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Abstracts and Papers

2nd Global Conference

Kink & The Erotic

Saturday 7th March 2020 – Sunday 8th March 2020

Prague, Czech Republic


Kink, Trauma, Transformation
Samantha Manewitz
University of Toronto

Key Words:
Trauma work, cathartic play, healing, stigma, visibility, trauma

The intersection of kink and trauma, especially sexual trauma, is all to often a source of stigma, both within and outside of kink communities.

This is, in part, because of how sexual sadism and masochism were viewed by many a mental health professional since Richard von Krafft-Ebing published Psychopathia Sexualis. This is not necessarily the case, and a number of new studies are debunking the myth that kink and psychological distress are directly linked.

And yet, many kinky people have trauma histories to reckon with. In fact, many survivors look to BDSM as a source of trauma healing, a practice that garners even more controversy within kink communities.

While it is true that, in some cases, kinky play can sometimes be an unhealthy rehashing of abusive dynamics, it is not unusual for some survivors to find trauma healing through BDSM play. In certain circumstances, the constructs of kink can actually be healing, given the right context and container.

This phenomenon isn’t as strange as one might think. Kink isn’t necessarily a replacement for trauma informed therapy, but the frameworks of BDSM play can replicate mechanisms of effective trauma healing, given the right circumstances.

Drawing from research on effective trauma work and evidence based practices, this workshop dispels harmful myths about the intersections of kink and trauma, and examines not only how survivors can have a healthy relationship to BDSM, but also can find profound healing through kink.

Participants will gain understanding of:

1. At least three ways in which trauma survivors experience stigma in the scene or about kink
2. How the structure of a BDSM scene can mimic the mechanisms of evidence-based trauma work
3. At least three risks or contraindications for using BDSM as part of trauma healing


Decoding Voyeurism in Villette and Victorian Porn
Lorraine Rumson
Freie Universität Berlin

Key Words:
Porn studies, Victorian Studies, literary studies, narratology, agency, voyeurism, female gaze

After nearly a century in which “Victorian” has been used synonymously with “prudish” in popular culture, recent work in Victorian studies has increasingly addressed the issue of sexuality in Victorian fiction. A sizeable body of work has focused on decoding references to sex in mainstream Victorian literature, and formulating conclusions about historical sexual ideologies based on them. Unfortunately, this perpetuates the myth of Victorian sexual unspeakability – that is, that writers could only rely on coded representations of sex, rather than treating it explicitly.

I contend that a more complete understanding of Victorian sexuality may be gained by comparing coded and uncoded literary representations of sexual experience – that is, comparing both mainstream literature with pornography.

My recent work in Victorian porn has situated it historically, in the medical discourse of “sexology.” In this paper, my intention is to interrogate Victorian porn from a more explicitly literary perspective, using the frameworks and questions often asked of mainstream Victorian literature – specifically, questions related to the popular Victorian issue of sexual agency. To this end, I analyze two instances of a specific sexual experience: the “literary” experience wherein Lucy Snowe, protagonist of Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, views a painting of Cleopatra; and the “pornographic” experience wherein Beatrice, the protagonist of the anonymously published Lady Pokingham, views the body of her lover’s wife through a peephole. Of these two depictions of female women voyeuristically examining the body of another woman, I ask, through rhetorical and narratological frameworks, how the texts affirm, deny, and characterize the sexual agency of their female protagonists.


