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Book Review: The Gospel of Kink

by: Sophia Sky

The Gospel of Kink is the newest book by Richard Wagner, Ph.D., ACS, a Clinical Sexologist in private practice here in Seattle, providing Sex Therapy and Relationship Counseling for over 30 years. Richard is often known for his thought provoking podcasts via his website, Dr. Dick’s Sex Advice. Ever since he told us here at the Foundation that he was working on this book, we have been eagerly awaiting this new treatise.Gospel of Kink

And we weren’t disappointed! In the forward, he spends some time explaining his choice of word for the title, eloquently explaining the root meaning of “gospel” is “good news”, thereby priming us with the idea that our personal truths are our gospel.

The book is written as a “workshop in a book” which is similar to a workbook where you go through various self-awareness exercises intended to encourage self discovery. What is different about The Gospel of Kink is the group of fictional participants that go through these exercises with you. This is approach allows you to make personal connections with the participants, just you do with characters in a book. You have the same chances to empathize, be irritated and gain understanding through their process of self discovery.

foundation for sex positive cultureThese exercises are simple and common, with the added twists that are necessary to make them fully relevant to those in kinky, lifestyle or alt sex relationships. I am very impressed by the ways that Dr. Dick subtly offers “extra credit” assignments via his characters taking initiative to expand the exercises or seeking out addition exercises on their own. I found myself think “Ooo! I should do that, too!” as opposed to feeling resistant about “more work” or guilty that I didn’t do all the exercises.

The Foundation is very proud to invite you to meet Dr. Dick and his panel of alt sex experts this Saturday. You will have a chance to buy his book and get it signed by all the contributors after a short workshop, based on this new book. Since this is a book release party we will have red velvet cake and refreshments to celebrate.

The workshop at 3pm is $10, and the book signing starting at 4:30pm is free. For those in need, there is a discount code that can be used for online purchases. Just type in E8F3Y in the promo code field at check out.

Full Review HERE!

Open Hearts, Open Minds, And Open Relationships

Name: Deborah
Gender: female
Age: 36
Location: Rome
I like your site very much. Thank you for some much honesty. I have a question; do open relationships really work?

Well gee, thanks for your kind words, darlin’; I appreciate it.

To your question about open relationships, I guess that depends on the maturity level of the people considering opening their sexually exclusive relationship. And how much work they are willing to put forward to communicate with one another through all the details that such a decision entails.open relationship

That being said, there are a few things us sex researchers know for sure. In most cultures, people claim to practice sexual exclusivity, which is commonly referred to as monogamy. Although I think that’s a misnomer. Monogamy literally means having one union, which, as we all know, tells us nothing about sexual expression of either or both partners.

Lifetime sexual exclusivity (being sexually involved with only one person for one’s entire life) is rare. Serial sexual exclusivity (having a series of exclusive relationships over one’s life) is much more common. And despite knowing that we humans do not mate for life, we continue to presume that sexual exclusivity, or monogamy is the only legitimate kind of coupling.

This, unfortunately, leads to our culture’s obsession with cheating — that is, having sex with someone outside of a monogamous relationship. And frankly, what I know about humans, human relationships, and human sexuality; I can say for certain that fidelity is not necessarily a genital issue. One can indeed be faithful to someone else and still have the freedom to express him/herself sexually with others. It happens all the time. In these cases, fidelity is to the relationship and the agreements, parameters, and boundaries mutually agreed upon by the partners. Which get me back to my opening comment about the need for communication. Of course, it’s much easier to presume that everyone in a relationship is working under the same rubric, but that kind of presumption is a fool’s paradise.

polyamory1Another shortcoming of setting up sexual exclusivity, or monogamy as the only legitimate kind of coupling is that it diminishes all the other types of relationships that flourish albeit in a more covert sort of way. And here I’m talking about an array of open relationship models and polyamory. The fact that we don’t hear a lot about these non-traditional relationships shouldn’t suggest to you, or anyone, that they don’t exist or that they aren’t practical or practiced my a lot of people. They are! It just means that most people in non-traditional relationships know not to go public in a society that would denigrate them for their lifestyle choices. That’s how things are here in the good old US of A; and I’ll wager it’s also true for you Italians. Am I right, or am I right?

Open relationships and polyamorous relationships work because the people in them adhere to some basic tenets about how to conduct themselves.

First among them is the notion that these alternative relationships must be chosen; they can’t be mandated. If one or another of the persons considering an open or poly relationship is being pressured to go along with the flow, or is fearful that he/she will be alone if he/she doesn’t comply with the will of the other(s), that kind of duress is not gonna work.

