RelateCon Boise 2020 Class List

*Check back for updates!

"RelateCon  Welcome"  

Join us for a brief informational session where conference organizers, volunteers, and past attendees will  give an overview of the conference weekend, offer tips for making the most of your time here, answer questions you may have, and make sure you know where the bathrooms are!  *Note:  If you do not make this session, the registration table will also serve  double duty as  the information  table, so stop by with any questions or concerns you may have during your weekend here.  

“Postmodern Polyamory: Deconstruction, self-analysis, and survival in the darkest timeline ”  with Danielle Billing

The time for privileged dating is done. It’s 2020, an election year, and disabled and queer folx are fighting for their lives. Some of us do poly for survival, and in this session we are going to dig into the systemic barriers facing marginalized populations, as well the process of exploring our own received biases.

“I don’t have “special needs,” I just have needs: one Spoonie’s guide to doing poly while disabled” with Danielle Billing

Why does your partner always talk about having enough spoons?! This workshop will dig into the unexpected hiccups of dating while disabled, and what invisible disability can actually “look” like. I’ll explain Spoon Theory, and how it is a useful (but sometimes limited) tool for explaining the mental and emotional load of living with disability or chronic illness. Finally, I’ll share a few stories about supportive partners, and facilitate a discussion about how we can be less ableist and more equitable in our own ENM/poly practices. Sub-topics will include how to be a cheap date, sober dating ideas, navigating physical intimacy with physical limitations (arthritis isn’t just for old people even if all the how-to articles are!), the demands of cooking/dining with/for food restrictions, and how not to be an asshole when someone appears flaky but is actually just really sick. Lots of humor and memes.

"bell hooks Saved My Life" with Danielle Billing

All About Love by bell hooks takes a black feminist lens to the idea of love. She posits that contrary to the idea that love is undefinable and mysterious, we as a society must define it in order to break our cycles of lovelessness. In reading her book, first on my own and then with a partner, I broke free of an abusive relationship and survived the most emotionally grueling summer of my life. (Note: I am not a mental health professional, but I have worked with a counselor/therapist for 15+ years, I worked a 12-step program for several years, and I have studied intersectional feminist theory at the graduate level. This is about my experience and NOT a substitute for professional intervention).

"Creating Diverse Communities" with Crystal Byrd Farmer

As a community leader, you want to create inclusive spaces for people of color and other marginalized people, but you may not know where to start. This workshop is a guide to talking about privilege, bias, and microaggressions in your community so that everyone feels safe and welcome.


"Trauma Bites" with Daniel Schmidt

Every poly relationship is affected by trauma. Maybe it's not you or your partners, but your meta, your ex, your partner's ex, etc. It can be frustrating, scary, weird, or sad as fuck. We might not have a clue, or we might have been through it all too many times. But trauma is real, and loving someone includes loving their triumph over their history. How do we do it? How do we cope with a triggered partner or meta, and the impact it has on our life? How do we deal with our own needs, and find a loving perspective? We'll find ways to be both wise and playful. There's no benefit to making it harder than it needs to be. We will look at identifying our existing resources, clarifying our boundaries, and enjoying our competency. Expect to feel all the feels, including joy and optimism.

"Boundaries and Horizons: How do we shape our relationships, and how do we direct them?" with Daniel Schmidt

Lots of us have self criticism about our boundaries. Maybe that negative view is focused on the wrong skill set. Let's talk about finding excitement and keeping a relationship alive. Using boundaries to support our vision is a step farther than safety. And as we clarify our vision, we have more energy to define and communicate our boundaries. What gets you excited? What makes it worth all the work it takes to improve a relationship? What do you need and want to feel safe and supported? Let's talk. 


"Introverts Thrive" with Judy Wayne

Introverts and extroverts aren’t really that different, right?! I thought so for the longest time until I started researching what it meant to be truly introverted and saw the difference it made in my life to feed my inner introvert. For those in attendance who may have introverted partners, think of this presentation and discussion as “Care and feeding of introverts”. For those of you who are introverts, think of this as “Self advocating for introverts”.

