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Does Manspreading Work?

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Participants in a “No Trousers Day” flashmob ride the London Underground in 2012.

A study suggests people find expansive, space-consuming postures more romantically attractive

Manspreading might make you the villain of the morning L train, but a new study suggests it could also make you lucky in love. People who adopted “expansive postures”—widespread limbs and a stretched-out torso—in speed-dating situations garnered more romantic interest than those who folded their arms in “closed postures,” the researchers found.

For her recent paper, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, performed two studies. First, she and her team watched videos of 144 speed-dates and correlated them with the participants’ ratings of each other. People who sat in expanded postures were deemed more attractive, and for both men and women, postural expansiveness nearly doubled their chances of getting a “yes” response to a second date. Even laughing and smiling didn’t work as well as spreading out, Vacharkulksemsuk found.

Examples of expansive postures used in the study

Examples of expansive postures used in the study

Next, Vacharkulksemsuk posted pictures of people in open and closed postures on a dating site. Again, those in the expansive postures were about 25 percent more likely to generate interest from another user. However, this strategy worked much better for men than women. Men, overall, received far fewer bites than women did, but 87 percent of their “yesses” came in response to an open posture. For women, meanwhile, 53 percent of “yes” responses came when they were in an expansive posture.

Examples of contractive postures used in the study

Examples of contractive postures used in the study

In a separate test, Vacharkulksemsuk found that both the male and female “expansive” photos were considered more dominant than the “closed” photos. That dominance might suggest an abundance of resources and a willing to share those resources. When potential romantic partners are evaluating each other for just a few seconds, in other words, money talks—mainly through bodily breadth.

So should you rush to change your Tinder picture to something a little less pouty and a little more Backstreet Boys cira Millennium? Like with almost every study, there are reasons to be skeptical. “Power poses” made a big splash in 2010 when it was found that adopting them could tweak hormone levels—then sparked controversy after a follow-up study failed to replicate the effect.

Several researchers who weren’t involved with the study expressed doubts about its methodology. Agustín Fuentes, a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, said the findings might be a sign of general social preference for openness, but not necessarily that open-looking poses are sexier. “The connection to mating/dating assessment they suggest is superficial,” he said in an email.

Irving Biederman, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, said some of the “expansive” women might have looked vulnerable, rather than powerful.

To Vacharkulksemsuk, though, the fact that her study subjects rated both the male and female “expansive” photos as dominant—and found that dominance attractive—might signal the start of something very exciting. For decades, women have been told they’re most attractive when they’re demure, high-pitched, and generally non-threatening. This data “may be signifying a change in what men are looking for in women,” she said. Perhaps commuters should brace themselves for the rise of fem-spreading.

Complete Article HERE!

OH THE HUMANITY!

Once again my inbox is filled with quires from all over the globe.

Name: MARK
Gender:
Age: 44
Location: ca
im experiencing ED for 2 years. According to eastern medicine, which i believe in, it’s the result of low kidney chi…are you familiar with mantak chia? can you share any feedback you’ve heard regarding his taoist sex practices?

Alas, I do not know the man or his take on Erectile Dysfunction. If you find out more, do let me know. I’m very interested in cross-cultural philosophies about sex.

Name: Tommy
Gender:
Age: 34
Location: bay area
If your wit this guy for some time. How do you make him be more interested in you. I been sleeping with this person for some time and I feel we have gotten closer> I just want to know I do I reel him in. thanks tommy

vintage311.jpgI am of the mind that humans are not much like fish. They can’t be reeled in. But they can be REASONED in.

Listen, my friend, if you feel like your relationship with this guy has matured to the point where you’d like to take it to the next level, whatever that may be. Why not just come out and tell the bloke how you feel. Ask him to be honest with you about his feelings too. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that he shares your desire to be more than fuck buddies. If not, at least you’ll know where you stand.

