor of trans activist and community leader Cecilia Gentili, who became a sex worker in her native Argentina in the '80s. And though she relished the "financial empowerment" that came with her job, she also soon realized that sex workers were facing "a unique reality" when it came to seeking adequate healthcare.

"For me, sex work is really close to my identity and who I am, and I have suffered the disadvantages that the community faces for the work that we do," she said. "That's why it's a commitment for me to create any sense of quality of life for sex workers."

There are a number of reasons why those in the already marginalized profession of sex work have a difficult time finding compassionate providers, receiving comprehensive care and navigating the notoriously complex American insurance complex. As an example, Gentili brought up her own experience as an undocumented immigrant after being arrested for street sex work two days before her visitors visa expired, explaining that she "didn't have insurance until I got a job that gave me insurance."

However, she also knew from past experience that many others working within criminalized forms of sex work were in a similar position as they couldn't report their incomes and, therefore, get insurance. According to her though, this all eventually led to the idea for a free clinic where sex workers, regardless of whether they had insurance or not, could find sex worker-friendly doctors, STI testing, trans-specific care, mental health referrals and free prescriptions, including HIV prevention medications like PrEP and PEP.

"Having a place that tells you, 'Hey, if you have health insurance and you want to use it, we'll take it, but if you don't that's fine, you wont be charged the copayment... and the medicine you need is going to be free," that's attractive and it creates a bridge for that gap that between sex workers and healthcare," Gentili said. "At the same time, if you're a sex worker [and you have a clinic like this], it's like you're going home. You don't have to think, 'How am I going to explain to this doctor that I had sex with a hundred people in the last month or that the hours I work are midnight to 6 AM?'"

She also went on to clarify that there are "so many things that create this lack of trust and communication with the provider," even if you work in something like a legal strip club.

"There are so many things that are hard to translate to your medical provider if they're not sex worker-friendly. I think having a space where it's understood from the get-go creates that clear space where you can go and be yourself and be like, 'My knees are so fucked up because I'm a stripper,'" Gentili continued. "Because if you go to a doctor that doesn't know a sex worker, you'll tell them your knee is fucked up because you 'fell,' and then you're not disclosing the truth and may get the best care you need."

Read the Full Article Here:

This Healthcare Center Allows Sex Workers to Be Themselves by Sandra Song

April 15, 2021

anOther: Female Dominance: Celebrating the Fetish Art of Namio Harukawa

On 24 April 2020, Japanese artist Namio Harukawa died at the age of 72, leaving behind an extraordinary body of work that explored his love of female domination. Obsessed with scenes of erotic asphyxiation, wherein voluptuous women revel in the pleasures of facesitting and transform diminutive men into human furniture, Harukawa established himself as one of Japan’s best known fetish artists in the 1960s and 70s.

Working under a pseudonym formed from an anagram of “Naomi”, the heroine in Tanizaki Jun’ichirō’s novel Chijin no ai / A Fool’s Love, and the surname of film actress Masumi Harukawa, the artist got his start in high school. There, he contributed drawings to Kitan Club, a leading post-war pulp magazine best known for publishing sadomasochistic artwork and prose. But it wasn’t until the 2000s that his work became recognised by everyone, from Japanese avant-garde luminaries Shuji Terayama and Onoroku Dan to Madonna.

“The popularity of Harukawa’s work can be seen in the context of the rise of feminism, fat liberation and the body positivity movement. Although Harukawa’s work can be compared to Robert Crumb, there is no other artist that depicts big girls having fun like that,” says academic, curator and editor Pernilla Ellens, who wrote the introduction to Namio Harukawa (Baron), the sumptuous new book that brings together some of the artist’s most iconic works.

Within the long-standing tradition of Japanese erotica and BDSM, Harukawa’s work stands out, in large part due to his celebration of buttocks. In a world full of ’skinny Minnies,’ Harukawa pays tribute to women of Rubenesque form, depicting them as figures of beauty, desire, glamour and joy. “He really loved the big gals and I think he wanted them to love themselves,” Ellens says. “That’s why his work is so inspirational, as fat women in our fatphobic society who are still marginalised and seen as unattractive, in Harakuwa’s work the subjects take centre stage in all their glory.”

At a time when the Brazilian butt lift has become the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in the world, the female posterior has been restored to its rightful place of veneration. But bootie worship is nothing new: for as long as people have made art, they have thrown ass – in dance, music, drawings, paintings, and sculpture dating back to the Venus of Willendorf (24,000-22,000 BC) and Venus Lespugue (25,000 BC).