"Wheel of Consent" with Judy Wayne

 Understanding motive in communication can be tricky, especially when dealing with physical intimacy and consent. This hands on workshop will introduce you to the Wheel of Consent by Betty Martin and how it can be used to make negotiations more transparent.

"Don't Leave Your Baggage At The Door" with Heather Franck

 Inspired by the forgotten dating game show Baggage, this interactive workshop will explore the emotional baggage we bring to new relationships through a group game and guided discussion. We will take a light hearted approach to the when and what we choose to reveal to potential lovers, as well as the when and what we expect in return. This workshop may include some harsh opinions about deal breakers and red flags in dating. Please come with an open mind and a body positive approach to the discussion. 


"Good Things Take Time: Bullet Journaling for your Poly Pod " with Heather Franck

This art based workshop will be a guide through creating and maintaining a Bullet Journal to organize everything important in your poly life. With a mixture of lecture, discussion, and practice, we will explore tracking your life in a more visual way. Never forget an anniversary, sort different love languages for each lover, and make your financial goal actually happen this time. The first 20 eager participants will walk away with a free polyamory themed Bullet Journal.

"Loving Differently: An Introduction to Consensual Non-monogamy and its benefits" with Melissa Cortes

This lecture and discussion will offer a brief look at new relationship styles, how they work, how to determine what is right for you and the benefits of CNM.

"Speak Up: Improving interpersonal communication and problem solving in romantic and intimate relationships" with Melissa Cortes 

This workshop will provide an in depth look at how people communicate in various ways and introduce skills to improve interpersonal communication. Participants will practice using communication tools to improve self-advocacy as well as understanding your partners better, and practice skills in conflict management.


"Poly Saturated vs Poly Satisfied" with Gregory Backes 

You may have seen it before, the person who already has five partners, but they are constantly expanding a lot of time and energy looking for more. Then they seem to not be able to keep partners for very long. What does it take for someone to be satisfied with their poly partners? What is Poly Satisfied? Why do some poly people always seek more, and what happens when you have more than you can handle? How does having more than you can handle affect you and you existing partners? In this discussion we will talk about what Poly Saturated and Poly Satisfied are and the many things that come into play with knowing yourself and your bandwidth. We will also discuss being upfront with new partners on how much bandwidth you have to offer. Most of all what happens when you exceed your Poly Saturation Point.

"Polyamorous Success, goals, and looking towards the future" with Gregory Backes

jWhat makes a Polyamorous relationship successful? Many people new to Polyamory often ask how long have others have been in Polyamorous relationships. Is longevity really the right gauge to use to determine if a polyamorous relationship is successful? Goals, many of us are really good at setting professional goals. But often we are terrible at actively working on goals in our Polyamorous Love life. In the beginning of a new relationship deep in the throws of New Relationship Energy, the goal is just to get together next Tuesday and spend the night. Many Polyamorous folks don’t believe in escalator relationships. But as the relationship matures how do you keep it moving forward. How do you build something to look forward too. As you look forward in your Polyamorous life, how do you prepare for the future. Making room for others, living arrangements, or even if your partner becomes sick? While you don’t want to build a preconceived box for a new partner, what can you do to prepare for the future with a new partner. In this discussion we will talk about what successful polyamory looks like, polyamorous relationship goals and the importance of them, and the importance of preparing for the future.

"The Monogamy Hangover" with Mel Cassidy

When Monogamy is challenged- be it through cheating, a breakup, or the opening of a relationship- an internal struggle can ensue as we attempt to reconcile the new reality with the monogamy fantasy we’ve held. That struggle can result in feelings of shame, an experience of being emotionally frozen. It might interrupt our flow of communication with our loved ones, and it can lead to unconsciously self-sabotaging actions within our relationships. This experience is what I call The Monogamy Hangover. In this mini workshop we will dive into understanding how to recognize the toxic dimensions of monogamy, and explore how we can detox from the cultural scripts that can continue to influence and direct us even when we are seeking to explore non-monogamy, or conscious monogamy.

