—Pat Califia, author, S&M activist
Pervert. Deviant. Deviate.
Unnatural. Aberrant. Abnormal.
Pervert—the title of Nancy Ava Miller’s new book. Pervert: Notes from the Sexual Underground dives into the underbelly of the BDSM/fetish world as it existed for many in the 1980s and 90s: the desperation, the obsession, the intimacy, the gathering together of kinky souls in back alley clubs and support networks, the passion, the love.
Is Nancy Ava Miller a “pervert”? Proudly, yes.
Pervert, part memoir/history/almanac/anthology, speaks to anyone who harbors hidden desire—to all of us who have furtively reached orgasm in the quiet dark and promised ourselves, I’ll never think about that picture/Web site/fantasy again.
Read Pervert and reclaim the word. Dispell the myths about those of us interested in a sexuality that transcends what we are spoon-fed to expect and accept. Pervert celebrates our large and loving community. Unnatural desires, you say? According to whom?
Nancy’s description of her self-appointed and self-assumed task of forming a support organization, replete with meetings, personalities and organization successes and failures, makes me wonder, “Where has something like this been all my life?”
from the Foreword of Pervert
Nancy Ava Miller is proud to be sponsoring Pornotopia 2010.
Please enjoy the following excerpt from Nancy Ava Miller’s essay “Dispelling the Myths about S&M”
So small talk. So innocent. So innocuous. So omni-present. How I love it! That boring, cocktail party question: “What do you do for a living?”
Perhaps I’m expected to admit that I sizzle burgers at Sirloin Stockade, or that I stamp the backs of books for the downtown library. But, oh, the shock value in being able to reply: “I lead support groups for people who are into S&M.”…
… What is PEP? PEP is part Yenta the Matchmaker, part Parents Without Partners, part Eulenspiegel Society. Like Yenta, PEP is responsible for marriages and love affairs, for people finding girlfriends and boyfriends, and playmates and soulmates. The only difference: all involved hold an interest in dominant-submissive erotica. And like Parents Without Partners, PEP’s main thrust is education. Education plus lots of events—lectures, raps, workshops, demos, parties, pot luck dinners. And like the Eulenspiegel Society of New York City—the oldest S&M group in the nation, founded by Mr. Pat Bond in 1972—PEP is concerned with the passion, the beauty, the fun, the joy and the necessary safety precautions of dominant-submissive love. “Dominant-submissive love” I call it, because, like psychologist Havelock Ellis writing in 1942, I also have discovered that S&M and B&D, in fact, are based in love. Steeped in love, in caring, in sharing, in trust, and in communication—intimate communication. So state today’s sex experts; so emphasize today’s S&M practitioners.
Who practices S&M? I am relieved to report that it is not a bunch of Charlie Mansons, Sons of Sam, child molesters, child abusers, wife batterers, and rapists. Statistically, S&M enthusiasts are intelligent, well-educated, and self actualized. According to research, S&Mers are more psychologically sound than Mr. or Mrs. Average, with less tendency toward suicide. In addition, most S&Mers are happy with the proclivity towards dominance-submission; this uniqueness is often cherished, viewed by us as a special gift.
The Charlie Mansons? The Sons of Sam? The wife batterers? These people are all criminals, and not practicing S&M at all, since by definition S&M is consensual love-making. Sharon Tate and company did not blissfully consent to being murdered by Manson’s “Family,” and no one gave permission to Mr. Berkowitz for his shooting extravaganza in New York that humid summer—no one, of course, save the nagging voices in his tormented brain …
… So S&M is not about rape...or abuse...or murder—despite the misconceptions and the myths. S&M (and PEP) involve an interplay of the roles of dominance and submission—of power and fantasy, in erotic relationships, in caring, consensual relationships.
In a world with AIDS, we need new ways of relating to one another sexually, lovingly, sensually. After all, people will not—can not—cease having sex because of AIDS. S&M? B&D? Perhaps the safest form of erotica today, in view of AIDS.
What do I do for a living? Shock value aside, I am proud to state that I am the founder of People Exchanging Power--in Albuquerque, DC, Tuscon, and Phoenix, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, and St. Louis. PEP: for men and women with dominant-submissive desires. It’s an S&M group, by the way!
PEP BDSM/fetish support groups still thrive around the United States, from PEP-Buffalo to PEP-Houston.
In the early 1990s, Nancy Ava Miller began offering phone fantasy counseling for those with fetish/BDSM desires. PEP as a phone fantasy business is based on Albuquerque; women from all over the United States and Canada provide exciting and loving conversation through PEP. If you are interested in phone counseling and/or in receiving free BDSM/fetish literature, please visit peplove.com.