Workshops/presentations subject to change.
Polyamory Relationship Basics
Jesus Garcia & Tanya Hixon
Polyamorous relationships can be complex. In this introductory workshop we will be looking at basic skills for healthy polyamorous relationships such as moving through jealousy, agreements, creating workable agreements, and the diverse way of being open. A goal is to help foster a basic foundation for successfully navigating open and polyamorous relationships. Bring you questions and curiosity.
Creating Your Safer Sex Elevator Speech
If someone asked you what your safer sex protocols are, could you answer in 2-minutes or less? World-renowned sex and relationship educator Reid Mihalko can, and thinks you should be able to as well. Join Reid as he guides you through an empowering, informative and humorous talk aimed at getting your “Safer Sex Elevator Speech” down pat! This workshop is designed to give you the tools to discern what your health and emotional safety needs are and how to communicate them clearly, concisely, and without shame. Topic Include: What “safer sex” actually means, What “Harm Reduction” and “Risk Reduction” models of safer sex look like, The difference between emotional safety factors and health safety factors, How treating safety factors separately makes for a healthier and less stressful world for you and your partners, Reid’s recommended safer sex paraphernalia, Not-so-scary ways to inform yourself regarding STIs and gauge your needs around them, How to take your needs and communicate them clearly, How choose lovers and play partners who meet your standards, What to do and how to support one another when someone tests positive for an STI. Help strengthen our communities and keep ourselves, our lovers and lovers’ lovers healthier by talking about safer sex and communicating personal needs and boundaries clearly. www.ReidAboutSex.com
Polyamory and Intersectionality: Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation
The people who make up polyamory are often loud and proud when it comes to feminism. They have lots to say when it comes to issues within the queer communities. Unfortunately, we’re woefully silent on issues of race…to the point where our local communities are all but devoid of people of color. This workshop is about the importance of diversifying polyamory in the mainstream, within our own communities, and especially within our hearts and minds. The goal of this workshop is to discover why diversity matters, construct ways to foster it, and brainstorm what to do when you encounter it.
Poly Dating – Yes Please, May I Have Another?!?
This exciting workshop is for brave souls who wish to actively participate in relationships with poly folk. Whether poly or not, this workshop is designed to help anyone in their dating, whether a newbie or poly-ninja, to get more of what they want while dealing with the complexities of the different poly relationship dynamics. Dating not only doesn’t need to be hard! It can be fun, sexy and even enlightening. The workshop will briefly get into how to start the dating (i.e. where to find good people), as this is an important aspect, and continue into the major topics of self-care, caring for one’s partner(s), NRE, values and integrity that make this type of dating ethical and sustainable. This will be a deep dive with a lot of twist and turns and it is requested that participants be ok with having assumptions questioned and challenged – for this is how we can learn, grow and change. The relationship format is part lecture, discussion and Q&A with the focus of getting participants to a deeper awareness of what they want and how to get it while respecting themselves and others in the community. Good for singles and partners of all genders and orientations.
Taming the APEs in Your Relationships
Each of us bring certain assumptions, perceptions, and expectations to every situation we face. This includes relationships. They are often the source of conflict with others. This class gives strategies for understanding and reducing their impact.
“You Just Don’t Care!” – Emotionally Unbalanced Relationships
Jim Fleckenstein & Carol Morotti-Meeker, MS, MLSP
What’s missing in your relationship(s)? What do you want that you’re not getting? Why do you want it? Is it there, but you’re missing it? How much are you looking to your partner(s) to provide what you should be giving yourself? How have you communicated about this up to now – or have you? Many people deal with perceived imbalances in each partner’s “investment” in the relationship. These show up as a poor division of household tasks, an ongoing sense of neglect or being taken for granted, or a perceived lack of emotional support in the face of life’s challenges. Imbalance often leads to arguments, distancing, a painful sense of unfairness, or emotional isolation – none of which promote healthy relationships! This workshop will help you identify key “sticking points” in your relationship where you and your partner(s) are not on the same page emotionally. We’ll also touch on the currently much-discussed topics of “relationship anarchy” and “couples privilege”. Successful relationships require a healthy balance between realistic expectations and an ongoing mutual commitment to keeping things equitable and fair. When you’ve completed this workshop, you’ll be able to list key areas of emotional imbalance and understand how they can be addressed.