Hollywood’s Hawaiʻi: The Creation, Instillation, and Preservation of the Tourist Gaze
Jack H. Anderson
University of San Francisco

Key Words:
Hawaii, Cinema, Tourism, Exoticism, Colonization, Postcolonial Theory, American Imperialism, Sexual Racism, Primitivism, Hyper-masculinity

Located within the vast Pacific ocean lies the archipelago of Hawaiʻi. Comprised of over one hundred individual island formations, Hawaiʻi is primarily known for its seven inhabited islands including: Hawaiʻi, Maui, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau. While the indigenous people or Kānaka Maoli have resided on these islands for thousands of years, it is only in the past few centuries have foreigners or malihini have learned of their existence. Overtime, the malihini imposed social-political tactics, oppressing policies, and overall colonial behaviors resulting in Hawaiʻi receiving American statehood in 1959. Today, as a legal US territory, the majority of Americans view Hawaiʻi through a tourist gaze or as a carefree paradise where the island is confined with mystical deities and rituals, where halfnaked bodies and secluded beaches are inseparable, and all of itʻs residents are either dark-skinned erotic women or large warrior-like men who will cater to your every desire. So how did this association between the geographic place of Hawai’i and the idea of the erotic come to fruition? In order to fully comprehend this relationship, the following research will analyze how Hollywood films have created, instilled, and preserved this fabricated gaze of the Hawaiian islands and itʻs residents. To do this, I have contextualized over twenty films which take place in Hawaiʻi and categorized them into the trope enhancing divisions of military, romance, escapism, and surfing. In addition, there will also be a fourth section which provides a realistic and often contrasting perspective of the islands. In sum, this research provides a comprehensive understanding toward Hollywoodʻs cinematic construction of the eroticized Hawaiʻi.


Rehabilitating Consent Violators Within the BDSM Community: What We as Professionals Can Do to Help
Sara Morgen Mairs
Philadelphia Institute for Individual Relational & Sex Therapy

Key Words:
Consent Violations, Restorative Justice, Education, Therapy, When Kink Goes Wrong

BDSM communities are a safe space for participants to explore their fetishes and deepest desires, but what happens when that safe space is threatened by other members?

We hear and read about accounts of consent violations within BDSM scenes far too often on social media. This puts local community leaders in a tough position. Do they ban the consent violator from the community, which runs the risk of the members behavior reoccurring, possibly with more discretion? Or do leaders allow the individual to attend events and risk scrutiny for not providing enough support for the harmed individual?

What if the consent violator’s main support system is the local kink community? What if the individual who was harmed wants the consent violator to receive help rather than be banned? What if the consent violator wants to learn how to be a better person? All of these questions should be considered when making decisions regarding the consent violator.

There seems to be very few communities that utilize restorative justice protocols when a consent violation occurs, and even fewer resources for communities to seek out. As kink friendly professionals, members of a community might seek out our services in an attempt to heal after a consent violation occurs.

This workshop focuses on how we as professionals can assist local kink communities in creating restorative justice protocols within their scene.


Caring about Kink/Caring in Kink
Susanne Schotanus
Independent Researcher

Key Words:
care, safeword, aftercare, need, desire, intimacy, SSC, RACK, 4C’s, conceptual analysis

When thinking about the concept “care,” most people do not envision a person who is humiliated or tied up and whipped. However, in the latest version of the BDSM slogan that evolved from Safe, Sane and Consensual (SSC) through Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) to the 4 C’s, arguably, the most central C is care. If the concept of care is indeed central to the BDSM communities and experiences, it is high time we take it from the academic disciplines of Nursing, Gender Studies (as in “care work”) and Legal theory (in the form of a Duty of Care) and consider what this concept means in the context of BDSM and alternative sexualities. In this paper, we will explore this ill-defined concept following four loose threads.

We will start on firm ground, by looking at what it means to be careful or careless in a BDSM context. The concept of care here is closely related to safety and will lead us to briefly discuss the SSC/RACK and 4C’s models, as well as the role of the safeword. Second, we will take a closer look at what it means to “take care of” someone. In this sense, the concept of care is more closely related to the concepts “need” and “desire,” and will lead to a discussion of the meaning, role and value of aftercare. Third, we will look at care as in “to care about” someone, discussing the concept’s relationship to intimacy and their specific forms in kink. And last, we will bring these threads together in discussing what it means to feel cared for in a kink setting. Through these conceptual analyses, this paper attempts to start the debate with the aim of (re)defining “care” in and outside of kink contexts.


