Workshops/presentations subject to change. Check back for more offerings.
Beyond Monogamy? Introduction to Polyamory and nd Ethical Non-Monogamy
Robyn Trask & Jesus Garcia
Introduction to polyamory and the concepts of open relationships, ethical non-monogamy, swinging, and relationship choices. Relationships come in many forms and relationship styles and this webinar is designed to help individuals explore possibilities and find what kind of relationship style works best for them. We will answer questions and concerns and give basic information on the different relationship styles, the differences and similarities and how they are practiced.
Nolan Lawless & Jeri Lynn Astra Herbert
Jealousy is a frequently discussed concept in polyamory. But what does it actually mean within the context of ethically non monogamous relationships? In this workshop, we will take a deep dive into this emotion, as well as all of the other emotions that often get misdiagnosed as jealousy. How can we effectively determine what we are feeling, especially when popular polyamory culture tells us “it must jealousy”? Is this something we should sit with, or work through? How can we best communicate these complex emotions to our partners, metamours, and support systems? Finally, what can we do to shift the culture to validate our emotional experiences, and acknowledge that sometimes, it’s not “just jealousy”?
The art of the check in
Rachael Brunner & Seren Low
What are check-ins? Who do we check in with? How do we check in? Check-ins are a skill that helps everyone in any type of relationship. However it is a skill that needs to be learned. We will be going over strategies for check ins, why check ins are important, how and why to do self check ins, and give you time to practice checking in.
Consent: The Five Pillars Upon Which to Build a Consent Culture
This presentation is presented in lecture format with invited participation from attendees. The discussion includes a codified, simplistic way of establishing consent in every human interaction as well as concrete methods by which to simplify the consent conversation. The lecturer proposes a seismic paradigm shift in the way consent is thought of, obtained and discussed. Concepts are presented in a well thought, well researched, straightforward and conversational plain language and entertaining format. Audiences will be encouraged to participate in the discussion and to ask questions. These practical principles are intended to be integrated into everyday life and used daily. The discussion is pansexual, poly friendly and will support, pertain to, and affirm all sexual orientations, gender identities or forms of sexual or relationship expression. Topics include: The purpose of the consent conversation, The role consent plays in human interaction, The five pillars of consent with examples and explanations, A completely different way of thinking about consent, Strategies to minimize misunderstandings, Ways to begin building a consent culture, Socialization of the word “no,” Toxic Politeness.
Negotiating Win-Win-Win Poly Relationships
Max Rivers & Elise Rivers
Most monogamous couples don’t have the negotiation skills which are absolutely necessary to make their relationship flourish (almost a million couples a year divorce because they can’t even get enough of their basic needs met to stay together). Add in a second lover (or more) and the need for communication skills goes up exponentially! In this class we’ll explain what causes conflict, and teach you a few easy-to-learn techniques that will turn 80% of those potential arguments into opportunities for greater intimacy, instead of frustration and anger. We’ll share with you our skills as professional relationship mediators and Embodied-NVC* instructors. Bring your spouse(s) or come alone. This class will also be helpful for people between relationships seeking to improve their partnership skills. *NVC and Non-Violent Communication are trademarks of CNVC.org and Marshall Rosenberg.
When Worlds Collide: Managing Relations Between Non-Involved Significant Others
Jim Fleckenstein & Carol Morotti-Meeker
One aspect of poly living that is important to navigate is how one’s non-involved partners get along. What can or should be done about that? This talk will help participants understand the ways these interactions take shape, identify areas where challenges occur and explore the best practices for assuring a smoothly functioning poly relationship for everyone touched by the relationship.
The ethics and negotiations of triad/quad/polycule formation
Join leaders of Open Love NY for an in-depth discussion into the controversial topics of unicorn hunting and ethical triad/quad/polycule formation. Whether you’re opening your relationship for the first time or you have been dating groups of people for decades, your voice matters. Topics discussed will include opening up, couples’ privilege, unicorns vs. hunters, open vs. closed triads/quads and the ethics that enable enduring polycules. Learn simple negotiation techniques to get your wants and needs met, and explore the ethics to consider when working with others to build polycules. Bring your positive and negative experiences to the table, and let’s tackle this complex topic as a community.
