This list is partial, tentative and subject to change.
Telling Our Stories, Changing the World
Polyamory isn’t what it used to be. We’ve moved out of the shadows and are all over the media. This brings us to a crossroads, where the way we present ourselves to the world will have long-lasting effects on how the polyamory movement develops. It’s time for us to stop pushing and start steering. How do we do that? By sharing our stories and the lessons we’ve learned from them. When we share our stories, within or outside the community of those like us, we contribute our voices positively to the discourse on polyamory.
Stepping on the Roller Coaster of Polyamorous Relationships
Jesus Garcia & Tanya Hixon
Navigating the ins and outs of polyamory can be a roller-coaster of emotional ups and downs. The workshop will cover the basic skills needed to help polyamorous relationships grow and thrive. We will look at pitfalls, joys and common issues people deal with in multi-partnered relating. We will cover everything from negotiating boundaries and discussing safe sex to treating all relationships with respect and building lasting love. Bring your questions and your personal experiences.
Coming out poly – a discussion about peoples experiences with coming out and strategies to help us be more well known as a community.
Tamara Pincus, MSW, LICSW
As poly people we continue to face significant discrimination. In order to change the culture around non-monogamy need to come out in situations where it is safe to do so. This workshop 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.
Making Peace with Jealousy in Polyamorous Relationships
Anita Wagner Illig
Sound familiar? Just when we think we’ve got our act together, our relationships are going well and we’re maybe even feeling confident, someone we love is attracted to someone new, and all of a sudden the bottom falls out. Or we meet someone new and want to explore our attraction to them, and contrary to what we anticipate, a poly partner starts freaking out. Why is this happening? Why do our emotions sometimes run so contrary to our will? What’s a fair and reasonable poly person to do?
We need not be jealousy’s victims! Come learn to accurately analyze and identify jealousy’s complex underlying emotions. Devise an effective plan that works for you that will take away their seemingly overwhelming emotional power. With a bit of patience, some love and support, and the right poly relationship skills, we all have the power to make peace with jealousy.
Rewards and Challenges of Poly and Sex Positive 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 trying to overcome sex negativity and 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. How do we deal with school, friends, extended family and even coming out to our children? This open discussion we will talk about the challenges faced by polyamorous parents. How can we be true to ourselves and support our children in the broader world? We will include how to talk to kids about sex, polyamory, bisexuality and other sometimes challenging subject as well as helping children through unforeseen crisis.
Transitioning a Relationship
Jana Williams-Harris & Julio Cortés
At some point in our lives, we’ve all been on one end or another of a breakup. And what about being the one in the proverbial “middle”, whether as a co-partner or metamour in a polycule, or simply as a friend to one or more of the parties involved? How does one cope?
Dating Beyond the Core
In this class I will share the tips and tricks I use to help me navigate dating beyond the core relationship. Basic relationship structures, top ten watch list and other how to/not-tos. All filled with personal stories and experiences. We will discuss best practice structures and how to talk to your partners about installing them in your relationships.
Putting the ethics in ethical non-monogamy
Polyamory is called “ethical non-monogamy” by the people who practice it. What does “ethical” mean? How can we build a system of ethics that respects diversity in the poly community while still grounding our relationships in ethical principles? Tere’s no one right way to do polyamory, but does that mean there aren’t any wrong ones?
Sexual Decision-Making Made Easy Using Faith Principles
Rev. Dr. Beverly Dale
Too often those who have decided to explore multi-partnering must either give up their faith or continue to struggle with the dissonance of a sex-negative religion and a sex-positive lifestyle. Having established in previous workshops that polyamory is not inconsistent with Christianity, “Rev Bev,” an ordained Christian clergy, returns with a follow up issue; how to make decisions about sexual freedom and diversity that are both moral and ethical using faith principles? This workshop will explore biblical teaching as guides for moral decision-making to make that process easier. It will also include role plays that allow the audience to playfully interact with one another to practice using them. One need not be religious to use these principles yet those from a sex-negative tradition may well find this approach refreshing.
Practical Poly: How to Date Non-Poly Folk
This interactive talk will go over the reason why this situation is inevitable for most of us at some point and how to deal with it. It will be done in a workshop style format, where there will be some content given and participants will have a chance to break into pairs, small groups, and finally open to the larger group to discuss and share ideas. In this talk, Julio will cover: Why should a poly person go out with someone who isn’t poly identified –What to do with people who are new to or have no information on poly –What to not do with people who are new to or have no information on poly –How to slow things down and not let NRE take over, while still making time to enjoy the juiciness of this stage – Issues that come up with people from different cultures
There will be an opportunity for people to not only ask questions but to also share wisdom and experience. This will be a facilitated discussion giving insight into why things don’t always turn out well and how one might be able to turn them around and achieve better outcomes for everyone.
Wresting Control of Your Thoughts & Actions – In Relationships and In Life
Jim Fleckenstein & Carol Morotti-Meeker
Everything that happens to you in life and in relationships is seen through the filters of your beliefs and attitudes. The great thing is, once you truly realize that, you’re in complete control! That’s right! While you can’t control what life and love serves up, you can completely control how you react to it.
