2019 Workshop Descriptions
Click here for Speaker Bios
Braving! Telling your story and asking for what you need
Have you ever wished for better tools and a process to work through Big Emotional Reactions? Have you ever thought to yourself, “if only I could figure out what was bothering me about this situation?” Have you ever wanted a way to know how and when to set good boundaries with partners and others? This is the workshop for you! You’ll learn how to write a “shitty first draft” of your reaction story, figure out what pieces of that story are sticking points, and work on setting healthy boundaries and asking for what you need.
Clarity & Consent - A Sex-Positive, Interactive Consent Workshop
Communication is the best lubrication! In this workshop we’ll be talking about sex, communication, consent, first encounters, and handling rejection. We will learn about consent models, the various forms of yes, desires and concessions, boundaries, and negotiating sex. We will offer advice for new and ongoing relationships, as well as consent in non-sexual situations.
We'll also discuss how to get help if you or someone else is in an unsafe situation, provide advice for supporting survivors and talk about what do if someone reports a sexual assault to you.This workshop is geared towards the general public but tailored for our polyamorous community. It will help folks take steps to protect our community from sexual assault.
Consent Forum: A Conversation About Communication, Consent & Safer Sex
Our understandings of consent, limits & boundaries are constantly in flux as we learn more about power, sex, perspective, privilege and more. This will be an opportunity to meet with other sex positive people who want to learn, listen and understand how to show up better for themselves and their partners when it comes to sex, love, hooking up, negotiation & safety.
If you're someone who wants to create an environment where people can feel more comfortable speaking their truth, this is the class for you. Sex educator and Self Serve's Director of Education Hunter Riley, will give advice & open up the floor to others to facilitate better skills around negotiation, consent, safer sex and more. We'll also dispel the myth that having these conversations will "ruin the mood". After this presentation, you'll have the skills to turn that cringe-worthy conversation into verbal foreplay.
Hunter has been a sex educator & Director of Education for Self Serve for over 8 years. She runs a sex education blog, www.outaboutsex.com
Consent for Non-monogamy
Come join our consciousness-raising and interactive discussion about consent! We’ll talk about the concepts of limits, communication, risks and how consent can be given for sexual encounters vs. relationships. The very act of talking about sex and relationship structures can help us understand our own boundaries so we can give informed consent. As part of our discussion, we’ll look at NCSF’s Consent for Nonmonogamy brochure that describes consent for ethical nonmonogamy, including checklists of behaviors to evaluate consent in your own relationship. Come tell us how our community is dealing with consent and how we can do better!
Couples Transitioning From Monogamy to Polyamory
As many of us know, being non-monogamous in a monogamous world has its ups and downs, but taking on the process of going from monogamy to non-monogamy as a couple can have its own unique set of difficulties, as well as gifts. In this presentation Jessica Fern explores six specific dynamics and challenges that relate to couples who are transitioning from monogamy to polyamory while staying together.
In this talk, Jessica goes beyond talking about relationship agreements, communication and jealousy, through exploring:
-How the paradigm shift your are going through is creating your relationship challenges, not non-monogamy.
-How the skills you used to stay healthy in monogamy may not convert in polyamory.
-The importance of de-coupling
-Why the pairing of a Poly-as-Lifestyle partner with a Poly-as-Orientation partner can be particularly challenging.
-How going Poly can catalyze an awakening of the Authentic Self
-How going Poly can expose a Crisis of Attachment Style
Cultivating Secure Attachment in Polyamorous Relationships
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 class 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 Polyamorous perspective.
• What secure attachment with yourself looks like
Deconstructing The Myth Of Polyamorous Sainthood
Nolan Lawless & Jeri Lynn Astra Herbert
In the polyamorous 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 polyamorous 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?
Dropping the Hint, Not the Ball!
Sadly, in today’s “how-to” age, there are more contradictory and harmful myths about flirting floating around out there than there is practical advice. “Don’t fuck on the first date!” “Play hard to get!” “Don’t talk about past relationships!” “Wear something flattering, but not too conservative or revealing!” Hardly ever do the instructions given account for diversity in sexual orientation, gender identity, or relationship style, let alone personal preference! Join performer, educator, and professional flirt Andre Shakti as she identifies the self-imposed “roadblocks” that make flirting difficult and works with your individual personality style to maximize your success without losing sight of who you are and what you REALLY want! This workshop is trauma-informed, Kink/BDSM inclusive, and prioritizes compassionate, consent-focused communication.
