2020 Workshop Descriptions
Mindfulness and Love
Rev. Amanda Ganley
Mindfulness is a way of being that promotes increased peace, presence and a sense of calmness in life. When we bring these practices to our experience of relationship, we cultivate deeper and more meaningful connections with others. In this workshop, we will learn about affirmative, accessible, and practical ways to cultivate sweeter experiences of love, intimacy and connection that can be applied to all of our relationships.
Mental Health, Restorative Justice, Sexual Freedom & Sex Education
Chanel Jaali Marshall
This highly engaging session will begin with a brief historical overview of the sexuality of African and African descendant women. The presentation will then move into the myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes surrounding the sexuality of Black women. Attention will be given to the ways we learn about sex, and with that information, how we interpret sex and sexuality through our behaviors. This session is intended to be highly interactive with key discussion questions and videos positioned throughout with the intent of examining the aforementioned subjects. The speaker will also include personal stories collected from interviews in order to engage a cross cultural perspective with the audience.
Connecting Through Conflict
Every relationship experiences disharmony. What makes the difference between conflict that leaves you energized and connected and conflict that leaves you depleted and distant is how you approach it and how good you are at repair. In this workshop we’ll walk through things that can make conflict scary and sucky, and then we'll go over some amazing tools to transform conflict into something that can bring you closer to your loved ones. We will then spend the rest of the workshop doing hands-on practice using these tools so that everyone can leave the workshop with skills they can use right away.
In Sickness and in Health: Sex and Love With Chronic Illness
JoEllen Notte & Racheal Rose
Chronic illness can wreak havoc on relationships. From sexual side effects to day to day interactions, it can all feel like too much, especially to the uninitiated. The result? Unhealthy relationship dynamics, partners on both sides of the equation who aren’t supported, and more. In this session sex educators JoEllen Notte and Rachael Rose will look at society’s impulse to desexualize people with illnesses both physical and mental, the pitfalls that can take partners from allies to adversaries, the problematic consent dynamics that can crop up when one feels indebted to a partner who cares for them, and the ableist notion that people should remove themselves from the dating pool until they “get themselves together”. We will analyze these patterns and offer alternative strategies for maintaining healthy and satisfying relationships where everyone gets the support they need.
Ethics and Negotiation Skills for Building and Maintaining Successful Non- Monogamous Relationships
Chrissy Holman and Marco Martemucci, Esq.
Whether you’re opening your relationship for the first time or you have been dating groups of people for decades, it is crucial to understand the ethics and negotiation skills needed to form and maintain relationships of all types. Learn relationship-preserving negotiation techniques to get your wants and needs met while bringing you closer, rather than polarizing, your partner(s). Explore unique ethical considerations involved in building polycules and other multi-person relationship structures so you can avoid potential pitfalls, reduce harm to others, and build more sustainable relationships.
Navigating Sex Positivity in a Sex Negative World
Chrissy Holman & Rebecca Hiles
This workshop explores the meaning of sex positivity and sex negativity as it relates to both asexual and allosexual people regardless of relationship orientation. We will discuss how both asexuals and allosexuals face discrimination, and what can be done to accommodate both asexual people in a world of compulsory sexuality, and allosexuals in a world of sex-shaming. We will discuss how all individuals, regardless of sexual attraction identity, can work together to reduce harm, support autonomy for all, and find common ground without further marginalizing or contributing to stigma.
Psychedelics and Relationships
Lisannette Adelaida Ruiz
Psychedelics are experiencing a profound resurgence in the mainstream consciousness, and there is new research being published almost everyday! How can we get some of that healing in our lives? And how can it help improve our partnerships? In this workshop, we'll explore the latest research findings and protocols, and how we can leverage the insights research is finding to improve ALL your relationships, including, arguably the most important one of all, the one with yourself!
Survivor Experiences with Accountability and Alternative Justice
"Abuse." "Consent violations." "Accountability." "Transformative justice." As communities grapple with how to address interpersonal harm, phrases like these are everywhere. But within polyamorous, kinky and sex-positive circles, where many people tend to lack deep roots in the traditions and communities these ideas came out of, processes are often led by well-intentioned people without the needed experience or training, which can lead to even more harm to both survivors and perpetrators. It is especially rare to hear of a process where a survivor ultimately felt heard or experienced healing, but all to common to hear of processes where survivors experienced more harm—often from the people who were supposed to be helping them.