Cultivating Secure Attachment in Polyamorous Relationships
Jessica Fern Cooley
It’s difficult to talk about relationships these days without the topic of Attachment Styles coming up. The research on love and relationships consistently finds that understanding our attachment style can be an important part in creating healthy and fulfilling relationships, but how this applies to non-monogamous relationships can be unclear. Since the majority of the resources and advice on how to create securely attached romantic relationships rely heavily on mono-normative behaviors and hierarchical relationship structures, non-monogamous folks are often at a loss on how to create secure functioning with their multiple partners. In this talk Jessica will present on: An overview of the different attachment styles – The importance of Secure Attachment in Polyamory -How jealousy can sometimes be a symptom of insecure attachment – The different relationship skills for creating secure functioning from a poly perspective – What secure attachment with yourself looks like.
Solo Poly Skills
Life as a solo polyamorist can be challenging! Where do we go for the holidays when all of our partners are with their nesting partners? Who do we turn to when we get sick? Who advocates for us as we age? How do we make sure that our needs are met while our autonomy is respected? Let’s crowd source ideas for better solo living.
Polyamorous and Autistic
‘Polyamorous and Autistic’ aims to teach non-autistic people both a deeper understanding of and empathy for their current and potential autistic partners, and to present a representational experience for other autistic people, of all identity intersections, that can validate their experiences and give them strength. The stories and experiences shared have come from a diverse and varied group of adults that are united as Autistic Non-Monogamists. We are Autistic. We are Proud. We are Polyamorous. We have stories, we have experiences, and we have perspective we want to share. You have heard podcast episodes about us, but this comes from us. This comes from polyamorous, ethically non-monogamous, autistic adults. We have loved, we have lost, we have learned, and we want to pass this off to you. This is our wants, our needs, and our fears. This is also what we’ve learned. This is who we are. Are you ready to listen?
Queering Polyamory (Round Table)
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?
Redefining Family-Parenting Panel
Tanya Hixon, Marina Reiko, Jesus Garcia, & Myla
“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.
Polyamory on the Page: Resources and Representation in Literature Across Genres
Allie Phelan & Holly Freundlich
This session will discuss the many ways polyamory is portrayed in books of all genres–from numerous non-fiction resources to trends in non-monogamous fiction in teen and adult literature. Holly Freundlich and Allie Phelan from the Free Library of Polydelphia will talk about the community’s need for access to information and writers’ paths to creating and publishing it.
From the Ground Up: Building Actively Inclusive Polyamorous Communities
Kae Burdo & Chrissy Holman
Trying to find other relationship pluralists can be hard, and building a community from those connections can be even harder. If you’ve never been involved in community building but see a gap you think you could help fill in your local spaces – physical or digital – this session offers a starting point. Presenters will discuss some of the major pieces involved in community-building, including identifying community needs, locating available/accessible resources, handling volunteer retention, et cetera- using organizations such as the international Polyamory Facebook group, Vermont Ethical Non-Monogamy, Open Love NY, and Vermont Alternative Sexuality Education as a real-world examples. Building safer and actively inclusive communities, whether online or in- person, requires an awareness of community culture, ethics, needs and goals, and building spaces from the ground up have a lot of potential obstacles and pitfalls. Most importantly, we need to learn to listen to our communities before serving them. Our goal for this session is to empower people to step forward, assess their community’s needs with an eye towards accessibility and inclusivity, and build spaces that best serves those needs, based on a new understanding of the steps those structures require and what obstacles they may encounter.
Coexist (A New Hope): A look at the separation of alternative sexuality communities
This panel delves into the experiences of the NCSF constituent communities (swing lifestyle, polyamory, BDSM-leather-fetish/kink) in terms of discrimination and bias amongst themselves. Despite the fact that our communities tend to face similar obstacles, such as access to knowledgeable and nonjudgmental professionals and damaging public policy, we often find that we hold too many preconceptions to adequately interact. Here, we seek to learn from each other and search for ways to create more commonality and unity so as to better serve our constituents and advance equal human rights for consenting adults more effectively.
Healing the Divide
In the past few years there has been an increasing divisiveness in our country and in the polyamory community. Community is made up of individual as well as collective relationships. Communication and respect are essential for relationships to thrive. This workshop and discussion is about using key skills and applying them cohesively or collaboratively as a community. We will examine obstacles to good communication and how to create common ground for discussing challenges we face as a community.
Your Spirituality and Relationships:: Are They Made for Each Other?