Name: canine
Gender:
Age: 30
Location: philippines
i have a 4 inch dick, 4 inches circumference, would it be enough to satisfy a women. i have tried so many penile enlarging pill, it doesnt work, tried pump, doesnt work either, i am looking at fat transplant is it safe?, would it really lengthen and provide more girth? a 5×5 would be enough for me. help!

manchains.jpgFour inches is plenty to pleasure most women. Most women don’t give a shit about dick size. But ya know what? Even if they were, you are more than your dick size. Presumably you also have functional fingers and a tongue, not to mention an ability to charm a woman. These are the things that will get you laid, my friend, not your 4 or 5 inches.

So you’ve tried enlarging pills and pumps and they don’t work. You don’t say! I keep telling guys to not waste their money. But it looks like you haven’t learned your lesson yet. Now, instead of just useless pills and bogus pumps you want to have some one inject your dick with your own body fat. Is another inch really worth the effort, expense, and risk involved with this procedure if it were to go bad? And mark my words; it will go bad. I have yet to see even one fat injected cock that looks normal. They all look deformed, like they have cottage cheese under the skin. In most cases the body rejects a large portion of the fat injection. The procedure often needs to be repeated several times and each operation carries with it a severe risk of infection.

Stop right now. Spend your money on something that will make you more attractive and interesting to the ladies. Take a class in sensual massage, or study tantrac sex techniques. Just leave your dick alone!

Name: jason
Gender:
Age: 33
Location: Connecticut
if I like anal sex but not all the time does this make me gay even though I like to be with women too?

5484782_400.jpgTakin’ it up the ass don’t make you gay, even if you’re being plugged by another dude. It may suggest that you are technically bisexual, since you say you also like to be with women. But hell, even a lot of straight guys get pegged by their girlfriends or wives.

So what’s the lesson in all of this? All these labels are useless unless you yourself choose to identify yourself with one or another of them. And for lots of people, sexual identities are fluid things. Be honest with yourself and let your public identity flow from that.

Name: catherine joanne
Gender:
Age: 42
Location: canada, alberta
I am in a very loving, uderstanding, compasionate relationship, which I have been waiting for for some time now. The only thing is, in every way he stimulates my emotional side, but in the bedroom he is not as sexual as previous partners i have encountered. I do not know if this is because all my previous relationships has always been about the “sex” and fizzled out, or is this how the “real love thing truly is?” If so, how can I mentally get over this one…he just is not inventive, or has a lack of sexual knowledge. I do not desire to end this loving relationship over the bed issue. Please help me out on this one, so I do not sabatouge this relationship. sincerely: Catherine

If this guy is satisfying you as much as you say, hold on to him. He’s a keeper.

You can always teach the old dog some new tricks. Of course, you’re gonna have to take the lead in his sex ed. Let’s just hope he’s not threatened by a woman who is more sexually experienced and progressive than he is. That being said, I think you ought to make your peace with the fact that he’ll never become a wild fuck. But then again, you wouldn’t want that, because those wild fucks don’t make for loving, understanding and compassionate partners. But you already know that, huh?

Just remember: It’s as hard to domesticate a wild fuck as it is to make a domestic fuck wild!

Name: jamie
Gender:
Age: 28
Location: Georrgia
lately when me and my boyfriend have sex, he’s been pulling out because he says his dick burns. WHY IS HE HAVING THAT PROBLEM

What’s goin on in your pussy, girl? Nothing about a healthy cunt is gonna irritate a guy’s dong. SEE YOUR DOCTOR! Hey, maybe he started out with a skin irritation of some sort or another, and pluggin’ you only made it worse. HE OUGHTA SEE HIS DOCTOR!

And what the fuck are you two doin screwin around without a condom? Are you on the pill? You’d better be. Cuz if you ain’t ya’ll are gonna have a whole lot more to worry about than cock burns, if ya catch my drift.

Name: rupalini
Gender:
Age: 25
Location: india
i am unable to have an orgasm.. how ever i try.. its emotionally straining on me.. could be pls tell me techniques to relax and enjoy..?

Let’s begin by dispelling the notion that there may be something wrong with you. There isn’t. You do, however, fall into a category we in the biz call “pre-orgasmic women.”