Each person in the relationship needs to take responsibility for the choices he/she is making. If you’re not up for the task, or if this kind of arrangement is not compatible with your personality type, don’t attempt to override that. You will only jeopardize the relationship for the other(s) involved. However if the idea appeals to you, give it your best shot. I can guarantee it will be a learning experience. Just remember, exploring something and having it carved in stone are two very different things.

Second, communication is key. The more complex the relationship structure the greater the need for open lines of communication. Know your boundaries and express them clearly. Ask questions; never assume you know something when you don’t. If you will allow me some shameless self-promotion, I’d like to direct your attention to my latest book, The Gospel Of Kink — A Modern Guide To Asking For What You Want And Getting What You Ask For. It’s a communication and relationship-building workshop, for folks in nontraditional relationships, in workbook form. I think you will find it most enlightening. GOK small cover

Third, know yourself! You must be able to deal with your emotions, particularly jealousy, in an up-front, adult way. This is often much easier said than done. If you need to be the center of attention just so you can feel good about yourself, or you have serious territorial issues — this is mine, this is mine, and this is mine! Alternative relationships are probably not for you.

Know what keeps you even keel in terms of what you need and what you are able to give. There has got to be a healthy tension between these two things. If you’re the kind who gives too much and resents not being rewarded for your gifts, stay away from alternative relationships. Or if you are so needy that you can’t stand it when someone else is enjoying his/her time in the sun; open or poly relationships are decidedly not for you.

You should also know that alternative relationships, of whatever stripe, are, for the most part, on the fringes of what society will accept. And some are outright taboo. This doesn’t mean you will have to slug it out on your own, in a vacuum of support. On the contrary, you will no doubt find that the people who are living contrary to the expectations of the popular culture are often a whole lot more generous with their support and compassion then those following all the rules.

You will find that your support system will shift from more traditional sources like family, church, and community to alternative sources like clubs and social groupings of other like-minded individuals as yourself. A common mistake made by those in non-traditional relationships is to take their problems and issues to their traditional support systems. This rarely works because the traditional support system will inevitably blame the non-traditional relationship setup for the problem. This is not true, of course, but how would those in traditional relationships know otherwise.

I always suggest that those in non-traditional relationships bring their issues to their non-traditional support system. Here you are less likely to encounter judgments about your life choices and more help with overcoming the problems at hand.

Good luck

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A budding kinkster’s dilemma

Hey DR

Well, I don’t know where to start, my name is Todd I’m 21 and from Eugene Or. I need to know if feeling the way I do is OK?

Well I’ve had a thing for voyeurism and BDSM for a some time now. I guess it started out by me just liking to push the boundaries of what was the norm, you know like wanting to do it in a movie theater or the park. However, things like that soon stopped giving me the same feeling, so I started to look more into bondage and kink. I liked what I found but at some point I passed what every one else I know thought was OK. Every time I feel like it’s OK to tell a girl what I want they just look at me like WHAT? They all say that they will go along with it, but I can tell that they’re not in to it. I don’t want to make any one feel like that.

I’ve tried to have a normal relationship but no matter how hard I try it just can’t work out, like my ex, she worked so hard to get where I was coming from. Any man would be lucky to find a girl as amazing as her but no matter how much I loved her I felt like I was empty. To her, kink was doing it in the morning; I soon found myself numb and board. Is there something wrong with me? I don’t know where to find someone like me.

I hope you can find time to help me DR.
TODD

From what you tell me there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with you besides being rather sexually precocious. Most people your age are just finding their way through more traditional expressions of sex. You simply have much more advanced predilections. BDSM sex is indeed an acquired taste and it is often acquired and practiced by people more senior than you. So nothing too out of the ordinary there.

that kinky stuffI suspect that you will continue to be frustrated in your search for like-minded partners in your peer group. And being in a relatively small college town doesn’t help matters all that much either. Your only salvation will be the internet. As you probably know, BDSM sites abound on the web. But before you launch your search for prospective partners, you’d probably do well to learn some of the lingo. There are plenty of resource sites out there that can help you identify who you are and what it is you want. Do a search using keywords like Dominant, Master, Domme, Mistress, Submissive, etc.

Most kink sites, like FetLife feature bulletin boards and/or member profiles. Once you get your bearings and have a grip on some of the vocabulary, you could set up your own profile. Be as clear and candid about what it is you want as possible. I encourage you to immerse yourself in this subculture, because the more information you have the more enlightened your future partner choices will be.

