When you think of women in the kink community, usually the first image that comes to mind is of a sexy dominatrix in 6-inch heels and skintight leather. This (undoubtedly appealing) image of female dominants - commonly referred to as dommes - is a big presence in the BDSM scene, but there are about as many different fetishes as there are kinksters. Virtually ignored in the public eye are those women who occupy the opposite pole in the BDSM sphere: female submissives. These are the women who take pleasure in being dominated, being controlled mentally and/or physically.
As I ascended the stairs to the venue hosting the weekly "munch" - a gathering of people interested in kink - the butterflies in my gut were in full flight mode. I had no idea what to expect, as this was my first kink event. When I walked into the dimly lit space, I was surprised to find it completely empty. A dozen unoccupied chairs sat around a long table lit by white Christmas lights twined around metal rafters. I took the seat of honor at the head of the table, noting for future reference that apparently kinky people are never on time.
As the first one to arrive, I got to talk to almost everyone as they came in. I was relieved (and a little disappointed) to find that there was neither latex nor cat-o-nine-tails in sight - just average-looking people ready to meet me with a smile and a friendly greeting.
Stephen Hazelton, the munch's organizer, has been actively involved in the fetish scene here in Charlotte for decades. He helped to found the Carolina Area Power Exchange (CAPEX), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting "safe, sane and consensual" BDSM practices. The day after my first foray into fetish events, Hazelton helped me put my experience in context with the overall kink scene.
"The basic definition of a munch is an event that's held at a restaurant or someplace that sells food where people that identify as being kinky meet and have a meal and talk," Hazelton explains. "It's basically dinner with kinky people. It's not a demo or a class; it's just kinky people getting together."
Fen Temple is your friendly neighborhood sadist. No, he's not going around killing small animals, but like many Charlotteans in the city's underground fetish scene, he does enjoy wielding the occasional whip or flogger. Temple was introduced to the world of kink about five years ago, through his ex-wife. Ever since, he's been committed to what insiders euphemistically call "the lifestyle."
"I kind of dove headfirst into the entire thing," Temple says. "In three years, I went from knowing nothing about kink or the fetish lifestyle at all to being the head of the committee for introducing what they call TNG - The Next Generation - and all those younger groups, and [acting as] liaison between them and the CAPEX board. I became one of the head honchos kind of accidentally."
The Carolina Area Power Exchange (CAPEX) is a nonprofit that promotes "safe, sane and consensual" BDSM practices. According to the website [http://www.capex.info/], it is "a pansexual, nonprofit BDSM organization dedicated to providing education, support and a social network for its contributors in a safe, responsible and discretion-conscious environment."
That environment includes monthly meetings, where demonstrations and discussions take place, and the occasional floor party. If you think this sounds naughty... you're right.
CAPEX reserves an entire floor in a hotel, giving space to demonstrators and vendors, who pay for the cost of their hotel rooms. Attendees get to wander in and out of the different rooms as they see fit. You can witness a St. Andrew's cross in action in one room, then walk down the hall to another room to enjoy being whipped by a dominatrix.
Contributors - which the organization prefers to the term members - get discounted admission prices to events. This month's meeting, to be held on April 26 at an undisclosed location, will feature presentations by Lady D, a lifestyle Domme, on wax play and body punching.
A social follows each meeting, allowing kinksters to mingle amongst themselves. These socials offer play equipment and access to CAPEX's library, which features such sensational titles as How to Have an Orgasm as Often as You Want, Slavecraft and The Mistress Manual. Intrigued yet?
CAPEX, while offering that forbidden thrill, is still a legitimate organization with bylaws that ensure the safety and enjoyment of all contributors. The bylaws, which can be found on the website, read like a legal textbook. We're talking some official shit.
For nervous newbs, CAPEX sponsors the Gateway program, designed to introduce kink-virgins to the lifestyle in a nonthreatening and unobtrusive environment. At these monthly meetings, male and female moderators make a short presentation before delving into a group discussion. It's a good place to start for those of us whose curiosity has finally overcome our fear.
I realize that having a bucket list of things to do before you die is no novelty. Most people do, in one form or another. Mine is scribbled out in an old leather ledger that my ex-boyfriend gifted to me on a birthday back in college. He was great at gifts and that ledger, still cherished, has made it through several moves and subsequent boyfriends. I often talk openly about my scribed list of things to accomplish pre mortem. It serves as good dinner or "getting to know you" conversation.
What I don't candidly discuss is my top secret internal list of things I'd like to try before death that I would NEVER, even if threatened with water torture or fiery torches, want anyone to have knowledge of. That register is hidden in the most shadowy part of my brain space, for me and me alone. Well ... until now, where I will very publicly confess and detail one line item in particular:
I strongly desire to perform in an amateur night at a strip club.
