Workshops/presentations subject to change. Check back for more offerings.
Exploring Polyamorous Relationships
Jesus Garcia & Tanya Hixon
Polyamory is fast becoming a part of the fabric of relationship choices and an alternative to monogamy. In this class we will explore what polyamory is and what it isn’t. We will look at different styles of polyamory, terms and definitions, and the kinds of issues and challenges one might encounter including safer sex discussions, agreements, defining boundaries, and dealing with the unexpected. We will explore how to deal with conflicts and the needed skills to make polyamorous relationships work as well as the benefits of loving more than one. This class is meant as an introduction with some basic guidelines for those new to and exploring polyamory as lovestyle and viable relationship choice.
What Does Polyamory Look Like?
Mim Chapman, PhD
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 and desires. 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! This workshop is great for those exploring different poly styles as well as therapists and professionals working with polyamorous clients. 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.”
Leading a Double Life: How to Be Out without Really Being Out
If you, or someone in your polycule, can’t be publicly “out”, do you know how to safeguard your social media profiles to protect your secret? Do you find dating to be risky of exposure? Do you have that social itch but feel like you have to go incognito to all social events? Learn some real world skills on being out in safer ways while protecting yourself or those you love. We live in a world that does not fully accept poly lifestyle and while there are others who can proudly walk in Pride Parades and lobby for the rules to change, there are those of us that have to walk in the shadows and live a double life or risk losing our jobs or our children. You can be happy. You can be social. You just have to know how to do it safely.
From NRE to MRE using NVC
Max, & Elise Rivers
Everyone loves NRE. For some, poly is just a way of creating never-ending NRE by continually finding new partners. But NRE is more than just excitement and newness. The reason it feels so good is that everyone is consistently getting their needs met. During this “Infatuation Stage,” we are curious about each other and differences are minimized. So why does it end? Because invariably differences do arise and the parties must negotiate to get their needs (heart’s desires) met. At this point, the relationship enters the second stage, the Discovery Stage. This is an essential step in turning the hormonal and temporary excitement of infatuation into a permanent, satisfying relationship rich with Mature Relationship Energy (MRE). Mature Relationships not only don’t have an expiration date, the satisfaction is greater once you have learned to speak, listen and responded authentically to each other’s heart’s desires. In this workshop we will give our explanation of what makes NRE so satisfying and teach the very learnable skills of how to get from there to MRE.
Navigating the Shoals of Polyamorous Life
Jim Fleckenstein & Carol Morotti-Meeker, MS, MLSP
Congratulations on setting sail on your voyage to living an authentic, polyamorous life! You may think you’ve read all the guidebooks and are fully prepared for your adventure. But as any old salt will tell you, there are always hidden shoals and hazards that seldom show up on the charts. We’re going to help you steer clear of some of the problematic aspects of living polyamorously that we feel either don’t get enough attention, or the right kind of attention, based on our decades of lived experience as both poly people and helping professionals. In this interactive presentation, we’re going to explore how you can safely avoid running your relationship aground on these issues. We’ll cover the following, with time to add in discussion of anything that’s of critical interest to participants: • Managing an ongoing poly-mono relationship • The inevitable evolution of “rules,” boundaries, and agreements • Finding community – or, “Do I really have to be a (fill in the blank) to be poly?” • The perils of “polynormativity” – setting your course to your unique destination. Come join us for a “fantastic voyage”!
Acing Polyamory: Ace-Spectrum Polyamorous Relationships
Chrissy Holman, Michelle Enos, Mischa Lin, & Allie Phelan
Presenters will cover the basics of asexual terms and orientations, including demisexuality and gray-asexuality. Then we’ll dive into the details of how we as both ace-spectrum and allosexual people can structure our relationships in ways that are comfortable and satisfying, whether they are relationships between people on the ace spectrum or a mix. We’ll finish by opening the floor for a discussion and inviting you to share your own questions and insights with the rest of the group. Both ace-spectrum and allosexual people are welcome at this event.
From Magic Bullets to Best Practices:
A Critical Look at the Role of Knowledge in Kink & Poly
Byron Sheldon & Myla
There is often an “all or nothing” feeling about the value of knowledge. Either it is a “magic bullet” that will perfectly solve any problem, or it is completely worthless, tossed into the been there done that pile and replaced with the newest and next most trendy method. For the neophyte and the experienced old-timer alike, sifting through and making sense of the best practices and language of relationship communication can sometimes be overwhelming. The allure of the “magic bullet” solution to help make negotiating kink scenes, sexual play or even where to go to dinner simpler and easier is very tempting. Practicing consensual and conscious non-monogamy means being able to critically and practically assess methods for managing consent, safety, and risk-awareness. This lecture/discussion examines the “all or nothing” magic bullet useful or useless dichotomy. Then begins to ask ourselves and each other practical, critical questions about the goals, uses, strengths, and weaknesses of the communication methods and language most commonly used in the kink and consensual non-monogamous worlds.