Why is this? What is going wrong? What lessons can we learn from it? What capacity building needs to happen in our communities to change this pattern? People who have participated as a survivor in an alternative justice process, or who have attempted to have a community address a consent violation or other harm, are invited to this forum to share our experiences—what went well and what went not so well, what we wish had been different, what would have helped us more, how we were affected, and how we imagine our communities doing better. This is not a training in alternative justice processes, but is an opportunity for people who are involved in them (or want to be) to listen to those who have been most affected by them, and for us all to learn from each other's lived experiences.
Food, Sleep, Sex
In the ancient healing system of Ayurveda, food, sleep and sex are regarded as the Three Pillars of Health. These aspects of life are seen as not only vital to one's well-being, but as sources of healing in times of suffering. In this workshop, we'll explore the ways food, sleep and sex co-regulate the nervous system, as well as considering ways to engage each pillar specifically to support the others. Participants will leave with tools to be in full expression of their needs, desires and boundaries. All are welcome!
Love in the Time of Global Warming: Pleasure & Connection-focused Environmental Sustainability
In this workshop we will:
-practice an exercise that validates and accepts painful emotions related to climate change so that we can also make room for joy and fun in our sustainability endeavors
-explore a variety of fun and practical reusable/sustainable household and personal items
-pick a SMART sustainability goal based on love/pleasure/satisfaction for ourselves as individuals
-brainstorm SMART sustainability goals for our larger groups (family unit, polycule, triad, quad, V, friend group, etc.) also based on love/pleasure/satisfaction
-share ideas and resources for further sustainability exploration and connection-building
*everyone in attendance will receive a sampling of a love-themed loose-leaf tea blend*
How to Embrace Our Personal Power Through Boundaries
As much as people throw around the word “boundaries” it’s come to my attention through my work as a therapist and coach (specializing in non-monogamy) that many people have no F-ing idea what a boundary is or how they could uphold them to foster healthier relationships. This is definitely one of the most frequent and valuable skills I teach clients that can lead to immediate benefits for their relationships. Some questions that will be answered during this workshop are:
What the heck is a boundary?
What’s the difference between boundaries, rules, and agreements?
How can we tell whether our current relationship boundaries are healthy and what are tips for creating even healthier ones?
How can we discern between defenses and boundaries?
How can we frame boundaries in effective ways that allow for consistency, uplift our senses of personal power, and reinforce our worth?
Here, There, Everywhere; Navigating Long Distance Open Relationships
Dirty Lola, Kevin Patterson & Michael Guichet
Long-distance relationships can be difficult to navigate but they don’t have to be impossible. Join Dirty Lola, Kevin Patterson, and Michael Guichet as they discuss ways to create sustainable long-distance open relationships with multiple partners. Learn how to stay connected, set realistic expectations, and manage conflict from a distance
The More, The Merrier: A Road Map to Ethical Non-Monogamy
The biggest roadblock to exploring ethical non-monogamy is FEAR.
“I won’t be good at it, so why bother?”
“I get too jealous to ever be able to do non-monogamy.”
“Doesn’t non-monogamy mean cheating, though?”
“Everyone around me would judge me.”
“Isn’t non-monogamy all about orgies and sex parties?”
“I heard that the non-monogamous community isn’t very inclusive.”
“Don’t you need to be super wealthy to have multiple partners?”
“My partner must be suggesting this because I’m not ‘enough’ for them.”
The biggest roadblock to exploring ethical non-monogamy is FEAR. Whatever YOUR fear, Andre Shakti wants to help you acknowledge it, then eradicate it. Andre has almost a decade of alternative relationship experience under her belt. As an educator, advocate, advice columnist and relationship coach for those with non-monogamous identities and practices, Andre approaches non-monogamy with love, levity, and intersectionality. This workshop is geared towards those who are in the initial stages of considering stepping outside of a monogamous framework. Bring your concerns, your compassion, and most importantly, your CURIOSITY!
