RelateCon 2019 Class List
*Check back for updates!
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.
"Kinky Fandoms!" with Redrobin
Spoiler alert! Would you rather have sex like the Klingons? Could BDSM have been an outlet for Dexter Morgan? Do animagi engage in pet play? Do Tate or Michael Langdon use the rubber suit for fun? The nerdy perverts who attend will get to vote for which fandom they want to discuss, such as Harry Potter, Supernatural, Dexter, American Horror Story, Star Trek, and more! The winners will be analyzed and explored.
"Communication and Problem Solving in Alternative Relationship Dynamics" with Redrobin
Relationships are hard enough! Introduce BDSM or consensual non-monogamy and you add some very particular dynamics and the unique problems that may come along with it! Join Redrobin for this discussion based workshop, where we will explore various alternative relationships such as polyamorous or Dominant/submissive dynamics and how their communication needs differ from “muggle” relationships. We’ll discuss some styles of processing, support systems, and ways to work through issues with yourself as well as with others.
"Dildos to Dicks: A User's Guide from a Queer Woman's Perspective" with Redrobin
Totally dick inclusive! Whether it’s a dildo, a toy or biological, this demo based workshop will be about exploring the many ways to get the most out of your member! Regardless of gender, sexual orientation or role, this kind of play can be pleasurable for everyone involved! *Please note this is both a lecture and demo, and the class will be closed to additional attendees after the first fifteen minutes of the session.
"Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Transitioning Relationships in Non-monogamy" with Mandee Conant
One of the great things about ethical non-monogamy is that we don't have to have traditional break-ups. That doesn't mean we don't "break up" like monogamous couples do, it just means we don't HAVE to. Lets explore some of the ways we can transition our relationships if we want and lets check out some techniques for breaking up if there isn't a way to salvage it.
"Parenting while Poly" with Mandee Conant
Parenting is difficult, period. Now lets throw dating in the mix. Better yet, lets have multiple romantic relationships and parent! How does this effect you? How does it effect your kids? How does it effect your partners? We're going to run through the wants and needs of you, your kids, and your partners in this juggling act. We'll figure out ways to navigate a multi-layered life, address issues that arise, and talk to our kids about our choices.
"Polyamory 101 (Nonmonoga-Me and You)" with Misty Penman & J Wilford Neville
Polyamory has received a lot of attention in the last few years—from TV documentaries to New York Times articles to casual mentions on sitcoms, the idea has a lot of people sitting up, taking notice, and asking themselves (and their romantic partners) if ethical nonmonogamy might be right for their relationships. While most people have only learned of it in the last year, many people have been practicing the lifestyle, advancing the ideas, and developing the ethical standards of the community for decades. This presentation seeks to introduce the basics of polyamorous relationship styles and standards to newcomers, those curious about the lifestyle and community, or those who simply wish to have a better understanding of what polyamory (often abbreviated to poly or polyA) is all about. The concepts and tools discussed are also useful for any relationship structure, so this presentation will be beneficial for anyone who wants to make their current or future relationships more stable, respectful, and autonomous.
"Polyamory 201 (More Nonmonoga-Me and You)" with Misty Penman & J Wilford Neville
Poly 201 (More Nonmoga-Me and You) is a stand alone class from Polyamory 101, (though it pairs nicely!) going more in-depth about introspective tools, addressing your root needs, and common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
"The Sensible Slut: A Pragmatic Approach to Safe Sex and Lots of It" with Jenn Stauffer
When friends and family scrutinize our commitment to sexual safety, people in non-monogamous communities are quick to point out that open communication leads to better sexual health. But do we actually understand how to interpret the information we share? And where does communication cross the line into invasion of privacy? Is it reasonable for people in one's sexual network to refuse to disclose information about their health and history? This talk will explore these questions through an examination of STIs and our preconceptions of them. We will discuss the practical consequences of particular STIs and how fear and stigma play into our policies around them, even in sex-positive spaces. Finally, we will establish practical guidelines for setting one's personal boundaries around sexual safety with multiple partners.