When connecting with other pervs online, be courteous. You’ll no doubt encounter an array of lifestyle choices and sexual proclivities, some of which may be off-putting to you. Remember, you are a guest in their world. Leave your uptight judgments and provincial attitudes at the door. You’ll have to earn the trust and respect of this community if you ever hope to be taken seriously by them.

You don’t really say what sort of BDSM you are into. Nor do you identify yourself as either a Dom or a sub. But how you identify yourself and what you say about what you are into will, no doubt, color your search for partners and playmates.

I have another resource for you. It’s a communication and relationship-building workshop in book form and it is written specifically for budding kinksters, just like you. The title: The Gospel of Kink; A Modern Guide To Asking For What You Want And Getting What You Ask For. Gospel of Kink

The Gospel of Kink’s innovative and interactive format presents the reader with numerous situations and dilemmas that arise as people embrace their kinkiness and integrate their eroticism into daily life.

The Gospel of Kink is on the cutting edge of the sex-positive and kink-aware movements. This workbook helps the reader break free from the painful silence the dominant culture imposes on alt culture and those of us on the sexual fringe.

The Gospel of Kink provides an opportunity to learn from people just like you. Its on-the-page workshop features a group of ten fictional characters who are your fellow participants. In addition, it includes a panel of actual seasoned kinky, BDSM, and alt culture practitioners who share their expertise and life experience with you.

The Gospel of Kink engages you with numerous exercises and homework. As a workshop participant, you will complete A Personal Alt Relationship Inventory, discuss the Essentials of Effective Communication, identify Tools and Techniques for Navigating Alt Relationship Conflicts, and learn how to Keep Things Fresh and Interesting.

The Gospel of Kink provides a safe and secure place for you to air your concerns without fear of being judged for how you live your life or with whom you choose to live it. You will learn within a framework of honesty, activity, alliance, support, and humor.

its_only_kinky_the_first_time_post_card-r8cd39596681e48d4b13fd87f07c01435_vgbaq_8byvr_512In the BDSM world, being a Dom or sub is a state of mind. It isn’t necessarily about a particular sex act, it certainly isn’t a game, it’s not merely role-playing; and for the most part, it is not gender specific. The best Dom/sub relationships are those that express a mutuality of care, concern, and trust.

Finally, I caution you against so easily dismissing your partners when they don’t immediately live up to your expectations. This young woman you mention sounds like she might have been able to rise to the occasion with a little support, encouragement and tutelage. You can’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, my friend; that’s just not gonna be helpful. In fact, you might consider inviting someone, this woman perhaps, to read The Gospel of Kink along with you. That way you both could learn together. I can assure you your time will be well spent.

Good luck

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A Rose By Any Other Name

We’re all back from spring break. The Dr Dick Review Crew is all rested and relaxed. Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about me. oh well, no rest for the wicked.

Doc:

I enjoy your podcast, the frankness and open vocabulary is exactly what I like. No need in beating around the bush, just get to the point. Wish more people would live by that philosophy.

Ok. I am a 45 YO, gay male, very experienced sexually, some say whore… LOL! I enjoy a lot of fetishes; the unusual has always been very attractive to me. The more bizarre the more I will probably like it.

Until I was about 40 I was a DOM top. I started experimenting with the group party world and enjoyed it greatly. Became an experienced fisting top with some formal training, I guess you could call it an apprentice who graduated, or so I thought. Then a few of the FF bottoms suggested I was missing something. Because I didn’t have any experience as a FF bottom I couldn’t realize the true feelings and emotions involved with fisting. I was encouraged to experience fisting as a bottom.

This was a HUGE ordeal for me. The mental change alone was like, wow. The first time I crawled into a sling and had my whole ass on display, legs spread like a woman at her gynecologist…man was I uncomfortable. This was 5 years ago. Now I can hop into a sling and take a fist-fuck fairly easy. I now understand the advice given to me: I finally understand what fisting is all about.

Now my issues.

I have changed. My whole personality has been altered. Changing from a Dominate Top to fisting bottom has created issues with my head and overall sexuality. These changes are now affecting my sex life. I guess I need some help figuring things out.

Thanks,
Jimmy

Thank you, Jimmy, for your message and your kind words about my podcasts.