Ethical Issues In Counseling Non-Monogamous Clients
Nolan Lawless and Dr. Liz Powell
Audience: Mental health professionals. This workshop will address and explore application of professional ethical principles and state legal guidelines to the unique challenges of working with clients who are exploring or practicing ethical non-monogamy. Topics addressed will include competency, working with clients interested in exploring non-monogamy, the coming out process, conducting therapy with triads or other non-monogamous relationship structures, and more. We will also discuss the unique ethics of practicing non-monogamy as a licensed professional.
Find a Compass and Ditch the Map: A Restorative and Transformative Justice Mini Intensive
Mx. Aida Manduley, LCSW
In a sea of buzzwords and calls for accountability coming to light both outside and inside polyamory communities, the origins and successful applications of restorative and transformative justice often get lost. Join Aida Manduley for a mini intensive on these processes, their theoretical underpinnings, and the wild ride of addressing harm from someone trained in multi-pronged approaches to these issues. When and how do these things even work? Why shouldn’t we just resort to the criminal-legal system? What kind of tools are at our disposal and who’s talking about them? How does this relate to trauma? Come learn the answer to these questions and more, including how to spot accountability that’s punishment in disguise, or alternatively, performative nonsense.
Gaslighting’s Invisible Glare
Samantha Manewitz LICSW CST
In the age of alternative facts, gaslighting seems to be everywhere. The phrase has become fodder for many a blog post and think piece. And yet, there’s pervasive misunderstanding about what gaslighting actually is and how it affects our brains. The truth is that gaslighting is a pervasive, insidious, and effective form of psychological manipulation/control. It can manifest in relationships, friendships, communities, online, and beyond. No matter who you are, where you’re from, or how smart and capable you may be, you are not immune to gaslighting’s effects. (Yes. That means you.) As bleak as this may sound, there is hope. There are ways you can protect yourself from this type of undue influence. This workshop is designed to introduce you to those toolkits. We will discuss what gaslighting is, how it manifests, especially in non monogamous relationships/communities, and what you can do to evade gaslighting’s powerful thrall.
Jealousy Survival Guide
Jealousy can have an enormous impact on some people, so it is no surprise that people (especially those who practice consensual non-monogamy) think, talk, and write about it quite a bit. Using techniques from her book, “Jealousy Survival Guide”, Kitty Chambliss gives you inspiration and provides tools to gain and practice new skills. This is a comprehensive workshop and step-by-step template for recognizing feelings of jealousy and insecurity as they come up using effective tools for sorting through those emotions, and when, if, and how to bring up challenging or potentially emotionally charged conversations with loved ones.
Keeping The NRE Up! Cater to Your Lovers In An Effective Way
Marla Renee Stewart
Do you think that you’ve run out of great ideas for your various partners when it comes to dating? Are you struggling on how to engage your partners on a day-to-day basis? This workshop helps you address these needs by providing pivotal insight on your lover’s Seduction Learning Approach©. By understanding this knowledge about ways to seduce your lovers, you can also use it when it comes to the various love languages that your partners understand. Learn to be a better lover and truly cater to your partners for fostering dating longevity.
Knuckle Up!: Anal & Vaginal Fisting 101
Attention All Size Kings and Queens! Fisting often reads as wildly inaccessible to folks who have only seen it on their computer screens, yet it's one of the most intimately connective, revolutionary sex acts you can engage in! Manual sex aficionado Andre Shakti is ready to knuckle up and show you how to experiment safely with the best sex toys we come equipped with: our fingers!
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Define WHO fists, and WHY!
Care for their bodies in a such a way that it works towards the goal of fisting
Confidently and effectively communicate their fisting desires to their partner(s)
Troubleshoot the challenges inherent in fisting
Execute a multitude of fisting variations and techniques, & more!
