AUTOSTRADDLE: I’m a Submissive Brat and No, That’s Not a Contradiction

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a brat. When I was young, toddler-age, it was seen as an adorable quirk. Who knew such a little girl could be so stubborn and strong-willed? As I got older, I noticed a shift in tone when they called me a brat. It was often accompanied by accusations of being bossy, a drama queen, and — as I approached adolescence — a bitch. Over time I learned to read between the lines of these words. I realized that bossy was just another word for assertive, drama queen a sneaky way to repress my emotions, and bitch an attempt to make me feel small. Instead of growing out of my brattiness as my mother had always hoped I would, I decided to own it instead.

That’s not to say that I throw a tantrum when I don’t get my way or am incapable of discussing matters like an adult. I like to think of myself as more mischievous and sassy than outright rude or immature. In my day-to-day life my brattiness shows up as snark and a tendency to play devil’s advocate. It wasn’t until I entered the BDSM scene five years ago that I learned to express it in new and unexpected ways.

I’ve always gravitated to power exchange dynamics in my relationships, even before I had a language for it. My favorite fantasies involved punishment and I enjoyed egging my partner on. I craved that push and pull for control, and the vulnerability of relinquishing to my partner.

I was first introduced to the concept of brattiness in BDSM by my friend Brandon. He was working for a sex therapist and lived in a downtown warehouse with the rest of her crew. On Friday nights she hosted a radio show and he’d often invite me to attend as his guest. I was still too shy to participate at that point, but through observation I was introduced to the limitless options outside of a monogamous, vanilla lifestyle.

 

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I'm a Submissive Brat and No, That's Not a Contradiction by Danielle

August 10, 2017


HUFF POST: This Is What My Life Is Like As The Highest Earning Legal Sex Worker In The U.S.

I describe myself as the country’s highest-earning worker in the world’s oldest profession, by which I mean I make more than any other sex worker at any legal brothel in the U.S.

Cue the raised eyebrows, contemptuous stares and not-so-subtle judgment. Bring on the intense curiosity, too ― because I am a novelty. Everyone has their preconceived notions of what a sex worker looks, sounds and acts like, but I don’t fit any of those stereotypes. I’m a petite Irish lady standing just 4 feet, 8 inches tall. I’m well-educated and well-spoken. I’m not the victim of tragic circumstance. I had options and I chose to be a legal sex worker. Yes, on purpose! Despite sex work being so highly stigmatized, I love my job because I get to help people rediscover personal connections and intimacy.

I didn’t grow up wanting to be a lady of the night. I tried many different career paths — including a brief stint as a horse jockey! — but I struggled to find work that combined my love for human interaction with something that made me feel passion. Nothing ever felt as fulfilling as working in a legal brothel. It fits me perfectly.

As a sapiosexual, I learned early on that I am attracted to the minds of the people I’m around with no concern for their physical bodies. I feel no shame about my sexuality, trying new things or being attracted to more than one person at a time. It also helps that I am able to sexually enjoy multiple relationships at once. So three years ago I went to the world-famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch (“Cathouse” on HBO, anyone?) just outside Carson City, Nevada. At first, I only planned to stay for a couple of months. I never left.

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This Is What My Life Is Like As The Highest Earning Legal Sex Worker In The U.S. by Alice Little

Mary 23, 2019


ALLURE: A Beginner's Guide to Balloon Fetishes, Straight From an Actual Looner

What comes to mind when you hear the word "balloon"? Perhaps it's a birthday party or dance floor filled with balloons, the movie It, or a memory from a childhood birthday party, or maybe you noticed Jemima Kirke wore a dress depicting the word "looner" to the 2019 Met Gala and wondered what that means. For some folks, a balloon is an erotic object — a source of much pleasure and delight.

The balloon fetish community calls themselves "looners," and they demonstrate the many shapes sexuality and kink come in. While it's difficult to pinpoint exactly when balloon kinks hit the scene, it's likely it happened as soon as people had access to them, which happened around 1824, when a London-based scientist named Michael Faraday invented rubber balloons.

