2016 April

Psychology Today’s Standard Deviations

by Michael Aaron, PhD for Psychology Today

We have just wrapped up the 1st Annual AltSex NYC Conference, which was held last Fri April 22, and after a week of reflection, I think it is appropriate to start off this new blog with a bang, by going over the highlights and implications of this historic event. 

For those who may be unfamiliar, the AltSex NYC Conference is a one-day event (which I created and co-produced with my colleague Dulcinea Pitagora) that provides a platform for leading academics, clinicians, and community activists to present their ground-breaking work in the realm of alternative sexualities. The words ‘alternative sexualities’ is an umbrella term, under which any non-normative sexual expression may be filed, including BDSM and kink, polyamory and other forms of consensual nonmonogamy (CNM), as well as non-binary expressions of gender and orientation. 

In my view this is not a niche subject area, since our sexuality is so embedded in our personal identity, and because as research shows, (such as this study on the fetishistic interests of Quebeckers) many (perhaps most?) people practice at least one form of “alternative” sexual behavior or another. Indeed, because of both its prevalence and its stigma, the study of alternative sexuality is at the frontier of the intersection of psychology, sociology, sexology, and social justice work. 


New York Magazine’s The Science of Us

3 Insights About Kinky and Nonmonogamous Sex

by Debra Soh for New York Magazine’s Science of Us

The following is an excerpt from the full article:

Kinky sex has been around for eons, since long before Richard von Krafft-Ebing popularized the terms “sadism” and “masochism” in 1886 with his seminal work, Psychopathia Sexualis. But for a long time, it hasn’t really been spoken about in polite company. Only recently, with the wildly popular Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, has kink — generally defined asBDSM, which includes bondage, dominance and submission, and the consensual use of pain and humiliation for pleasure — earned a sort of mainstream acceptance. People are now willing to test the waters more than ever before.

Naturally, this is an area rife with misinformation and stigma. That’s part of why the Alt Sex NYC Conference, held last week in New York, was so important. The conference allowed researchers, clinicians, sex educators, and community members to discuss the most up-to-date research on what is known in the field as alternative sexuality (a term which encompasses kink, consensual non-monogamy, polyamory, and non-traditional relationship structures). For a population that has long been misunderstood and marginalized, the sharing of this information was much needed. Presentations ranged from myths about non-monogamy to best clinical practices when working with individuals from the community…

Read more…


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