"Navigating Complex Relationship Dynamics: aka Why Is This Threesome So Complicated?"" with Mel Cassidy

For most people, one relationship alone is fraught with complex dynamics to navigate. Multiply the number of relationships, and things can get exponentially complicated − sometimes when you least expect it! In this mini workshop, Mel will help us look at a different way of framing non-monogamous relationships, to help us understand the ways we participate in creating friction in our network − and how we can take action to resolve it. This will be useful for folks in polyamorous relationships, as well as people with kink-based relationships or swinging communities, and for folks managing complex relationships within blended families. This session will include: ▪ How 3 people can have 19 relationships between them ▪ How to understand whose "stuff" is coming up when there’s conflict (hint: it’s often more than one person!) ▪ An overview of The Drama Triangle and Triangulation, and how to break free from it


"The Circles of Sexuality: Explore Your Complex Sexual Self " with Ashley Robertson

Most people experienced a sex ed class that focused on Sexual Health and Reproduction and how western values created rules for our bodies. Sexuality is much more complex than that and we each get to define our own values. Using the Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education curriculum as inspiration, I'll shed light on the other circles of sexuality: sensuality, intimacy, sexual identity, and sexualization. We'll discover layers of ourselves interactively so we can better communicate with current and potential partners.

"Blindfolded Condom Contests & A Discussion of STIs" with Ashley Robertson

Do you know the first step of putting on a condom? It's not opening it. Let's be silly and competitive and practice this useful skill. We will discuss useful strategies for having the STI conversation and explore our individual risk profiles.

"BDSM  101" with Ashley Robertson

Bondage. Discipline. Sadism. Masochism. We all have a shadow self. Some spend years silencing it out of fear of embarrassment, shame, or societal pressure. BDSM offers a consensual outlet for that shadow self if done ethically. We'll discuss the ethics of this world and explore the basics to see what peaks your interest. We'll practice comprehensive negotiation techniques and share other useful communication tricks. ***Kink track

"The Synchronicity Toolbox: A new pathway for both monogamous and non-monogamous folks for heart centered relating" with Angie Gunn

 How synchronized are you with your partner(s) right now and what are the barriers? We live in a time where many of our constructs, templates, histories and practices in relationships come from a problematic history of colonization, control, coercion and misuse of power. The outcome of this intergenerational history is deeply rooted neurochemical instincts, patterns and reactivity perpetuating trauma, harm and ultimately a loss of synchronicity in relating. This can show up as emotional manipulation, control, isolation, jealousy, fear, and often limiting the expanses of love. We are ready for a shift. Regardless of your relationship structure, we will explore these trauma patterns and stories, the dynamics of power, and the relational templates we’ve been given. In doing so we will unpack the impact, seek forgiveness within ourselves and our partnerships, and explore tools for creating a new paradigm for connection.  

"Intentional Decoupling" with Angie Gunn

Managing the trauma of dating transitions, endings and beginnings in non-monogamy We’ve all been through that devastating break up. Now add in a few more partners, and their partners and watch the pieces shuffle. This can be so devastating because relationship transitions resemble trauma symptoms and patterning in our bodies. This trauma can be exacerbated by the reactions of other partners, the intensity of the decoupling required, and the presence of support or lack thereof. This workshop will explore the challenges these dynamics present, and ways that we can be intentional in seeking to connect and at times disconnect. We will support individual healing approaches, as well as addressing the loss in the larger network. Strategies for protecting the rest of the relationship network as well as your own well-being will be coupled with discussion and group exploration of the ethics and values driving non-monogamous partnering. Bring your questions, examples and polyam network.

“Consensual non-monogamy 2.0: Lessons from the past, strategies for the future" with Angie Gunn

In the last 5 years the non-monogamous lifestyle has catapulted into the media and more people than ever are choosing to engage in relationship structures which challenge the mononormative cultural framework. In the excitement to explore and express these parts of ourselves however, we miss vital opportunities to first assess who we are, our relational style, wants and needs, and current partner’s identity. While we spend our whole lives learning to be monogamous through family, television, cultural images etc, very few of us have successful templates for engaging with others in new ways, particularly within sexuality communities. We fall on our faces as we take this leap without all the information, support or methods to facilitate success. In this workshop, I’ll present the newest non-monogamy research and explore some of the most common pitfalls individuals run into, as well as how to create the relationship that most reflects your authentic self.