Carol Morotti-Meeker & Kyle Applegate
Many of us who live or identify as Polyamorous or Consensual Non-Monogamy also have their own style of a spiritual life. Do you share this with any of your partners? Do you know about any of their spiritual beliefs or practices? Is your spiritual life anything you share or even mention to people you date or are in relationship? In this session we will look at how people in this lifestyle can integrate their spirituality, however they define that, with their relationships to promote greater closeness. The facilitators will provide examples from their own lives and experience. All traditions are welcome. Participants will be asked to employ in their own relationships for confidentiality within the group with what they hear from others. There will be an opportunity for participants to share what they do, if they choose. Facilitators will lead a simple exercise in small groups with an opportunity after to share about their experience, if they choose.
What Do Buddhist Know About Poly?
Dan & Dawn Williams
The historical Buddha was not polyamorous, but he certainly had a lot of great teaching for it! Join Dan (a novice monk) and dawn (Buddhist flavored) as they share tools found in Buddhism that anyone can apply to healthy loving polyamory relationships. From understanding that clinging isn’t love to changing reactive patterns, they will provide a variety of ideas and actionable views from ways to avoid unnecessary jealousy to how to cultivate mudita (delighting in your partner’s well being). These tools work regardless of religion or spiritual path – and you don’t even have to shave your head!
Do you experience guilt, shame and feelings of inferiority around your sexuality/sexual expression, gender identity, race, and/or relationship orientation (being poly, for example)? Until recently, Gloria Jackson-Nefertiti believed there was something inherently shameful about her, due to her being a Black, bisexual, polyamorous, highly sexual femme woman with mental illness. This workshop tackles the topic of personal shame and the damage that it causes when left unchecked. For participants to create self-safety, it is necessary to interrupt shaming language. This interactive workshop gives participants the opportunity to: understand the meaning of shame; gain awareness of shaming phrases and behaviors that are commonly used; recognize when they are being shamed; and learn ways to confront others who shame them.
Letting Love Rule
Buck Lawrence & Rhea Ward Lawrence
Through a series of interactive exercises with multiple partners, our deeply personal workshop will focus on: -Love, intimacy and sexuality and what those mean to us -Relationships, communication and being authentic -Improving body image to deepen our relationships with ourselves and others -Making the right relationship choices for you -Finding love, being honest and creating emotional intimacy.
Speaking Without Words: Contact Improv
Michael Rios & Indigo Dawn
Description: There lives inside of you an ever-burning flame; a noiseless song that your body sings. Have you ever stopped to listen? In this workshop, we will listen deeply to ourselves and others. We will practice movement exercises to shed the labels and projections that separate us, so we can connect as our naked, authentic selves. We will play, express, and connect through movement. We will speak without words.
Sex and Aging – Secrets of Sensuous Seniors
Mim Chapman, PhD
Whether we’re 16 or 60, we’re ALL aging – it’s the IN thing to do! Yet society tends to associate sexuality with youth, and bombards us with age-related standards of beauty and sensuality. We need more models of Sexy-Sixties, and here’s your chance to meet some! Learning to love ourselves (and others) takes time, experience, and practice, so if we’re living consciously, we become better lovers every year. We’re aware of the changes that happen as we age, yet they are not often discussed openly and positively. In this interactive workshop, we’ll learn more about ourselves and each other, share the joys and challenges of maturing, and find ways to keep those sexual fires stoked – assuring creative, juicy intimacy all the way to the grave. If you’re still a youngster, come join us anyway for a “sneak preview of coming attractions”… and to explore things you could discuss with your parents, grandparents – or your older lovers!
Secrets from Behind the Veil: Bellydance Moves You Can Use
Secrets from Behind the Veil distills the Art of the Temple Dance and Tantra into practical basics and concepts of personal expression, non-verbal communication, and confidence in body movement that is easily incorporated into everyday expressions. Secrets from Behind the Veil consciously weaves together traditional Bellydance technique, functional movement, mindfulness, meditation, body positivity, trauma-informed movement healing, personal expression, Romany magic and community building. The workshop experience includes a warm up and stretch, technique basics, individual, partnered, small group and large group exercises and ends with a silent (no talking) social dance and movement mixer. Secrets from Behind the Veil is an ALL genders class appropriate for teens to seniors. This workshop is for ALL levels and abilities, chairs will be available for people to participate at individual physical comfort level. Skill building challenges for those with more experience will also be available. Exercises go beyond the binary. Each workshop experience is unique and aims to be an opportunity for people to relax into more presence in the physical body. Dance your unique dance in a diverse community setting.