“The buttocks represent the primitive image of femininity, sexuality, fertility and lust,” Ellens says. “In the 21st century, we saw a rise of the butt as the focal point in today’s cultural imagery, through song lyrics, music videos, photography, magazine covers, articles, TV, pornography, social networks, fitness culture and plastic surgery. The popularity of the butt has to do with the power of the image. The digital revolution, and especially the launch of Instagram in 2010, enlarged the power and influence of these images as they’re now distributed worldwide.”

Read the Full Article Here:

Female Dominance: Celebrating the Fetish Art of Namio Harukawa by Miss Rosen

April 8,  2021

MASHABLE: BDSM and meditation are more connected than you'd think

Whips, handcuffs, blindfolds, ropes, flogging, spanking. These probably aren't the kind of activities you associate with meditation and mindfulness, let alone spirituality.

But if you ask those who practice consensual BDSM (meaning bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sadism/masochism) — along with the researchers who study it and mindful sex — a connection between these seemingly disparate practices actually makes a lot of sense.

Though in its nascent stages, BDSM research is finding similarities between BDSM and mindfulness and other forms of meditation, especially in the context of heightened awareness and relaxing altered states of mind. Evidence is starting to support what many practitioners already innately knew: BDSM can be powerfully meditative, with positive psychological effects that go far beyond just sexual satisfaction.

To the uninitiated, it's easy to discount BDSM as salacious, or even deranged and dangerous. Thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey, the general public's perception of BDSM tends to be ill-informed, reductive, and unhealthy — worlds apart from the reality of a community that embeds enthusiastic consent, trust, and safety into practices that often involve intense but controlled pain.

Early psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud categorized BDSM as nothing short of a mental illness. But modern research reveals again and again that recreational BDSM practitioners are, psychologically speaking, pretty much the same as those who don't practice it. If anything, one study found them to have comparatively lower levels of disorders (like depression, anxiety, PTSD, psychological sadism, masochism, borderline pathology, paranoia) and another suggested they were less neurotic and sensitive to rejection, more open to new experiences and conscientiousness. They also rated their own overall well-being higher than non-practitioners.

The more we study the connection between BDSM, mindfulness, other types of meditation, and pain, the clearer the benefits of BDSM become, particularly when it comes to stress and anxiety. Potentially, it can even be a transcendental and spiritual experience for some.

While the overall BDSM community isn't tied to any religious ideology, the practice does share an important commonality with some spiritual meditation traditions that involve pain. Both embrace the idea of accepting pain, or even finding peace and pleasure in surrendering to it.

Don't yuck someone's ohmmm

Cara Dunkley, a clinical psychologist from the Sexual Health Laboratory at the University of British Columbia (UBC), is part of a group that has spent decades researching mindfulness-based meditation training as a treatment for various sexual difficulties, from chronic pain with sex to traumatic tiggers and low libido.

"Mindfulness at its core is the ability to focus, sustain, and shift attention. And that is why it has real benefits with improving mood, depression, anxiety, pain, sexual functioning, all of that," she said.

Mindful sex specifically can help you shift your attention away from negative thoughts, memories, physical sensations, and painful stimuli through accepting it without reacting to it, so you can then refocus on pleasure instead. General mindfulness-based training has become an increasingly accepted treatment for managing various types of chronic pain. But one UBC study found that teaching patients to apply mindfulness to sex helped with their chronic vaginal pain.

Few groups understand how to turn pain into pleasure better than BDSM practitioners. So Dunkley started researching how they do it, positing multiple theories on the most important facts at play. In 2020, she published the first study ever into whether BDSM actually helps foster mindfulness. The results (though limited in sample size) were promising, showing that the group which practiced BDSM did indeed score higher on most traits associated with everyday mindfulness (which means bringing present-moment awareness to ordinary tasks, like eating, rather than during formal seated meditation).

"Mindfulness is comprised of about five skills: observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judgment, and non-reactivity to your inner experience. Each of those can have useful applications to BDSM," she said.

In the BDSM community, the term Bottom describes the person fulfilling a submissive role, who's on the receiving end of commands and masochistic activities. Conversely, Tops are the ones who role play as dominants in a BDSM scene, doling out the painful stimulation and commands.

For both roles, exercising the tenets of mindfulness can be crucial for having a positive and safe experience.