The yearning started when I was in middle school. I was watching MTV, without my parents' knowledge or permission, at a friend's house when the seed was firmly planted. The plot to Aerosmith's "Crazy" music video unfolded before my young eyes, and I wanted nothing more than to live with the frivolity of Liv Tyler or Alicia Silverstone in that moment. I wanted to go topless while riding in a retro convertible. I needed to feel the wind in my hair and the deliverance of doing something so very opposite of the girl that I was at the time. As the scene ended where they tag-team a burlesque dance for money, I committed to myself that I would, at some point when I wouldn't get grounded for it, shed my goody-two-shoes image. I would one day choreograph a sex-kitten routine during which I would take my clothes off for an audience of completely enchanted strange men.
Next Monday, little ghost, goblins and black cats will be going door to door looking for treats. Every year, Halloween forces us to think about who our neighbors really are.
Last Halloween, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office went door to door, reminding the 648 registered sex offenders that they aren't able to pass out treats.
The purpose of the program is to verify 648 sex offenders' addresses and contact information. But for the first time, they're not doing it on Halloween.
"One of the reasons we do this is to raise awareness," said Captain Kristjan Rahe, of the Sheriff's Office. "Everyone knows we go out every Halloween, so what better way to surprise people than to come out a day early?"
Eyewitness News rode along with Deputy Prince Newsome, who had a stack of about 40 sex offenders to check up on, including many with offenses against children, like Jermaine Dixon, who is legally prohibited from giving out candy during trick or treating.
"It bothers me, but I understand where they're coming from," Dixon said.
Newsome pointed out that because Halloween is on Sunday, many families won't want to go trick-or-treating because of church, and because it's a school night. Our crews noticed many children celebrating the holiday on Saturday night.
"Parents should always be standing on the sidewalk if their children participate in Halloween," Newsome said.
Many sex offenders said that after getting a knock on the door every year, they'd rather not participate, even if they legally can.
"I just sit back and look at TV, and wait for the day to go by," said registered sex offender William Norman.
Some people wonder if this is a violations of civil liberties of the sex offenders.
In 2008, the ACLU took on a law in Missouri that banned sex offenders from passing out candy on Halloween. And the group won a slight victory:
A federal judge has ruled that parts of Missouri's new law restricting registered sex offenders' actions on Halloween night are unenforceable, saying the law lacked clarity and could cause confusion for sex offenders and those charged with enforcing
The law, signed by Gov. Matt Blunt in June, requires that sex offenders avoid all Halloween-related contact with children from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 31. It requires them to remain inside their homes with the outside lights off and to post a sign saying they have no candy.
A violation is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.
After hearing arguments in a case brought by four sex offenders, U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson on Monday granted a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of some parts of the law.
But in Maryland, Sex offenders must post a sign on their doors alerting parents and trick-or-treaters about their crime.
"By making a commitment to refrain from participating in Halloween activities, you will enable the children and parents in your neighborhood to enjoy the holiday without undue anxiety," said the letter signed by Patrick McGee, Director of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation. "In addition, you will also protect yourself from misunderstandings and the allegations that may arise from them."
At the end of the day, parents have the ultimate responsibility to keep their kids safe on Halloween — not just from sex offenders but all of the dangers on Charlotte streets on Halloween.
HLN, formerly CNN's Headline News channel, took notice. She will be featured on the cable news' Morning Express with Robin Meade on the “Breakthrough Women” segment.
This series features women who break the mold and impact the lives of others through their accomplishments.
"I am a motivational speaker and I consider myself to be a woman of empowerment and a woman on the move. I want encourage other women and young girls to maintain self-esteem by first, they own who they are and at the same time be respectful to their minds, bodies and souls so they can not go up against the woes of the world and get into the stuff that I go into," she said.
Roseborough is constantly speaking at colleges, churches and community groups about her journey from the death bed to starting the RasberriRose Foundation.
"I use tough love, because that's what was given to me, to reach out to women," she said.
You can catch her on HLN on Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-9 a.m., Friday, 7 p.m.-8p.m. and again Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-11 a.m.
The latest case happened over the weekend in Davidson.
Just after 2 a.m. Saturday, Davidson police responded to a report of a shooting at a home on Callaway Hills Lane. When officers arrived, they found a man and woman in the front yard, both with gunshot wounds.
Witnesses told police that Jeremy Allen Hester, 31, drove to the home of his ex-wife, Erin Marie Cobb, 28, and they began arguing inside. Moments after the pair walked outside, multiple gunshots were fired, witnesses told police.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, who are investigating the shooting, said that evidence gathered at the scene suggests Hester shot his ex-wife in the neck and then shot himself in the head. Police called the incident a "domestic violence-related shooting."
Hester is a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer, sort of underscoring the fact that domestic violence can affect anyone, despite the person's profession.
Hester and Cobb were still in the hospital as of Monday.