Dan & Dawn Williams
If you have multiple multi-decade relationships – or hope too – this is the class for you! Join Dan & dawn, authors of The Polyamory Toolkit and who have various long term relationships as they explore the challenges around when polyamory goes from NRE and hot sex every night to dealing with details like bills, dying pets, illness, and everything from cultivating day to day joy to the suffering that is part of long term love.
Love School: Cultivation of Embodied Relationship(s) In a modern day world
Michelle H. Marks
A 13 Moons Love School Offering: An opportunity to practice listening to the wisdom of body, heart, and mind in support of an intimacy with self and other. Coming together with a spirit of celebration for relationship as a path to awakening is available when we know what safety feels like. Whether you are new on your relational path of exploration, or wanting to enliven what already is, feel welcome to this presentation. The moments we choose to come together can breed simple magic. Michelle will touch upon the larger queries of what is embodied relationship? She will also discuss how our physiology and styles of response when in stress mode are a brilliant thing to understand. Safety for empowered loving is a theme she preaches, as well as why play and friendship are so darn important!
Manhood, Masculinity and Ethical Non Monogamy
“Manhood, Masculinity and ENM” is for those hoping to better understand how gender and ethical non-monogamy often intersect for male and masculine people. The session will begin by establishing a shared vocabulary as well as identifying the three competing approaches which predetermine the shape and limits of debate currently surrounding manhood and masculinity. We will then shift to a panel to discuss personal experiences of how gender and ENM intersect for many male and masculine identified people as well as questions from the audience.
Managing Mental Health Challenges and Polyamory
Dr. Ryan Witherspoon
What do you do if you, or one or more of your partners, is suffering from a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, current or past abuse, or post-traumatic stress? How do you effectively manage relationships with partners or metamours who have borderline, narcissistic, or even sociopathic personality traits? What if you are concerned that you might have some of those traits yourself? Do you know what to do if you or someone you care about is having a mental health crisis?
This workshop, taught by a long-time polyamorous person who is also a mental health professional, educator, and polyamory researcher, will teach you how to use boundary management techniques, effective communication skills, mindfulness-based practices, and crisis intervention principles to cope effectively with mental health-related challenges. With an emphasis on creating an atmosphere of warmth, safety, and empathy, Dr. Witherspoon will utilize lecture, exercises, role-plays, and discussion to illustrate principles and techniques. Attendees will also have the opportunity (if they wish) to share challenges they may have faced, or are facing, in a safe and supportive environment.
Masks: Addressing Dark Desires
Yoseñio V. Lewis
Addressing the consequences of masking desire to hinder or enhance sexuality and/or gender identity, as well as the impact of masks on our ability to reach our full sexual potential.
Mastering the Blowjob: Interactive Skills w/ a Live Demo
Bulk up your blowjob résumé with this hands-on (a dildo) workshop taught by Self Serve Manager Hunter Riley. In 'Mastering the BJ: Interactive Skills' we’ll cover human sexual response, controlling your gag reflex, the art of deepthroating, ball, perineum and ass play and more! This class is for anyone who has a dick or dildo in their life and wants to show it some oral love! This class will feature a live demo, but we will also provide sterilized dildos for practicing! Hunter has been a sex educator and store manager of Self Serve for over 7 years. She runs a sex education blog, outaboutsex.com. You can also take this class online at www.vimeo.com/ondemand/masteringbj.
This presentation will be shown as part of Dirty Lola's Sex Ed A-Go-Go Saturday night 8-10pm
Micro-Aggressions of Desire
Yoseñio V. Lewis
Exploring Micro-Aggressions, Implicit Bias and Confirmation Bias, how they can teach us to be ashamed of that which turns us on and how we can empower ourselves to move past the micro-aggressions to experience the exhilarating heights of sexual health.
Navigating Kink Amongst ISMs
Yoseñio V. Lewis
Exploring how oppression plays into our kink and whether it’s really possible to be kinky and not political, especially for Kinksters of Color, disabled people, poor people, etc.
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.