"Reconstructing sexual orientation: Should polyamory count as a sexual orientation?" with Arina Pismenny & Ronnie De Sousa
In its conventional form, sexual orientation is defined in terms of attraction to her "same" or "opposite" sex...There's a lot wrong with that. An inquiry into sexual orientation...becomes much broader, touching on the whole question of what determines sex/gender preference in matters of love or sex. That can include whether we envisage love and sex to be ideally monogamous or potentially extended to more than one partner, under what conditions, etc. Thus it leads us to the question: is polyamory a sexual orientation?
"What is erotic?" with Arina Pismenny & Ronnie De Sousa
The erotic is everywhere these days. But what exactly is it? The term is applied to movies, art, advertising, clothing, gestures, and many other things. Why, for example, is it often observed that the suggestive character of partial nudity is more erotic that full nakedness? What accounts for the erotic charge, for some people, of certain forms of pain, or of "fetish" objects such as shoes that have no direct connection with sex? What is the erotic significance of gender? How, for example, should we view the fact that some complain that blurring gender differences will spell the end of the erotic — while others, on the contrary, find androgyny or gender fluidity erotic?
"Objections to polyamory: How to respond" with Arina Pismenny & Ronnie De Sousa
Those of us who are openly involved in poly relationships are frequently challenged by acquaintances who regard monogamy as a "natural" and indispensable feature of any serious love relationship. In this workshop, we shall invite discussion of supposed advantages and drawbacks, both practical and emotional, of monogamous vs polyamorous relationships.
"Adult Attachment Theory" with Masami Tadehara & Rob Martin
How do you personally gauge the success of your relationships? Having trouble with object permanence when you're away from your partner? Learn how research on attachment styles can impact your adult relationships and how to apply what we know about them in healthy, practical ways.
"Radical Accountability" with Masami Tadehara
When we assume accountability for every aspect of our lives, we are empowered to navigate where we want to go rather than letting the wind blow us any which way. Radical accountability is a powerful tool that can be used in every aspect of our lives.
"Relationship Shopping List" with Masami Tadehara
Back by popular demand this fun and informational class uses the metaphor of a grocery list to examine how to get what we really want out of our relationships.
"Getting Sexy with Trust" with Natasha Wiebe
We will discuss how people define trust, what common blocks are, howfear/judgment/bias/defensiveness get in the way and how to communicate in an open and authentic way (to be heard in the way a person wants to be heard). There will be a demonstration, involvement/suggestions from audience, and a q&a after.
"Value(s) + Worth : How to Identify and Increase"" with Natasha Wiebe
Most people go through life without knowing what really drives them. We will be doing some values exercises, brainstorming ways to increase these emotional needs of ourselves and our partner(s).
"Role-Play: Not Just For The Bedroom" with Natasha Wiebe
We are parents, lovers, mentors, employees, employers, yada, yada. How to figure out which roles you play, which are serving you, and how to balance, so you're being who you want to be, and your partner(s) are too.
"Budget & Organization for Cohabitating Polyamorous Families" with Sherrie French
Tiips, tricks, and some of the ways our household of 16 have simplified and organized our living situation. Let's talk about rules, guidelines, budgeting, finances and overall home organization.
"Boundaries Are Our Friends" with Sarah Neal
Discussions around why boundaries are a good thing; why we all deserve boundaries; and why we need boundaries. This workshop will cover strategies on figuring out where we need to set our boundaries within our lives and how to go about setting them. We will also delve into what happens if/when our boundaries are not well received. What does it mean when someone reacts negatively to our boundaries?
"Navigating Through Conflict" with Sarah Neal
There are ways to “fight” fair and have productive conflicts. When arguments are productive, they have the ability to help a relationship grow and evolve. This workshop is designed to help participants pinpoint argument triggers and characteristics as well as utilize techniques to help them fight fair and have more productive arguments to encourage growth. Group discussion centering around techniques that can better be used to channel our emotions, feel like we are being heard, allow our partners to feel like they are being heard, and different ways we can fight fair using our conflicts to help make healthy and positive changes in our relationships.
