All classes and presenters subject to change.
All in the Family: Do’s and Don’ts of Harmonious Metamour Relationships
When asked about the qualities that bring harmony or disharmony into their metamour relationships, polyamorists repeatedly emphasize the same basic keys to meta-happiness. In many ways, polycules function like extended family systems, and metamour dynamics resemble those between in-laws. So how does one get along with the people in their partners’ relational networks? This session will reveal one definite do, one definite don’t, and a handful of “it depends” for people wanting to get along with the extended poly family.
Reducing the STIgma: An Evidence-based Discussion of the Risks (and Rewards) of Non-Monogamous Sex
Aside from jealousy, very few topics of conversation are as challenging within ethical non-monogamy communities as STIs. Indeed, we all live in a sex-negative, slut-shaming culture in which few people are aware of their actual risks and how best to navigate safer sex boundaries with one partner, let alone more than one. It can be difficult to fully experience sexual pleasure with STI anxiety lurking in the background. In this workshop, sex educators Angel Kalafatis-Russell and Alex Bove discuss STI prevalence and risk statistics as well as strategies for having conversations with partners, or potential partners, about this important, often sensitive subject.
Trans relationships: learning how to talk with your trans or non binary partner/partners about romantic and/or sexual wants, boundaries, and desires. This includes how to talk about the link to gender identity, gender expression, and learning your partner’s language and how they see themself. There will also be discussion on how to best support someone that may be transitioning including gender affirming language and good skills to utilize as an ally.
Poly Family Therapy: the ethics of social work and working with an LMSW or LCSW so that you can get the most out of family or relationship therapy for your poly unit.
Taking Care of ConDrop: You’ve thoroughly enjoyed your experience here at Atlanta Poly Weekend and now it’s nearly time to go home. Your body and brain have been through the ringer, learning and experiencing amazing new things. ConDrop is a very common experience after the convention, returning to the “normal” world. Let’s talk about how you can ease your transition back to work, family, and daily responsibilities.
Doin’ It Solo (Polyamory): Most discussions on polyamory focus on the couple, triad, quad, and more. But what about the singles out there? We’ll talk about what solo polyamory is, why it’s different from couple-dom, and what solo polyamorists can do to take care of themselves and their loves in a world dominated by couples, Vs, and triads.
New Culture Connection Games
People desire connection, and these games are guaranteed to help people grow in their ability to be vulnerable and open to each other. If you are a community leader, you can take these games back to meetings for fun icebreakers and get to know you games. (Child friendly)
Diversity in the Poly Community
Non-white people often feel excluded from the local poly community. How can community leaders be more welcoming to diverse people? We will discuss implicit bias and other ways people unintentionally alienate non-white and LGBTQ members. We’ll talk about minority specific communities (such as Black & Poly) and how they strive to be inclusive from the opposite perspective.
The Couple’s Guide to Poly
Many couples start their non-monogamy journey together. This intro class will cover the most common pitfalls of starting out, without ever using the words “unicorn” and “hunter.”
Coexist (A New Hope): A look at the separation of alternative sexuality communities
Panel Discussion featuring Alexandra Tyler, Beck Duffield, Antoinette Patterson, Choc Trei, and Mercury
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.
Understand biases between alternative sexuality adult communities
Consider potential strategies for bridge building between these communities
Please note, this panel is meant to be recorded for data compilation and future National Coalition for Sexual Freedom projects.
Interdependence or Codependence? What are the essentials for a healthy relationship?
This class explores the foundational ingredients for healthy relationships. We will discuss individual rights and personal boundaries, responsibilities to yourself and your relationships, negotiating expectations, accepting unpleasant realities, honoring informed consent, emotion regulation skills and why they are important to healthy relationships, identifying controlling behaviors in yourself or in others and how to respond to them, and ethical interactions and communications.
Become a Relationship Communication Rockstar!
In polyamorous relationships, we are often trying to figure out how to say “yes” to something our partner wants, but our own feelings of hurt, jealousy or abandonment can get in the way. Based primarily in Imago therapy and Non-violent communication techniques, this lecture introduces participants to the patterns that derail relationship communication into non-productive, sometimes painful patterns of arguments, withdrawal, and needs being left unmet. We’ll talk about how to interrupt those unhealthy, often entrenched patterns. And, we’ll cover new communication skills, the mindset and spirit with which to approach the new skills, and how to work toward the “yes” we typically seek in polyamorous relationships.
“Don’t Shoot The Messenger: Tough Conversations and How to Make Them Easier.”
Coming out, stating needs, drawing lines, maintaining boundaries
“Bye, Felicia! Recognizing Energy Leaks and How To Plug Them.”
Toxic relationships, draining friendships, and the challenges of ending them.