Trauma & Consensual Non Monogamy
We all bring our histories of trauma to our intimate relationships which can hinder our ability to have healthy relationships. Even within stable, nurturing relationships, past trauma can heighten conflict and make resolution more difficult. This workshop will discuss the nature of trauma, how it comes to play in non-monogamous relationships, and how we can manage and heal from trauma both as participants in non-monogamous relationships and therapists serving clients who practice non-monogamy.
Erotic Breath Work Instruction
Learn to use the breath to strengthen your relationships with Self, with Others, and with The Divine. This form of Erotic Breath work is a gentle healing modality that deepens your embodiment, while reminding you that your body and your pleasure are sacred things. Erotic Breath work can be used for a variety of functions: mediating stress & pain, meditation, spiritual journeying, and enhancing the physical, emotional, and spiritual connection with your partners.
Get Your Head in the Game: Having Great Sex with a Noisy Brain
Most people have experienced having a “noisy brain” during sex at one point or another, and for some, it’s a constant challenge—especially for those with ADHD or anxiety. For some people staying in the moment during sex isn't as simple as just trying harder to focus, and the usual suggestions of mindfulness and meditation don't work for everyone. We spend most of our days working on our ability to multitask, and when we can't turn that off during sex we consider it a problem at best and a personal failure at worst. We’ll cover a bit about how ADHD, anxious, and noisy brains work and how they can impact sex. We'll discuss some specific challenges noisy brains can pose during sex and, most importantly, practical tips for having great sex no matter how noisy your brain is. Audience interaction will also be encouraged, but not required, through an open discussion of what participants often find distracting during sex, what other tips and tricks work for them, and an opportunity to ask questions.
Pleasure and Dysphoria
This interactive workshop will help transgender people, as well as the partners of transgender people, navigate sexual communication and dysphoria during sex. This session will not be limited to only trans people, but it will be focused on transgender needs. Participants will engage in solo and group activities that will help shift the framework of sex education to consider self-exploration, partner sex, dating, and setting future goals for having sexy, empowered sex.
Feel It In Your Bones: Challenging White Supremacy and Improving Outcomes for Trans Youth Through Narrative and Gender Embodiment Practices
Mx. Chahney Young & Mx. Aida Manduley, LCSW
What do sci-fi, memes, and synaesthesia have to teach us about gender? And how does white supremacy culture impact the construction of gender and transness? Furthermore, how do we address and challenge these impacts to build resilience? Join us and find out! This interactive workshop brings together presenters from the fields of mental health and education to engage participants in an exploration of the somatic aspects of gender as well as how these are communicated to others. Through a historical and non-exploitative lens, we will also witness voices and narratives of gender variance from various cultures. These will both address the crucial role of storytelling—and ancestral wisdom—as well as the representation of gender expansive beings in improving outcomes for youth. By allowing participants to gain concrete strategies as well as experience the activities they can bring home, this workshop offers an extra layer of skill-building and reinforcement.
Pleasure and Trauma: Nervous System Regulation for Orgasm and Sexual Presence
Orgasm and sexual awareness can be a complex experience (or non-experience) for many people. Trauma of all kinds, including the culturally traumatic soup we all swim in, has a huge impact on our ability to feel the sensations and emotions of our bodies, especially in connection with other human beings.
Many of us experience too much inhibition, too little inhibition, or an inability to relax and be present during sexual intimacy. These three protective mechanisms become encoded into our bodies based on our life experiences. It is so liberating to be able to soothe these old patterns and open up to the pleasure and connection that we long for. Sexual flow, sensation, emotion, and closeness become more nuanced and fulfilling the more our bodies can live in their natural, resilient rhythms.
During this presentation I’ll discuss the Organic Intelligence model of nervous system regulation. As a group we’ll work with three healing steps towards nervous system health: Orientation, Orientation to Pleasure, and Finding Rhythms. Participants will be empowered to use these techniques beyond the presentation session to deepen and expand their capacity for sexual presence.