Order in Disorder, Disorder in Order: Critical Analysis of Reasons Behind the Changes in the Diagnostic Classification of BDSM and Kink
Lucie Drdová
Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Recently, there has been an extensive debate about sadomasochism in the medical context. Following the changes in current diagnostic systems, consensual sadomasochism has gone through major changes in its position in classification of psychiatric diagnoses in 2018. But how can we explain this development and why did it happen now? Is there a link between medialization of BDSM subculture and classification of consensual sadomasochism? Or is the decision merely political? This presentation examines the shift in the approach to BDSM subculture in the psychiatric and sexologist discourse with focus on the Czech Republic.


The Paradox of Pain and Pleasure: Why Pain Turns People On
Tatyannah King
Blogger

Key Words:
Pain, Pleasure, Brain, Kink, Sadomasochism, Impact play, Psychology, Reward, Evolution, Perception

Many have ingrained the lines “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me” from world-renowned singer Rihanna and her song, S&M. Ironically, not many people are aware of the science that supports the connection between pain and pleasure. For over a century, anyone who participated in any so-called “deviant” acts such as bondage, pain infliction or humiliation for sexual gratification, were considered mentally ill by the American Psychiatric Association until sadomasochism was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the 1980s. Because of this, general attitudes have become more accepting of those with alternative sexual desires. However, there are still common questions about certain kinks that echo until this day such as “How can pain produce pleasure?”, “Is this normal”, “Does it mean that something horrible happened in a person’s childhood if they’re into that kind of stuff?”, etc. My workshop presentation will answer those questions as well as examine the psychological and evolutionary theories behind pain and pleasure. This theme perfectly ties into kink as attendees will explore sadomasochism’s power dynamics and how the infliction of pain through role-playing, impact play and bondage can be a mental stimulant that leads to pleasure.


Boundary Negotiation in Kink: An Expansive Take on the Yes/No/Maybe List
Colby Agostinelli
Individual, Relational & Sex Therapist

Key Words:
Dominant, submissive, switch, powerplay, consent, pleasure, negotiation, boundaries, hard limit, soft limit

A yes/no/maybe list is a list of acts used to help one indicate interest and consent in an act and in many cases is useful in assisting with communicating such to a partner. There are many variations in existence; for emotional and relational interests and boundaries as well as ones focused more on sex and/or kink acts. The current structure is straight forward which is helpful for those only needing minimal assistance or for those new to kink who are beginning to explore, but is less helpful for more advanced kinksters. In short, yes indicates you are consenting to and interested in the item, no indicates you are not consenting to the item, and maybe indicates an uncertainty or further specification. What is lacking is an indication of whether the item of interest is to be given or received, topped or bottomed, etc. and the level at which one is enthusiastic or not about it. Resources like this are helpful for outlining boundaries and starting conversations about what you are interested in but are often tailored towards submissive folks who are looked upon to set the limits. In creating a list geared towards those with kink interests who do not identify solely within the binary of a D/s dynamic, it’s more inclusive and expansive as the conversation around boundaries, consent, and pleasure need to be a dialogue. This take on the Y/N/M list offers an expanded prompt; it will have an extensive list of kink and sex acts. When filling it out, you can select from four options of interest underneath both a “top” and “bottom” column. The four options will read: hard limit, soft limit, interested in, and very interested in.


Stealing Kisses: On the Erotics of Architecture
Colin Ripley
Ryerson University

Key Words:
Genet, architecture, wall, void.

The stairway… is cut into the stone of the wall and unwinds in shadow. It was the lovers’ trysting-place, particularly ours, and it still vibrates with the sound of the kisses exchanged there.
– Jean Genet, Miracle of the Rose

We start with three scenes from the work of Jean Genet, three moments of intense erotic power. A prisoner meets the beautiful boy he desires in the shadow of the stair, and they exchange a furtive kiss. Two prisoners share smoke through a small hole in the wall that divides (and connects) their cells. A man remembers tasting his now-dead teenage boyfriend’s anus, and fantasizes about crawling inside the rectum/tomb/void.