This year, in the Charlotte area, there have been five domestic violence related homicides.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Mecklenburg County Women's Commission has planned several events in the city:
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
10/06: DV Candlelight Vigil
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte, NC 28216
Contact Glencie with the DVAC’s Interfaith
Subcommittee for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10/06: DV at the Workplace: 2011 Charlotte Summit
Film Screening of "Telling Amy's Story"
Tate Hall on CPCC Main Campus
1206 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204
Contact Carol Roth at email@example.com or 704-367-2799
10/07: DV at the Workplace: 2011 Charlotte Summit
The Employers Association, Charlotte
Keynote Speaker: Johnny Lee, Director of Peace @ Work
Contact Carol Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-367-2799
10/17: 13th Annual ASIS Golf Tournament
Registration / Range
Tega Cay Golf Club
$95 Per player (includes cart & green fees, lunch & dinner
buffet, awards) Sponsorships are available.
Proceeds benefiting Mecklenburg County Community
Support Services Women's Commission
Please call or email Thomas Vidak at 704-301-6084 or
10/17-21: Activist in Residence: Jennifer Baumgardner
UNC Charlotte Women & Gender Studies
9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001
Contact Coral Wayland at email@example.com or 704-687-2290
10/29: A Change Is Gonna Come
Reeder Memorial Baptist Church
3725 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte, NC 28216
TICKETS: $20 at www.forgiven2.com or 800-903-6171
In The Next Room, nominated for a Tony Award in 2010, is about the accidental invention of the best sex toy ever. Set in the Victorian era, this play focuses on the discovery of the female orgasm — which, at that time, was thought to be the treatment for hysteria.
“We’ve done a coupled of Sarah Ruhl shows, and she has a voice that speaks to our aesthetic. We enjoy what she says and how she says it," says Chip Decker, ATC's artistic director. "Whenever she has a new piece out there, we’re always on the pulse. She has a way with words, and we love that about her.”
Ann Marie Costa, the show's director, says the play looks at a doctor’s relationship with his wife and the satisfaction he gives to other women in the next room with his treatments. “This is based on historical fact," she says. "In the 1880s, when electricity came out, a doctor started to use vibrators to relieve the congestion in the womb for hysteria. The doctors were doing it for pure medical reasons. They believed the way to relieve these women of being anxious and having anxiety was to release the fluid in that area.”
Of course, now we call it, getting off, busting a nut, climaxing, coming and so on.
I wonder if the New Jersey school system reads the books before they put them on the reading list?
Fox News is reporting that Monroe Township Schools in Williamstown, N.J has removed Norwegian Wood and Tweak (Growing up on Methamphetamines) from the reading list of middle and high school students.
One book, “Norwegian Wood,” was on a list for incoming sophomores in an honors English class. The book includes a graphic depiction of a lesbian sex scene between a 31-year-old woman and a 13-year old girl, according to a report first published in the Gloucester County Times.
The other book in question was “Tweak (Growing up on Methamphetamines).” That book included depictions of drug usage and a homosexual orgy.
It's not as if these scenes jumped into the books after they were placed on the list. And I'm sure these kids in New Jersey have never seen Jersey Shore. (Insert eye roll)
It's knee-jerk reactions like this that keep this country behind when it comes to sex education.
Peter Sprigg, with the Family Research Council, said he’s not surprised by the controversy surrounding the books.
“Here we see the intersection of parental values being offended, the hyper-sexualization of our youth and the homosexual agenda being pushed,” Sprigg told Fox News Radio. “This just illustrates why a lot of American parents are not willing to entrust their children to the public schools anymore.”
So whose idea was it to put books featuring explicit sex scenes on a summer reading list for teenagers?
Earling said the school district’s summer reading list was prepared by a committee made up of teachers, librarians and school administrators. The board of education ultimately approved the list.
Another part of the teacher’s guide instructs kids to learn about pleasure while they rub themselves with warm sand bags while listening to soft music.
Do better, America.
Osama bin Laden had a porn collection. Moammar Gadhafi had a crush on Condoleezza Rice.
Gadhafi's crush makes me wonder why dictators have such strange and secret (or not so secret) behaviors. Before anyone gets started, I'm not saying having a yearning for Rice is strange — she's an attractive enough woman. But to have a secret photo album of the woman — strange!
Flash forward three years, when Libyan rebels moved into Gadhafi's Tripoli stronghold and took control. There, left behind in the compound, was Gadhafi's dear Leezza, her image affixed to the pages of a photo book.
Rebels leafed through the album Wednesday after finding it as they rummaged through Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound.
Rice did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the discovery of the photos. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was also asked about the album.
"I don't need to see the photos," she said. "But bizarre and creepy are good adjectives to describe much of Gadhafi's behavior. So (it) doesn't surprise me. It's deeply bizarre and deeply creepy, though, if it is as you described."
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