Fools Rush In: Inspiration for Building Non-Traditional Households
Have you ever wondered what goes into creating that big poly commune you’ve always dreamed of? From legal considerations to unexpected pitfalls - as well as the surprise bonuses - this workshop will help you ask the right questions, make the important decisions, and have the difficult conversations you need to get your household off on the right foot, improving your chances of long-term sustainability.
Pursuing Unicorns, Threesomes, & More
Unicorns are becoming increasingly popular – not only because of their rarity, but because of their ability to feed off the love of a loving couple. Searching for a unicorn can be very exciting for some couples, but sometimes the search grows weary if you aren’t able to “seal the deal.” In this workshop, we will show you how to allure unicorns by using cautious flirting and sexual negotiations that aim to please both parties. Avoid being a unicorn hunter and become just the right glitter to attract your perfect unicorn.
In Love With A Plant: a demisexual plantsexual take on polyamory and love"
La Loba Loca
Why should we fall in love with natural resources? Why should we fall in love with ancient seeds? Why should we fall in love with water and other greater than than human creatures? In this session we will talk about falling in love with the non-humxn. Ecosexuality is not new, Indigenous peoples and their desendants have created connection and deep love with our ecosystem and non-humxn-animals since millennia. This session is a feminist Queer demisexual plant-loving take on love and the radical power of exploring relations beyond human. Come ready to learn about plants and botanicals to support us through it all!
Heroes & Pedestals
Kat Blaque, Kevin Patterson & Dr. Liz Powell
OMG I LOVE YOUR WORK!!!!!!” All of us encounter people who influence our lives in some ways, whether actors, singers, or leaders in our communities. However, sometimes admiration can turn into hero worship. We can put our favorite online personalities on a pedestal and forget that they’re humans, just like us. While you’re unlikely to meet Tom Hiddleston or Lizzo at your local munch, the people we love in the non-monogamy community might be all around us. In this panel, blogger Kat Blaque, authors Kevin Patterson, MEd of Love’s Not Color Blind and the For Hire series, and Dr. Liz Powell of Building Open Relationships will talk about the dos and don’ts of moving through the world you share with your personal heroes. They’ll help you tear down those pedestals, and find ways to balance respect and admiration with humanity and openness.
Sex Work Informed Parenting, voices of out sex workers and their kids
Kymberly Cutter, Natalie Brewster Nguyen & Faffs Reiderer
Sex work informed parenting is an opportunity to hear from sex workers who have an out to their children about their profession since birth, you will also be able to hear from their kids who range in age from 12-24. The session will go into detail about how we have chosen to share our jobs ( and our poly lifestyle) with our children and families, and what our children have learned in the process. The session will speak to the way we raise our children in an environment of honesty and mutual respect. There will be plenty of time for questions.
The kids, Nile Hand is an artist
Johanna Hand is an artist and college student, Sula Ray Nguyen is an 8th grader, animal lover, snake parent and creative thinker, Violet Ray Vreeland is a 7th grader who loves hedgehogs, parents 3 rats, makes jewelry and see through the bullshit always...
The pod cast Peepshow interviews Natalie and I in episode 49 sex work and families
Neurodiversity & Polyamory: A Support Discussion
Are you an ethically non-monogamous, neurodivergent individual? Would you like to connect with other folx that are too? Whether it be to hear and/or share experiences, learn from shared knowledge, or just gain a sense of community, this is the place for you! Through guided discussion we will talk about the struggles of being neurodivergent while maintaining multiple relationships, share experiences, talk about coping mechanisms, and overall provide a safe space with lots of support.
Authentic Allyship/Upping Your Game
Yoseñio V. Lewis
Recently there has been much discussion in various settings about Allyship. Is “Ally” a descriptor you can give to yourself, or is it one you must earn and be given by others? Why is there controversy in what it means to be an authentic ally? What can one do to be viewed as an ally? What do you do when you come face to face with a dilemma which challenges your notion of allyship? What do you do when the person(s)/place/cause to which you pledge allyship informs you that you are NOT an ally? And what happens when you are challenged to move beyond allyship and view your work as being what Feminista Jones refers to as a “co-conspirator?” And how does all of this fit into the struggle for Sexual Liberation? Join us for what is sure to be a passionate, challenging and eye-opening conversation on how you can Up Your Game!