"The mindfulness method of observing refers to the ability to attend to internal and external experiences, like sensations, emotions, thoughts. Bottoms must be very aware of their own internal experiences and emotional states in their moment-to-moment response during a BDSM activity, and to physical sensations, because they need to differentiate between safe pain and pain that could be indicative of real harm," said Dunkley. "Similarly, Tops must be externally attentive to the emotional and physical responses of the Bottom through very controlled focus, and consciously adjusting their actions accordingly to keep it pleasurable."

But the link between BDSM, meditation, and pain doesn't end there. While Dunkley's research focused on mindfulness as it's commonly used in western scientific research, others have found evidence that there's a transcendental or even spiritual appeal to BDSM too, just like there is in other forms of meditation. There are many types of meditation, but only a small sliver, such as mindfulness, have been tested in lab settings (and even then researchers are still calling for more study on various health benefits).

"There are a variety of reasons people do BDSM," said Brad Sagarin, a professor of social psychology at Northern Illinois University who also leads The Science of BDSM research group. Some go to BDSM for just your standard sexual arousal. But others seek it out for the sheer thrill and excitement, deeper connections to partners, and even stress release. "Some even pursue BDSM primarily for spiritual reasons. In particular, our research team looked into the altered states of consciousness that BDSM activities can facilitate in both Bottoms and Tops."

Their study found that both roles can experience unique states of mind during BDSM. Bottoms in particular describe entering a headspace that sounds a lot like what many longtime, spirituality-based meditators experience.

Read the Full Article Here:

BDSM and meditation are more connected than you'd think by Jess Joho

March 27 2021

DAZED: A dominatrix explains why documentaries about sex work never get it right

There are some hard-working sex workers in Hulu and ABC News’ new documentary, Only Fans: Selling Sexy, and I respect them. I’ve been a sex worker for over 20 years, and being in a documentary about doing sex work is a gigantic leap of faith. We’re rarely treated with respect, and sometimes not even with much humanity. It’s often difficult for me to even watch many sex worker documentaries; such filmmakers favour drama and controversy, and choose to sensationalise the lived experiences of myself and my sex work peers.

For those who’ve been living under a rock, OnlyFans is a subscription service website where individual models can create and sell photos and videos of themselves. (There are creators on OnlyFans who do not sell adult or erotic work, but they are not the subject of Hulu’s doc). There are several other sites that work the same way, but OnlyFans got name checked by Beyoncé, while Bella Thorne almost blew the whole thing up, and these, among other things, made it the biggest player in the game.

Hulu/ABS News did better than most with their documentary – it’s smoothly made, and it only made me wince a few times. But the true value in OF:SS is the voices of the sex workers. In media, anyone who does sex work is deemed not to be a credible witness to their own life, so there are always non-sex workers in these documentaries who serve to confirm (or more often deny) what we say is real. Irony in 2021 is watching a glossy TV show inspired by a sex work website, which features non-sex working actors saying to the camera, in serious tones, that giving sex workers “all this attention” might make us “go too far”. Ask yourself: why does that sound a little hypocritical to me?

But it doesn’t matter, because I’m sure they got legally paid to say it. Actors and models generally are – even when they act in steamy love scenes. In fact, I’m sure everyone who worked on this TV production about OnlyFans models got paid. And no one is upset about any of that; it’s just the models on OnlyFans being paid that upsets some people.

And these people aren’t alone. Writing moral panicky takes on OnlyFans (and sex work in general) has been some opinion columnist’s favorite hobby during the pandemic. But all that manufactured hand-wringing is a grift – see: The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof. These articles are an island of garbage that floats into your Facebook feed when radical feminists collide with upscale suburban wine moms, and stories about zip ties on your car mirror start bubbling up. Sex workers are a gift to people who stir up fake outrage for a living. In a changing world, it’s still permissible to hate sex workers and scapegoat them for anything you don’t like – facts not required.

There is another forthcoming documentary called Buy/Sell/Date, which also claims to be about the sex industry, but I’m sceptical. That’s a tacky, dehumanizing title, and producers Rashida Jones and Meryl Streep have both come out against sex worker’s right in the past. Why is it OK for corporations and famous people to take the lives of sex workers and sell them – and therefore make money off us – but somehow not OK if we do it?

Read the Full Article Here:

A dominatrix explains why documentaries about sex work never get it right by Mistress Matisse

March 24, 2021

VICE NEWS: Sex Workers Are Fighting to Get the COVID Vaccine

For 28 glorious hours this week, Solana Sparks thought she could get a COVID-19 vaccine. That's because a public health official in King County, which includes the city of Seattle, told her that Washington state would soon begin prioritizing sex workers for vaccination.But about a day after Sparks tweeted out the good news, she said she was told the whole thing had been a “misunderstanding.”