Creating A Line Family: a discussion about forming a powerful poly family
Help Richard and Elon celebrate the release of their new book, Creating A Line Family: Love, Abundance and Belonging in the New Millennium. They will introduce what a line family is and how it can help people feel safe and even thrive in times of economic trouble, political craziness and social upheaval. Richard and Elon have interviewed several attorneys, intentional communities and an actual line family while doing research for their book. They have also investigated state laws from all 50 states and reviewed sociological research to determine the viability of the line family concept. They are ready to discuss your questions and comments about this powerful idea.Join them and participate in a lively discussion of the possibilities a line family provides. Some of the topics covered include social challenges, definitions of intimacy, economic potential and group decision making in a multi adult, multi-generational family. Copies of their book will be available during the conference at a discounted price.
Poly in Creative Writing
The elements that make a good poem, song, or story are always subjective, but there are some approaches, especially when dealing with alternative subject matter, that can be useful to consider and put into practice. In this workshop, we’ll discuss pathways and techniques for generating strong creative writing, with a focus on incorporating themes of polyamory as well as other alternative ways of being and loving. Bring your thoughts and questions, and come prepared to do a few brief writing exercises. No writing experience needed to attend – All are welcome!
Polyamory, Sexuality and Parenting
Robyn Trask & Marina Reiko
Raising children can be challenging and wonderful all at the same time. Raising kids in a polyamorous family while the in a wider mono-centric world can bring a unique set of issues. Issues can be further complicated in our sex negative culture. How can we pass positive messages to our kids on sexuality, love, relationships, orientation and gender? Building trust and a strong foundation with our children is important in their development into well-adjusted adults. This open discussion we will talk about the challenges faced by polyamorous parents. Polyamorous families can face challenges with time management and finding balance between romantic partners, work and childcare. How can we be true to ourselves and support our children in the broader world? We will discuss how to talk to kids about sex, polyamory, bisexuality and other sometimes challenging subject as well as helping children through unforeseen crisis. Please bring your questions and experiences.
There is no “Winning” in Polyamory
Ever have a partner that always wanted to be First, or the most loved? How about one that wanted everything to be completely equal? How did that work out? This will be a guided discussion about the issue of ‘balancing the scales”. Also we will discuss strategy for partners who seem to want to “Win” at the relationship, how this is unhealthy for all those involved, and what we can do to improve our part of the relationship to reassure our partners and eliminate the need to WIN! Especially good for those who feel “Primary” or “Secondary” in a relationship that claims to be free of labels.
Legal Challenges to Polyamorous Relationships
While the possibility of legalizing multiple marriage has gotten a great deal of discussion in recent months, there are a number of laws and legal practices that constantly disrupt the lives of poly folk. This presentation will review some of the legal threats to poly folk, and (where possible) ways these threats can be addressed or worked around. Topics will include: zoning laws, child custody and child abuse laws, common law marriage, adultery and bigamy laws, and at-will employment.
Relationship Anarchy is a growing form of relationship philosophy that, while not being exclusive to polyamory, seems more strongly represented among polyamorous people than in other populations. Some of this class will cover the basics of Relationship Anarchy, for those who are not familiar with the philosophy. Most of the presentation will focus on the idea of self-interest and why it is so scary when rules, expectations, and assumptions are taken away to protect us against the “selfishness” of others. In this discussion, Rose will argue that intelligently self-interested people are usually motivated toward investing in healthy relationships. Short term “selfishness” usually hurts an individual in the long run, and loses them the trust of valuable people. Therefore, someone who is truly self-interested is not likely to build for themselves a reputation of being manipulative and unreliable. Rose will also discuss why setting up rules does not necessarily protect us from being hurt by someone we love, and some strategies for coping with the risk of loss.
Coming Out Poly
Polyamory is only now beginning to become visible to the society at large, however we continue to face significant discrimination. In order to address this, people who have a non-monogamous identity need to come out. This panel will discuss advantages and disadvantages of coming out in various settings. We will exchange stories and give advice on what to say and what not to say when coming out to others. This session will also be a call to action for non-monogamous people to come out so that people see us as a part of the community and therefore deserving of rights.
What’s Great About Being Poly:
Using Embodied Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to Create Intimate and Satisfying Relationships
Max Rivers, Elise Rivers and Jilsarah Moscowitz
Loving multiple people at the same time! Having all the advantages of an ethical, monogamous relationship AND additional relationships of any kind with as many people as make sense. Defining (or redesigning) each of your relationships to be a perfect custom fit for what is actually true about the way that you feel about each or all of these people. In this participatory workshop, based on our real life experiences of what’s great about being a poly triad, we will describe how our Embodied Non-Violent Communication (ENVC) polyamorous relationship works. We will talk about: the importance of seeing how the language we use to express ourselves has a profound impact on whether we get our needs met, how to stay connected even when we’re triggered and how to do needs-based negotiation so everyone needs are taken into account. This process will reveal the joys that transparency and vulnerability bring to intimate relating when you have the right skills. We will share how using ENVC as our communication process has supported our relationship. We will invite other polyamorous pods to talk about their successes, and poly-curious individuals and couples to ask questions and pose challenges.