We’re struck by the architectural character of all three scenes, two explicit (the stair and the wall), one more abstract: the void, abstract, yes, but maybe even more core to architecture. All of these Genet-ic architectonics are set vibrating by the erotic events, to be sure, all three become erotic architectures. But what we have understood the situation backwards: what if the architecture, far from being inert piles of stones made to vibrate by the sound of kisses, are themselves agents, collaborators in and even instigators of the erotic? What if architecture is always-already an erotic act?

Starting from these three scenes (from Miracle of the Rose, Un Chant d’amour, and Funeral Rites), I propose to develop a paper and presentation that investigates the (repressed) role of the erotic within architecture, and of architecture within the erotic. In this work, Genet acts as a thief – allowing us to work surreptitiously, to steal meaning, to uncover ways of understanding architecture that might otherwise remain hidden.


Aesthetics of Body Modification in the Kink Communities
Jeremy Vaughan
Raconteur and independent researcher

Key Words:
Kink, fetish, aesthetics, other, body modification, pleasure

Aesthetics are an important part of the kink experience. They are often represented in mainstream media, though have hardly ever been analyzed in either academic or discursive debates. Aesthetics, is a term derived from the Greek and originally related to the concept of pleasure. In this current paper I will analyze the aesthetics of body modification in the kink communities, focusing on two different intersections of kink and body modifications: body modifications that are unique to the kink communities, and the perceiving of body modifications as a fetish. In the first category we will find activities like branding, scarring, and piercings to enhance sexual pleasure. In the second category, we will expand the definition of stigmatophilia (experiencing sexual pleasure from the viewing of pierced and tattooed bodies) to include more invasive practices to the extent that they change the foundations beneath the flesh (implants, bone reconstruction and nullification).

We will analyze the forms these aesthetics take, as well as their function in the kink experience. They can create the sense of Othering, signify identity and belonging (either or both to communities or partners) or simply be a presentation of what this person considers beautiful. Different functions come with different levels on which the modification can take place. But no matter how deep the modifications reach, on this intersection of kink and body modification, we find non-conforming narratives of aesthetics and pleasure.


Forever: Teaching the Erotic Logic of Permanence
Leslie Katz
Retired

In my public life, I taught drama classes at a University in Canada. In my private life, I practiced lifestyle BDSM. In my presentation, I will describe an interdisciplinary class I designed to bring those strands into convergence.

“Sexual Performance: Case Studies in Performance and SM” initially raised two sets of questions. The first pertained directly to SM practice. What is it? What distinguishes it from other sexual practices/perversions? What are its rules? Its myths? The second concerned the intersection of sex and performance. In weekly workshops, the students acted out selected scenes, which aimed to locate points where power is traded or where control shifts in sexual situations. We also analyzed the motivation for those shifts, e.g. What kind of permission? Or persuasion? What gives one-character authority to command another sexually? Or put another way, what motivates one character to surrender that authority to another?

The class covered a range of practices, including role play, bondage, tight-lacing, servitude, as well as discussion of several types of edge play. For the purpose of this paper, I will focus on the topic of chastity play, considering how the concept of control – as a fantasy of permanence – can be explored through scenes from a Jacobean play, The Changeling, as well as through chastity fiction, and first-hand testimony of CB wearers, including myself.

The fantasy of the belt is to live a 24/7 eroticized existence. I will conclude with the case of Corrie Russell, a woman who, in order to make that fantasy real, turned her own body into the attachment point for a permanent chastity belt. In a world where oaths are insolid, and bonds eminently breakable, the chastity belt, as product of the human imagination, stands for a more tamper-proof container for self.