Coming Out to Family and Friends (Group Coaching Session)
Overview: The decision to come out to family and friends as Poly is a tough one. The how, when, and why is different for everyone; whether it be a planned conversation or a forced topic of discussion once you are “busted”. What works for some, does not work for all. EVERYONE’S SITUATION IS DIFFERENT.
The difference between group coaching and a panel discussion is that every person in the room will have the chance to speak and work through their challenges associated with coming out. It provides critical thinking points and support for everyone, as well as allowing everyone to speak to their own experiences and situations, as opposed to listening to the panelists. For those who may not want to actively participate in the discussion, the questions presented will provide excellent journaling prompts for those who wish to work through the process outside of the group session
Objective: This group coaching session is designed to help participants find what will work best for THEIR situation; whether it means coming out to everyone; coming out to a select few; or keeping it under wraps for the time being.
Proposal: A “controlled” Group Coaching Session allowing for organic sharing and conversation as well as a Q & A period.
- The Group Session will start with an open floor for willing participants to share their own coming out stories.
- The remainder of the session will be structured around, but not limited to, a round of open ended questions for some to share and open dialog: Reasons for coming out, Challenges, Fears, Effects, etc…
Spirituality and Polyamory
Overview: This workshop is designed to take a look at how spirituality may or may not affect our relationships.
Objective: In this workshop, participants will take a closer look at the relationship between their spirituality and their relationships with their partners. This is NOT a workshop to indoctrinate anyone with any spiritual beliefs other than their own.
Proposal: We will then have open discussions concerning the difference between “religion” and “spirituality”.
Questions, like the following, will be put forth to start the dialogue with participants to help examine their spirituality within their individual relationships:
- Are the views of non-monogamy within the world’s religions important to our personal faiths/beliefs/paths?
- What type of effects can Spiritualty have on our relationships?
- Does everyone in the relationship have to have the same spiritual beliefs?
Why? Why not? Do our relationships stunt or encourage our spiritual growth?
How? Is this important? What can we do to enhance/strengthen our spiritual bonds with our partners?
The Intersection of BDSM and Poly in Your Relationship(s) – Sailing the waters of relationships can be difficult on a good day, but when you add into the dynamic the potential pitfalls and perils of BDSM, multiple partners, and power dynamics, among other things, the waters can get downright treacherous. Join Lady Steele as she helps guide you through all of these potential issues when she discusses BDSM and how it can either complicate or simplify your relationship dynamic. Her discussion will include tools for effective communication, tools to facilitate conflict resolution, and a tried and true way to take inventory of yourself and your relationship(s) without casting judgment. Everyone who is in or wants to be in a poly relationship that involves power exchange can benefit from this presentation.
The Nuances of Non-Monogamy and Estate Planning – What can you do to protect your non-monogamy lifestyle and family in the event of a worst case scenario? The answer to that, simply, is have an airtight estate plan. The proper estate plan that addresses everything, including health care and financial decisions, can mean the difference between making the end of life decisions easy for those you love and potentially leaving them out in the cold. How can you arm yourself and your loved ones for such an unpleasant time? Come find out when Sarah Steele, an attorney licensed to practice in the state of Georgia presents The Nuisances of Non-Monogamy and Estate Planning.
You Let Her Do What? Examinations of Polyamory and Masculinity
Since the 1960s, many of us have adopted a modern take on polyamory with female-driven resources and ideologies at the forefront. So, how does this mesh with some of the traditional ideas of masculinity that we’ve been socialized to believe. If we’re determined to shed default setting relationship-models, what parts of masculine conditioning do we also need to let go of? What parts do we need to keep? In this workshop, we’ll explore ideas common to polyamory and masculinity and how we intend to rewrite our own scripts to reflect a positive narrative for our communities, our partners, and ourselves. Bring your stories!
Polyamory and D/s- Joys & Pitfalls
It seems like every story we read about BDSM involves stables of rugged male slaves and harems of nubile females, all constantly ready and waiting for Master or Mistress’s pleasure.
And of course, we all know that real life is just like a BDSM novel, right?
We will discuss the joys and pitfalls of mixing polyamory and D/s- who’s the alpha slave? What IS an alpha slave? What happens when you want to explore BDSM, but have a vanilla partner? Can a submissive serve multiple Dominants? Can a Dominant satisfy multiple submissives? Who sleeps with whom, and who pays for the king-size bed?
Negotiation 101: Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities on Both Sides of the Slash
You’ve found this amazing world of sexiness and silliness, you’ve found someone delicious to explore it with you, and you’ve found your toys- you’re ready to play! Or, are you? Learn how to discuss expectations for play, ruling out or adding in sex to your play, potential trauma triggers, aftercare needs, and a variety of other topics necessary for safe and sexy playtimes.