Addressing abuse in the poly community
This workshop will be a forum for discussing how to identify and address abuse in the poly community. We will discuss warning signs and how to approach people who you think may be experiencing abuse in the poly community. We will also discuss restorative justice approaches that have been used in the kink community and how these might be used in a poly context.
Coping with Mental Illness in Polyamorous Relationships
This discussion focused gathering will explore how polyamory and mental illness can effect each other, tools for when polyamory and mental illness collide, and methods for supporting poly partners struggling with mental illness. Participants are encouraged to ask questions, share their personal experiences, and discuss their thoughts on mental illness within the poly community. Folks who prefer to sit in the back and listen are welcome also. Current estimates suggest that mental illness effects around 20% of people in the US, and around the world. Yet it is rarely discussed in the polyamory community, becoming a monster in the closet that destroys relationships without warning. Together, we can bring it into the light.
Harmonious Relationships: A Vocal Polyamory Workshop
Each person in our lives plays a unique role. Some of those roles are similar, some more different than others. Sometimes they overlap. When all of these come together, our lives can feel cacophonous and cluttered, or they can be a beautiful flowing improvisation, in which each of the parts supports and complements not only our own melody but each others’. In this workshop, we will explore some of these relationship possibilities by singing simple parts in a variety of musical roles. Come and play!
Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us:
Dating & Relationships for the Poly, Recovering, Survivor & Tantric
We all want more love, romance, excitement, adventure and fulfillment in our lives. But the examples we see are often of people who aren’t much like us. Anyone can attract healthy love and companionship regardless of physical, financial, or even emotional status. Learn to maximize the positive about yourself, believe in love, and use tools to nurture yourself into a charm-filled life that will attract all good things to you, including romance. Design your own system of values and desires. Believe you can have what you want, design your living space and your social activities to reach your love goals.
Sexual Kung Fu
What is kung fu, and what does sex have to do with it? We will explore and maybe answer this question, as well as what it means to have powerful, heartfelt, transcendent, (and maybe even) mind-blowing sex! Using Tantric and Taoist energy practices, we will explore the edgy place where intimacy, sex, relating and practice converge, and see what kind of experiences we’d like to create from there. This is about robust, powerful and sexy relating, a path to mastery, a multi-dimensional approach to sex. Although this is not a clothing optional event, you will be asked to bare yourselves and see what this great energy and practice can provide for you. This is a hand-on workshop that is part lecture, part discussion, part solo/partner and group practice. Come in comfortable clothes, ready to move with an open mind/heart that is ready to explore. Good for singles and partners of all genders and orientations.
Beyond Consent; Becoming Empowered to Claim Our Unique Sexual Nature
Beyond the issue of consent is a myriad of experiences both positive and negative. How do we claim or reclaim our innate sexuality and pleasure? Where does romance and intimacy fit in? What about those of us who are asexual or not highly sexual? In this workshop and discussion we hope to empower people to get in touch with their own sexuality, learn to ask for what you want and to listen to your partner/s want. We invite you to come and share your thoughts, experiences and discuss how we can work toward mutual respect in intimacy and pleasure in our sexual relationships.
Negotiating Successful Threesome, Foursomes, and More…
The ménage a trios and group sexual encounters are popular fantasies with twice the pleasure potential, but navigating romance with three or more (if only for one night) can be tricky. Not only will you get a chance to ask questions in this R-rated and fun-filled workshop, but we’ll cover: What are the best techniques to satisfy two lovers at once? Ways to overcome fears and concerns! Some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them! How to negotiate boundaries and safer sex to make your next ménage a trios tré bien! Whether you’ve had many group experiences or are just beginning to consider if multi-partnered sex might be something you’d like to explore, this workshop will give you tools, tricks, perspectives and laughs to enhance your love life and strengthen your relationships! Bring your partners and friends to enjoy an educational and entertaining class on how to successfully navigate some of the most common sexual fantasies. Even if you NEVER be interested in a 3-way, this class will give you ways to talk to your loved ones about the things you DO WANT in the bedroom – no matter how tame or outrageous! www.ReidAboutSex.com