Orgasms don’t always come easily to some women, and that’s a fact. I suppose there are as many reasons for this as there are preorgasmic women. A woman’s pleasure center (her clit) is more subtle and less obvious than a man’s raging hardon. Women are socialized about sexuality especially where you live — even nowadays — in a much different way then men are. Men have more cultural permissions to be sexually adventuresome than women do.

Case in point. When I was just beginning my sex therapy practice I had a young engaged couple, Joel and Amy, visit me with the very issue you raise. As I would soon learn, Joel considered himself a top-notch cocksmith. He was fond of saying that he could reduce any woman to blubbering jelly with either his mouth or his magic-wand of a dick. (Oh, lord, how us mens love to brag!)

But Joel was completely flummoxed to discover that the love of his life, the young woman sitting next to him, was immune to his sexual prowess. He had to get to the bottom of this…so to speak. So he decided to haul the little woman in for my diagnosis.

Amy squirmed with discomfort during this little introduction. I thought she would absolutely die as Joel detailed the intimacies of their lovemaking. He was being very explicit. I knew I’d get nowhere with Amy while numb-nuts Joel was sitting right there, so I told him to go take a hike while Amy and I had a chat.

I first asked Amy about the early messages she got about her body. She thought for a moment and answered. “I don’t know if this is what you mean, but one of my earliest recollections is my mother teaching me to wash myself. I must have been no more than 5 or 6 years old. She began by telling me I should wash my body like we washed dishes. First and foremost, I was to attend to my hair, my face and my hands…like we would first wash the fine crystal and silverware. My mother explained that my hair, face and hands would be what would attract a husband. Then I was to wash the rest of my body…just like we would then wash the rest of the dishes. Finally, at the end of the bath, I could wash my genitals…but only with a different cloth than the one I used on the rest of me…just like we washed the pots and pans.”

This unearthed memory startled Amy. Even though she hadn’t thought about it for years, she realized she continued to wash herself in that same manner to that very day. This was so startling to her that she followed that revelation with one equally astonishing. She told me that once she reached puberty her mother took her aside for the “BIG TALK.” Menstruation and all the embarrassment and confusion that brought with it, added to the pot and pan imagery really threw poor Amy for a loop. Her mother said…referring to her genitals, “You must save that for the one you love and will marry.” WHAT? “This dirty part, this thing that’s cursed with a monthly unclean bloodletting was supposed to be SAVED for the man of my dreams. YUCK, why?”

brazilian-bedlock.jpgPoor Amy! She was a tangle of confusion and mixed messages. No wonder she was preorgasmic. No wonder fucking Joel, despite her love for him, was a teeth-clenching chore. No wonder his begging to eat her pussy was met with a “Oh, please don’t. I’m not ready for that.”

There was a lot of work to be done, but she was eager to begin.

We began her home-play exercises with journal work and a self-sexological exam. I instructed her to get a hand mirror and a diagram of female genitalia. She was to get to work familiarizing herself and making friends with her estranged pussy. Her exam would entail a detailed touch test. Every square inch from her asshole to her navel was to be tested for sensitivity. I suggested she draw pictures of cunt and color them to represent the levels of sensitivity — red being the hottest and most pleasurable areas to blue being the more neutral areas and all the colors in-between. I encouraged her to try this exercise with both a wet hand and a dry hand. I suggested a nice personal lubricant for her wet hand exploration. I encouraged her to spend at least 30 minutes a day for three consecutive days. She had a lot of reacquainting to do, don’t cha know. And this was to be private time. Joel was not to invited.

On the forth day, if she was ready, she could invite Joel to join her. No pressure for that to happen, just a suggestion. But whenever she was ready to invite Joel to her little pussy get-acquainted party, he could only attend as a guest, not a participant. I encouraged her to give Joel the royal tour of Amy’s fabulous cunt. She was to show Joel her drawings and once the tour and art show was over that was it. No fucking, no sucking, no nothing just the tour and art show.

