Workshops Subject to Change
Human Origins and Polyamory: When Did it All Begin?
Anthropologists love to speculate about the origins of human sexual proclivities and behaviors. We generate detailed theories about attraction, passion and jealousy, all couched under the rubric of reproductive strategies. In this workshop we’ll explore current theories about the origins of partnering patterns. Some infer early polygamy and abundant multi-relating by both sexes; others contend that at the core we’re serial monogamists. Come and gain some background on this hot topic.
Leanna Wolfe, PhD
The Good, the Bad, and the Poly
Allena Gabosch, director of Seattle’s Center for Sex Positive Culture, conducts an honest discussion about polyamory in all its forms, as someone who has done it herself for 30+ years. Polyamory is an incredible lifestyle but not always an easy one. It has a lot of rewards but also a lot of pitfalls and potential disasters. Learn Allena’s 20 “Relationship Principles” (great for anyone, poly or mono). Learn ways to make it easier to live within your “polycule.” Come prepared to be part of this dialogue and share your experiences.
Poly Dating 101
Are you poly and single and unsure where to meet cute, ethical poly peeps? Are you married and wondering how to find poly-friendly people who won’t freak out meeting your spouse? Join Minx to find out where to meet poly-friendly people, how to making dating fun and relatively painless (unless you’re into that), and how to care for both yourself and your partners while “out there.”
Who Is the Poly Community Today?
On the national level, who are we as a poly community, exactly? What do we believe in, and what are we afraid of? What kind of family structures do we come from, what structures do we seek, and what structures do we actually find? How important is polyamory to us? What kinds of problems do we have in relationships, and do we feel discriminated against by the rest of society? Do we adequately protect ourselves from STD’s, and how good is our knowledge of these dangers? These questions and many others will be discussed using results from a 2000 Loving More survey of 1,010 Loving More members and friends. Problems with this research will also be discussed, and audience participation will be invited to help plan a much-needed updated survey of the poly community.
Curt Bergstrand, PhD
Lemons and Lemonade: The Pain and Pleasure of Poly/Mono Relationships
Probably the greatest challenge in polyamorous relationships is working out what to do when one partner is polyamorous and the other is monogamous. How do people manage? Is it even possible to find mutual happiness under such circumstances? This workshop will explore the ways poly/mono relationships wither for some and thrive for others. Every effort will be made to present this workshop and conduct discussion sensitively to the experiences of the monogamous partners as well as the polyamorous partners. Poly/mono couples and groups who have a story to tell are especially welcome. A useful handout and ample time for discussion will be included.
Facing a Monogamous World
We live in a world of monogamous conformity, where the culture tries to force us into monogamy in various ways. Poly people are often surprised by how deep these forces go, and so end up in heavy drama or inadvertent monogamy. In this workshop, Pepper will lead a brainstorm of how the world tries to make us monogamous – from legal, social, and family pressures to relationship assumptions – and how we can respond.
Wandering Hearts: Long Distance Poly Relationships
Are you in a long-distance relationship, or considering one? Wondering if it can really be sustainable? Or how to support your partner/s at home? Looking for tips on how to manage safer sex over state lines, or your communication and travel budget over time? Or maybe you just *really* like NRE (New Relationship Energy), and would love to keep it going for YEARS?? In this Panel discussion, long-term LDR partners Dawn Davidson and Gary Jacobson (29 years and counting!) will join others experienced in Distance Relationships to discuss these important topics and others chosen in the moment from a list of possibilities by the panelists and attendees. Wander on by and share your questions, stories, and experiences!
Dawn Davidson and Gary
What Does Polyamory Look Like?
What is your poly relationship dream, and what does it look like in action? A wide variety of models for loving and living are emerging within the poly community. This interactive workshop will give you the opportunity to look at some of them and explore what best matches your fantasies, desires, and needs. It will propose a vocabulary to describe these varied forms of poly lifestyles, both to ourselves and to our potential partner(s). There can be as much difference between two models of poly living as there is between poly and mono! Come share what YOUR poly family or your poly dream looks like, and explore some of the ways folks have developed what one poly leader calls “Poly Designer Relationships.”
Mim Chapman, PhD
The Canadian Charter Rights Case, and Criminalization of Polyamorous Households
The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) has become an intervenor in a groundbreaking Canadian court case. The government of British Columbia has asked the court to give its opinion on whether Canada’s anti-polygamy law breaches the Canadian Charter of Rights. Prosecutions have rarely occurred, but the law threatens 5-year jail sentences for everyone who practices “any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time” regardless of whether they claim a polygamous marriage. The same penalty applies to anyone who “celebrates, assists, or is a party to a ceremony or contract that sanctions” such relationships. The CPAA has gained wide attention across Canada for its opposition to the law. But the case is challenging for polyamorists, because it centers on alleged abuse and exploitation in a patriarchal polygamist community of Fundamentalist Mormons. We will talk about the history of this law, how the case is proceeding, the fascinating cast of characters who have intervened, the legal/social issues raised, the evidence being presented, how the media are treating us, and political efforts that may need to be made as this heats up. This has been called the most important legal effort by the poly community since Loving More took on the April Divilbiss child-custody case in 1998-99.
Zoe Duff and Carol C
In this workshop, Moonstorm, along with several members of the tribe will discuss “tribe-building” as one of the many relationship models within the realm of polyamory. There will be discussion of the fundamental philosophical principles of the Erosong Tribe, it’s history, and how being a part of it has impacted the lives of some of its members.