Redefining Family-Parenting Panel
Christopher N Smith, Liz Newsom LCSW, Marina Reiko, & Robyn Trask
“What about the children?” Is a question often asked by the people both in and out of the polyamory community. Come join the discussion about what it means to be a family, father, mother, child, and/or stepparent in a polyamorous family. How do we balance kids, family, and multiple romantic or sexual partners? This panel discussion will share the experiences of what has worked, where we made mistakes, and how to balance the demands of family, children, and lovers.
You Let Her Do What? Examinations of Polyamory and Masculinity
Aaron Browne, Bex Caputo, Kevin Patterson, Christopher Smith
Since the 1960s, many of us have adopted a modern take on polyamory with female-driven resources and ideologies at the forefront. So, how does this mesh with some of the traditional ideas of masculinity that we’ve been socialized to believe. If we’re determined to shed default setting relationship-models, what parts of masculine conditioning do we also need to let go of? What parts do we need to keep? In this workshop, we’ll explore ideas common to polyamory and masculinity and how we intend to rewrite our own scripts to reflect a positive narrative for our communities, our partners, and ourselves. Bring your stories!
Relationships Without Drama
Why do relationships that begin with such high hopes often lead to ongoing stress and disappointment? Why do we fall in love with this person, but not with that one? How can we deal with the storms of emotion that seem to follow connections of great joy? What does it take to create a relationship that is supportive and appreciative for both partners? The insights and techniques that are shared in this workshop are drawn from many sources, including the facilitators’ polyamorous paths, Eastern spirituality, and hard science. They can be applied to all our relationships and interactions with others, sexual or non-sexual, polyamorous or monogamous, casual or intimate. Join us as we discover how we can come to a place of power and choice in how our lives and relationships unfold.
Cautionary Poly: Teachable Moments in Polyamorous Relationships
Kevin Patterson, Allie Phelan
Too often, polyamory is presented in the community with its best face forward. While this positive spin is a good way to convey the viability of polyamory to the monogamous public, for the polyamorous it creates an unobtainable goal of perfection. As a result, mistakes and flaws are inaccurately seen as indicators of broken relationships. In this workshop, Kevin Patterson of Poly Role Models and Allie Phelan of Polyamory Hub of Philadelphia will lead a discussion about common—and uncommon—mistakes and what greater lessons can be learned from them. While sharing some of their relationships misfires and inviting others to do the same, Kevin and Allie hope to turn these negative situations into positive gains for the community’s concept of what makes successful polyamorous relationships.
Societal Guilt and the Little White Lies
Jesus Garcia & Robyn Trask
Do you ever find yourself feeling guilty for having fun with a sweetie while your other sweetie is at home with the kids? Do you sometimes find yourself holding back saying “we only snuggled a bit” only to say the next day “and oh we did have sex a little” or “we didn’t really have sex it was just a blow job” out of guilt or fear of hurting your partner? Our culture does not teach us much about navigating monogamous relationships much less how to deal with multiples. In addition we are inundated by messages that if we really love our partner we will never want anyone else, tell little white lies, and never hurt the one we love. Most people come to polyamorous relating with a suitcase of behaviors that are not conducive to successful relating, polyamorous or monogamous. In this facilitated discussion we will look at the why and how of these behaviors and other counter-productive strategies that can interfere with successful loving relationships.
Hap-Poly Ever After: Long-Term Poly Partnership
What does committed long-term polyamory look like? What kinds of agreements and relationship structures can thrive and support each partner’s development and growth to make their dreams come true throughout their lifecycles? What have we learned about making this lifestyle work? And what shapes do our households and emotional lives take on, several decades down this path? For folks who want to share what they’ve done and how, or ask questions of those who have, a discussion (along with some roleplaying) of long-term polyamory and poly families with and without children.
Deconstructing the Myth Of The Poly Saint
Nolan Lawless & Jeri Lynn Astra Herbert
In the poly community, there are certain concepts that have become qualifications for “poly sainthood”: always feeling compersion towards metamours and never jealousy, always being available but never needy, always openly communicating but never having drama, and the list goes on. This is model that poly newbies are told to emulate, that those in the community who are struggling are judged against, and that many of us feel guilty for not living up to. In this workshop, we will explore the origins of some of these ideas, identify how they are presented in formal literature and online message boards, discuss the impact they can have on relationships and the self-concept of polyamorous people, and ask: what does it mean to be “good at” polyamory?
