Monthly Archives: January 2013

Free Continuing Education Class with Dr. Sheff in Atlanta 1/17/2013

The CE event will be held January 17 from 6 – 10 pm at Dr. Bill Stayton’s neighborhood clubhouse (where we met last time). Dr. Elisabeth Sheff will be our speaker and you can earn 1 AASECT CE credit from attending the talk at this event. The title of the talk is: “LGBTIQKOSAP:SEXUAL AND GENDER DIVERSITY IN AN ERA OF INTERNET COMMUNICATIONS.”  Below is an abstract for the presentation and directions to Dr. Stayton’s neighborhood clubhouse.

Also, this will be a potlock event. Please plan to bring a dish or beverage to share.

Internet communications have transformed sexuality and gender presentation, enabling people to find tremendous diversity from the comfort of their own homes. While most people remain heterosexual, monogamous, cis-gendered, and “vanilla,” discovering alternatives means that an increasing number of people are able to: find out about things they may not have otherwise discovered; consider and possibly select these alternatives; and find online or in-person communities that model norms, teach skills, and provide venues to meet potential partners. In this presentation, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff examines the impact of the Internet on sexual and gender diversity and untangles the ever-expanding sexual and gender diversity acronym, which currently stands at: LGBTIQKOSAP (the order and inclusion of various letters is generally contested among groups of sex and gender minorities, there is no single officially sanctioned acronym that everyone uses).

Directions to Dr. Bill Stayton’s neighborhood clubhouse:

For a GPS, the address is: 226 Highands Ridge Pl, S.E., in Smyrna, GA 30082.  From the west side of Atlanta on #285, take the So. Cobb Drive exit.  From the south, turn left at the end of the exit ramp and go to the second light.  From the north, turn right off the exit ramp and go to the first light. Turn left onto Highlands Parkway.  Go approx. 2 miles to end and turn right.  Turn right on Highlands Ridge Place, which is the driveway after the DHL sign.  (If you reach the next traffic light at East-West Connector, you have gone a little too far).  To get into the gate, press #2115.  At the top of the drive is the Club House, where our meeting is being held.  Turn right and park in the spaces provided on the left (around the postal center).

Feel free to call Erika Pluhar if you get lost or need help the evening of the event: 770-364-9042.


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Help Zane with treatment for his brain damage

Click Here To Support Zane’s World Medical Fundraiser


My nephew Zane Goicovich had a major seizure, and we are having a fundraiser to raise money for his medical care. This message below gives more information. Please help if you can.


Five years ago our son, Zane, nearly died. He had a four-hour seizure that left him forever changed. With a goal of ridding him of these debilitating seizures, he had brain surgery. Doctors removed his left temporal lobe, amygdala and hippocampus. They estimated that with the surgery there was an 80% chance Zane would be completely cured.

Unfortunately, two months after the surgery, Zane had another massive seizure. Tests showed that the seizure activity had moved to the other side of his brain. This is rare. We were devastated. That initial seizure left Zane with brain damage at the tender age of two- years old. Since then, he has been diagnosed with drug-resistant epilepsy, autism and sensory processing disorder. The sensory processing disorder makes it difficult to go out to events with lots of noise, light or people.

But things did get better after the surgery. For the past two years Zane has had far fewer seizures, his behavior improved dramatically, and he was doing great in school. Maybe things would be OK. Our smiles grew bigger.

This past spring, Zane started having headaches – cluster headaches that would go on for days and migraines that were incapacitating. This fall, things got much worse with him having more seizure activity and more autistic-like symptoms. He often asks, “Am I going to die?”

Zane’s condition can make him aggressive. However, Zane is also one of the most affectionate, beautiful people you could ever meet, making for a strange dichotomy. He gives the best hugs. He gives his brother, Gavin and us, multiple kisses each day. He is obsessed with worms. Every morning, while still in pajamas, Zane gets on his shoes and jacket and go search the backyard for worms. “I found a big fat one!” Zane calls happily and gives it a kiss. He often asks people,” Do you know worms?”

Zane has an MRI and overnight EEG scheduled at the Denver Children’s Hospital from February 11-12, 2013. That is the soonest they can get us in and it feels like an eternity to wait. We are hoping to know more after those tests are run.

There are ways that you can help.

First and foremost, keep us in your heart. Think good thoughts for us. If you pray, keep us in your prayers. When Zane got sick before, we felt people’s love holding us up, holding us together. At times it felt like that love was the only thing that got us through. Second, if you have extra air miles, we could sure use them. Third, we could use extra help, be it funds for Zane’s care, a meal or some time.

Lastly, thank you. Thank you for your kindness and support. This process has taught us to reach out and ask for help, and to accept it as the gift it is, when given. Many people have told us how lucky Zane is to have us as his parents. We count ourselves lucky to have him and his brother as sons and to have the love and support of our family, our friends and our incredible community, both near and far. We know that there are many challenging days ahead. But Zane also reminds us that our lives, though fragile, are also a blessing.

With love and gratitude, Elaine Sheff & John Goicovich


Click Here To Support Zane’s World Medical Fundraiser

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Sex Out Loud interview rescheduled

My interview with Tristan Taormino has been rescheduled at the last minute due to health complications. Sorry to those of you who had planned to call in, please watch this space for more information about when the interview will happen.