We really get boxed in with all our self-identification we do, huh? I mean I know why we categorize ourselves and others as gay or straight, top or bottom, sub or Dom. It helps us understand ourselves and communicate in a kind of shorthand with others. But there is a downside to this, as you suggest.sex sling

I believe that human sexual response is a whole lot more fluid than we give it credit for. But this fluidity is often stifled when we overly compartmentalize ourselves or others. Not to mention the fallacy of the binary system — being one thing or the other.  It just ain’t so and you are the perfect case in point.

I’m always talking about how the best tops are those who, on occasion, bottom. The best submissives are those who, on occasion, dominate. Besides the wider range of experience this provides us, we also grow in emotional maturity encompassing both our yin and yang.

Also the words we use to describe ourselves have, over time, become heavily laden with unintended cultural connotations. Top/bottom, sub/Dom are classic examples of this. That’s why I believe that we ought, from time to time, reinvent the language we use to talk about ourselves. In this case, I prefer terms like: giver/receiver over top/bottom. A change in vocabulary can certainly cut through a lot of the cultural nonsense and it can open the door to a more fluid sexual expression; as I believe it ought to be.nekkidbookclub

I hasten to add that at lot of hard-core pervs disagree with me on this. And that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s just that, if our language detracts from our experience, or hems us in, rather than facilitates it, and frees us up, something’s out of whack.

You will pardon the shameless self-promotion, but I’d like to call your attention to my latest book, The Gospel of Kink. It’s a communication and relationship building workshop in workbook form. It centers on the skills us kinksters need to communicate with others, and initiate, build, and maintain the relationships that will serve us well. Learn how to ask for what you want and get what you ask for from the people best situated to fulfill your desires. The book covers a lot of the territory that you raise in your question.

Stay in touch and let me know how this sits with you.

Good luck

No boundaries, no edge!

Since I published The Gospel of Kink — A Modern Guide To Asking For What You Want And Getting What You Ask For this past summer, I’ve met dozens and dozens of kinksters from all over the world. Many of these new acquaintances are much younger than I; many have just begun their erotic journey. Their youthful enthusiasm is infectious and they remind me how passionate I was as I began to awaken to my own sexual interests. But that was a very long time ago. So I’m grateful for this infusion of excitement because without it I know that I can easily become callous and jaded.Life-on-the-edge  And where’s the fun in that?

Being as old as I am, I am proud to have been part of the sex-positive and kink aware movements for as long as these terms have been around to help us understand and appreciate the panoply of human sexual response. I have been an out and proud member of the sexual fringe and alt culture for all of my adult life. And I remain an ardent advocate and activist for sexual awareness and life-long sex education and enrichment.

At the same time, I also like being a sexual outlaw. Unfortunately, over the years, many sectors of what was once the edge have been co-opted by the mainstream. Despite this, many of us long to push the envelope and remain outsiders. I admire that about us. However, there is a palpable backlash within the dominant culture toward us, as well as among us, here on the fringe, toward one another.

I don’t think that anyone can argue with the fact that there is a disturbing and very noticeable uptick in violence against the LGBTQ community lately. I chalk this up as a reaction to the gains we’ve made in the marriage equality struggle. Our increased visibility and our growing power base threatens many people who are loathe to relinquish or even share their privilege.  But there is an equally disturbing trend within our own community. I call it the “kinkier than thou” syndrome. It’s as if some of us, sensing the encroachment of the dominant culture on what has traditionally been  our turf, are creating a backlash of our own. This exhibits itself as a cult of extremism and its mantra is “no limits.” Some proclaim that the extreme is the only legitimate edge; everything else is dilettante play.

I don’t know about you, but having someone or some group unilaterally set themselves up as the arbiter of what is and what is not authentic grates against everything I hold sacred. I don’t take kindly to this any more than I abide a cultural moralist trying to dictate how I ought live out my sexuality and my eroticism.

your own herdBeside the arrogance of it all, there is the divisiveness. People just beginning to embrace their kinkiness are being put off by the stench of this exclusivity and rightfully so.

Extremism, in all of its forms, sows the seeds of its own destruction. You think you’re extreme? Well, I can assure you that, in the dungeon down the street, there is someone even more extreme than you, or extreme in a different way than you. Truth is, the laws of physics apply to us, and our erotic predilections, just as it does to everything else. Where there is no boundary there is no edge. If your extremism is without boundaries is not edgy, it’s just chaos.

I believe that it’s edgy enough to try and live and sustain our eroticism in the face of an often hostile dominant culture. I believe that none of us need to prove our edginess beyond our pursuit of our authentic selves.

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