The next year, Faraday partnered with a rubber company to sell make-your-own-balloon kits. In the book Deviant Desires: A Tour of the Erotic Edge, published in 2019, author Katharine Gates describes first learning of the fetish over 20 years ago through a website called Balloon Buddies. While the fetish has thrived in online communities since the ’90s, it has likely existed as long as rubber balloon manufacturing has been a thing.

Below, let us pop some myths about what exactly this fetish is — and what it isn't.

What does a balloon fetish entail?

As with any kink, there is no one-size-fits-all model for looners. According to Brandon, known as TheBalloonGuy on the kinky social media site FetLife, there are "poppers" (those who enjoy the sound and experience of a balloon popping) and "non-poppers," who admire the balloons and dislike seeing them popped. "I am in the middle ground, a semi-popper, in that I love seeing members of the opposite sex interact with balloons, including popping them," Brandon says. "But I find it difficult to pop balloons myself. I love being teased with balloons and effectively melt into a squirmy puddle of gooey submissiveness if someone is coming very close to popping a balloon."

 

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A Beginner's Guide to Balloon Fetishes, Straight from an Actual Looner by Sophie St. Thomas

May 22, 2019


THE BIG ISSUE: Nurses to campaign for the decriminalisation of sex work

The UK’s biggest nursing union will lobby ministers to decriminalise sex work after a landmark motion was passed by a huge majority at its annual conference.

Louise Cahill, the nurse specialist in sexual health who was behind the proposed Royal College of Nursing (RCN) policy, said decriminalising sex work is vital if sex workers’ safety and health is to be protected.

She told the conference that sex workers avoid seeking health care for fear of prosecution, and don’t report assaults for similar reason.

Cahill said: “Current UK law makes it a criminal offence for sex workers to work together for safety. Brothel keeping is defined as just two or more sex workers working together.

“Therefore, sex workers have to choose between keeping safe and getting arrested. No one should be put in danger by the law.”

The nurse added that decriminalisation would reduce the number of HIV cases among sex workers because they could better negotiate safer sex.

She said: “Lending our voice to support a stigmatised and marginalised group was not only the right thing to do but will lead to improved health outcomes.”

Figures show that nearly nine in 10 of the estimated 70,000 sex workers in the UK are women, according to the English Collective of Prostitutes.

RCN public health lead Helen Donovan expressed frustration that the “political appetite to fund sexual health services targeting sex workers isn’t there,” but that as nurses they had a responsibility to “serve the needs of society’s most vulnerable”.

The RCN will lobby politicians in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to push through the policy to safeguard sex workers.

But Abigail Lawrence, a nurse from the east of England, opposed the move. She described sex work as “exploitative, manipulative and based on coercion”.

New Zealand decriminalised sex work in 2003, but put strengthened laws against compelling or coercing people into the industry.

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Nurses to campaign for decriminalisation of sex work by Hannah Westwater

May 21, 2019


WEAR YOUR VOICE: Black and Brown Sex Workers Keep Getting Pushed to the Margins

Incel is such a strange word to me. It’s not a term I use often. Like, “cock” and “cuck,” the word incel conjures up a “lone wolf” white boy who sits on 4chan counting his colored and gendered enemies, plotting mass destruction.

I returned to Twitter after a light weekend break to see a new hashtag making its rounds—a man who calls himself David Wu started a campaign against camgirls and other cyberthots on Facebook and it made its way over to Twitter. Cisgender, presumably heterosexual incels were reporting “thots” to the IRS because, apparently, “hoes don’t pay taxes.” The main folks being targeted were women who use and advertise SnapChat Premium accounts. Although the word “thot” connotes a Black woman and has been specifically weaponized against Black women and girls’ sexuality, it was cisgender white women who apparently felt the most attacked and were the loudest voices “fighting back” against the incels.

During this social media moment of mass harassment and hysteria, I saw the phrase “this is a war on women” from white and Black women alike, and many were not sex workers or directly related to the community at all. I wondered what each of them meant. Often the category of “women” excludes trans women and nonwhite or Black women. Deviant women, often not considered women at all. But then there are other classes of women within those classes, like women who are sex workers. Sex workers are comprised mostly of cis and trans women but there are men in this profession as well. However, this campaign solely targeted women, and used a racialized word to further drive home their point: to target working class and poor women, mostly women of color.

