2014 Poly Living Presentation Descriptions
This list is tentative and subject to change
Polyamory is Here to Stay! Why I’m Excited and Why You Should Be, Too.
With Anita Wagner
It’s an exciting and inspiring time to be polyamorous. Our numbers and visibility continue to swell, the quality and quantity of resources continues to improve, and each day we are a bit better understood. We are much more than a temporary revival of what has been shown to fail in the past. People are establishing stable, gratifying multi-partner relationships that stand the test of time. But there are also sometimes reasons to be cautious. Find out more, including how you can make a difference without breaking a sweat. Unless you want to, of course!
Polyamory and Christianity: It’s Not an Either/Or
Is it possible to feel good about being both in the pew and in an alternative life style? Try this workshop and discover a non-judgmental and non-legalistic way to approach biblical teaching that will help us explore freedom and flexibility within Christian teaching for our cultural contexts our family arrangements and our intimate relationships. The intent of the workshop is to liberate, not repress, the libido by providing a framework for ethical sexual-decision-making that is consistent with Christianity. We will discover we do not have to keep the erotic side separate from the spiritual side nor leave Christianity altogether in order to live an alternative lifestyle. (One may have to change congregations however.) The workshop is open to those reared in the Christian faith and/or those who want to know how to converse knowledgeably with those from within Christianity. This workshop is led by an ordained Christian clergy with an interesting twist on the ninth commandment.
Weapons to Win the Battle Against Jealousy – A Hands-On Exploration of Kathy Labriola’s Jealousy Workbook
Last year Kathy Labriola, a long-time poly-friendly therapist in California who has written at length on coping with jealousy, published The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships. It may be the most important book ever written to serve the interests of polyamorists. I couldn’t wait to receive my copy, and I wasn’t disappointed. Exercise examples include the basic (Exercise Two, Clarifying Your Relationship Orientation) to more challenging (Exercise Thirty-Four, Imaging Looking Through Their Eyes and Being in Their Shoes.). In this workshop we will break out into groups and try out some of the 42 excellent exercises Labriola has devised for helping make jealousy less vexing and our relationships more drama-free.
OKHacking: Online Dating Tips & Tricks
Online dating can be tough, especially for those looking for a poly relationship. Join Wes Fenza for an interactive evidence-based workshop on how to successfully find polyamorous partners. Learn how to write an interesting profile, select an attractive picture, send an attention-getting message, and connect with other like-minded people. The focus will be on okcupid, but many of the lessons can be applied to any online dating service. Participants are encouraged to create a profile ahead of time, and bring a laptop/smartphone with them.
Nineteen Years and Counting: Reflections on a long-term open triad.
Loving More is responsible for bringing this speaker’s triad together in 1994, and as our Keynote Speaker, Anita Wagner, says, “Polyamory is not for wusses.” This veteran “throuple” own a home, are raising two children, and are “out” in their community and their workplaces, and, mostly, to their extended families. Furthermore, they have weathered adding and breaking up with new partners, serious illness, and a death among their network. Learn about their experiences and techniques and why it might now be more appropriate to call them a “pentad”, and ask questions about maintaining and enlarging a long-term poly family.
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! – How to Talk It Over in Poly Relationships.
Jim Fleckenstein and Carol Morotti-Meeker, MS, MLSP
All relationships demand communication skills, but this is especially true in poly relationships where “the rules” often get made up and/or modified as things go on. Research by Dr. John Gottman and others into monogamous relationships has pinpointed communication style and content as a major influencer of relationship quality and duration. It is highly unlikely that poly relationships are unaffected by these same factors. There are many techniques for improving communication in relationships, and one of the most widely used is that developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix for his Imago Therapy. In this interactive workshop, Jim and Carol will be drawing on this research and their combined decades of practical experience in helping people in non-exclusive relationships.
Negotiating Boundaries and Polyamorous Relationship Agreements
Robyn Trask and Jesus Garcia
One of the biggest challenges in polyamorous relationships (actually all relationships) is understanding our boundaries, creating agreements that work as well as knowing how to negotiate and navigate the complexity of our emotional responses. This workshop will go through the basics of understanding boundaries and negotiating agreements that help create a safe container to expand love and connections. Included in the discussion will be safer sex agreements, how agreements change and evolve over time, finding what works for you and your partner/s as well as the way agreements can be an important part in expanding connections and creating lasting relationships.
Polyamorous Families and Children
Dr Elisabeth Sheff
In this presentation Dr. Elisabeth Sheff discusses the findings of her 15-year study of polyamorous families with children. The bulk of the presentation focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of polyamorous family life, and the strategies families use to deal with the disadvantages. The presentation will close with a question and answer session focusing on polyamorous families.
Free Love, Polyamory, Equality and the Women’s Movement
Opponents of polyamory often use the argument that polygamy is bad for women and children and therefore polyamory is bad. The polygamy they refer to is in actuality misogynist based polygyny (a man with multiple wives) and does not represent most polyamorous relationships. Polyamory is based in sexual and relational freedom. In many ways it a continuation of the Free Love Movement, not the 1960s “free love” but the Free Love Movements of the 1800s. The Free Love movement is strongly tied to equality, both racial and gender as well as self-determination of men and women over their bodies, including reclaiming their sexuality. In this discussion and workshop, we will explore the links and history of Free Love and Women’s Movements, how it is has been maligned and what does it mean in our modern polyamorous relationships. Does equality and feminism matter in polyamory? Where do men fit into liberation from gender roles? What does it mean to liberate ourselves sexually? Our purpose is to both understand the roots of the polyamory movement and open a dialogue about gender roles, expectations and the subtle issues that undermine our ability to date and relate in polyamorous relationships.
Legal Recognition of Multi-Partner Relationships – Good? Bad? Should we fight for it?
