Researchers

Also meet our Educators and Board of Directors.

D J Williams, Director of ResearchD J Williams, PhD
Director of Research/Co-Editor-in-Chief Journal of Positive Sexuality


D J Williams is the Director of Research for the Center for Positive Sexuality and a social scientist at Idaho State University. He completed doctoral and postdoctoral studies at the University of Alberta (Canada), and his scholarship intersects sexology, leisure science, social work and critical criminology. D J is a leading expert on deviant leisure (including both positive and negative forms), thus he is sometimes affectionately known as "Dr. Deviant." He appreciates human diversity and creative expression. His research has been published in several academic books and journals, including Social Work, Leisure Sciences, Leisure/Loisir, Contemporary Justice Review, Australian Family Physician, Canadian Social Work, and the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. D J can be reached by email at dj@positivesexuality.org.
Kassandra McFarland Research Coordinator
Kassandra McFarland, MA
Research Coordinator


Kassandra McFarland is the Center for Positive Sexuality’s research coordinator and also a graduate student of anthropology at Idaho State University. Her research interests include sex positive sex education, polyamory, sexual attitudes, human sexual biology and sexual diversity around the world. Her current research is focused on sex education, sexual attitudes and utilizing anthropology’s bio-cultural approach. Kassandra can be reached at kassie@positivesexuality.org.
Jeremy Thomas, Research AffiliateJeremy N. Thomas, PhD
Research Affiliate


Dr. Jeremy N. Thomas is the Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminology at Idaho State University. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University. Dr. Thomas’ research focuses on sexuality, deviance, and the body. He is especially interested in experiences, meanings, and identities related to: pornography and sex work; BDSM, kink, and fetish sexuality; sexual consent, abuse, assault, rape, and murder; and body modification, ritual violence, and self-injury. You can follow his research at www.jeremythomas.org.
Dr. Dave Holmes, Research AffiliateDave Holmes, PhD
Research Affiliate


Dr. Dave Holmes is Professor and University Research Chair in Forensic Nursing. After completing his B.Sc. (Ottawa, 1991), M.Sc. (Montreal, 1998) and Ph.D. (Montreal, 2002) in Nursing, Professor Holmes completed a CIHR post-doctoral fellowship in Health Care, Technology and Place at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work (2003). To date, Dr. Holmes received funding, as principal investigator, from CIHR and SSHRC, to conduct his research program on risk management in the fields of Public Health and Forensic Nursing. With regard to sexuality, he has conducted research is the fields of barebacking, BDSM, and public sex. Most of his work, comments, essays, analyses and research are based on the poststructuralist works of Deleuze & Guattari and Michel Foucault. His works have been published in top-tier journals in nursing, criminology, sociology and medicine. He was appointed as Honorary Visiting Professor in Australia, Indonesia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
M. Candace Christensen, Research AffiliateM. Candace Christensen, PhD
Research Affiliate


M. Candace Christensen is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Texas San Antonio. Candace’s research centers on using feminist and arts-based research methods to address gender-based violence (GBV) on college campuses. Candace was awarded the Feminist Manuscript Scholarship Award for 2013 from the Council on Social Work Education. Candace’s most recent research examines the use of photovoice as a tool to prevent and respond to GBV.
Moshoula Capous-Desyllas, Research AffiliateMoshoula Capous-Desyllas, PhD
Research Affiliate


Dr. Moshoula Capous-Desyllas is an assistant professor of sociology at California State University Northridge. As an activist, artist and academic, she engages in arts-based and participatory action research with sex workers, and uses art as a form of activism, empowerment and social justice. As a pro-sex feminist, she is critical of the conflation of the terms "human trafficking" and "prostitution," and advocates for the human rights for those who have made a conscious decision to sell sex and who do not consider themselves to be victims. She is an advocate for sexual diversity and expression, and an ally to LGBTQQI individuals and communities.
Elisabeth "Eli" Sheff, Research AffiliateElisabeth "Eli" Sheff, PhD
Research Affiliate


Dr. Elisabeth “Eli” Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamorous families with children. Sheff’s first book, The Polyamorists Next Door (2014), details her 15-year study of poly families with kids and was just reprinted in paperback, and her second book Stories from the Polycule (2015) is an edited anthology of writings by poly folks. When Someone You Love is Polyamorous (2016) is Sheff’s shortest book that guides family members and significant others who are trying to understand a polyamorous loved one. Dr. Sheff specializes in gender and sexual minority families, kink/BDSM, and issues facing trans* people. She is the CEO and Director of Legal Services at the Sheff Consulting Group, a think-tank of experts specializing in unconventional and underserved populations.
Richard Sprott, Research AffiliateRichard Sprott, PhD
Research Affiliate


Dr. Richard Sprott received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from UC Berkeley in 1994. He researches identity development and health/well-being in people who express alternative sexualities and non-traditional relationships, with a special emphasis on kink/BDSM sexuality, and polyamory or consensual non-monogamy. All of these efforts highlight the ways in which stigma, prejudice, minority dynamics, language, identity development and community development all intersect and affect each other. Richard currently teaches courses in the Department of Human Development and Women's Studies at California State University, East Bay and graduate and undergraduate level courses at various universities in the Bay Area, including UC Berkeley, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and Holy Names University. He can be reached via email at richard.sprott@carasresearch.org.
Emily Prior, Executive DirectorEmily E. Prior, MA
Research Affiliate/Co-Editor-in-Chief Journal of Positive Sexuality


Emily E. Prior is the Executive Director for the Center for Positive Sexuality. Since 1996 she has been teaching formal and informal classes about a variety of sexuality-related topics including BDSM lifestyle, Polyamory lifestyle, Gender, Introductory and Advanced Human Sexuality Courses for Psychology and Sociology departments at universities, Teen Sexuality topics for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and others. Emily has studied human sexuality and gender topics from a variety of perspectives, including Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology and won the Vern Bullough Award for research. Her research focuses on the intersections of identity, feminism, deviance, leisure, gender, and sexuality.
Dan Copulsky, Research AffiliateDan Copulsky
Research Assistant


Dan Copulsky is a sex educator and writer. He is the founding editor of SexEdPlus.com, a collection of sex-positive infographics and comics. He has also presented original research at the Alternative Sexualities Conference and the PCA/ACA National Conference.
Skye Williams, Director of Human ResourcesCielle "Skye" Williams
Research Assistant/Director of Human Resources


Cielle "Skye Williams is the Director of Human Resources for the Center. She is a college graduate with a bachelor's of science in Captive Wildlife Care and Education and a minor in Psychology. She has also been a guest on the Center’s show “Is This Normal?” as an advocate for furries and people in relationships with Transgendered people. She has presented on the differences between furries and zoophiles at several national conferences.

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