Attendees will better understand the concept of "allyship", will develop their own definitions and will make public commitments to one "ally" behavior.
Panel: Group Sex: Consent, Communication and Pleasure
Moderator: Lexi Sylver
Sex can be an intensely pleasurable experience, but it can sometimes get tricky when there are multiple people involved! In this panel, we’ll be discussing how to organize a group play session, including tips for choosing your guests and ways for everyone to break the ice. We’ll talk about safe spaces that can be created (or already exist) for group sex events, and how to talk to your partners beforehand about protection to ensure safer play. We’ll explore how to establish enthusiastic consent with each member of your group, and ways to check in on everyone’s comfort level throughout the experience. This panel will also address how to fix common issues that may arise during group sex, and ways to make sure no one feels awkward post-play.
PolyIntrovert: The intersection between introversion and non-monogamy
Zach Budd & Ms. Holly Goodhead
This presentation will be a discussion about the care and feeding of the polyamorous introvert. Topics of discussion will be definitions of introvert, extrovert, and omni (or ambi) verts. The discussion will be a collaboration between a well-known introvert (Zach) and his extroverted partner/girlfriend/love (Holly) who has experience with dating introverts and gives great insights. She's also good at translating introvert thought into word that extroverts can digest. Along with definitions we will discuss recognizing, meeting, dating, communication and conflict resolution with introverts. Also some "Dos and Don'ts" as well as covering ways to make your group or event more introvert friendly. ALL ARE WELCOME
Live Demo Sex Skills: Squirting and/or Blowjobs
Do you ever find yourself in a sex ed class and you wish you could see what the instructors are talking about in real time? Some of us learn through watching something happen, and this is the perfect class for that. Join Hunter Riley, Director fo Education & Outreach at Self Serve Toys, for a live demo learning session to help you understand some of the mechanics of arousal, anatomy, toys to make your job easier and some specific techniques that pertain to squirting and blowjobs. This class will feature a live demo, but you are welcome to go home and practice on your own. Hunter has been a sex educator at Self Serve for over 8 years.
She runs a sex education blog:
Backroom Revolutionaries: How Sex Shop Workers Became the Gatekeepers of the Sexual Revolution
Dirty Lola & Hunter Riley
In the workshop we’ll discuss common questions sex shop customers have for educators, ways you can connect with sex shops to create mutually beneficial relationships, and the role sex shops play in helping “newbies” find their sexual identity and communities to support them. Most importantly we’ll explore why it’s important to work with and support the sex shops you know and trust. By the end of this session participants will understand how they can work with sex shops to reach a wider audience. Participants will get some best-practices on approaching & working with sex shops and they will have ideas on which sex shops to approach for collaborations.
Trauma and Non-Monogamy
Jessica Fern, MS
If we are going to thrive in our Non-monogamous relationships it is important that we understand and explore the ways in which experiencing previous traumas can impact our ability to do non-monogamy, as well as how being non-monogamous can initiate personal, relational, familial, cultural and societal attachment ruptures and traumas that were unexpected.
In this presentation Jessica will go through:
-The different types of trauma
-How being non-monogamous can initiate trauma and how trauma can impact being non-monogamous
-The Nested Model of Attachment and Trauma, which illustrates the different levels of Self, Relationship, Home, Community and Society that trauma can occur and how this impacts being non-monogamous
-How to begin to heal from our attachment wounds and traumas
Listening to What Your Jealousy is Trying to Tell You
Jessica Fern, MS
Knowing how to manage jealousy is a crucial skill and capacity that is necessary in navigating non-monogamous relationships and being able to discern what your jealousy is actually trying to tell you can make the difference between your jealousy bringing you and your partners closer together or breaking you apart.
In this experiential workshop Jessica will:
-Present on the different types of jealousy
-Discuss how many times what we think of as jealousy is actual primal attachment panic.
-Explore the technique of un-blending from your jealousy, so that it is no longer in the driver's seat of your relationships.
-Experience talking to your jealousy and hearing what it's really trying to tell you about what matters most to you.
-Aligning with the needs and values implicit in your jealousy cries, so that you can better respond when jealousy arises instead of react.