Classes

Poly 101– John Tucker & Susan Porter – A fun and light but educational Polyamory 101! Topics covered include vocabulary, consent, relationship structures, and styles.

More Than Two: Making healthy poly relationships – Franklin Veaux – This workshop, which draws from the book More Than Two, ventures into territory covering everything from what it means to have a healthy relationship to constructive ways to deal with problems, with stops along the way at communication, dealing with unpleasant emotions, and giving everyone a voice in the relationship. It is a participatory workshop with Q&A afterward.

Jealousy Survival Guide: How to feel safe, happy, and secure in an open relationship Kitty Chambliss – 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.

Sex Positivity and Alternative Relationships as a Spiritual Path Kitty Chambliss – Ever wonder how to be comfortable with deepening intimacy while enjoying more mindful sex, or how to build trust and acceptance in relationships? This presentation is for those seeking more understanding and practical guidelines around sex positivity, living an authentic life, and will discuss definitions and types of alternative relationship structures (such as consensual non-monogamy (CNM)/polyamory, and more).

New to Polyamory? What to Expect in the First Few Years – Page & Justin – Are you polycurious but haven’t taken the leap? Are you new to polyamory and wondering what to expect? While everybody’s experience with polyamory is going to be a little different, due to our nerd-tastic data analysis, we’ve discovered several clear general patterns in our years working with polyamorous clients. In this class, we’ll talk about  the most frequently encountered joys and challenges as well as average time frames for experiencing them and research-based, effective ways to manage frequently encountered hurdles.

Let’s Talk about Labels  John Tucker – Let’s talk about labels! What do they mean? Why do we have them? What function do they serve, and does that function serve us? There are some extremely important factors to consider when thinking about relationship labels, and it’s high time that we consider them.

Trying a Triad? Building Ethical Polycules – Chrissy Holman & Mischa Lin – Join leaders of Open Love NY for an in-depth discussion into the controversial topics of unicorn hunting and ethical triad/quad/polycule formation. Whether you’re opening your relationship for the first time or you have been dating groups of people for decades, your voice matters.
Topics discussed will include opening up, couples’ privilege, unicorns vs. hunters, open vs. closed triads/quads and the ethics that enable enduring polycules. Learn simple negotiation techniques to get your wants and needs met, and explore the ethics to consider when working with others to build polycules. Bring your positive and negative experiences to the table, and let’s tackle this complex topic as a community.

STDs 301 for Poly Relationships– Kya Stormcrow – You know the basics about STDs: get tested, use condoms, talk to your partners. But what about STDs that aren’t prevented by condoms? Ones that standard screens don’t cover? Do you know your risk profile for trichomoniasis, donovanosis, or scabies? What about the STD status of your boyfriend’s wife’s girlfriend’s friend with benefits? How do you figure out your risk when your polycule is so big that you aren’t even sure how many people are in it? Should you have an STD talk with someone at a cuddle party? Just to make out? Before a non-sexual BDSM scene? If you’re ready to learn about STDs and poly at a 301 level, come to this class and get in-depth information on over 20 STDs and guidelines for understanding your risk level in large, complex polycules.

Boundaries– Like Ocean Waves or Flood Walls? – Susan Porter – Every Poly 101 class or meeting or discussion will at some point touch on boundaries. How you need boundaries. Why boundaries make for better relationships. Have you ever wondered– yeah, but how do I know what my boundaries actually are? How do I communicate about them? How do I know they have changed? Do I have some boundaries that are more like walls and others that seem possibly flexible– if certain conditions exist. Do my boundaries remain constant across relationships or do they vary based on circumstances? This workshop will be some intro lecture, some idea sharing and some written exercises (with an option for verbal processors– should they prefer.) Participants should bring a notebook to take notes and work on some of the suggested exercises.

Acing Polyamory: Ace-Spectrum Polyamorous Relationships – Chrissy Holman & Mischa Lin – Join us for a robust discussion on the intersection of asexuality and polyamory, and let’s dispel some myths and stereotypes surrounding asexual dynamics. This workshop will cover the basics of asexual orientations, including demisexuality and gray-asexuality. Then we’ll dive into the details of how we as both ace-spectrum and allosexual people can structure our relationships in ways that are comfortable and satisfying, whether they are relationships between people on the ace spectrum or a mix. We’ll finish by opening the floor for a discussion and inviting you to share your own questions and insights with the rest of the group. Both ace-spectrum and allosexual people are welcome at this event.