Talking the Talk: Poly Communication Role-Play Workshop
Natalie & Robert
In this interactive role-play session we’ll put into actual practice what you likely have previously learned from books and seminars about relationship communications. We will help you team up with classmates for scenarios — or bring your partner(s) and have that conversation you have been meaning to have about your relationship, your kinks, your metamours, asking for what you want, and learning to come to a considerate resolution. Role play your own issue or practice with one of the scenarios we supply. By actively employing effective communication techniques in this workshop, you will move from the theoretical to the practical and build a bit of habit and skill. Your ability to productively work through relationship issues will grow dramatically. While there will be a brief review of communication basics at the start, and some helpful “cheat sheet” handouts, the bulk of the time will be on actual practice.
Queering Polyamory – Roundtable
This is the spot for discussion of being poly and queer. If you identify as LGBTQIAU and/or as a gender/sexual/romantic minority, this is the place for you! Let’s talk about the issues specific to living queer and poly simultaneously. How does our world differ, even more from the land of the cis het polyamorist? How does coming out, yet again, change our lives? Are we supported by our communities? How do we find, and foster those same communities?
How to Be Your “Wonder Self” AND See the Same in Others.
In this fun, informative workshop, based on the work of Dr Marston – the originator/ Creator of the Wonder Woman and developer of the lie detector – we will explore ourselves and each other. In this dynamic workshop we’ll; look at Disc theory model of relating, make sense of the sometimes confusing behavior we all exhibit, cover ways of communicating and successfully negotiating with those different from us. We can learn how to work/play better with those around us and workshop will show how! Come with an open mind, and, in addition to smiling/laughing a lot, participants walk away with a tools to make life better on many fronts. Good for humans of all types, this deceptively simple and deep system will enhance your life.
Creating a “New Culture” Based on Love and Freedom
Indigo Dawn & Michael Rios
We are in a time of crisis and change. Can we draw from the ecstatic to create and shape that change? Creating a sustainable world based on love, freedom, and community won’t happen piecemeal; it depends on people recreating themselves, their relationships, and their place in the world holistically. This workshop will share some of the insights and experiences that have come from trying to create a new culture, and provide opportunities to connect to other people and events who are walking this path.
Vulnerability in Poly Relationships
Lee Hencen & Murray Schechter
Society teaches us to be strong, to put our best foot forward and to not let others know what’s really going on inside. When we take this acquired behavior into our poly relationships, how does this serve us? Through discussion and exercises we’ll explore vulnerability. How do we feel being vulnerable and how does that play out in our poly relationships? What works about vulnerability and what doesn’t? There will be opportunities to be vulnerable in the workshop and each person is always at choice in what they do or don’t want to share!
Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us
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.
The Wheel of Consent
Stroking soft skin. Kneading sinewy muscles. Touching and being touched can be sources of great pleasure, if they fall within the Wheel of Consent. In this session, we will use touch to deepen our connections and explore what it means to “give” and “receive” consensually. We will practice setting boundaries and communicating what we want. At the same time, we will make our own touch into a more present, satisfying and downright delicious experience. Nobody is required to touch another individual in this workshop.
Those Hips Don’t Lie:
Bellydance Secrets for Flirting and Power Exchange
“Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire.” Robert Frost Flirting is more than just the words you use. Tempt and tease an entire room or sizzle that certain someone. Together we step behind the veil to spice up your interactions. Experience embodied communication through basic bellydance moves. Learn how to improve your non-verbal communication in direct and easy to understand ways, you will gain a better understanding of how to read and deliver a variety of non-verbal cues including how to read personal body space and how to play with it confidently. Practice and use body isolations to convey power and desire and learn how to identify and interpret sensations in your own body to entrain and synchronize with your playmates. This is an interactive class with opportunities for partner and small group exercises. This is a clothed non-genital touching no partner needed event. Appropriate for all genders, ages, abilities and experience. Once the doors close, no late entry.
Body Positivity in Polyamory
The polyamorous community is, by nature, a pretty open-minded group. As such, it is a particularly attractive community to people who feel outside the “norm.” However, being polyamorous does not make us immune to the appearance-based biases perpetuated by the wider world that we live in and interact with. It can be discouraging for anyone who falls outside of the social standard of attractiveness to hear someone ask, “Where are the attractive polyamorous people?” This sort of thing, explicitly or implicitly, happens more than it should in a community of our level of openness and inclucivity. This discussion group is for sharing our stories and finding new ways to see each other and ourselves. Because it is our responsibility to make the answer to the question, “Where are the attractive polyamorous people?” “They’re right here. Every one of us.”
Getting Exactly the Sex We Want
Negotiating around sex is a learned skill. The first step in asking for what we want is figuring out exactly what that is. Let’s review a few talking points about consent, negotiation, and the huge spectrum that is human sexuality. Then, we’ll ask ourselves and each other a series of questions designed to get to the bottom of exactly what makes us hot and bothered. We can then practice negotiating (hypothetical) safer sexual encounters in real time. Honesty is encouraged and coaching is provided!