Poor Joel was beside himself. He couldn’t see the logic of him not being involved. I had to impress upon him that this was Amy’s work not his. And if he just held on to that magic johnson of his, he’d be back with an orgasmic Amy in no time. But he had to be patient.

When next we were together Amy shared her artwork with me. I could tell right away from just looking at the pictures she drew that she found her clit. Amy was pleased as all get out with her newfound pussy friend. She was eager to take it to the next level.

The following week’s home-play would include a vibrator. Amy was to shop for the one she wanted and take it home to introduce it to her pussy. Using the pictures she created of her genitals, she was to kick-start that vibrator, throw it into first gear and start making small lazy circles around the blue areas, and work her way to the bright red areas. She was to do this privately for 30 minutes for three consecutive days or until there was a breakthrough.

I knew this wasn’t gonna take long, and it didn’t. The very next day, I got the anticipated phone call. Amy was breathless. “Holy shit, I did it!” She exclaimed. “Oh my god, I saw stars, the earth moved and I made so much noise that Joel came running into the room thinking I had somehow hurt myself. He stood there in stunned silence as he watched me throw myself another screaming meme.” I loved the way she already had a name for her orgasms…screamin’ memes.

And so that’s how Amy went from being preorgasmic to being a totally “I know how to give myself a big fat juicy orgasm” in a matter of a couple of weeks. YEAH!

big-13.jpgNow let’s review for you Rupalini. The basic formula for achieving an orgasm is acquainting yourself with your pussy. Map out all the points of interest. Find out what feels good, and repeat it. The object of this first step is not to stress about having an orgasm it’s all about reconnecting with your cunt.

The more you know about this marvelous part of you the better you’re gonna be at slammin yourself a screamin’ meme when the time comes. Knowing your way around your pussy is also gonna be helpful in partnered sex, especially if your partners are men. Like I said earlier, one of the reasons you’re preorgasmic may be you’ve had uninformed lovers.

You see most men’s interest in pussy extends to the end of his dick. And it completely expires once he’s shot his wad. So don’t mistake a man’s pawing at you to get in your pants as authentic interest in you and/or your pussy. Mostly a man is interested in getting’ some relief for his johnson. And that’s about as far as our interest goes. So, if you find a partner that doesn’t know shit from shinola about your love cave, you’ll better have the confidence to give him a tutorial before the fucking commences.

Step two is masturbation. You may have tried it before without success, that’s ok. This time you’ll be better informed about all the hot spots of your coozie that you learned in step one. I’m a big fan of full body masturbation. So while you’re diddlin’ yourself spread the sexual energy all over your body — tits, ass, feet, mouth, whatever.

Vary your technique: stroke, pinch, pat, massage, and rub yourself all over. Vary your breathing, gyrate your hips, listen to sexy music, rent some porn, watch yourself in a mirror, or throw in some Kegel exercises. Try a wet hand. Play with yourself in the bath. Hell, dance around naked with a jewel in your navel…whatever it takes.

022107.jpgMany women experience their first orgasm with the help of a vibrator, just like old Amy. I encourage you to be adventuresome and experiment with one too. Try a dildo or another sex toy.

Be sure to keep a journal during this exploratory period. This will help you later to bridge the gap in communicating with your partners.

Finally, Rupalini, may I turn you on to a fantastic webstie, www.Clitical.com. This is a one-stop shop for all things relating to female sexuality.

Good luck ya’ll

3D-printed sex organs help blind students learn about sexual health

3D-printing technology is letting blind students experience comprehensive, accessible sex ed for the first time ever.

3D-printed sex organs help blind students learn about sexual health

By Katie Dupere

Advocates and researchers collaborated to create more than 18 3D figures that model sex organs during a various states of arousal. They range from a flaccid penis to a dilated vaginal opening, allowing students to “feel” their way though sexual health lessons.

While it may be a NSFW (let alone not-safe-for-school) endeavor, these models are game-changers for blind students who often need to learn about sexual health through verbal instruction alone.

Sex ed classes overall often rely on dull videos and static illustrations, and while that type of stale education is a disservice to all students, it presents a unique problem for blind students.