Teaching Consent in Community and Festival Environments
Kathy G. Slaughter
LCSW Founder of Soaring Heart Counselling, USA

Key Words:
Consent, Education, Community-based, Sex-positive, Framework, Interactive

#TimesUp on sexual assault. Community-wide education about consent is needed and finally wanted. In 2018, Mosaic Experiment, a regional Burning Man event in Ohio, implemented a new Consent Education and Accountability Initiative. This workshop will discuss how to recognize signs that a community is ready to take consent culture seriously, explore a consent violation spectrum, and learn how to teach the 4 C’s consent framework and talk about consent effectively in a festival environment.
Learning Objectives:
1) Participants will distinguish cultural strengths that indicate readiness for consent culture beyond the kink community in otherwise vanilla environments
2) Participants will describe the consent violation spectrum and the importance of precise language
3) Participants will be able to employ the 4 C’s Framework (in place of RACK or SSC) in a variety of contexts
4) Participants will be able to apply key effective messages about consent that work with a variety of demographics


The Body & Sex: The True Prima Materia of Alchemy
S. Brennan Kettelle
University of Amsterdam

L. Faith Pramuk
University of Amsterdam

The Italian Renaissance priest, scholar, and humanist philosopher Marsilio Ficino wrote in his Commentary on Plato’s Symposium, The parts of this world, members of one living being, all originating from the same maker, are joined together in the communion of one nature. Therefore, just as our brain, lungs, heart, liver, and other organs act on one another, assist each other to some extent, and suffer together when any one of them suffers, in just this way the organs of this enormous living being, all the bodies of the world joined together in like manner, borrow and lend each other’s natures… Out of natural love all nature gets the name “magician.”

What is the act of love between two bodies but the communion of true natures? The body is the vessel through which alchemical transmutation takes place. Eclipsing biology, sexual orientation, binaries of gender and desire, and traditional dialectics of power, true alchemy is discovered in the act of fornication between two natures. The bodily prima materia of mercury, sulphur, and the igniting spark of salt are the essential elements involved in a transcendental and queered alchemical dance.

Through art, textual exploration, and diverse source materials, we intend to discuss the act of sex and alchemical ascension through the lens of Neoplatonic and Hermetic Renaissance philosophy and magic. The works of Ficino, Pico de Mirandola and Giordano Bruno, among others, will be drawn upon to discuss the act of fornication as the expression of the natural love, magic, and alchemy. Our very bodies are the furnace and through the undulations of our elemental natures and essences, we investigate the journey between and through alchemical stages towards the elixir: creation herself.

We will add to the present esoteric discourse regarding sex in the Western Hermetic Tradition, presenting alchemy as an aspect of sex magic, while critiquing and expanding upon the current discussion. Is the act of sex a purely embodied and terrestrial act? Does the practice of alchemical sex have the potential to challenge current limitations of gender, power, and the nuances of desire? When bodies come together in a magical act, what are the cosmological consequences? As written in the Magnum Miraculum of the Asclepius,

A human being is a great wonder, a living thing to be worshipped and honored: for he changes his nature into a god’s, as if he were a god… how much happier is the blend of human nature!… He is everything, and he is everywhere.


Mainstream(ing) Kink: Unconventional Sex, Hollywood Cinema, and the Popular Imagination
Kylo-Patrick R. Hart
Texas Christian University

Janice E. McCall
Texas Christian University

Key Words:
BDSM, deviance, exploitation, Hollywood cinema, fetish, film, kink, mainstream media, obsession, representation

Media studies scholars have long maintained that representations of atypical phenomena in films and related media artifacts tend to be most influential on the perceptions of audience members, and their presumed ‘real-world knowledge’ of ways of being other than their own, when they portray phenomena that are regarded as unconventional and lie outside the typical experiences of those who view them. As a result, this is likely to especially be the case when it comes to cinematic representations of kinky sexual activities.

