Cheers Sexy People!
I am writing you from beautiful Boise, Idaho where I am enjoying the awesomeness of my host house with the lovely, cuddly Heather (you rock, Heather – LOVE YOU)! I am thankfully still reveling in the “post-con high” from this past weekend’s first ever RelateCon polyamory conference. Let me tell you there is no way that you would suspect this was their first ever polyamory conference. This all-weekend event went off like a well-oiled machine, as least from what this girl could see – I’m sure there are funny and hilarious behind the scenes stories somewhere (feel free to share in the comments)! Major kudos go out to Ginger / Jennifer Hyde and all of the organizers and committee members, the staff of Riverside Hotel, the amazing presenters and to all of the awesome attendees as well! Without you guys, this event can’t come to be! Last I heard there were about 120 attendees which is quite amazing! Every single person I met was absolutely lovely, friendly, and had much to share to help make this conference engaging and spectacular. I loved every minute of this event, as well as being there to represent the Relationship Equality Foundation alongside Vice President and good friend, Billy Holder, and other Outreach Representatives, Bob Ritchie and Mandee Conant. Excellent!
The Effects of Poly-Breakups & The Poly Closet Workshops
I was absolutely honored and stoked to present two workshops with my amazing and handsome husband as my assistant. I offered the two workshops that I had recently created and presented for Beyond The Love this past November as I got such amazing feedback on the content. I offered The Poly Closet on Friday afternoon and Poly Breakups on Saturday afternoon. LustyGuy shared with me Friday evening that my Poly Closet workshop – where one of the goals was to create more empathy, compassion and understanding for those who must remain in the closet – helped him realize that he has a fair amount of privilege that he has enjoyed most of his life having the ability to be OUT of the polyamory closet. What a great awareness to have helped create through the exercises and teachings of the workshop! Yes!!! There were some other teary sharing and breakthroughs from other attendees dealing with their very challenging feelings of needing to remain closeted of their polyamorous lifestyles from their cherished loved ones such as family members – and the pain that this causes. The vulnerability and courage that was displayed was nothing short of amazing. Having the support of the workshop attendees to surround those moments with love and understanding with a warm hug of acceptance was so beautiful to witness. The Poly Breakup workshop also had some great interaction, insights, and excellent feedback as well. A big THANK YOU to all of those who trusted me with their stories and challenges in navigating this poly journey that we find ourselves on – those of us coloring-outside-the-lines of traditional society. You guys rock and I was thrilled to speak with all of you!
THE KEYNOTE – 8 Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory by Cunning Minx and LustyGuy
There are not enough good things I can say about ALL of Cunning Minx and LustyGuy’s hugely helpful workshops. I am partly ashamed to admit that though I have known about Cunning Minx’s work, I have only skimmed the surface of it up until now. Well this weekend I attended literally every second of all four of their workshops! First off, who gives FOUR workshops in one weekend!? Where do they get the stamina! And I was MAD IMPRESSED with the content as well as the easy laughs they were able to create! So much great information about rocking not only your polyamorous relationships, but ALL relationships. As a newly minted relationship coach, I am beside myself STOKED to have all of this information now at my fingertips to help people in their relationships all over the world! Thank you a thousand times, Cunning Minx and LustyGuy. Also they are just super cool and awesome people that I am proud to call new friends. Love you guys! So approachable, fun, and relatable.
One of my favorite takeaways from this keynote is to focus on creating guidelines – not rules – and that rules made out of fear are 99% ineffective. They suggested to do your inner work first on your insecurities, and THEN to convey your thoughts and potential triggers to your partner and work on the guidelines together from a stronger place. I love this so much I bought a signed copy of the book!
AMAZING PRESENTATIONS I ATTENDED
Of course part of why I love attending conferences is all of the information that I also get to soak in from the other talented, smart and kickass presenters. I’m thrilled to share that many of these presenters will be appearing on future Loving Without Boundaries podcast episodes. Yay! So stoked!
Speak Up!! Getting What You Want Out of Your Relationships by Brenda Wiebe – Brenda did an excellent job at this workshop that focused on figuring out and then expressing what you want in a relationship using a hilarious example from her own life. She says “People have not yet achieved the super power of telepathy, yet often expect their partners to somehow know when something is wrong. Learning how to recognize and then vocalize feelings is much harder for some than others, but no relationship can thrive unless all members are upfront with themselves and each other about potential problems.” YES!
Painless Poly Dating 101, Kicking Poly Drama on Its Ass, and Poly Pitfalls: Fixing Things When They Break by Cunning Minx and LustyGuy – As I mentioned above, ALL of these workshops totally rocked! I have to say my favorite was “Poly Pitfalls: Fixing Things When They Break” probably because it spoke most closely to things I experience in my own life. In some of my relationships, some of the ideas shared here are innate and come naturally. But for others, it is helpful to have these concepts spelled out even more. My favorite takeaway: Be Liberal With Your Apologies. They went on to say EVERYONE wants to hear “I’m sorry.” Minx and LustyGuy reminded us that this is NOT a sign of weakness, but rather it is a social lubricant. Afterall, most of us all like a little bit of lube! Why not in our communication as well?! An attendee asked… what about when someone says: “I’m sorry that you feel that way.” Minx tried to hide her bristle but then they went on to say that this wording is a violation of “letting people be the experts on themselves” and illustrates the speaker trying to take responsibility off of themselves for causing any harm – in other words – not owning their shit. It is better to simply and directly say: “I’m sorry what I said hurt you.” Boom!
Ethics and Transparency in Polyamory by Mandee Conant – Fellow REF Outreach Rep Mandee did an excellent job with this presentation. She made sure to bring up OPP – or the One-Penis-Policy as a known violation of proper ethics. My biggest takeaways were to negotiate your transparency consistently within long-term relationships, thus always communicate and negotiate. We can’t hold our partner accountable for UNSPOKEN EXPECTATIONS. Right? Lastly don’t let anyone tell you your relationship is not ethical just because their ethics are different from yours. Amen!
Spark: Edgy Games in Authenticity by Melissa Mango – WHOAH! This game night event ended up being one of the highlights of my weekend. Thank you, Melissa! To my surprise, she incorporated the Rock/Paper/Scissors game that I just used in my recent Polyamory In Practice workshop that I gave at UNF Sex Week. So cool to see someone else share it in a polyamory context! I also loved the eye gazing exercise, the “Jump In The Center” sharing game (that caught my husband in a funny moment! Haha!), and the one-on-one, intimate, conversational sharing exercises. I fell in love a little bit with every single person I interacted with during this exercise. What fun!
Sustaining Intimacy and Connection by Tyson Downey – This was an enlightening and thought-provoking presentation that Tyson shared. Way to go! Some of my takeaways were to watch out for complacency in your primary / nesting relationship or that “roommate” feeling that can creep in after years and years of being together with the partner who is not the “shiny, new” partner. Also to find your reason why this relationship is worth it? Ask: What attracted you to each other in the beginning? What do you value about each other? What do you value about your relationship? What needs attention the first or the most? Then start bringing the energy from those answers back into your relationship. Awesome stuff!
Once again, THANK YOU to everyone who helped put this event on to make it a huge success. Also super big thank you to all who donated to the Relationship Equality Foundation who was one of the sponsors of the event. Still on the fence about donating or are ready to give as little as $10 to an incredible and important organization who helps make these amazing events happen? Click here to support a great cause! I and those in alternative relationships everywhere around the world appreciate your support!
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too)