“That approach does a blind student no good whatsoever because they, of course, cannot see the pictures and videos.” Dr. Gaylen Kapperman, a professor at Northern Illinois University who was involved with the project, told Mashable via email.

Studies show that 61% of blind adults or those with low vision say their vision status had a negative impact on the way they were able to participate in sex education.

It’s a gap advocates and researchers at Benetech, a nonprofit organization specializing in tech for good, set out to solve by creating these models of various penises and vulvas.

“3D models are the only types of models that make any sense to blind people,” Kapperman said. “Many people believe that if you provide raised-lined 2D tactile pictures of sex organs that blind people will be able to generalize this information. [That approach] makes no sense whatsoever for blind persons.”

But these models don’t only break sex ed barriers for blind children. Researchers say the models could make the instruction more meaningful for sighted kids, too.

The project’s goal is to eventually provide open-source 3D printing files for teachers. This means school districts would only have to finance the materials and printers to make the models.

Many experts predict the technology will become a staple for schools anyway. Once a school district owns a printer, 3D printing is a low-cost way to create models for classroom instruction, making it ideal for schools on a budget.

A sizable 90% of blind students attend school with sighted children, relying on modified lessons to fully absorb material. But there are only about 61,700 blind students in the U.S. Buying commercial models of genitalia already on the market can cost up to $500 per model — something low-funded schools would likely be reluctant to do, especially when only a handful of blind students may ever pass through their district.

To develop prototypes, Benetech partnered with LightHouse for the Blind and Northern Illinois University, where the models were first tested on blind college students. The project was funded entirely by a private Benetech donor.

Now in the second phase of the pilot program this spring, the models will make their ways into the hands of middle school and high school students — the target demographic.

By the end of the 2017 school year, researchers hope to have feedback from students on the current prototypes. Then they’ll release files with detailed printing instructions for classroom use.

Benetech plans to offer pre-printed models to accommodate schools without 3D printers, for a fee much lower than commercial models.

“It is our hope that these models will be an effective teaching tool for teachers to communicate sex education in a way that works for students who are blind and visually impaired,” said Dr. Lisa Wadors Verne, program manager of education and partnerships at Benetech.

Complete Article HERE!

Lacking the desire to have sex with your partner?

Scientists think they know how to cure your problem – and it’s all down to chocolate

Scientists found kisspeptin, which is found in chocolate, helps to make men much more interested in sex and relationships

By Victoria Allen

A ‘chocolate hormone’ could help to get couples in the mood for sex and fall more deeply in love.

Kisspeptin, which is named after a chocolate snack, is the hormone in the brain which kickstarts puberty.

And it may explain something about the behaviour of teenage boys, after scientists found it makes men much more interested in sex and relationships.

Young men injected with the hormone and then given brain scans showed a flurry of activity in the parts of the brain activated by sexual arousal and romance. It means similar injections could be used to help men to start a family.

Professor Waljit Dhillo, the lead author of the research from Imperial College London, said: ‘Our initial findings are novel and exciting as they indicate that kisspeptin plays a role in stimulating some of the emotions and responses that lead to sex and reproduction.

‘Ultimately, we are keen to look into whether kisspeptin could be an effective treatment for psychosexual disorders, and potentially help countless couples who struggle to conceive.’

One in 10 men in the UK are believed to have sexual problems, many suffering a lack of libido caused by relationship issues, stress and anxiety.

This can cause problems for couples trying for a child and advised to have regular sex throughout the month.

But kisspeptin is hoped to hold the answer, following a trial involving 29 healthy young men.

Those injected with kisspeptin, discovered in the mid-1990s in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and named after sweets from the city called Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, reacted differently to sexual and non-sexual romantic pictures of couples.

In an MRI scanner, where their brains were monitored, there was greater activity in the parts of the brain typically activated by sexual arousal and romance than the men given a placebo.

Professor Dhillo said: ‘Most of the research and treatment methods for infertility to date have focused on the biological factors that may make it difficult for a couple to conceive naturally.