Session Description: The visible polyamorous community has demonstrated mixed feelings about the value of legal recognition of multi-partner relationships in recent years. Many have watched the progress of same-sex marriage recognition and the much slower-moving effort to decriminalize traditional polygamy (polygyny) with both concern and anticipation. The recent Loving More survey of self-identified individuals in consensual non-exclusive relationships, with the largest sample size (N=4062) ever attained, found that nearly 2/3 (65.9%) of respondents would participate in legally recognized multi-partner relationships if such became available. Over 91% agreed that multi-partner relationships should enjoy the same legal recognition, rights, and obligations as two-party relationships.
Nevertheless, voices within the community, echoing libertarian arguments, have suggested an alternative approach to pursuing recognition: advocating for the complete decoupling of benefits and privileges from relationship status. Others have flatly asserted that the legal complexities of recognizing the creation, evolution and dissolution of multi-partner relationships are insurmountable.
This session is designed to explore the idea of legal recognition for multi-partner relationships, identify benefits and perceived obstacles and some possible pathways to overcoming them, and examine sentiment around the pros and cons of following the model of the LGBT community in prioritizing this matter as a focus for advocacy.
This is Your Brain on Love: the neuroscience of NRE and attachment
Presentation synopsis: In a vivid, accessible presentation, attendees will learn the basics of the different biological factors associated with feelings of love, lust, infatuation, and long-term attachment. We will discuss the role of dopamine, oxytocin, and other neurochemicals in producing the complex and various feelings we call love. We will explore why NRE is such a compelling and distracting force, for both biological and social reasons. Attendees will be given the opportunity to consider their own individual styles of loving, in light of the neuroscience of different kinds of love. Finally, we will apply what we’ve learned about the neurological components of different kinds of love to our own lives, and develop strategies for strengthening old loves and enhancing new ones.
This presentation will use multiple strategies, including a lecture with powerpoint and guided small group discussions. The time needed is flexible: a longer time frame will allow for more discussion and personal application by attendees.
Making Relationships “Work” with Play
Being in love, even deep passionate love, doesn’t necessarily equal making relationships work. In addition to caring and compassion we all need tools, communication skills and ways of making sure we’re on the same page about what our mutual relationships will look like. It also helps to be able to practice those skills outside of intense “make or break” situations. This workshop will give us a chance to do that in fun and playful ways.
What kinds of agreements and relationship structures can thrive and support each partner’s development and growth to make our dreams come true throughout our 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.
This highly interactive workshop will utilize role playing/psycho drama, other tools to practice skills and discussion to work through issues in a safe supportive space. 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 relationships, polyamory and poly families with and without children.
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.
BDSM and Polyamory
Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny
BDSM – a confusing umbrella term including consenting kinky sexualities and negotiated power dynamic relationships – can bring both joy and chaos into a relationship. So can polyamory – and what happens if you’ve got both? Right now, the cross-section of BDSM practitioners who are (sometimes unskillfully) experimenting with poly, and poly people who are (sometimes unskillfully) experimenting with BDSM, is growing by the month. What happens when these practices and communities clash? How do we iron out the difficulties and use both to have better sexual and relationship intelligence? What happens when different partners have differing kinks – or different levels of power dynamic? What can BDSM teach polyamorous people about how to acknowledge and negotiate unspoken inequalities in relationship? Come with your questions! Taught by the author of “Power Circuits: Polyamory In a Power Dynamic” and his loyal slaveboy.
Your Life as a Movie
Julio Cortes Lisa Sandhusen
What if your life was a movie? What kind would it be? Would be an epic adventure, romance, comedy of errors, drama? Whatever it was, it can now be more of what you would like it to be, and we can help you create it that way. In this interactive workshop, we will get busy creating the movie of your life by being the screen-writer, director and casting director, and using what we get to create a usable vision of the life you want. By using simple tools like visioning and partnering, participants will see how they can create the lives they want by making simple and powerful changes. There will be solo, partner and group exercises, as well as opportunities to present ideas/visions to the group, in order to model what is possible to others. This process works in whatever relationship style one is in, and is especially helpful for those in poly relationships.
Sexual Orientation and Polyamory
Ben will facilitate a discussion on the interplay between our sexual orientations and polyamory (or other relational choices). How has being poly affected your experience of your sexual orientation? Has that changed over time? What impact has your sexual orientation had on your choices of how to do relationships? How does the concept of relational orientation fit into all of this?
Building a Sex-Positive Culture
Michael Rios & Sarah Taub
A “sex-positive” perspective sees all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally good and healthy. Join us as we explore the foundations of creating a sex-positive culture, including eliminating the sex-negative voices in our heads; creating supportive sex-positive places, events, and community; finding new spiritual frames that see sexuality as sacred and good; and sharing skills and practices that make sex-positivity easy and natural.
Finding the Sweet Spot
Michael Rios & Sarah Taub
Mmm, that glorious moment when we are giving exactly what our partner wants to be receiving! Sometimes we find that “sweet spot” spontaneously—but more often, we find it through clear communication and feedback. Let’s practice finding that sweet spot—through a series of juicy experiential exercises we’ll offer and/or request touch, negotiate the touch we want, and give verbal and nonverbal feedback on the touch we receive.
Burlesque and Body Image – Find Your Inner Vaudeville Hottie!
This 90 minute workshop will serve as an intro to the art of burlesque, starting with character, stage presence, and confident “swagger” on stage and in everyday life. I am graduate of Lulu Lollipop’s Studio Noir Burlesque School and am a founding member of Busks and Trunks Burlesque. Navigating insecurities in poly relationships can be difficult for some of us. Learning how to find and express the parts of us that we think are sexy can help with our own self confidence and help us move forward in our own new relationships (and existing ones) and also feel secure in the face of our partners’ new relationships.