Two Nurses and a Shrink on Getting Your Healthcare Needs Met – Michelle Vaughan, Jessica Rouch, Adam Taylor – What are the unique needs of consensually non-monogamous people when it comes to physical health? How do consensually non-monogamous (CNM) people get their healthcare needs met? What can you do to find CNM-friendly providers/clinics? How can you respond when you encounter ignorance, discrimination, or supportive providers? In this workshop, we will draw on the results of our recent focus group study on CNM healthcare experiences, to discuss common healthcare issues of CNM people related to sexual health/family planning, relationship structures, and educating providers/staff and work collaboratively to brainstorm strategies and options to empower you and your partners in the room with your providers. Share your successes and struggles finding and working with poly-friendly providers, brainstorm and discuss with others how they found affirming providers, how they responded to ignorance, discrimination and other forms of bias. Hear from CNM nurses their tips and recommendations on navigating the healthcare system and responding to negative assumptions and reactions within the healthcare system. All participants will receive a copy of a local recommended providers list compiled from the focus group and FREE brochures on CNM to share with your providers, courtesy of the Task Force on Consensual Non-Monogamies within Division 44 of the American Psychological Association

Poly Mythbusters: The Science of consensual non–monogamies  Michelle Vaughan, Jessica Rouch, Adam Taylor – What’s true, what’s fiction, and what’s exaggeration in how poly people and their relationships are depicted? How are we similar to & different from monogamous people in terms of our identities/demographics, our mental health and the health of our relationships? What does our sexual health look like? How does the monogamous world view open relationships, swingers & polyamory? Get a crash course in poly science to address the common myths, assumptions about these relationships and emerging insights into stigma & discrimination in CNM & our unique psychological strengths as poly people!

Parenting in a Poly-Family  Eric Jett –  Parenting is full of challenges. Parenting in a poly-family can increase some challenges yet can have a lot of rewards. In this presentation a discussion about parenting styles associated with parenting will be discussed, challenges kiddos in poly-families may face, and how to overcome those challenges.

Dealing with Difficult Metamours – Page Turner & Justin Case – In a lot of the polyamory how-to, we’re very partner centered. Even questions like “how do I manage jealousy?” tend to have our partner at the center of it, as something that is gained or lost and the metamour (i.e., your partner’s other partner) simply a happenstance agent of that scary change.
But the reality is that it’s not our partners that really make the daily existence of polyamory that different from monogamy. Sure, you’re busier, and you may have layers of feelings that you’ve never deal with, but honestly where polyamory and monogamy really seem to diverge is when it comes to metamour relationships. The fact that you have these people in your life who love the same people you love. That you have these friendships (and lots of them, if you’re well connected) that there simply is no script for. Metamour relations are a form of improv — sometimes hilarious, sometimes awkward, sometimes painful, sometimes glorious. But never dull. In this class, we’ll teach you a framework for troubleshooting challenging metamour relationships based on the method outlined in Page Turner’s book Dealing with Difficult Metamours.

Coming out Polyamorous as a Professional – Eric Jett – Breaking the societal norms of monogamy in the world of professionalism can create a lot of anxiety and stress. Hear one individuals experience as being a professional counselor and coming out as polyamorous. Discuss the reality of being open about your relationships and how not to become the office oddity.

Become an Emotional Intelligence Warrior – Chris Deaton & Elisha Thompson – Do you struggle with emotions? Do you have difficulty having hard conversations because your feelings get in the way? Or maybe some of your relationships or scenes have suffered because you just don’t understand what your partners are looking for? Or what you are looking for? Would you like to be more logical in your decision making? These are all tough challenges for many of us, but there is comfort in knowing that other people have had the same issues and have found a way to be successful. We have come to share our experiences using ways that have worked for millions. By embracing emotional intelligence you can develop better awareness and enable better negotiation skills to help your relationships and your play scenes. Learning the methods we teach you will allow you to be clearer about what you want and better understand what your romantic and/or play partners like, want, and need from you. We will teach you the 4 pillars of Emotional Intelligence – Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management; what they mean, how they can help in a polyamorous and kinky contexts, and how they can improve their interactions and relationships through some simple exercises.