‘These of course play a huge part in reproduction, but the role that the brain and emotional processing play in this process is also very important, and only partially understood.’

The effect is likely to come from kisspeptin’s role in starting puberty, by stimulating the release of reproductive hormones.

A study from Edinburgh University previously found it fuels the production of testosterone, which is key to male libido and fertility

The researchers now want to study how the hormone affects women as well as men, while kisspeptin might also work as an antidepressant.

Volunteers shown negative and fearful emotional faces in pictures said they felt less bad in follow-up questionnaires after receiving the hormone, with less activity in brain structures important in regulating a bad mood.

Dr Alexander Comninos, first author of the study at Imperial, said: ‘Our study shows that kisspeptin boosts sexual and romantic brain activity as well as decreasing negative mood.

‘This raises the interesting possibility that kisspeptin may have uses in treating psychosexual disorders and depression which are major health problems which often occur together, but further studies would be needed to investigate this.’

Complete Article HERE!

The Ties That Bind

 An Exploration of Anchorage’s Kink Community

by K. Jered Mayer

“Here’s a couch you can sit and relax on, or whatever. I like to suck dick while the guy is reading. It’s the sapiosexual side of me.”

Surprised, I glanced at the man guiding me through the rooms to see if the statement was meant for me. It was not. Not all of it, anyway. Everything after introducing me to the furniture had been an aside to a friend of my leather-clad cicerone as they passed by, but it had been said so offhandedly and received so earnestly that I knew right then I had never been in a place quite like this before.

The Alaska Center for Alternative Lifestyles–mercifully acronymized and more commonly known as ACAL–has been labeled in the past as “Anchorage’s only sex club.” It’s an oversimplification that people are quick to correct, not least of all the Center’s founder, Sarha Shaubach. The website she set up for ACAL is done so in a way as to put focus on the real purpose behind the organization’s inception. Not for scintillation nor sexploitation. Certainly not for orgies, which require “a lot of planning and connection” to arrange. Instead, the focus is on community.

“Your Kink Community Home Base” graces the top of the main page, followed by a description promising “elevated kink education and foundation building,” as well as a “judgement [sic] free, body positive environment,” and protection and equipment for healthy exploration.

The FAQ section on their website goes even further into detail. Here, BDSM is defined as a more complex, overlapping number of ideas, and not just whips and chains and ball gags. There are answers in this area to questions about privacy, membership costs and advantages and various other things to expect regarding dress codes (there isn’t one), alcohol–there isn’t any of that, either; it’s critical there is zero confusion regarding consent–and what else is offered for those not interested in the tying or whipping side of it. And there is plenty offered: card games, movie nights, bootblacking (the polishing of one’s leathers) and regular classes on rope and knot work to promote healthy bondage and prevent serious injuries.

While the club itself had some initial troubles starting up–Sarha notably sent the Press a letter in December 2014 detailing her struggles getting ACAL up and running in the old Kodiak bar building while co-leasing the space with “Fuck It” Charlo Greene–classes, play sessions, recurring memberships and group events have proven strong enough to keep the community thriving.

So much so, in fact, that it was inevitable a larger venue would someday be needed. When that day came this last summer, ACAL didn’t need to look far to find it. Back in June, weekend events began being held in an 8,000-square foot space on 3rd Avenue. By July, they were fully moved in.

When ACAL finally came to my personal attention last month, they had fully settled into the location and I was chomping at the bit to write about it. Sexuality has always fascinated me in its myriad forms, as has people’s reactions to it and how readily some subscribe to an opinion based on what they think something is and not based on what it actually is.

I wanted to know. I wanted to learn.

ACAL offers a text-based subscriptions service to alert people of upcoming events. When I reached out to Sarha for the first time, she asked if she could sign me up for what she called “the same spam stuff” she gave to anyone interested in attending the Center for the first time. I agreed–I wanted to approach this from the ground up.