"Fools Rush In: Inspiration for building non-traditional households" with Krista Niederjohn
Have you ever wondered what actually goes into organizing and creating that big poly commune that you’ve always dreamed of? From legal considerations to unexpected pitfalls, as well as the surprise bonuses, this workshop will help you explore getting started with asking the right questions, making the important decisions, and having the difficult conversations that are needed to get your household off on the right foot, improving your chances of long-term sustainability.
“Relationship Agreements: Keys to navigating agreements successfully for greater intimacy & mutual fulfillment." with Amy Elisa Hedrick
Relationship Agreements are an important aspect of all relationships and are not always easy to establish and navigate. Join me in exploring the ingredients to creating successful, relationship/sexual agreements for deepening intimacy, increasing and building trust and enhancing connections. Explore the importance of identifying individual and relational wants, needs and desires and ways to establish safe, loving, nurturing space in which a couple can expand and grow; Identify common challenges many couples face while navigating agreements and how to improve the chances for successful, healthy, mutually satisfying and consensual agreements.
"CONSENTual Non-Monogamy" with Rob Martin
Open relationships, polyamory, relationship anarchy, and other non-monogamous relationship structures are often bundled under the umbrella term “consensual non-monogamy”, as if they’re all different species in the same genus, each one a specific way of doing this general thing. This talk proposes a manifesto (with a respectful hat tip to Andie Nordgren) for CONSENTual Non-Monogamy as a structure for loving people based solely on “consent” as the canonical expression of self-agency. We’ll look at relationship “ideals” - abstractions and aspirations - and talk about ideas for working more consent into our relationships, regardless of what labels we use. Please note: While many of us have had our lives changed by consent violations, during this presentation and Q&A we will avoid any triggering content. We will focus on consent - including and beyond sex and intimacy - as a positive tool for personal development.
"Seriously? More talk about love languages? Yes!" with Judy Wayne
Many of us feel that love languages is a tired subject at best. So let’s shake it up a bit, apply it in new ways and even to ourselves, for ourselves. In this workshop, we will go over the basics of love languages along with a couple novel ways to apply them whether or not you are currently in a relationship. Time will be built in for you to generate practical ideas to apply to your life. Being an ISTJ in a long term relationship with an ENFP, has given the presenter a unique perspective on the challenges and rewards of learning to better communicate with loved ones.
"Rejection Sucks, and You're Making It Worse." with Erin Downey
Avoiding rejection at all costs only makes dating harder. Explore the cultural messaging that leads to some of the pitfalls of rejection-avoidance, look at examples of the signals we use when we are trying desperately not to be in a position to reject or be rejected, then gather up your courage for some role-play exercises designed to have you put yourself out there and practice rejecting and being rejected in a safe and fun environment. It isn't as scary as it sounds, I promise!
"Metamour Relationships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" Panel Discussion with Mandee Conant, Redrobin, Shannon R &
Everything you always wanted to know about metamours but were afraid to ask... come join this interactive panel, learn from others experiences and ask some of those burning questions you may have about relating to the partners of your partners.
"Solo Polyamory : But Isn't That Just Dating?" Panel Discussion with Sam Reeder , Tamara Fox, Misty Penman & Alexa Lynn
What exactly is Solo Polyamory and what does it really look like? Come join this panel discussion and learn more about this philosophy of jumping "off the relationship escalator".
"Open Discussion Group" facilitated by Heidi Z.
Submit your questions or topic suggestions at the registration table all day Friday and Saturday, and then join one of the discussions scheduled for Friday night or Saturday night where you can discuss and explore different aspects of non-monogamy and living polyamory with other community members. This will be a facilitated discussion with a flexible flow of topics and ideas.
"Sunday Morning Social"
The Quiet Bar will be open Sunday morning , bring yourself, your breakfast, brunch, or coffee and visit with other RelateCon attendees; old friends, and new.