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Black and Brown Sex Workers Keep Getting Pushed to the Margins by Suprihmbe

November 29, 2018


PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: Is Kink a Leisure Activity or a Sexual Orientation?

What does it reveal about you if you’re into kinky or BDSM sex? Is it a serious leisure activity, or is it an innate aspect of your sexuality? Could the answer be different for different people? A recent article published in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports grapples with these fascinating and important questions [1].

On the one hand, it could be argued that kink/BDSM is a form of serious leisure, one that requires a lot of time, that necessitates a certain level of skill and expertise, and that may even affect self-identification. Research has found that kink/BDSM often fits this bill and that it overlaps with a lot of the characteristics of the concept of leisure more generally.

For example, as the authors of this paper report: In a study of hundreds of BDSM practitioners, the ”general properties of leisure were overwhelmingly endorsed by participants, including the following items reported being present most or nearly always by 90 percent or more of the total sample: positive emotions, a sense of freedom, pleasure and/or enjoyment, sense of adventure, stress relief and/or relaxation, self-expression, and BDSM enjoyed for itself (intrinsic motivation).”

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Is Kink a leisure activity or a sexual orientation? by Justin J Lehmiller Ph.D

May 20th, 2019


CNN: Taiwan legalizes same-sex marriage in historic first for Asia

Lawmakers in Taiwan have approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, a landmark decision that makes the self-ruled island the first place in Asia to pass gay marriage legislation.

The vote came almost two years after the island's Constitutional Court ruled that the existing law -- which said marriage was between a man and a woman -- was unconstitutional. The panel of judges gave the island's parliament two years to amend or enact new laws.
On Friday -- only a week off the two-year deadline -- lawmakers in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan passed a bill making same-sex marriage a reality. It will go into effect on May 24.
Although the island has a large gay community and its annual gay pride parade is the biggest in Asia, the issue of marriage equality has bitterly divided Taiwanese society. In a controversial referendum in November last year, 67% voted to reject same-sex marriage.
In recent months conservative groups have campaigned against same-sex marriage reform, pushing for a law that would see gay marriages redefined as something closer to same-sex unions.
Tens of thousands of people braved pouring rain Friday to demonstrate in favor of same-sex marriage outside the parliament, as lawmakers began voting on three draft bills, one tabled by the island's Cabinet -- which would ultimately prove successful -- and two watered-down rival bills tabled by conservative groups.
The successful Cabinet bill was the only one to use the word "marriage." It was backed by LGBTQ groups, despite the fact it could see same-sex couples denied rights enjoyed by hetrosexual couples, such as adoption and cross-national marriage.
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May 17th, 2019

COUNTER PUNCH: Florida’s Sex Wars: the Battle to Decriminalize Sex Work

On May 3rd, the Florida legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 540 that extends the Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database to include “johns” and “pimps” as well as sex trafficking victims and sex workers.

In a follow-up press release, the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Behind Bars warned state legislators, the “registry will be open to the public & aims to name & shame adults in the sex industry.”  Going further, it argued: “Every member of the Florida House and Senate has now shown how little regard each member has for the brave sex workers and victims of sex trafficking who testified about the unavoidable harm this bill will create in their communities.”

Speaking with the desperate voice of those who know what they are talking about, SWOT warned:

When we are killed because our names are placed on a registry, we will hold the Florida legislators responsible. When our kids are taken away from our safe homes, put into Florida’s dangerous foster-care system, perhaps cruelly beaten or sexually molested, we will also hold Florida legislators responsible.

It concluded, “Listen to sex workers and stop these arrests.”

Sex workers have been persecuted since the nation was founded. Today, while sex work is legal in only a handful of rural counties in Nevada, it is estimated to be a $14.5 billion enterprise.  Many men — from Presidents Trump and Kennedy, to tycoons like Jeffrey Epstein and Robert Kraft, to celebrities, sportsmen and all-too-many ordinary men — have been customers of sex workers.  The Fondation Scelles estimated that in 2012 there were one million prostitutes operating across the country.   Who knows how many sex workers there are as the economy tightens.