All Things Metamour
Come talk about the joys and challenges of metamour relationships. How do you navigate these unique relationships with the partners of your partners? Come discuss etiquette, communication, boundaries (determining yours & respecting theirs!), common conflicts, happy stories, and more! Facilitated discussion, participation encouraged but not required.
Community: Finding Your People
This session will discuss ways to effectively nurture and contribute to the type of community that you want to be a part of. Whether you are starting to build a community from scratch, or wanting to keep your existing group strong and growing, this facilitated discussion will offer ideas and practical suggestions. Participation is encouraged, let’s brainstorm and discuss what has worked (and not worked) for different communities. All community members, whether you consider yourself a “leader” or not, are welcome.
Defending Non-Monogamy: (Interactive Lecture) When I first became non-monogamous I was astounded at the width, breadth, and vitriol of attacks that I received from almost everyone, and especially my close family. Even with my background in ethics argumentation, I found myself often on my back foot. Since then I’ve had years to study and understand how and why this happens and to devise some useful responses. It is this expertise that I intend to share with you.
In this course, we will discuss the most common underlying reasons that people have such reactions, methods of self care and defense that you can practice, and strategies to help you present the deeply ethical nature of non-monogamy in a way that those closest to you may actually be able to hear. Granted, not everyone will be able to have their minds changed, but there is strong research indicating the most successful methods that we can employ to help others understand.
Please come prepared with stories of your most unreasonable detractors and their most intractable arguments so that we can untangle them together.
Negotiating Families: (Interactive Lecture, Kid Friendly) Non-Monogamous ethics are hard enough on their own. What happens when children are introduced into the mix? How do we reconcile that most non-monogamous ethics are based on consent with the issues of guardianship, namely that children in many cases are incapable of consenting?
This course is designed to teach parents and children how to negotiate with each other. Bring your children or come alone and discuss together the most common problems that non-monogamous parents face as well as how integrating a direct method for your children to negotiate their needs with you can help your relationship with them, lead to more ethical outcomes, and increase your child’s sense of empowerment and autonomy
Measure Me with My Yardstick, Not Yours: “How long have you been together” is probably the #1 question I get asked, as if length of time defines a successful relationship, and it often does in monogamy. Breaking out of the monogamous mindset is challenging and we’ll talk about ways it sneaks back in on us. Learn some tips to exclude these tricky assumptions from conversation and your own thought patterns. Redefining “success” for your own relationships brings some serious benefits. If you don’t know when you’re successful, how do you know if your relationships are in trouble? How can you tell in poly when you might not see partners for days, weeks or months? Let’s find the right yardstick, know when to pick it up and when to put it down.
Household Establishment: Making It All Go – Sometimes it really is about the dishes! Let’s examine the functional day-to-day lives and discover ways to rethink our laundry as much as our love lives. Whether new or established, and regardless of the number of people living poly, the daily grind can get ya down. Let’s reexamine household chores in the light of poly functions, individual responsibility and shared opportunities. Living separately does not mean your household is exempt. This is a chance to break the mold and build a world of less stress! We’ll share tips on sharing space as well as household management for multiple adults with and without children.
Angel “Professor Sex”
Co-Opting or Co-Existing? A facilitated discussion about the overlap (and separation) between ethically non-monogamous (ENM) and LGBTQIA identities and communities.
If you are an LGBTQIA person who is also ENM, which communities do you feel most at home in, queer communities or non-monogamous communities? What should straight ENM folx keep in mind when dating LGBTQIA folx or moving through LGBTQIA spaces? Do straight ENM folks “belong” in Pride celebrations? Does being ENM make you queer?
Not everyone lives in cities that have thriving ENM communities. Often this means that ENM and LGBTQIA individuals frequently end up sharing space and resources, which is openly embraced by some and a sincere challenge for others – and all with good reason. This session is intended to be a facilitated discussion about the ways these communities overlap and the ways they do not, important considerations for members of both communities about mutual and exclusive concerns, ways our communities can support each other, and when/if it might be important to provide distinction between these communities. Please note: This is not meant to be an enforcement of any one individual’s agenda or ideals, but a collective discussion of critical issues facing alternative sexual and relationship orientation communities. Due to the often-controversial nature of discussions like these, safe space group agreements will be established and enforced.
Reducing the STIgma: An Evidence-based Discussion of the Risks (and Rewards) of Non-Monogamous Sex with Alex Bove
Aside from jealousy, very few topics of conversation are as challenging within ethical non-monogamy communities as STIs. Indeed, we all live in a sex-negative, slut shaming culture in which few people are aware of their actual risks and how best to navigate safer sex boundaries with one partner, let alone more than one. It can be difficult to fully experience sexual pleasure with STI anxiety lurking in the background. In this workshop, sex educators Angel Kalafatis-Russell and Alex Bove discuss STI prevalence and risk statistics as well as strategies for having conversations with partners, or potential partners, about this important, often sensitive subject.