Non-Monogamy, Privilege and SocioEconomic Class: Sustain Healthy Relationships within a Social Justice Framework
Whether we want to admit it or not, the very ability to practice non-monogamy is a privilege, significantly impacted by socio-economic class. Despite what society would have us believe, we are neither more or less deserving of love and intimacy based on our financial capital. This concept alone can feel impossible to unlearn within a monogamous relationship structure; now, consider individuals who participate in alternative relationship structures that contain three or more individuals. Within this course, we will seek to:
Discuss how and why non-monogamy benefits from wealth
Identify the sacrifices that non-monogamous people make in order to onboard new partners and maintain consistent relationships
Acknowledge the impact of capitalism on HOW we date, taking care to include specifications for marginalized communities and how capitalism tells them they're unworthy of relationships
Discuss how we can move away from capitalist relationship models where funds hold the most perceived value
Come up with non-monogamous dating "hacks" that are accessible to marginalized communities and work towards re-balancing the system
Discuss alternative definitions of "value" that one can bring to a relationship, and how non-monogamous "families" can use creative divisions of labor based on what each individual uniquely brings to the table to create and sustain value, & more!
Organizing for Change: The APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force
Heath Schechinger, Ph.D
There is a movement within the American Psychological Association to formally address the historical erasure of non-monosexual relationship structures. Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., co-chair of the APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force, will highlight the Task Force's 12 Initiatives and address findings from the largest study to date on providing therapy with consensually non-monogamous clients. He will also review resources created by the 75+ member CNM Task Force, including informational brochures for healthcare providers, individual and institutional benchmarks for CNM-inclusive practice, and suggested language for assessing relationship structure on demographic forms. Attendees will also be asked for suggestions about needed resources and next steps for the non-monogamies movement and provided information on how to support the CNM Task Force.
Panel Discussion on Modern Sex Work
Moderated by Joanna Lynne Smith.
Current and former sex workers will discuss the problems and triumphs faced currently by sex workers in the US. Topics focusing on current laws, working in a patriarchal society during the #metoo movement, parenting and relationships as a sex worker, gender & sexual identity, marginalization of sex workers, building community, and activism as an ally.
Poly Parenting 101: How Not To F*ck Up Your Kids
Elizabeth Newsom, LCSW-S
Polyamory means to have multiple loves. There's love between you and your kid, what could go wrong? In this workshop we’ll discuss how you can explore your multiple loves with minimal negative impact on the kids. We’ll discuss the do’s/don’ts of appropriate boundaries, parenting basics, coming out to your kids, and how to grow healthy people.
Polyamorous Representation in Media
Kevin A. Patterson and Alana Phelan
Diverse representation across all genres has been historically limited. Kevin A. Patterson and Alana Phelan bring queer, polyamorous superheroes of all races and backgrounds to the forefront of their series For Hire. In this discussion, they will talk about the need for greater representation and social justice in the science fiction and contemporary fantasy genres and how that shaped the For Hire universe.
Power: The Individual
Ruby B Johnson LCSW, LCDC
Power dynamics and power exchange infers an understanding how coercion can impede
the negotiation of consent. This is an experiential exercise how the intersection of cultural,
society, intellectual, and mental differences impact a person’s capacity and capability to
self-advocate. I use real life experiences as an advocate and activist (as a community leader
and event organizer) for others as well as in my own personal relationships (racial,
socioeconomic, and gender).
Learning Objective: By the end of the workshops, participants evaluate coercion, capacity,
and advocacy in negotiating power exchange.
CONSENT IS SEXY.
CONSENT IS IMPORTANT.
A WHISPER OF YES AND EXASPERATING GREEN IS THE MOST POWERFUL
Power Exchange, Polyamory, and Pain
Chris and Elisha
Being a Master to a slave is hard work. When you both identify as polyamorous it can get even more exhausting. Some people even told us it couldn’t even be done. Well, we are and so far, so good. We will share a few quick practices and protocols that we believe have made us successful for us so you don’t have to buy all the books and attend all the classes we did. But it’s Saturday night so let’s have some fun too! Kink activities can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to. We will offer up a few activities to help keep a slave in line using items that will help keep you in budget. Some of them you might even have with you tonight or are easily accessible in the hotel.
