by Russell J Stambaugh
The First New York City AltSex Conference, April 22, 2016
The First NYC AltSex Conference was held at the Jerry Orbach Theater in Midtown Manhattan on Friday April 20, 2016. It was the work of AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Michael Aaron, PhD and Dulcinea Pitagora, MA, LMSW. About 150 mental health professionals and kink and poly community members attended in person, and about a dozen participated electronically. Your intrepid reporter made the trip to the Big Apple to attend in person following favorable medical testing in Houston earlier that week. It was difficult to tell just how many professionals vs community members attended. Only one person attended in a business suit, looking like he had wandered in off of Wall Street. Embarrassing, really! However a number of prominent AASECT Members presented or were in attendance including Joe Winn, PhD, DST, Lori Michaels, LMFT, CST, and AASECT AltSex Special Interest Group Chair, Kate Bornstein, Chris Farrington from the Community-Academic Consortium for Alternative Sexualities (CARAS), Carol Meeker from National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), Sabitha Pillai, PhD, CST from Widener University with a group of her students, Jassy Timberlake, LMFT, CSSP, Director of Northampton Sex Therapy Associates, and other luminaries I missed in the rather dark venue. Sorry if I missed you!
This is, to my knowledge, the first professional event devoted entirely to Alt Sex Since AASECT’s 2006 Conference on BDSM put on by Richard Sprott in San Francisco. It was extremely encouraging to see that, in the age of social media, the event had been well publicized and was so well attended. Proceeds were donated to CARAS, and at the end of the meeting Chris announced a $1500 award for a research project investigating swinging, even as he disclosed that CARAS meetings were moving to a biannual schedule coordinated with the International Mister Leather event in Chicago. That means the meeting in San Francisco scheduled the day before the Folsom Street Fair this year has been cancelled.
I will proceed to provide brief summaries of the presentations. The event had no break outs, so we plowed through six presentations and a closing Q&A session together.
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