Patients

Below is part of a long and interesting article from Quartz, which is well worth a read – “50 SHADES OF CARE, Why doctors need to pay more attention to their kinky patients,” by Christy Duan, Medical student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine:

‘…I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between a consensual, negotiated kink relationship and abuse. It’s abuse if there is no explicit consent, which includes situations where someone is afraid to impose limits because of potential consequences.

“If you’ve had no reason to familiarize yourself with kink…it can be very easy for healthcare providers to assume that they know what’s going on with a patient when they may have no idea,” Dr. Keely Kolmes, a San Francisco-based psychologist in private practice who works with kink-oriented clients, told Quartz. “Clinicians can do a great deal of harm if they’re misinformed.”

As mandatory reporters, healthcare providers are responsible for reporting injuries caused by specific weapons, such as guns and knives. They must also report suspected abuse of vulnerable patients, which can include children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. However, in the US laws differ from state to state, and can be difficult to interpret.

In my training, I learned that healthcare providers are not required to report suspected abuse between adults in most states. But many “doctors have no idea what the law is. They just know that they’re supposed to report violence,” Waldura said. “We have very little training in it. So what happens is a fear response.”

Despite conferring with lawyers and risk management about this issue, Waldura said that no one has a definitive answer.

Ham Mason, a queer submissive activist and person of color who has been practicing kink for 20 years, said that there also needs to be more awareness of diversity in the community.

“When you think about the face of BDSM, it’s usually either a gay man or straight people and usually the face is white,” she told Quartz. Because of this stereotype, healthcare providers may assume that people of color aren’t kinksters and think that disclosures of kink activity may be a “cover story” for abuse, Mason said. “It could be a matter of having your children taken away or not.”

Her concerns are not unfounded. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Incident Reporting and Response said it received 178 requests for legal assistance from kink-oriented clients in 2014. These requests involved 73 criminal, 33 child custody, and 15 discrimination issues.

In addition to becoming more kink aware, providers should “assume the potential for abuse exists in all patients” regardless of their social identity or sexual behavior, and screen appropriately, said Lewis.

Kolmes has worked with submissive/bottom clients who have been in abusive kinky relationships and struggle with whether it was the play or partner that was bad for them. Dominant/top clients also have concerns about crossing boundaries and being a good partner, Kolmes said. Despite these concerns, she doesn’t recommend avoiding kink altogether.

“We see a lot of clients who have been abused or sexually assaulted in the past. We don’t tell them to avoid love and romance and sexual relationships. We work with them on actually figuring out what their boundaries are, helping them stay present and not dissociate, and to learn how to have healthy, loving relationships,” Kolmes said. “Telling someone to avoid kink would be like telling a non-kinky person to avoid love and sex…’

Full article here.

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Gimp Man of Essex

The Gimp Man of Essex first hit the news in September, when various news sources ran articles about the mysterious, masked figure who wanders the streets of Colchester. For every photo of him uploaded to his Facebook page, he donates £1 to MIND.

There have been many misconceptions about BDSM and mental health in the past, long since debunked, yet many people still believe that fetishists, sadomasochists and any other consenting (and consent-promoting) adults not conforming to socio-sexual norms must be ill. The Gimp Man of Essex doesn’t go out in costume during weekends or school holidays. He doesn’t approach people who seem uncomfortable or who don’t show an interest in speaking to him. A small number have accused him of being a “nutter”, “pervert” or “paedophile” nonetheless. The majority are supportive though.

He told the BBC: “Most people are very welcoming when I tell them what it’s all about.”

Pleased to speak to the public and answer their questions, the anonymous latex superhero challenges stigmas around kink and raises a significant amount of money for charity in the process. Click here to read an exclusive new interview with him at Honour and here to donate to MIND.

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Freshman

For this performer – very much a feminist – it’s the stigma, not the work itself, that harms her. Exploitation within sex work is not universal. The way the anti-sex-work agenda silences women like this by dismissing them as mindless victims is just as dehumanising as other harmful stereotypes meted out to sex workers. There are many things about porn that are problematic and need to be fixed, but stigmatising the entire industry and those within it just makes everything worse for everyone. Feminists: the false dichotomy of virgin/victim is just as bad as virgin/whore and as much a product of patriarchy. Here’s part of a wonderful article at XOJane – “I’M THE DUKE UNIVERSITY FRESHMAN PORN STAR AND FOR THE FIRST TIME I’M TELLING THE STORY IN MY WORDS”:

“…It terrifies us to even fathom that a woman could take ownership of her body. We deem to keep women in a place where they are subjected to male sexuality. We seek to rob them of their choice and of their autonomy. We want to oppress them and keep them dependent on the patriarchy. A woman who transgresses the norm and takes ownership of her body — because that’s exactly what porn is, no matter how rough the sex is — ostensibly poses a threat to the deeply ingrained gender norms that polarize our society.

I am well aware: The threat I pose to the patriarchy is enormous. That a woman could be intelligent, educated and CHOOSE to be a sex worker is almost unfathomable.

I find it interesting that porn (a billion-dollar industry) is consumed by millions of people — men and women (and all other equally wonderful genders) alike — yet no one is willing to consider the lives of the people behind the camera. No one wants to hear about the abuses and exploitation that take place, no one wants to hear about the violence committed every day against sex workers, no one wants to consider that we have hopes and dreams and ambitions.

No, all we are is “whores and bimbos.”

I reject this. Instead, what I ask for is simple. I, like all other sex workers, want to be treated with dignity and respect. I want equal representation under the law and within societal institutions. I want people to acknowledge our humanity. I want people to listen to our unique narratives and dialogues…”

Read the full article here.

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