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Call with your questions on poly families, live radio show Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino

Listen to me Friday Jan 11, 5 pm PST/8 pm EST on Tristan Taormino’s radio show “Sex Out Loud” on The VoiceAmerica Network.

Call in to talk to me and Tristan LIVE: 866-472-5788.

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Guest Blog on Fifty Shades of Grey

This is a guest blog written by Mandy Traut. Mandy Traut, a graduate of Antioch University, is a sex-positive, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), with a private practice in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.  Her practice, New Connections Counseling, is geared towards serving more self-aware adult clients who need guidance in fostering their growth, empowerment, resiliency, and freedom of self-expression, related to alternative sexuality, gender issues, and self/relationship development.  Though a shortened list, she asks clients if they want to improve their relationships, better their communication, explore or expand aspects of their sexuality, overcome isolation, take personal responsibility for individual actions and emotions, and/or better live their authentic truths. Mandy offers workshops related to polyamory, open relationships, gender-variance, and other sex-positive issues. You can find more information about her practice and her blog on her website,


Fifty Shades of Grey is the first book of an erotic trilogy written by E. L. James. Set mainly in Seattle, WA, the story focuses on Anastasia Steele, a naïve college student, and Christian Grey, a young, successful entrepreneur. They meet when Ana interviews Mr. Grey for the school newspaper. When it becomes evident that there may be more between them, Mr. Grey presents Ana with a non-disclosure agreement and warns her that he is unlike anyone she’s ever met. The reader is taken on a journey with the characters as they explore their relationship and this new world (from Ana’s perspective) of kinky sex.

The tremendous popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey is both intriguing and amusing. While I found the first book engaging and found myself getting involved in the evolving relationship of Christian and Anna, other people have told me they either hated it or loved it. Although E. L. James may not be a great writer, she is certainly very smart and knows how to stir up intense emotions and create a buzz. Ultimately, she’s the one benefiting from all our outright indignation or absolute delight.

I listen to “Dr. Dick’s Sex Advice with an Edge,” a radio show and podcast originating in the Seattle area. Recently, he had Shanna Germain, writer and editor  – and Kay Jaybee, author of erotic books, as guests for a two-part discussion regarding the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. What they had to say was quite interesting indeed.  For more information or to hear the show, check out the podcast at Dr. Dick’s Sex Advice. As a mental health care professional, several statements made in this particular episode stood out to me as most useful to people I might see in my practice:

1)    Fifty Shades of Grey is NOT an instructional manual

2)    Recognize that important guidelines help people navigate BSDM with the philosophy of either Safe, Sane, and Consensual, OR Risk-Aware Consensual Kink.

3)    Fifty Shades… tends to be emotionally hollow. While this statement came from one of Dr. Dick’s guests, I understand what she might mean. It is apparent that there are deeper family issues and psychological issues underlying the many conversations, erotic scenes, and email exchanges in the book. The writing, however, never quite illustrates the depth. To a female, vanilla reader, she may not recognize the deeper relationship dynamics of this play or lifestyle, the “subspace” (a delicious and fragile mental state that comes after impact play for some people), or the other psychological experiences to being Dominant or Submissive. There are multiple layers to sharing in this relationship and it deserves a great amount of respect, regard, and consideration.

The point:  Erotic fiction is fun and a great way to entertain your wildest fantasies. This is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I encourage it.


If you and your partner are seriously considering BDSM, be aware of the area you are delving into before racing ahead without consideration.

Read books – preferably those which come highly recommended (I don’t think Fifty Shades… would make any serious kinkster’s list).

Consider how courageous you are for even thinking about attending community events in this area. For instance, The Center for Sex Positive Culture  in Seattle ( has revolving “tastings” and weekly events you might try, as well as various workshops held throughout the month.

More About Tastings: In “tastings,” experienced practitioners showcase and demonstrate various elements of BDSM sexuality. You may participate in these and receive guidance by an experienced Dominant or Master. For instance, you might observe (or let yourself be the subject of) flogging, whipping, or bondage/rope play. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings as you witness, imagine, or try things out. Do not be afraid to be a student who observes, participates, and soaks up as much knowledge as possible.

Slowly experiment with your partner in the bedroom. Pay attention to what you like, what you don’t like, and what feels safe/unsafe.

When experimenting, communicate  communicate communicate!

–Never should a thought or feeling go unsaid. You do not need to feel embarrassed or ashamed for stating how you feel. This is important –

Most importantly, Doms be sensitive to the needs of subs. Realize the level of trust they are putting into you.

While it may not be immediately apparent, the relationship you are forming is a tremendous privilege. Both parties carry a lot of power, trust, and regard. But, as the amazing Spider-Man so eloquently puts it, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is definitely true in this case.

My Final Note:  Find those people in the community that can be your teachers, mentors, guides, and friends along this path with you and your partner. Then, discover your own truths together. One person’s truth, no matter how expert he/she is, may not be yours. Listen to what is true for you and your partner. Don’t be afraid to network with other people who are engaged in alternative sexuality.

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