Sex workers were not, in fact, in line to get vaccinated.

“Overwhelmingly, our clients don’t want to wear masks, and they don’t want us to wear masks,” Sparks, who’s a full-service sex worker, told VICE News. “I have clients who are older and I’m really worried about them.”

Had Washington followed through, it likely would’ve been the first state to prioritize vaccinating people in the sex work industry, which encompasses a broad range of occupations with varying degrees of in-person contact and legality. With coronavirus vaccines in such short supply, deciding who gets first dibs is a deeply complex process that invokes questions of ethics, public health, and political acceptability.

But many sex workers have been economically ravaged by the coronavirus and driven to work in-person, sometimes without adequate PPE. Public health professionals say that they should not be forgotten in the vaccine rollout.

Read the Full Article Here: VICE NEWS: Sex Workers Are Fighting to Get the COVID Vaccine by Carter Sherman

February 12th, 2021

OPEN DEMOCRACY: Now is the time to support sex workers’ rights

The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures put in place to mitigate it have exacerbated existing inequalities by forcing millions of workers around the world to lose work and income. Sex workers have been particularly hard hit. The long-standing conflation of sex work and trafficking have effectively led to their exclusion from not only government relief and protective measures but also from most private and philanthropic support. Yet the explicitness of the damage being done also presents us with an opportunity to turn the conversation around. Coronavirus has opened a door for funders to increase their support for sex worker-led organisations and to advocate for an end to this harmful conflation once and for all. Now they must walk through it.

The Sex Work Donor Collaborative will be waiting on the other side to help them get their bearings. Founded in 2008, the collaborative was first convened to fundamentally change the structures of funding that defined anti-trafficking efforts. In particular, the donor collaborative hoped to “increase the amount and quality of funding and non-financial support for sex worker rights and sex worker organizing”. Members of the collaborative oppose exploitation of and violence against sex workers, regardless of the form they take, and recognise the distinction between sex work and human trafficking.

A dangerous conflation

Links between trafficking and sex work are often based on assumptions rooted in the stigma against sex work. The denial of sex workers’ agency, reinforced by the conflation of trafficking and sex work, has led many funders to prefer supporting organisations that claim to ‘save’ or ‘rescue’ sex workers over organisations that are run by them. In turn, this perpetuates the exclusion of sex workers’ voices from philanthropic circles and makes funding sex worker-led organisations and networks incredibly difficult.

The damage caused by equating the two ideas together is plain to see. Anti-trafficking legislation and initiatives based in the conflation of sex work and trafficking have led to increased criminalisation of sex workers’ clients and third parties, forced ‘rescue and rehabilitation’, exclusion of sex workers from services, discriminatory immigration laws and restrictions, and increased violence against sex workers.

The “anti-prostitution loyalty oath” (APLO) provision passed into US law in 2003 and embedded in the 2003 President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a particularly egregious example of this in practice. This provision requires non-governmental organisations based outside the US to have “a policy explicitly opposing prostitution” in order to receive PEPFAR funding. The oath further prohibits recipient organisations from using the funds “to promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution or sex trafficking” and specifies that no funds “may be used to provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking”.

Read the Full Article Here:

Now is the time to support sex workers’ rights by Paul-Gilbert Colletaz

Feb. 18 2021

STYLECASTER: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Golden Showers

Piss play. Golden showers. Water sports. There’s a laundry list of terms that refer to urophilia, which is exactly what you think: getting off on the act of peeing and/or being peed on.

Though this particular kink still seems taboo to many, it has in some ways hit the mainstream (pun intended)—even former president Donald Trump allegedly dabbled in golden showers. In fact, a study from Pornhub showed a huge surge in searches (a 102 percent increase, to be exact) for “golden showers” after Trump’s pee-gate was made public knowledge in 2017.

We’re never ones to yuck someone else’s yum—kink shaming is never cute, folks. So, we decided to chat with Dr. Megan Stubbs, sexologist, relationships expert and author of Playing Without a Partner: A Singles’ Guide to Sex, Dating, and Happiness, to get the scoop on everything you’ve ever wanted to know about pee play, but been too afraid to ask.

Fair warning: After reading this, you may find that pee play tickles your sexual fancy. Go for it, babe.

What is Pee Play?

