Lesbian Sex Mafia

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The Lesbian Sex Mafia (LSM), founded in 1981, is an informative support group in New York City for lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, and transsexual women. The group strives "to organize for [women's] sexual desire as strongly as we have tried to organize for our sexual defense"[1] by promoting uninhibited sexual expression through fantasy role playing, bondage, discipline, sadomasochism, fetishes, costumes, and alternate gender identities. The group strongly upholds the principles of confidentiality, safety, consent, and a woman's right to explore her sexuality as she chooses. The group is not affiliated with the real Mafia in any way, but the name was deliberately chosen "in the same spirit of humor as the Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorism Society." Its outrageous nature served as a self-reminder to the group of their uncritical pursuit of personal liberation.[2][3]

Lesbian Sex Mafia was founded by Dorothy Allison and Jo Arnone [4] and made a name for itself as an early advocate of sex-positive feminism. The LSM was responsible for organizing a radical "Speakout on Politically Incorrect Sex" rally at the 1982 Barnard Conference on Sexuality in the midst of the feminist sex wars.[5][6] The group was also a subject of a documentary by the German filmmaker Monika Treut, Bondage, the first of four films in the Female Misbehaviour series.[7][8][9]



LSM is a member-driven and member-focused organization. Membership is open to women 18 years and older, including intersex or transgender women, transgender men who were assigned female. To become a member, one must fill out the application and then becomes an LSM Pledge. Next, the pledge must attend an LSM Orientation/Safety Procedure Meeting.[10] The orientation is a casual event where several members discuss their experiences with the potential member, as well as discussing the applicant's interest in the organization. A mandatory safety workshop teaches prospective members how to properly implement BDSM techniques and skills, such as how to safely tie wrists without cutting off blood circulation.[citation needed]

Member benefits[edit]

After joining the group, a member may attend topic and demonstration meetings, discussion groups, and special interest "hands-on" workshops on specific sexual practices. LSM also sets up "dungeons" in members' homes or rents S&M clubs to hold private "play parties" (to which members may bring a guest, so long as they assume full responsibility for them). Although most meetings are open to non-members, members receive benefits within the organisation such as reduced meeting admission fees, voting privileges, ability to run for board positions, and access to members-only activities and merchandise. Members also gain access to events held by associated BDSM groups, and receive discounts at local sex toy shops and other related businesses.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abrams, Kathryn (1995). "Sex Wars Redux: Agency and Coercion in Feminist Legal Theory". Columbia Law Review. 92: 304–376 – via JSTOR.
  2. ^ Moira, Fran (1982). "Politically Correct, Politically Incorrect Sexuality". Off Our Backs. 12 (6): 22–23.
  3. ^ Allison, Dorothy (2013). Skin: Talking About Sex, Class, and Literature. Firebrand Books. ISBN 978-1-4804-2660-3.
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20141101144102/http://lesbiansexmafia.org/lsmnyc/about/
  5. ^ E. J. Graff, "Skin: Talking About Sex, Class, and Literature", The Women's Review of Books, September 1, 1994. Copy available here from HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  6. ^ Carla Frecerro, "Notes of a Post-Sex Wars Theorizer", in Marianne Hirsch and Evelyn Fox Keller, eds., Conflicts in Feminism (Psychology Press, 1990), ISBN 978-0415901789, p. 311. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  7. ^ Dawson, Leanne; Treut, Monika (2014-09-02). "Same, same but different: filmmakers are hikers on the globe and create globalisation from below". Studies in European Cinema. 11 (3): 155–169. doi:10.1080/17411548.2014.972710. ISSN 1741-1548.
  8. ^ Monika Treut, "Female Misbehavior", in Laura Pietropaolo and Ada Testaferri, eds., Feminisms in the Cinema (Indiana University Press, 1995), ISBN 978-0253345004, pp. 113ff. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  9. ^ Gerd Gemünden, "How American Is It? The United States as Queer Utopia in the Cinema of Monika Treut", in Scott D. Denham, Irene Kacandes, Jonathan Petropoulos, eds., A User's Guide to German Cultural Studies (University of Michigan Press, 1997), ISBN 978-0472066568, pp.342ff. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  10. ^ "Become a Member | Lesbian Sex Mafia". lesbiansexmafia.org. Retrieved 2018-10-03.

External links[edit]