Pure Love: Kink, Non-monogamy, and Sex-positive Parenting
Ignacio G (Hutiá Xeiti) Rivera, M.A. (they, them, their (or none) / elli (o ninguno))
Have you been called unfit, immoral, a bad parent, non-traditional, abusive, or oppressive for being a kinky and/or polyamorous caregiver? Parenting ain’t easy for anyone, but mix it with “alternative” methods of living, loving, desiring, and child rearing and the challenges pile up. Fear no more! Get the facts, share your story, and get intentional about your family, yourself, sex, love, and play.
Queering Sex Ed: Using Ethical Communication as a Framework for Radically Inclusive Sex Ed
"Comprehensive sex ed" for students, usually means discussing LGBTQ people, safe barrier methods, and accurate information without shame, but what if we dreamed bigger? What if we included social and emotional health? What if our sexual health was radically inclusive of trans and queer bodies, polyamorous relationships, and kink? What if we didn't say "men and women" as code for "penis and vulva"? My name is Sara and I'm the host of Queer Sex Ed Podcast. Wanna dream big with me? As a field, sex education is often a compromise with social mores that requires things like obscuring kink, hiding queer identities, and not discussing sex as something people do for pleasure, not just to produce straight children. If we want to really address the ways sex ed falls short for queer young people, we must do more than just mention their identities or limit their education to one special day. I want to move people to integrate conversations about boundaries, consent, needs, and hurt into every day conversations with people of all ages so we are all better prepared to communicate about sex when it's necessary. I also want to provide practical knowledge and tools for conference attendees who want more education about queer identities and better resources to learn from and share with their students.
Radical Self(ish) Love: How Loving Yourself is the Best Thing You Can Do for All of Your Relationships
This presentation is presented in lecture format with invited participation from attendees. Building on the “Five Pillars of Consent” model, the presenter will discuss the basics of self care. But will also explore the reasons why self care is often and intentionally overlooked in today’s society. Included will be discussions about how self-care is neither an indulgence, nor an option. The presenter will give examples and reasons why self care is CRITICAL and even ETHICAL to maintaining healthy relationships, particularly in non-monogamous/polyamorous dynamics. The discussion will propose a radical shift in the way self care is viewed as well as pointing out the “backwards and upside down” prevailing narrative of self care. Key points in this presentation include the “myth of selflessness”, “everyone has the same primary”,”turning the ‘To Do List’ upside down”, “self care red flags when going into new relationships”, “being selfish together”, and the “absolute, unequivocal imperative obligation to be shamelessly selfish."
Rewilding Our Sexual Stories
What parts of your sexual self most need to be heard, witnessed and validated? What stories from your erotic life rise up to be shared and released? Our sense of what is possible for us sexually is shaped by the stories we take on and the ones we tell ourselves. In this workshop, we will use movement, sound and spoken word to explore and share real stories from our own erotic histories. The stories that emerge represent a full spectrum of experience, from the luscious, empowering and inspiring to the traumatic, ambiguous or disappointing; the full of spectrum of experience is welcome and encouraged! Stories are held within a container of sacred witness, making space for you to process and express your own material without judgment, commentary or analysis.
Sex Ed A Go Go
Sex Ed A Go Go is a sex positive, educational talk show and variety show hybrid hosted by Dirty Lola. Lola and her rotatating panel of educators and performers affectionately deemed the Pussy Posse answer anonymous questions from the audience about love, sex, relationships and everything in between honestly and hilariously. To add a little spice and get the audience in the mood we showcase some of the finest burlesque, GoGo and Circus performers from around the country.
Sexually Speaking @ Friday Night Variety Show
Carolyn Busa may live in Brooklyn, but she's as wide-eyed as the day she left her small town in South Jersey 5 years ago. It’s not uncommon for her to use the phrases “geez louise,” and “tie me up” in the same sentence. Carolyn’s comedy is a reflection of her newfound confidence in herself, her style, and most importantly, her sexuality. Her goal is to make you blush, laugh, have a threesome, and maybe even tell your parents about it.
Speed pitching: Get your book published
Do you have a manuscript or an idea for a book? Would you like to get feedback from a seasoned editor and publisher—and maybe even a chance at a book deal? Come prepared to give a three-minute lighting pitch, and I'll spend three minutes giving you my impression and some tips for honing your approach. Leave your contact info and if your manuscript is a good fit for Thorntree Press's list, I'll follow up with you later! Advance sign-up, up to 10 people.