As stated before, pee play, or urophilia, is exactly what it sounds like: involving urine into the bedroom. “This is when you’re purposely urinating on your partner, or you’re asking your partner to purposely urinate on you,” clarifies Dr. Stubbs. Other names for this fetish includes water sports and golden showers.

Dr. Stubbs notes that there are tons of reasons why someone would be intrigued by the act of bringing pee into the bedroom, but one of the biggest reasons she sees is the overall taboo stigma.

“I think a lot of kinks that we see often come from a forbidden or ‘it’s just not done’ kind of place,” she says. “So for this, obviously, we’re thinking about pee, it’s like an excreting kind of thing, but we’re going to make it sexual. So the taboo-ness of this is that we urinate in private, but now you’re doing it with your partner.”

Other factors that emphasize the appeal of golden showers can include trust, comfort with your partner and even sexual power dynamics, Dr. Stubbs notes. “There’s a lot you can play with around this,” she says. “It stems from being taboo and kinky, but it can also be a fun thing.”

Is Pee Play Safe?

Though pee is often considered to be sterile, that doesn’t mean swigging your partner’s urine is healthy for you. In fact, on the contrary to what wilderness survival shows taught all of us, pee isn’t actually sterile because it still contains natural bacteria from your body.

Though recent studies have yet to prove whether pee, poop or semen can carry COVID-19 or not, ingesting urine can lead to other health issues like infections, dehydration, irritation of wounds in the mouth or throat and more. However, Dr. Stubbs does note that like many other fetishes (scat, vomit play, etc.), risks somewhat come with the territory.

“Everything we do is dangerous,” she says. “There’s some risk in place, but knowing those factors of their health and what you’re comfortable with can make this a safer practice.”

In order to stay as safe as possible, Dr. Stubbs recommends talking to your partner about getting tested for the coronavirus prior to any pee play, knowing your partner’s overall health status and disclosing any conditions or medical concerns well in advance of getting it on.

Read the Full Article Here:

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Golden Showers by Jennifer Hussein

Feb 27, 2021

CNET: Thanks to US laws, sex workers are fighting to stay online

In August, sex worker Lucie Bee was having serious issues with her OnlyFans account. First the site slowed to a crawl, then she couldn't log on.

Almost immediately, she freaked out.

A 30-year-old, high-profile escort with over 40,000 followers on Twitter, Bee sometimes incorporates cosplay into her sex work, once sewing a costume from scratch when she couldn't find just the right one to please a client. Living in Australia, Bee works as an escort, but around $2,000 of her monthly earnings come from $10 fees and tips from paid followers on OnlyFans, a subscription-based social media platform that lets creators sell their original content -- photos, videos -- as well as host one-on-one interactions.

And Bee thought she was going to lose her OnlyFans income. All of it. Because when she was logged out of her account, she leaped to what she believed was the most obvious conclusion: She'd become the latest escort to be banned from the site.

To blame for Bee's tenuous position? FOSTA-SESTA, a one-two punch of bills signed into law in 2018 in Washington DC, 9,500 miles away. Until these laws change, escorts like Lucie Bee are entirely at their mercy.

Sex work is banned in every US state outside of Nevada, but if you are an escort in Australia -- where Bee works legally --  your online presence is bound by stringent US laws giving authorities the power to shut down any website that advertises escort services. In 2021, sites like OnlyFans, Twitter and Instagram will quickly remove any accounts for even the barest mention of escorting, without explanation.

These deletions pose a major problem for workers like Bee, who risks potential financial ruin as a result of escort work, which, where she lives, is perfectly legal and above board.

"At any moment, it can all be taken away," Bee says.

Granting federal authorities in the US the broad power to shut down any website where escort services are advertised, FOSTA-SESTA is a bill designed to curb sex trafficking on sites like Backstage. Despite good intentions, the bill's passing inspired broad debate online. The Electronic Frontier Foundation claimed it would "silence online speech," calling it a "dark day for the internet."

But supporters of the bill, including Marian Hatcher -- a victim advocate and policy analyst -- believe freedom of speech is low on the priority list. "Our primary objective must be to end exploitation and prevent the harm that is inherent to those in the sex trade," she said in an interview with Feminist Current.

Yet the mistake, escorts claim, is assuming all sex workers are being exploited.

Some embrace the profession out of hardship, but many find the work empowering. Above all, sex work is work. FOSTA-SESTA is designed to protect victims involved in nonconsensual trafficking, but overlooks those like Bee involved in consensual, legal sex work.

Read the Full Article Here:

Thanks to US laws, sex workers are fighting to stay online by Mark Serrels

Feb. 26 2021