"Identity, Intersectionality, and Inclusivity in Polyamory Groups"  with CeCe Berman

How to create more inclusive, accessible, and welcoming polyamory groups, be a better ally, understand the nuances of privilege, and create a call-in culture. How to create spaces that are not homogeneous, that build trust and understanding, that educate--that welcome diversity instead of creating tension.

"Trans, Intersex, POC, Pan/Bi & Polyamorous AMA (ask me anything)" with CeCe Berman

CeCe's personal story of coming out, their experiences in polyamory, in coming out, dealing with racism, sexism, trans & homophobia, and how these all interplay and intersect. A chance for people to ask anything they've always wanted to of a trans/POC/intersex/bisexual/pansexual person. 

"Rope Foundations: Rope 101" with Tempo

In a house-building analogy, when you build a house you always start with a foundation. The wonderful thing about foundations in rope is that you use it every time you pick up rope. This class, ROPE 101, starts with a lecture on rope vocabulary, materials, basic anatomy and physiology, and safety concerns. The class then moves into a hands-on workshop with what Tempo calls “HOLMS”, the five knots that Tempo uses in all his scenes. Materials: Students are encouraged to bring a safe cutting device and at least one (1) piece rope at least 15-30 ft long. Also suggested is a mat or blanket for sitting on the floor. (A limited amount of rope will be available for purchase if you don't have your own!)  ***Kink track

"Bondage for Play and Sex: Rope 120 " with  Tempo

When you are bound and receptive to your partner's whims, it can be a releasing feeling. When your partner is bound and receptive to your every whim, it can be an empowering experience. This workshop, ROPE 120, will go over various techniques to bind, control, move your partner for play and sex. Materials: Students are encouraged to bring a safe cutting device and at least two (2) pieces rope at least 20-30ft long or 10-20ft length or other material (tie, ribbon, feather boa). Also suggested is a mat or blanket for sitting on the floor. (A limited amount of rope will be available for purchase. if you don't have your own!)

***Kink track

"Personal finance and the heart: An emotionally-focused money workshop"  with Mike Pumphrey

Everyone has to deal with personal finance. I'm sorry, I wish it wasn't so. Even if the idea of budgeting doesn't make you want to hide under the covers, it can be totally overwhelming to manage all of the competing priorities of today against your plans for tomorrow. Investing, credit cards, rent and mortgage, savings, 401(k)s, insurance, and that's before we get to the difficulties of relating to others (partners, metamours, family members). How are you supposed to know what to do? This workshop and will discuss personal finance from the perspective of your goals and dreams, as well as blocks and struggles. This includes both individual goals as well as shared goals with partners, polycule, or your given or chosen family. Come prepared to do some soul-searching, to speak about your experiences and struggles if you wish, and to allow yourself to dream. 

"Sexology: The Musical" with Mel Mosely

Sexology: The Musical! is an educational, entertaining, and heartfelt experience. Presented as a performance piece followed by a Q&A, this workshop outlines one woman’s experience from monogamy to solo-polyamory and the relationship structures she experienced along the way. We touch on monogamy, cheating, non-monogamy, swinging, polyamory, relationship anarchy, solo-polyamory, and more! We explore the landmines and the bliss of these non-traditional relationship structures. During the Q&A we discuss our personal experiences, successes, and challenges as we delve into the world of non-traditional relationship structures.. "Sexology: The Musical cracks open the tyranny of societal expectations when it comes to love, sex, and relationships. Mel's powerful and funny personal story makes it clear that humans don't fit into a ‘norm.’ How we love and relate with others is multi-dimensional.”

