SouthEast LeatherFest (SELF) 2018

Best wishes to our new NCSF Board of Director Member, D. Choc Trei, and all of the contestants at SouthEast LeatherFest (SELF) 2018!!

NCSF is very excited to support Choc’s platform: Literacy in Consensual Kink (LICK): 2019 Southeast Consent Summit.

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Photo Credit: Rick Gore of
Creative Artistry: J Tebias Perry & Cecil Crump
TreiGirlService: Jessica Trei

Source: ncsf

What My Dog Taught Me about Grief and Loss

Author image
Waffle 8/8/2001-11/04/2018

I remember my Mum taking our family cat, Tiger to the vet to be put to sleep. He was old and sick. I don’t remember my grief, but I do remember my Mum crying a lot, and my Dad getting angry because Mum had taken Tiger to the vet. Here were two very different responses to loss, but ultimately, both of them were hurting a lot.

Last Wednesday, I took my beautiful rescue dog, Waffle to the vet. She came into our family’s life in 2001, so she was old. Up until January, she had been going along okay, and then a nasty and savage attack by another dog, sped up the aging process for her. I had recently moved into a new unit and had just brought Waffle back to live with me after a recuperation at a friend’s place. I noticed how her little spirit was a bit lost, and that she wasn’t doing “doggy” things anymore.

I decided to take her to the vet for a “quality of life” assessment. She ticked all of the boxes for lack of quality of life. She snuggled into me with her head on my chest, and it was like she was letting me know it was okay to go. What went through my mind then? Should I take her home and let the children and my friend say goodbye to her before having her euthanized? I looked at Waffle and she was telling me it was time today. I had to do what was best for her. It wasn’t about me or anyone else.

It was one of the most intimate experiences I have ever had. I got to thank her for being in our lives and for being by my side through so many traumas. I got to thank her for touching so many other hearts, and I got to say goodbye with her in my arms.

Being in the Mental Health and counseling field, I thought I knew about grief and loss. I have experienced plenty of loss already. I have trained in grief and loss counseling. I thought it would be the same each time. It’s not; it’s different. The initial days, it’s been about crying myself to sleep, and reaching out for Waffle on the bed in the night as I lay there awake. It’s about waking up in the morning and reaching out for her. It’s about trying to find her smells on things so I can still feel her with me. It’s about the massive feelings of guilt that I did the right thing. Logically I know I did what was best for Waffle, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts from creeping in because if I had kept her alive a bit longer, then I wouldn’t be experiencing this incredible pain.

I could choose to become consumed in this grief, and some of the time, it’s okay to sit with a photo or toy of Waffle’s and have a big cry. I also choose that there is a reality that she is gone, and that in spite of my pain right now, I can still take actions based on my values. I love my work, and I can hold a space for my pain, and also be fully present and do work with my clients.

It’s been five days now, and the pain isn’t any less, but it’s settling into my heart softly as I give myself compassion and kindness. I place my hands on my heart, and tell myself “right now, this is a moment of suffering”. At this point my mind is really good at telling me this is not a MOMENT, but years of suffering! As my mind does this, I continue with the self compassion exercise. “I can be kind to myself right now. Suffering is a part of life, and I am not alone in this.” Does this make the pain go away? No, it doesn’t. But would I want the pain to go away? No, I wouldn’t because the pain is telling me that I loved; I loved for that gorgeous little fluffy Waffleywoo.

The grief will continue for how long, I don’t know. It will settle even more softly into my heart. No, I won’t get over it, but I will do what I’m doing right now, and that is to live with it, accept it, and to let it be.

Some people are well meaning and ask if I’ll get another dog, or say get another dog now. “It’ll stop you thinking about Waffle.” I don’t want to not think about Waffle. She was part of my family. I spent a long time learning acceptance of pain, thoughts and feelings. So what will I do from here onwards?

  • I’ll accept the pain, sadness, loss and loneliness of not having Waffle around.
  • I will choose to feel all of the feelings whether they are messy or not.
  • I will give myself the space and room to feel what I need to feel.
  • I will open up an even bigger space to hold the emotions I’m feeling right now.
  • I will practice the self-compassion break (I have included the Self-Compassion break exercise below).
  • I will connect with people I care about.
  • I will connect with my values and take actions that match my values.
  • I will soften my body to allow the physical sensations and pain to just “be”.

Self-Compassion break exercise (adapted from the work of Kristen Neff)

  • I find it helps to make the physical move of actually putting your hands on your heart/chest area and saying to yourself, “this is a moment of suffering”
  • Tell myself that suffering is a part of life; if we choose to love, we will inevitably have loss which then causes pain. I am not alone and this is a normal part of humanity.
  • Just feel the warmth of your hands on your chest and notice your chest rising and falling as you breathe.
  • Say the words, “May I be kind to myself right now, and may I accept myself as I am right now.” What does it look like when I’m being kind to myself? Can I slow down a bit and just notice my breathing for a while?
  • Some final phrases for grief and loss are, “May I safely endure this pain.” “May I accept the circumstances of my life”, and “May I find peace in my heart.”

I started writing this ten days ago now. As I thought, the grief and loss is settling softly into my heart, and I thank my beautiful, warm and loving furry friend for teaching me more parts about grief and loss.

The post What My Dog Taught Me about Grief and Loss appeared first on HiveMind Community.

The post What My Dog Taught Me about Grief and Loss appeared first on Sex Positive Academy.