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Florida's Sex Wars: the Battle to decriminalize Sex Work by David Rosen

May 17th, 2019


NPR: Demystifying Kink

Before we jump in today, a warning - the next eight minutes we'll be having a frank discussion about sex that might not be suitable for all listeners. Over the last few weeks, we have been bringing you stories about sex - the conversations we have about sex, the ones we don't and how those conversations shape society. We have heard about LGBTQ sex education, waiting for marriage, and porn literacy. Today, my co-host Ailsa Chang brings us a story about a community we rarely hear about on public radio or otherwise.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: The kink community - kinksters, as they're known. Specifically, we're looking at what the rest of the world can learn from kinksters about sex and communication. And again, we're going to be spending the next seven minutes talking frankly about sex, which might not be suitable for all listeners. And NPR's Mallory Yu recently sat down with a group of these folks. She joins me now. Hey, Mallory.

MALLORY YU, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.

CHANG: All right. I just want to get some terms out of the way first, starting with the word kink.

YU: I'm going to let Evan, who is part of my roundtable, handle this one. We didn't use last names of several of the people at this roundtable because they were worried about current or future employment. Anyway, here's Evan.

EVAN: Kinky is anything that is outside of the, you know, fictional narrative that we have of the norm of sexuality.

CHANG: Outside the norm.

YU: Exactly. So we're talking about things like BDSM, which is a subset of kink. And people might be familiar with some of those terms from the movie "Fifty Shades Of Grey," which was very controversial in the kink community.

CHANG: Because they felt it misportrayed a lot of things in that community.

YU: Exactly. But it was a lot of people's introductions to that kind of sex. And then there's vanilla, which is sex that's not kinky.

CHANG: Wait. Vanilla - is that like a put-down, like anybody who's vanilla is boring?

YU: No, not necessarily. It's more just a way to differentiate between what is kinky versus not kinky.

CHANG: All right. So a lot of our series is about how we talk about sex, how we don't communicate enough about sex, or when we do communicate, we do it very badly. And that is exactly why you and I wanted to focus on the kink community here.

YU: So something that I heard a lot in my reporting was this idea that everyone is a little bit kinky, right? And I think that's supported in the research because there's this guy, Dr. Justin Lehmiller. He's with the Kinsey Institute. He interviewed 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies. And what he found was that a vast majority of them, both men and women, had fantasized about some form of BDSM.

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Demystifying Kink by All Things Considered

May 17th, 2019


ALLURE: A Beginner's Guide to Golden Showers and Piss Play Fetishes

While to some, golden showers are the butt of a Donald Trump joke, to others, they are an extremely erotic experience. Golden showers are one form of piss play, which is exactly what it sounds like: sexual play involving piss. Though they may seem easy to make fun of because most of us grew up with bathroom humor, we should probably be nicer when it comes to the topic of golden showers because a lot of people are into them, and kink-shaming isn't cool.

Some people engage in golden showers as part of BDSM. BDSM involves a power exchange in which one partner is submissive and the other partner is dominant. In this particular scenario, the dominant partner typically pees on the submissive. Other people just try them out because they're horny and bored. Let's talk about all the reasons people love golden showers and what you should know if you're interested in trying out this particular kink.

This particular kink is actually incredibly ordinary, according to the experts. "Urophilia — golden showers, piss play, and the like — is such a common kink that there are piss parties full of folks who want to explore this," says New York sex therapist and relationship counselor Michael DeMarco. New York City-based professional and lifestyle dominatrix Goddess Aviva adds, "It’s so common! People love to be peed on. And quite a few of them also like to drink it." In fact, an Australian survey says that around four percent of men have a piss play fetish, and Pornhub stats show that searches for "golden shower" (along with related terms) increased exponentially in 2017 after it was alleged that Donald Trump enjoyed watersports.

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A beginner's guide to golden showers and piss play fetishes by Sophie Saint Thomas

May 16th, 2019