"Transcending Shame" with Gloria Jackson-Nefertiti

This workshop tackles the topic of personal shame and the damage that it causes when left unchecked. For participants to create self-safety, it is necessary to interrupt shaming language. This interactive workshop gives participants the opportunity to: understand the meaning of shame; learn the difference between guilt and shame; gain awareness of shaming phrases and behaviors that are commonly used; recognize when they are being shamed; and learn ways to confront others who shame them.


"Survivor 101 for Everyday People: Consensual Non-Monogamy Edition" with Gloria Jackson-Nefertiti , Chrissy Holman, & more

This class is taught by survivors on various levels; that is, a 101 class in navigating polyam as a survivor of assault, cancer, a cult, intergenerational trauma, mental illness, disability, etc. This is a survivor empowerment workshop; a "how to" life guide. Allies/support networks of survivors of all kinds are welcome! 

"Saying 'I'm Sorry' is the First Step"  with Libby Sinback

When we mess up, it's normal to react with fear, shame and defensiveness. We hide, deny, deflect, minimize or may even act attacked ourselves when we are told we’ve hurt someone. These reactions are hardwired into us - and at some point in our evolutionary past we needed them to survive. But in a loving relationship or a trusting community, these same reactions get in the way - if we can’t take responsibility for our actions when we mess up, we can’t grown and learn to do better. We also run the risk of patterns of harm going unchecked, resentments building and trust breaking down in our most important relationships. In this workshop we will touch on all of this, but mostly we will focus on one key part of how to be better when we mess up: how to apologize and repair excellently. We will dive into the anatomy of a good apology, and then in small groups we will get our hands dirty and practice apologizing to each other. You will come away with concrete experiences and tools that you can use right away in every relationship you have, but be prepared to be pushed out of your comfort zone.


"Connect through Conflict " with Libby Sinback

A lot of people see conflict as bad and harmful to relationships. imagine what it would be like if we saw conflict as an opportunity to deepen connection? What if we embraced conflict joyfully instead of fighting it? The reality is, conflict is inevitable. What makes the difference between joyful, connecting conflict and conflict that leaves you depleted and distant is how you approach it, and the research shows that people who handle conflict well together actually have a huge rush in the feel-good bonding hormones after talking about it. In this workshop we’ll walk through things that can make conflict scary and sucky, and then I’ll give you some amazing tools to transform conflict into something that can bring you closer to your loved ones. Then in small groups and pairs, we will practice using these tools so that everyone can leave the workshop with skills they can use right away.


"When the Sex Stops " with Libby Sinback

When we talk about polyamory, we often say it's about the love, not the sex. But for a lot of people, it's about the sex too. So what do we do when a relationship that was sexual stops being sexual? So many things can get in the way of sex. Mismatched desire, physical or mental health, sexual trauma, stress, parenthood, something in the relationship that is getting in the way, or maybe just changes in what each partner enjoys or is interested in sexually. How do we cope when the sexual nature of a relationship changes? What about when you're having sex with one partner, but not another? What if one partner realizes they are demi or ace? When is it a sign that we need the support of a professional, such as a sex therapist or coach? We will talk about this and more.  

"Navigating Sex Positivity in a Sex Negative World" with 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 accomodate 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.


"Trying a Triad? Building Ethical Polycules" with Chrissy Holman & Marco Martemucci

Join two ethicists 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.

"Embodying Love" with Rev. Amanda Ganley \

This workshop was created for participants to deepen in their understanding of their personal spirituality, the ways that they love, and how to more actively participate in creating the love experiences that they want to have in life. It can be formatted for all types of love relationships; i.e., family, friends, romantic or just romantic relationships. These practices are designed to help people feel connected with their desire, develop tools to cultivate and manifest relationships that are fulfilling and to do that while deepening in their own spirituality.

"Self -care in Relationships" with Rev. Amanda Ganley

This workshop  is designed for participants to do the work of exploring their unique desires and gifts in life and as partners in relationship. They will form a deeper understanding of their own personal boundaries and how to share these authentic expressions of themselves; and develop clear strategies to care for themselves, experience needs fulfillment and cultivate health and autonomy in their connections.


