Executive Director Richard Sprott stepping down

To CARAS members, past and present; and to the larger communities we serve,

After 12 years of research support, mentoring, teaching, and making space for kink and poly research, I am stepping down from the leadership position of the organization.  

Given the status of things, there is a distinct possibility that the organization will also close its doors by end of 2017.  

This possibility is sad but also a testament to the significant changes that have happened in the field since 2005.  The landscape has changed dramatically.  There are now many scholars, clinicians, researchers, students and community members involved in generating insight into kink sexuality and consensual non-monogamies.  There are more presentations, meetings, clinical training efforts, and published research than ever before.  In some ways, this dramatic change means that the mission of CARAS is now shared more widely beyond our small organization.

In the past 12 years, CARAS has produced a number of significant accomplishments:

  • funded four research studies through the Jack McGeorge Research Grant, which in turn generated 4 published articles and one dissertation, covering areas such as swinging and relationship satisfaction, media representation of polyamory, kink community involvement, and psychobiology of kink/BDSM play; 
  • held 8 conferences, which presented over 88 presentations and clinical trainings;
  • mentored graduate students through 4+ rounds of a mentoring program headed up by the very capable Dr. Brandy Simula, who began her career as a grad student asking for support from CARAS and then returning to provide active support to others;
  • had over 200+ members in its lifetime (quality, not quantity!);
  • helped produce the first ever set of clinical trainings on therapy and kinky clients at annual conventions of the American Psychological Association;
  • produced the first ever BDSM Educational Needs Assessment, which detailed the experiences and the desires of community members when it comes to kink education;
  • supported the first ever National Kink Health Survey, a special project of TASHRA, our sister organization (TASHRA = The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance);
  • produced over 30 presentations and workshops on kink and poly science for community events and conferences, including events such as CLAW, the Leather Leadership Conference, Shibaricon, Poly Living West, Leather Reign, International LeatherSir / leatherboy /Community Bootblack, and Catalyst Conference, to name a few; and
  • presented over 28 presentations of research on consensual non-monogamies and kink sexualities at professional and scientific conferences and conventions, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, the American Sociological Association, the American Family Therapy Association, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems, among others.
  • CARAS has been the go-to resource for academic expertise and scientific/scholarly evidence that our communities deserve to be recognized, respected and well served.


In stepping back from the lead position in CARAS, I am very glad for all the people who supported and believed in this effort, in its possibilities of helping the alternative sexualities communities.  Particular thanks go to David Ortmann and Robert Bienvenu, who birthed this organization with me and set a good foundation for it.  

I will be spending the next several months discerning and exploring any possible future for CARAS – including discussions with CARAS members and any others who have suggestions or supportive means for continuing the mission of CARAS.  I am open to any and all conversations about this over the coming months, so if you feel moved, and have the resources, time, energy and ability to keep the organization running, that would be excellent.  Feel free to contact me.  


But if CARAS closes its virtual doors by the end of 2017, I will be quite satisfied with the work accomplished.


Richard Sprott, Ph.D.

Executive Director

CARAS - Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities


July 25, 2017