So it is that I found myself downtown on New Year’s Eve opening a door with a leather pride flag draped over it. I ducked inside and scaled a gray stone staircase, then waited my turn as the woman in the box office window politely explained to a couple men that no, this wasn’t the entrance to the Latin dance party that was also going on, that was the other side of the building, this was something much, much different. They shuffled back past me. It was my turn.

“Yeah, I’m here for the, ah…” At the time, I only knew it as the Alaska Center for Alternative Lifestyles, which was a rigid mouthful, or as the “fetish club,” which seemed remarkably ill-informed. Which I was. So I stammered.

“Are you here for the dance night or for ACAL,” she asked. I confirmed the latter. When she asked me if it was my first time attending, I confirmed that too and she handed me a five-page pamphlet on the rules to follow, appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and the safe word. Safety, discretion, clear-mindedness, consent and a zero-tolerance policy on hate speech were all heavily emphasized. I signed a consent sheet and returned it to the box office, where I was quizzed on what I had read before being allowed entry.

I passed my quiz with rainbow colors, paid my $25 non-member entry fee and had my license number written down and filed away with my paperwork. Once that was finished, I was assigned a guide to give me a tour of the facility.

“Normally, we’ve got the whole floor,” I was told. “But sometimes, like tonight, we rent out the big room to other events. Only this side is open tonight, but that’s okay. Sometimes I like that more. It’s more intimate.”

The first room I was led into was the social room. Cell phones are allowed here, but strictly for texts. Pictures are prohibited and people are asked to take calls outside, to maximize privacy. There are plenty of seats around the space to relax or recline upon. Snacks or food are customarily set out for guests, as are sodas and water. The night I went, there was a hummus plate. It was delicious.

The social area serves multiple purposes. Members and guests can meet here to discuss activities for the evening, or to shoot the shit, or to take a break from anything that was too exhausting or discomfiting in the play room. I saw an even mix of men and women sprawled out under a number of fantastic art pieces. Variety was the spice of life in the social room when it came to age, body types and dress. T-shirts and jeans here, corsets and leather chaps there. I saw smiling faces. I heard giggles, chuckles and guffaws. It felt safe. Relaxed.

From there, we moved into a second, transitional room. The room with the couch. While my guide took a moment to discuss oral sex preferences and unrelated plans for the weekend, I took in the small area. Some pornography sat on top of a cabinet for anyone needing a primer to get in the mood. On the walls were photos of bound men and women. There was a bookcase packed with books on sexuality and erotica. There was also a healthy collection of close-up, black and white photographs of vaginas with varying grooming situations and piercing statuses. It was fascinating to me, from an artistic perspective, to see such a display of body variance.

The last room, just beyond, was the playroom. Low-lit, blue themed. A long, padded table was positioned near the door for massages or wax play. A mattress was pushed against one corner on the right, covered in a Minions blanket that honestly struck me as the most out-of-place thing in the room. The bed was unoccupied, but the other corner on the right side was not, as a young man practiced different knots while binding his girlfriend. They moved thoughtfully, conscious of each other’s bodies, a sensuous grace about them.

To their left, against the center of the back wall, was a stand meant for kneeling over. A couple was wrapping up their spanking session. It was loud and vigorous and I could feel my cheeks flushing as aggressively as, well, hers.

And still there was more. Directly in front of me was a cushioned bench. A wooden overhang had a metal ring affixed to it. A man walked by me, trailed by a woman, as my tour guide described the layout. He stripped down to his underwear and his companion helped slip a restraint through the ring, binding his wrists above his head. She followed that with some light whipping and tickling. She massaged his bare back. She slapped his ass. The entire time, they communicated clearly.

There was one more room, an off-shoot to the left, that held a cage and two X-shaped structures one could be bound to. Whatever had been going on before I stepped in was over and the women there were busy getting dressed and cleaning the equipment.

My tour ended then, with an, “And there you go! Have fun!”

I did have fun, though I couldn’t help but feel a little like an outsider. I watched these men and women during intimate moments. A woman undressing while her friends bound her with thin rope. A young couple using the open floor space to wrestle, asserting dominance over each other. A lady in a frilly blue skirt being digitally stimulated by a man who looked like a sexy train conductor. I was a voyeur, drinking in the sights, but though I was fascinated, I wasn’t quite prepared for the role. I retreated after a while to the social room. Did I mention the hummus plate was delicious?

