Sexual Freedom League

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The Sexual Freedom League (SFL) was an organization founded in 1963 in New York City by Jefferson Poland and Leo Koch.[1] It existed under the name New York City League for Sexual Freedom to promote and conduct sexual activity among its members and to agitate for political reform, especially for the repeal of laws against abortion and censorship, and had many female leaders.


West coast formation[edit]

When Jefferson Poland moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, he started the East Bay Sexual Freedom League there, near the University of California, Berkeley in 1966. Although Poland founded the League, he did not try to establish it as a conventional organization with membership lists, dues and meetings. Instead, he went around establishing various Leagues and allowing others to run them.

The League first made national news in August 1965 with the "Nude Wade-in" led by Poland, 23, Ina Saslow, 21, and Shirley Einseidel, 21, at Aquatic Park, a public beach in San Francisco.[2] The SFL was featured in an article in Time magazine on March 11, 1966, which attracted thousands of curiosity seekers and a few active participants. In early 1966 Poland transferred the East Bay League to Richard Thorne, who proceeded to organize nude parties, which were thinly disguised sex orgies. Thorne fled to Mexico in the summer of 1966,[failed verification] later changed his name to Ohm and started a religion by that name.[3]

Leaving the East Bay[edit]

The Campus Sexual Freedom League disappeared when Sloan left town due to an arrest in April 1967. The last of its 28 nude parties took place on Christmas Eve of that year. By then the East Bay League had also folded and Alida Reyenga had moved to Los Angeles, where she took up Scientology.[4]

While the East Bay versions were dying out, other chapters sprouted up all over California, and the San Francisco Sexual Freedom League emerged at the forefront. It was at first headed by Margo St. James, who claimed to be a "former prostitute" and participated in social activism while she organized sex orgies, then taken over by Frank and Margo Rila, with ongoing involvement of Jefferson Poland, and members such as Mother Boats. Frank, who edited the Sexual Freedom newspaper, eventually died by suicide.

Margo St. James ran for San Francisco Board of Supervisors many times but all without success. She has often been criticized by feminists such as Dorchen Leidholdt.


  1. ^ Allyn 2000, p. 43-44.
  2. ^ Hoffman 2015, p. 221.
  3. ^ "Sex educators & organizations". Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Berkeley Daily Gazette Tuesday April 25, 1967 Samuel Howard Sloan, Party host for Sexual Freedom Forum parties at 2714 Telegraph Avenue, was given 12 hours to vacate the premises by Berkeley-Albany Judge George Braun yesterday. Sloan, 22, was arrested by Berkeley police over the weekend for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and for possession of marijuana. Judge Braun ordered the bail reduced on the contributing charge to $550 from $2,200 and to $1,000 on the marijuana charge on the condition Sloan will vacate the "orgy house" across the street from Willard Junior High School and if he will avoid associating with minors at any party involving alcoholic beverages. His case was put over to Monday at 2 pm for plea. The Telegraph Avenue Party Pad was raided by Berkeley police Saturday night, armed with a warrant for Sloan's arrest and a search warrant. Both were issued on the basis of findings made by officers when they arrested two Oakland juveniles who had attended a party at the house and were caught drinking alcohol outside. Sloan told officers he may move his 'operation' to Emeryville. Source:

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