Do you trust me? Creating and Maintaining Trust in Relationships Chris Deaton & Elisha Thompson – Trust is one of the most often referred to reasons for the demise of a relationship. Trust is crucial in our lives every day. Whether it be work, home, or with friends it plays a part in how we interact with and react to the world around us. For those in polyamorous relationships, navigating life with more than 2, the loss of it can be catastrophic and impact the lives of many people. We will cover some basics surrounding the neuroscience of trust and how to use simple practices to help shift mindsets and shape experiences into more productive, innovative, and co-creative and intelligent results.

How to flirt on purpose – Sarah Timmons – We all ask: “Is this what flirting looks like? Am I flirting?” Or worse: “Are they flirting with me?” Learn how to flirt on purpose and how to spot if someone is flirting with you. How to read body language, how to send clear signals of interest with your body language, and even how to flirt without being a creep. It is possible to flirt with more than one person at a time and bringing up polyamory while flirting with a stranger doesn’t have to be a bomb on the conversation.

Introducing Young Children to Polyamory and Partners – Sarah Timmons – Knowing when and how to introduce your children to polyamory and to partners are stressful situations for any parent. From laying the foundations of understanding to explaining who this new person is (and are they my new Daddy?) there are tons of questions. How do you answer them? Aimed at Parents of children ranging from toddlers to tweens

Polyamory as a Feminist Movement – Robyn Trask – The polyamory movement has been led predominantly by women since the mid-eighties. This embracing of multiple partnered loving relationships flies in the face of the cultural belief that all women want monogamy and the stability of traditional marriage. Why are powerful women drawn to polyamory and non-monogamous relationships? How can open/polyamorous relationships empower women, and what effect does polyamory have on gender roles and power dynamics in romantic relationships? In this talk we will address these questions and look at how polyamory empowers women as well as men and the connection to feminism.

Love, Intimacy & Sacred Touch  Robyn Trask – This experiential workshop is an adventure in connection and touch. Working in small groups each person will have an opportunity both give and receive sacred touch. Through intention and awareness we will together create a safe space of love to foster intimacy, touch and nurturing. Bring an open heart and dress comfortably. – NO LATE ENTRY

Secure Attachment in Poly Relationships – Jessica Fern Cooley – 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 Poly
• How jealousy can sometimes be a symptom of insecure attachment
• The different relationship skills for creating secure functioning from a Poly perspective.
• What secure attachment with yourself looks like

Couple’s Transitioning from Monogamy to Polyamory & Staying Together – Jessica Fern Cooley – As many of us know, being poly 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 session, we will explore five specific dynamics and challenges that relate to couples trying to transition from mono to poly while staying together. In this workshop you will go 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 poly.
• 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
• And How going Poly can expose a Crisis of Attachment Style.

Consent: The Five Pillars Upon Which to Build a Consent Culture – Zach Budd – This presentation is presented in lecture format with invited participation from attendees. The discussion includes a codified, simplistic way of establishing consent in every human interaction as well as concrete methods by which to simplify the consent conversation. The lecturer proposes a seismic paradigm shift in the way consent is thought of, obtained and discussed. Concepts are presented in a well thought, well researched, straightforward and conversational plain language and entertaining format. Audiences will be encouraged to participate in the discussion and to ask questions. These practical principles are intended to be integrated into everyday life and used daily. The discussion is pansexual, poly friendly and will support, pertain to, and affirm all sexual orientations, gender identities or forms of sexual or relationship expression. Topics include: The purpose of the consent conversation, The role consent plays in human interaction, The five pillars of consent with examples and explanations, A completely different way of thinking about consent, Strategies to minimize misunderstandings, Ways to begin building a consent culture, Socialization of the word “no,” Toxic Politeness.

Radical Self(ish) Love: How Loving Yourself is the Best Thing You Can Do for All of Your Relationships – Zach Budd – 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.”