I left around midnight. The New Year. The ball had dropped, people were toasting. I left with nothing but positive impressions in mind.

But Sarha and I had agreed that you couldn’t gauge the Center based off one experience. And so a week later I returned. The full floor was open this time for a 12-hour lock-in event. I brought two women with me, neither of whom had ever been, to see how it felt to others.

On my return trip, the playroom I experienced the first time had been rearranged into a general activity room. There were more attendees as well, but fewer sexual activities. Instead, everyone was more focused on games like no-money strip poker and Cards Against Humanity.

My friends and I checked out the other half of the floor eventually, walking into a room I can only describe as cavernous. The floor was bare concrete, which tied up the winter cold and exposed it to us. Heat bars were plugged in, to little effect. A handful of lamps provided gloomy illumination.

There was plenty more room here to put on a show. Tables and mats were set up to lay and play upon. At the back, a silhouette screen and photographer were set up for discrete erotic photo sessions. To one side sat a Sybian. If you’re unfamiliar with those, it’s a sort of vibrating saddle to which you can secure a synthetic dick. A box nearby had an incredible assortment of different lengths, girths and angles.

The room was impressive and filled with orgasmic opportunities, but with so much cold and open space and with so few people occupying it, it felt almost too bare. I recalled my guide’s preference for the more intimate arrangements, and it made sense to me now. This felt less like a shared moment and more like an impersonal display, a sentiment shared by one of the women with me.

All the same, both of my companions–neither identified as particularly fetishistic or kinky–told me they could definitely feel the sense of comfort and community that permeated the walls of ACAL. It was a reminder, again, that this place was meant to be more than just a “sex club.”

My friends and I left and talked about the evening over drinks and in the days that followed I reached out to other members of Anchorage’s fetish and kink community to talk about their experiences in general and to see what their relationship with ACAL–if any–had been like. The majority of responses were positive, but not all of them.

In fairness and full disclosure, I did hear back from a pair of women who had been decidedly turned off by their visits. One lady told me she had been pressured multiple times by men ignoring the No Means No rule–victims of this harassment are encouraged to approach management immediately so the violator can be dealt with. Astoria, who gave me permission to use her name, told me she didn’t have confidence in the level of security or protection the club promised.

I can see how this could be a concern. Aside from having documented signatures and taking down license and ID numbers, there isn’t a way to effectively run background checks on everyone rolling through. Instead, members and guests are expected to be self-reliant and cautious through conversation. When it works–as in the case of convicted sex offender Daniel Eisman who broke his probation by attending last October–the nefarious entity is quickly rousted from the club. But when it doesn’t work? Well, it comes down to observation, communication, crossed fingers and a knock on wood.

That being said, my experiences with ACAL and my research into the community around it left me with the firm belief that these types of incidents are in the minority and that the heart of the organization beats around the desire to provide a sense of normalcy to lifestyles different than what most might be used to. They do this by promoting education, patience, discussion, acceptance and understanding that not everyone is going to get off to the same thing. And that’s okay! The lesson is to be comfortable with yourself.

Wrapping this up, I thought it best to end with something for people who might be on the fence. For that, I went back to the community. I asked Astoria–a 26-year-old local fetishist who says she’s tried just about everything–for one thing she would tell anyone curious about alternate lifestyles.

“SSC,” she said. “Safe, Sane and Consensual. That phrase is a big part of being kinky. People are in the lifestyle because it’s something they enjoy or need to get by with the rest of what life throws at you.”

Being safe, considerate of the comfort of others and treating people rationally. Crazy how key behaviors in an “alternative” lifestyle are the same things everyone should already be doing regularly.

And was there anything else I took home from the experience, I’m going to assume you’re asking. Did I come away with any new interests myself? Well, I’ll just have to get back to you. I’m a little tied up at the moment.

Complete Article HERE!