The Effects of “The Poly Closet” on Metamours, Ex-metamours, and Pivot Partners
Description: Are you in the “poly closet”? Is your partner? Doesn’t feel great, does it? In this workshop we dive deep into the poly closet pool, identifying ways in which this affects us and our partners. We discuss why many of us are still in the closet, and when might be an appropriate time to come out, and how to go about that as safely as one can. We also discuss strategies for supporting our partners if we are in the poly closet and they are not. Harmonious relationships are possible given some understanding and having the right tools.
Jealousy Survival Guide
Description: 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.
When we fall in love with someone, (or several someones), we can unconsciously take with us cultural messages about how we’re supposed to love based on elements of our identities. “I’m a woman, so I should be the romantic one”, “I’m bisexual, so I should like mixed-gender relationships”, “I’m a person of faith, so I shouldn’t want non-monogamy”. Sound familiar? In this experiential workshop, we’ll unpack those “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” and explore how folks find themselves in inauthentic partnerships — and how they can turn them around.
May-December Relationships — Investigating Age Heterogamy…
Research shows that most relationships and marriages in Western societies show an average age-gap of around three years. So, what about the consensual age-discrepant relationships of 10 years or more? Are they healthy? Can they last? Why is he a “Dirty Old Man”, while she’s a “Cougar”? And why are the younger partners assumed to be vapid or gold-diggers? Let’s talk about perceptions, challenges, benefits, and advocacy in both poly and mono relationships and unpack why it’s still a cultural taboo.
Care and Feeding of the Poly Person (Workshop):
If asked, who would you say is the most important person in any relationship? Surprise! It’s you! In relationships, it’s often easy to place emphasis on the importance of the bond between people instead of nurturing ourselves and, by proxy, our relationships. In this class, our relationships take the back seat and you’ll find out exactly why this is a healthy choice! Defining your boundaries, creating personal autonomy, and developing skills to communicate your truth will all be touched on during the course of this class.
The Dark Side of Poly (Lecture):
Contrary to popular belief, the dark side is not always home to cookies and general bribery. The poly dark side is home to well known terrors such as jealousy, fear of rejection, shame, and much more! In this class, we will shed light on these commonly held fears and show them for what they truly are: hidden truths waiting to be explored. Common reasons behind these dark side poly terms will be explored and potential solutions will be discussed.
David Rogers/Erin Kitson
Making Long Distance Relationships Work
Getting stuck in a rut? Growing apart? Finding it difficult to find time or new ways to connect? Are jealousy, insecurities, or fears setting in? These are all common things that can creep up and work their way into any relationship, but even more so when you and your partner(s) are separated by long distance. This class will help equip you with the skills you need to help with overcoming these types of common issues, while teaching you ways to effectively communicate your needs and expectations with your partner(s). Learn new ways and share fresh ideas for reconnecting with your partner(s) all while being miles apart.
Rachael Kieran/ Nickie Fuentes
Consent Part I – Asking for what you want (and do not want)!
Consent is a critical component of all interactions, not just those that obviously involve power exchange. We exchange consent on a daily basis, but also make assumptions about consent that often, or allow people to make assumptions about our consent. Very often that can backfire, so why not think about giving the information up front? Because it is difficult, scary, and often we have been trained not to. So let’s talk, learn and practice making that a daily experience!
Participants will be encouraged to participate in small consent exercises, but only with their enthusiastic consent – just observing is fine!
Consent Part II – Finding our voices when things don’t go as planned
Things often don’t go as planned – in all things! But how do we speak up when we are negatively impacted by this? How do we find a way past the fears that we may be to blame, or that others really didn’t mean any harm, or that perhaps we misinterpreted the interaction? This session will focus on techniques for moving away from blame and towards communicating information and a focus on self-advocacy as a way to keep the world around us informed of how to best interact with us. Extremes on both ends of the spectrum will be discussed, including seeking safety in cases where repeated consent violations are present, however the focus will be on the more everyday examples of improving this communication.
Participants will be encouraged to participate in small consent exercises, but only with their enthusiastic consent – just observing is fine!
Mandee Conant (moderator)
Poly 101 Panel – All your basic questions answered. How we do it, why we do it, when we do it, and where we do it!
Featuring Ms. Noel, Michael Haag, Scarlett Ross, and David Rogers
Parenting in Poly Panel – Navigating relationships with adults in poly is tough, but what happens when our kids get involved. Meet some experienced parents who navigate poly every day!
Featuring Kevin Patterson, Ginger, Angel “Professor Sex”, and Jerry Schutjer