This presentation will explore the representation of kinky lifestyles, activities, and ways of being in four noteworthy mainstream Hollywood films from the early 1980s to the present decade: (1) Cruising (1980, directed by William Friedkin), an exploitation-filled crime thriller centering on New York City’s leather bars and gay sex establishments; (2) Boxing Helena (1993, directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch), about a surgeon who becomes so sexually obsessed with his neighbor that he kidnaps, imprisons, and operates on her; (3) Eyes Wide Shut (1999, directed by Stanley Kubrick), about a New York doctor who begins to explore his deepest sexual desires after his wife reveals she has considered being unfaithful; and (4) Fifty Shades of Grey (2015, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson), about a recent college graduate who enters into a sadomasochistic relationship with a rich and mysterious young man. Its overarching goal is to identify and demonstrate the two primary ways by which Hollywood cinema tends to represent kinky phenomena to mainstream audiences: in extreme/exploitative ways or by toning them down substantially to make them more palatable to the masses. Other important goals include articulating the likely effects of being exposed to these intriguing cinematic representations and the types of things people in ‘vanilla’ relationships might learn from them, despite any inaccuracies or distortions they contain.


Working out the Online Kinks: Navigating Porn Consumption in Intimate Relationships
Alisha Fisher
Intimacy Coach

Key Words:
pornography, media literacy, porn literacy, ethical porn, feminist porn, bodies in porn, sexual education, North America, sexual communication, porn research

We see it plastered all over the headlines: There’s a Porn Crisis and it’s Ruining Your Relationship! But is it porn that we should be worried about? Porn is a sexual taboo, especially when it comes to Kinky and BDSM influenced scenes. As a multi-billion-dollar industry, garnering 100 million daily visits (one site), the pornography world has a firm grip on the porn we consume, and the [lack of] bodies we see in it. In this session Alisha Fisher will explore the impacts of pornography on intimate relationships and re-define how we watch and talk about kinky-sexual satisfaction. Alisha will also cover how to access ethical porn; the impact cultural silence has on sexual exploration, consent, kink, sexuality, and gender; and how open communication can improve our sexual wellbeing and connections.


Confessions of Anaïs Nin, Jr.
Victoria Amador
Independent Scholar, USA

Between 1984 and 1986, while studying for my doctorate in creative writing and American literature at the University of Denver in Colorado, I worked part-time as an associate editor with Odyssey Publications. A family-owned business, Odyssey created and distributed a number of contact magazines, pre-social media, for various erotic and sexual communities. Answering an advertisement for writers for an ‘alternative lifestyles magazine’, and with the blessing of my head of department, I entered a world of swingers, fetishism, and LGBTQ and heterosexual experimentation. The resultant explorations—via writing only—opened a unique perspective for me concerning sexual behaviour, autonomy, and tolerance. Additionally, this experience unfolded during the height of the Reagan administration, increasing religious and political conservatism in the United States, the Meese Report (the Final Report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography), Andrea Dworkin’s attacks on the adult film industry, and the intensifying AIDS crisis. While I certainly learned the effectiveness of action verbs and even had my own monthly column in one of the magazines, I also experienced the sometimes-confusing intersections among feminism, body positivity, consensual sexuality, and eroticism. This paper will function as a personal essay and a reflection upon the paradigmatic gender/sexuality shifts in the mid-‘80s in the US which still influence contemporary identities.


Tantric BDSM: Power & Surrender in an Ecstatic Path
Francesca Gentille
The Somatic Integrative Healing Institute, The International Institute of Clinical Sexology

Tantra and BDSM? How can these go together? How could they not? The etymology of the word Tantra is to weave. The spiritual purpose of Eastern Tantra is the unconditional acceptance & compassion for all that is. The purpose of this presentation is to help individuals and clinicians gather skills and techniques to understand the similarities between Tantra & BDSM, as well as to experience how Tantra & BDSM are an ideal union of non-duality. Most humans experience some amount of negative sexual enculturation and erotic shame. Combining Tantric compassion meditations, energy work, & breath practices with contemporary BDSM power exchange concepts a D/s relationship (or Kinky scenes) can be enhanced, and deepened. Francesca Gentille teaches Tantric BSDM around the world.

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