Thursday, December 10, 1998 No. 139

Brenda Cossman

p. 13.

Proof of penis play

Judge squirms out of ruling on tough SM question Is SM sex? The long awaited ruling in the Bondage Bungalow case doesn't say. On Oct 9, a judge found dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford guilty of running a common bawdy house -- without addressing the SM question.

The fact that genitals were stimulated on the premises was more than enough to satisfy the legal test of "frequent and habitual sex."

Ontario Court, Provincial Division Judge Roy Bogusky concluded that the case had been made "without the court having to get into the broader question of whether every form of S and M for hire is sex for hire."

Bogusky said that there was ample evidence of good old-fashioned sex for sale.

Bedford's lawyer Alan Young had argued that the SM for sale at the Bondage Bungalow was erotic theatre. The bondage, whipping, cross dressing and other fetish activity was not, according to Young, sex within the meaning of the Criminal Code. And it certainly shouldn't qualify as "frequent and habitual sex."

The judge relied on the evidence of a former mistress and employee -- known only as P -- who described various acts of genital stimulation that occurred in the Erotica Room. In the judge's words: "The genitals recieved much attention and the penis was usually tied in some fashion."

This "cock and ball stimulation," as well as "Ass play... [which] involved the shaving of the anus area... [and] the insertion of dildos," and the occasional assistance in masturbation, was more than enough for the judge to conclude that there was sex for sale on the premises.

Judge Bogusky was unmoved by the fact that any touching or massaging of the genitals was strictly against Bedford's policy.

Rather, Bogusky seemed to suggest that this policy was contradicted by a videotape in which Bedford was shown "stimulating the scrotum when the male was having difficulty with his erection while masturbating."

The Crown attorney asked for a nine month prison sentence. Bedford got a $3,000 fine instead.

Bedford's lawyer sayss that there will be an appeal. According to Alan Young, the court erred in its finding that there was "frequent and habitual sex for sale on the premises."

"The Erotica Room was a very small component of the dungeon." Young emphasized that masturbation of clients was strictly against Bedford's policy, and that defining elements of the activity at the Bondage Bungalow were not sexual.

Young is also concerned about the failure to take what he calls the over-zealous search and seizure of the Bondage Bungalow seriously.

"We are no further ahead inknowing whether SM activity constitutes sex. And in fact, we may be two steps backwards, since the police may now be of the view that they can take greater liberties in conducting searches and seizures of dungeons."

By failing to find the police search unconstitutional, the ruling may now send a message that "the police can enter the premises, take everything, conduct strip searches, push people around, and still satisfy the charter [of rights]."

And the message to other folks running dungeons? "They may be skating on thin ice," says Young. "My advice at the moment is that they should make sure that SM play doesn't involved any genital stroking."

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Created: December 16, 1998
Last modified: December 18, 1998

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