Persons in polyamorous relationships, or even considering a poly relationship, face many opportunities for misunderstandings and hurt. This is made worse by the social conditioning we’re all subjected to from infancy. What we’re not taught is a reliable way to step back and see our filters for what they are and decide for ourselves how we want to react.
We’re going to introduce you to Dr. Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and to some ways to include REBT into your daily living and relationships. You’ll practice REBT in both artificial and real life situations. When we’re done, you’ll be able to describe REBT and how you’ll use REBT to guide your self-talk to improve your relationships (and your life in general!).
Relationship Anarchy: How Ditching the Rules Can Lead to Happier, More Fulfilling, and More Consent-Focused Relationships
Relationship Anarchy is a scary and confusing concept. What is it? How does it work? This workshop explores the reality of living relationships without rules, predetermined models, or categories. Learn how anarchy doesn’t mean chaos, selfishness, or lack of commitment, but instead means love, trust, and consent.
Poly Show and Tell
What sort of culture do we want to create for ourselves, our community and the broader world? What sort of influence can we have on how poly is depicted in mainstream culture? Is there stuff out there already that, whether intended or not, is aligned with poly values? (hint: yes) Let’s share and talk about the poly culture we’ve seen and heard, have created ourselves and would like to see – visual art, poetry, performance art, music, theater, film… Bring your stores, photos, songs and vision. Note: Singing is likely to occur at one or more points during the course of this fun and engaging workshop.
Sexuality and Aging:
Nancy Miller, Ken Haslem, & Jens Wennberg
Nobody ever believed that “Old People” had sex! Now as we age, we find that our sex lives continue. What are the issues of positive sexuality as we grow older? We will share our own experience of continuing sexuality into our 7th and 8th decades and invite other participants to share their stories too. This is another topic our parents never told us about!! Hot sex, loving sex does not have to end as we age!! But there are changes. Part of this workshop will be devoted to the men listening to the women discuss their issues and then reversing so that the women will listen while the men discuss their issues. This workshop will be co-convened by three Poly Geezers.
Highway to the Danger Zone
Many of us have had the experience of being in a relationship that wasn’t good for us or for the other person involved. Sometimes it seems, in hindsight, that there are many things we could have paid attention to early on that might have warned us the relationship was taking a wrong turn. While some red flags are universal, others are things that we personally struggle with when it comes to the types of partners we end up with. The goal of this workshop is to help the audience reflect on possible signs in past relationships that indicated trouble early on, judge the relative severity of different warning signs, and how to know when to address bad behavior or remove oneself from the situation. Because polyamory adds additional challenges to a relationship, it is especially important to keep a look out for early warning signs to protect mental and physical health and safety of oneself as well as one’s other partners.This workshop will not only focus on being aware of red flags in the behaviors of partners, but also in one’s own behaviors and the behaviors of metamours.
Soul-mate Attraction for the Rest of Us: Dating & Relationships for the Polyamorous
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.
Relationship as a Dojo
In the world of martial arts, every interaction that takes place inside the dojo – regardless of the skill level of your practice partner – is an opportunity to grow. What if you held your intimate relationships as just that: sacred places of learning, uniquely designed to provoke your own personal transformation?
In this juicy, experiential workshop you will have the opportunity to see yourself-in-relationship in a new way: by feeling & witnessing your unconscious body movement. Using dance and martial arts movement as a metaphor for real life relationship “moves,” you will practice three important relationship skills with other participants, baring witness to your greatest strengths as well as your Achilles heels. By the end of the session, you will have memorable personal examples of the inner alchemy needed to make your polyamorous relationships thrive.
More Than Two: Exploring Gender & Polyamory
Gender is about much more than checking the M or F box on a survey form. Many of us exist in between or outside the binary. In this workshop session, we will discuss the differences and relationships between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual and emotional attraction. We will consider the many and varied gender identities and expressions, how we may identify personally, and those to which we find ourselves most drawn in a partner. In our poly worlds, there may be no reason to choose just one.
Abuse in Poly Dynamics?
Franklin & Eve Rickert
It is uncomfortable to talk about abuse in polyamory. Social acceptance of our relationship choices rests on the premise that our relationships are healthy. And yet not only does abuse occur in polyamorous relationships just as it does in monogamous ones, some polyamorous relationships may in fact be uniquely vulnerable to abuse–because certain polyamorous structures can mask or even facilitate abuse.
When we build relationships that are dependent on other relationships, as in polyamorous families where one person is required to be intimate with another as a contingent for keeping a third relationship, we are building on a foundation of coercion. More problematic, plural relationships can foster gaslighting (making a person doubt their own memories) through the construction of group narratives. Groups may enforce expectations that an individual’s boundaries are less important than group comfort or group cohesion.
How do we recognize abuse dynamics in poly relationships? How do we distinguish healthy from unhealthy relationships? In what ways do the group dynamics of polyamory open the door to forms of abuse seldom seen in monogamous relationships?
We will discuss some of these things and talk about how to spot abusive dynamics in the context of polyamory.
Creating a “New Culture” Based on Love and Freedom
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.
Murray & Lee
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 personal relationships, how does this serve us? Through discussion and exercises we’ll explore vulnerability. How does being vulnerable make us feel? How does vulnerability play out in our relationships? What works about vulnerability in relationships and what doesn’t? There will be opportunities to be vulnerable and we’ll each be at choice in how vulnerable we are.