Superminority: Seeing, Honoring and Loving the Polyamorous Black Male
Non monogamy is nothing new to Black men in America. Ethical non monogamy, however, is a relatively new concept. This lecture format discussion will explore some of the reasons why Black males are among the most underrepresented demographic in ethically non monogamous spaces. The presenter will draw from historical understandings, some research, and his own personal experiences as a Black American man who identifies as polyamorous to share the story of “where we came from and how we got here.” This deeply personal discussion will attempt to shed some light on the reality of being Black and Polyamorous. It will also give insights into ways to having the difficult conversations around race and where they intersect with relationships and polyamory. Also included will be some suggested ways of being a supportive partner to a Black, polyamorous individual. This workshop would be of benefit to anyone who wants to understand the uniqueness of the Black and Poly experience. It will also benefit those who are currently in, or may find themselves in, relationships or polycules with a Black man. As always, the curious and genuinely interested are always welcome. Some highlights are, “hypermasculinity in the Black community”, “fetishization”, “tokenism or ambassadorship”, “the curious case of Black non monogamy” and “for the love of God if you are ‘colorblind’ I have no use for you.
Supporting the Financially Disenfranchised in a Culture of Consent
Julian Addams Wolf
Being ethically non-monogamous isn't just for the financially independent. While the previous statement is easy to agree with, many of us haven't considered how inclusive our events are to the financially disenfranchised, or the impact that poverty has on our peers within our community. In this workshop, we'll discuss some facts and figures, discuss how we can create more inclusive events and opportunities, share best and worst practices, and how these things relate directly to Consent Culture.
This Heart Holds Many: My Life as the Nonbinary Millennial Child of a Polyamorous Family
Join Koe Creation for the launch of their memoir, This Heart Holds Many: My Life as the Nonbinary Millennial Child of a Polyamorous Family. As children, many of us were asked by our mother to do the dishes. Perhaps some of us would need to be asked more than once. Koe would get asked three times, by three different mothers. Crowded parent teacher conferences, queer youth summer camp, and parental adoptions over potluck dinners were typical of Koe’s upbringing in a queer polyamorous family. Still: all families know conflict, and all hearts know struggle, no matter how loved. While in the spotlight as a “poster child” for the alternative Seattle community, Koe yearned for a realization of themself beyond the shadow of their polycule. This drive for a singular identity led Koe to leave the alt-Seattle scene behind them—first for the vivacious beaches of Hawai’i, and later for the couches of San Francisco—to find the self that no one person, or even one family, could make for them. This Heart Holds Many is a testament of transformative, communal love, as told by an educator and lifelong learner who has dedicated their life to helping others grasp their extraordinary love.
Trans-Queering Your Sex
Ignacio G (Hutiá Xeiti) Rivera, M.A. (they, them, their (or none) / elli (o ninguno))
Interested in a Trans person, gender queer person or gender non-conforming person? Wanna have fun and be respectful. Wanna experience "non-traditional" sex and desire that is not based on stereotypes? Well this is the workshop for you. Open to all sexual orientations and genders.
What Disability Politics taught me (and can teach you) about self-consent
When I became mobility impaired after a car accident, I found my understanding of the politics of disability and exclusion growing. Suddenly, my instinct to not be ‘difficult’ was causing problems for me. I needed to use a scooter a lot of the time, and that made large parts of the world inaccessible to me because I could no longer traverse curbs/steps. At first, my new needs felt embarrassing and just about me. I thought shopkeepers, universities and airlines were right, that I was an inconvenience and it was my fault. As my politics shifted I realized they were really about the invalidating social and built environment we inhabit.
I started to recognize the subtle ways in which I’d internalized messages about the over-riding importance of being ‘nice’ all my life. As a survivor of sexual violence, this idea pervaded my sex life too. I recognized that I pushed away my body's sense of whether something was really OK for me in order to not make a fuss. With this knowledge, I have found practices that help me to tune into my own sense of ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Focusing on self-consent can feel selfish and bring up emotions of fear and shame as we try to express our authentic selves in opposition to overwhelming pressure to conform, but it is also a revolutionary act of self-love and self-care. The practices in this workshop will help you to find your own internal sense of yes and no.