Geezer Poly – The Good (and Not So Good) News From Your Future
John U and Linda Y, both over 65 and poly for decades, will lead a discussion on the joys and challenges of poly in our golden years. We all know the poly theories – line marriage or networks of intimate friends that will keep us connected and cared for even when we survive the loss of one or more life partners. But what is the reality? How do new pleasures and responsibilities, like grandchildren and aging parents, impact our finite free time? How do we cope with losing our lovers to death or illness? As our own health and energy decline will our younger lovers abandon us? How do geezers face finding new partners? Are older lovers desirable for their patience and wisdom or are they pushy, wrinkled boors? Do geezers find younger lovers a breath of fresh air and a glimpse into the next generation or annoying ditzes? Are intentional-living communities like cohousing attractive to poly elders, especially since mainstream retirement communities might not be particularly welcoming to us? John and Linda have some answers, and they’d like to hear yours.
Linda Y and John U
Making Friends with Jealousy
Wherever you learned how to be jealous, and whatever you have been taught about how jealousy ought to be, you can unlearn it. The real secret of polyamory is that jealousy is not carved in stone, but is amenable to growth and change. Ethical Slut co-author Dossie Easton leads exercises on communicating about, and working with, whatever that complex of emotions is for you that you call jealousy. You can dig into and safely move into ownership of your jealousy while you learn to take care of yourself in a kindly and loving manner. You can immediately apply the jealousy unlearning skills as you meet emotional challenges of new friendships at the conference.
Dossie Easton, MA
Negotiations and Boundaries
Good fences make good neighbors, and clear boundaries are especially important in the poly world. Angela will present a workshop on different ways to approach conversations about boundaries – about sexual contact, time scheduling, intimacy, and other topics. She will discuss techniques for doing negotiation conversations well – from the start of a relationship through its long-established maturity. Angela will use roleplaying partners to demonstrate different techniques and will take questions throughout.
Beyond The Monogamy/Dominator Paradigm
This experiential workshop will explore ways to move beyond our monogamous and dominator social programming and onto an open partnership path. Most of us were brought up in a dominator/authority model in our families, and have been ingrained with monogamy as our model for relationships. Through discussion and exercises we will explore together ways to shift our programming to embracing a more partnership mode of relating. We will explore how genderizations of emotions and energy as masculine and/or feminine have robbed both men and women of their full emotional expression as whole human beings. Experiential exercises will be based both on Tantric teachings and the teachings of Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade and Sacred Pleasures.
Creating Your Safer-Sex Elevator Speech
If someone asks what your safer-sex protocols are, can you answer in two minutes or less? World-renowned sex and relationship educator Reid Mihalko can, and he thinks you should be able to as well. Join the creator of CuddleParty.com and ReidAboutSex.com as he guides you through an empowering, informative and humorous talk aimed at getting your “Safer Sex Elevator Speech” down pat! This 90-minute workshop is designed to give you the tools to discern your health and emotional-safety needs and communicate them clearly, concisely, and without shame.
Reid will cover: What “safer sex” actually means • Not-so-scary ways to inform yourself regarding STDs and STIs and how to gauge your needs around them • How to communicate your needs clearly and without drama • How choose lovers and play partners who meet your standards • What to do and how to support one another if someone tests positive for an STD or STI
Regardless of experience, orientation, relationship status, age or politics, we must be able to talk about safer sex knowledgeably and act with integrity – as role models that polyamory can be sustainable and shame-free. Help strengthen our communities and keep ourselves, our lovers, and lovers’ lovers healthier by being able to talk about safer sex needs and boundaries clearly. Bring your questions, bring your notebook, bring your friends and lovers, and let’s talk about safer sex with Reid! (www.reidaboutsex.com)
Emotional Edge Play – Polyamory for BDSM/ Leather/ Fetish Folk
Polyamory is now widely practiced in the BDSM/ Leather/ Fetish communities. While many in these worlds are courageous people who like to stretch their own emotional boundaries via their kink, many say that they were unprepared for the drama that can arise when introducing polyamory into the mix. Poly itself is a form of emotional edge play by which we seek to stretch our emotional boundaries around partnership, sex, love and romance.
• How does being into BDSM/ Leather/ Fetish prepare us for establishing happy polyamorous lives?
• How does the practice of poly in kinky relationships differ from vanilla poly?
• What are the common pitfalls of living a kinky poly life?
• What are polyamory’s universal truths, and how are they best applied in a kinky poly context?
These questions will be explored with the goal of discovering what it takes to establish and maintain happy and healthy kinky polyamorous relationships, families and networks.
Anita Wagner (practicalpolyamory.com)
Connecting through the Mandala; Sacred Sexuality for the Polyamorous
This in depth interactive workshop combines the teachings of Taoist and Tantric Sacred Sexual practices to take you on a journey exploring what is possible when we tap into our most powerful creative energy. Using techniques of Tantra and Taoist fire breath, heart connection and energy exchange we will connect to ourselves and others in dyadic partnership, with multiple partners and with the entire group. It is recommended that you have some knowledge of Sacred Sexual breathing.
Polyamory Etiquette Within Poly-diverse Forms of Poly Relationships
Polyamory etiquette isn’t about curving your pinky while drinking your coffee or tea – it’s about way tougher things such how to bring in new loves, how to behave when you return from a date with “a shiny new love object,” how to share with a potential partner what you mean when you say “I’m polyamorous.” We will discuss and describe some of our own poly situations then use role-play to reenact these scenarios. By experiencing different scenes, we can see how situations might call for very different etiquette then a mono relationship, as well as within different types of poly relationships. Practicing various solutions through role playing, can become a guide for navigating effectively within our own unique relationships. This will be a fun and very interactive workshop, using some preplanned scenarios as well as taking scene suggestion from the participants.
Mim Chapman, PhD