"Authenticity in Life and Love" with Rev. Amanda Ganley

 Let's discuss self awareness and becoming the most authentic versions of ourselves in order that we will live healthier more fulfilled lives, show up more fully present in all of our relationships and make a difference in the world in only the way that we can. This lecture will provide realistic, relatable and implementable guidance for those looking to deepen in mindful and conscious experience of life and love.


"It Was Knife Knowing You" with Redrobin

 Fear, primal energy, blood, and cold shiny steel! Whether you’re intrigued by knives and don’t know where to start, or you want to take your knife play to the next level – we’ll cover it! After going over some care, safety and basics, we’ll demonstrate methods of using your knife to cause fear, various ways of cutting, and how to fuck someone with a knife. Edge play at its sharpest!   ***Kink track

"Pain Processing for The Nerdy" with Redrobin

We're talking endorphins, hormones, and blood flow! This lecture and demo based workshop will be exploring the basic physiological responses to intense sensations, and how your emotional state effects those responses. Whether you're a top or a bottom, this information can be incredibly useful in understanding the human body, mind, and when you use this information to your advantage you will be exceedingly more successful in achieving your goals in a scene. Are you aiming for subspace? Cathartic release? Fear and restlessness? Sexual arousal? Getting down to the basics of how the body processes strong sensations is a great place to start!   ***Kink track

"Embracing Your Primal Side" with Redrobin

Connection. Passion. Physicality. HOT!  This demonstration and participation (not required!) based workshop will focus on what it can mean to be primal, whether that involves aggression, sex, romance, serenity, or any other form of connection that keeps you present and instinctive. There will be opportunity for hands on learning and exercises as we work toward achieving, navigating, and managing different forms of primal states. If you can bring a partner that's great, if not we will try to find you one!   ***Kink track

"The Thrify Top" with MrL and Fionna

Explore the possibilities using ordinary household items and the five senses to create a lasting impression.   ***Kink track

""The Art of Co-Topping"  with MrL and Fionna

Take your scene to the next level. Dive into the experience as we go through the senses,  "The Dance " and the mind explosion of co-topping.  ***Kink track

""Red Light Green Light"  with Jennifer Carlston

We will playfully explore behaviors that are red and green flags when relating with others. From there we'll discuss ways people communicate NO and what signs to watch for when people are not feeling safe or respected. After that we'll pair up to practice an evidence-based communication process that can help us assert boundaries and stay open during high stakes conversations.

""Consent: The Foundation of Everything"  with Kevin Carlson

Consent is all around us. It impacts our lives in ways we don’t even think about. Consent starts within. By becoming more aware of consent within ourselves we can become more versed in dealing with consent and others.  A discussion of the principals of consent, how we define consent within our self and how we can better apply this knowledge to our relationships known or unknown.

""Curious About Canes?"  with Kevin Carlson

Everything you wanted to know about canes for impact but were afraid to ask.  We will look at the history of canes and how this history has grown into something beyond the punishments of yesterday to something that can bring a smile to your face and marks on your netthers.   ***Kink track

""Violet Wand  101" with Eibon

Violet Wand 101 includes a short history of the wand and its uses, describes the type of electricity it creates, how it travels across the body, safety considerations, and a demonstration of the three primary methods used with the wand. No prior experience with a violet wand is necessary.  ***Kink track

""Violet Wand  201: Personalizing Your Play" with Eibon

Violet Wand 201 will show wand enthusiasts how to go beyond the "standard" attachments that everyone else uses and start creating their own unique toys.

Cupping sets, canes, clothespins, hair brushes, shoes, belts and more will be inexpensively converted to violet wand toys.  This is a hands-on class - everyone will leave with some sort of new toy that they may use immediately with their wand.   Attendees are also welcome to bring items from home to work with.

Those who have used a wand previously would benefit most from Violet Wand 201 but those who haven't yet purchased one can also benefit.  ***Kink track

""Choose Your own Adventure: Open Discussion Group" with Mandee Conant and Crystal Byrd Farmer

Bring your burning questions and topics for this  facilitated discussion group.  Topics to be determined by YOU!



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