Source: spa

Sex Workers Say The Law Meant To Protect Them Could Kill Them


During Friday’s lobbying day, sex workers, armed with packets of information and talking points, fanned out across the Capitol, meeting in small groups with 28 House offices. To a casual observer, the activists clutching folders for congressional staffers and dressed in conservative business attire looked like any other constituent group making the rounds on the Hill. Similar lobbying blitzes also occurred elsewhere, including Nevada, California, and Washington state, with sex workers meeting with not only congressional staff but also with state and local officials.

Source: ncsf

How Self-Compassion Can Fight Perfectionism

“Be kind to one another.” 

You don’t need to be a die-hard Ellen DeGeneres fan to appreciate the value of that motto. And while we’re reminded how kindness goes a long way in our everyday interactions with others, we often forget to apply it to those who need it most: ourselves.

Whether it’s setting a personal weight-loss goal, or believing that we can ace a final exam — all of us are familiar with the experience of setting high standards. We’re even more familiar with the inevitable let-down that comes from not living up to those very standards.

Enter, the life of a perfectionist.

But, importantly, not all perfectionists operate the same. There are different types that are associated with specific psychological outcomes.

On the one hand, if you strive to attain your ambitious goals and prevent yourself from being overly self-critical, you might be a personal strivings perfectionist. This isn’t so bad. In fact, this type of perfectionism is more likely to lead to relatively higher levels of self-esteem and decreased levels of negative affect.

On the other hand, if you constantly believe that you are not good enough, if you judge yourself by your shortcomings, and if you are constantly worried that other people won’t approve of you, then you might be more on the side of maladaptive perfectionism. This form of perfectionism has been linked to depressive symptoms in both adolescents and adults.

It’s no wonder then that researchers are curious to know more about interventions that help buffer against this maladaptive perfectionism. In one recent study, researchers examined the possibility that self-compassion can protect us against the negative effects of maladaptive perfectionism. The question is, can self-directed kindness increase our chances of living a full, healthy life? Can it combat the depressive symptoms that come from this less ideal version of perfectionism?

Understanding self-compassion

You may ask, “What exactly is self-compassion? And is it something that can be cultivated by anyone, or is a skill that is only available to some of us?” To shed some light on these questions, researchers have broken down self-compassion into three main components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

While the first component is self-explanatory, the other two require careful consideration. When something terrible happens to us, often the initial reaction is to sit and wallow in our grief and self-pity. We convince ourselves that no one else is going through similar problems in their lives. But that is simply not true. Statistically speaking, it’s an erroneous judgment.

In order to be more accepting of ourselves, we need to realize that we are never as alone and isolated as we think we are. This is at the heart of common humanity.

At the same time, many of us are prone to over-analyzing painful experiences, or trying to avoid negative feelings altogether. Mindfulness then, is about acknowledging our thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgement, and accepting them as part of the common human experience.

Back to our study. Taking into account these three sub-components, the researchers in the present investigation set out to predict that self-compassion would weaken the relationship between perfectionism and depression in both adolescent and adult populations.

The study

541 adolescents from grades 7 to 10 were recruited for the first study. Participants were asked to complete three online questionnaires during school hours, as part of a larger well-being intervention study. The questionnaires tapped into perfectionism, mood/feelings, self-worth and self-esteem, as well as reported self-compassion.

As predicted, self-compassion was found to moderate, or weaken, the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and depression in this sample of adolescents. Next, the researchers wanted to see if the results would hold for adults.

Through online advertisements 515 adults from the general population were recruited. Again, participants were asked to complete the same questionnaires. Once again in line with the researchers’ predictions, self-compassion was found to weaken the relationship between perfectionism and depression in the adult sample. What was true for teens was also true for adults later on in life.

Why it matters

It seems that more than anything, today’s culture values perfection. Parents and teachers may push us towards excellence at school, our friends may judge us by how we dress and act in their company, and perhaps worst of all, our social media accounts constantly fool us into thinking that there are people out there who actually have perfect lives.

Good news, bad news. The bad news is that we can’t completely eradicate perfectionistic thoughts. Good news is that we can try to change our relationship to those thoughts through self-compassion. If we learn to cultivate self-kindness, connection, and mindfulness as we strive toward achieving our goals, any setback we face along the way will be met with greater resilience and mental strength. As a result, we are less likely to fall victim to the debilitating effects of depression, and more likely to live a happy, balanced life.

So, as Ellen DeGeneres reminds us, always be kind to others. But before you do, be sure to look after yourself first. In this case, it’s okay to be a little selfish.

The post How Self-Compassion Can Fight Perfectionism appeared first on HiveMind Community.

The post How Self-Compassion Can Fight Perfectionism appeared first on Sex Positive Academy.

Source: spa

Discrimination Against Kinky Parents

“Depathologization of consensual BDSM,” written by Susan Wright as Invited Commentary in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, is now available:

This article tracks the discrimination against kinky parents in child custody cases that were reported to NCSF before and after the American Psychiatric Association (APA) differentiated between consensual sexual behavior and the Paraphilic Disorders in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

Family court judges regularly removed child custody or visitation rights from adults who engaged in consensual BDSM, fetishes and cross-dressing behaviors. After the proposed changes to the DSM-5 were made public for commentary in 2011, there was a significant drop in discrimination against BDSM-practicing individuals.

A total of 808 parents contacted the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Incident Reporting and Response (IRR) program from January 2005 to December 2017 to report that a determining factor in their child custody hearing was their BDSM, fetishism, cross-dressing and/or non-monogamous behavior.

In 2008, 124 parents contacted NCSF for assistance compared to 15 parents in 2017, four years after the 2013 publication of the DSM-5 which clarified that the majority of individuals who are active in community networks that practice sadistic and masochistic behaviors do not meet the DSM-5 criteria for a mental disorder.

To find out more about NCSF’s DSM project (1987-2017) click here –

Source: ncsf