Cheers Sexy People!
Well they did it again! Dan, Dawn, and Karen created another fan-freaking-tastic polyamory conference again. I love these guys and the powerful educational opportunities they provide to our ever-growing community! This year followed suit with the last two conferences that I attended as well. I am so proud and excited to continue my pilgrimage each year to Columbus, Ohio to help create magic and memories with all of these fine folks – including all of the volunteers – who put this event together. My beloved was able to join me this year (as he did last year as well) which just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside for each of us to learn together side by side. We also thoroughly enjoy making new friends while giving expansive hugs to old friends that we encounter at what is starting to feel like a reunion at Beyond The Love (BTL). I feel so blessed and lucky to be part of this community, and I welcome all of you reading this to consider joining us next year, November 9–11, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. This conference is for you if you are simply poly-curious, already practicing some aspect of polyamory or open relationships, or are a long-time veteran.
I had the absolute honor of being able to have a table to offer my coaching services, my new book “Jealousy Survival Guide”, and a chance to play with my vulva at the conference too! OK, OK, the vulva was actually my vulva puppet (featured on the left of the table in the photo). My vulva rocks! Come check it out next year if you like. 🙂 But seriously, I LOVED being able to “man” my table with my beloved’s help, meet and shake hands with so many attendees, and get to hear the value and impact that my book is making. Many people came over to me to say “Thank you for writing this book and contributing this information to our community!” Wow you guys sure know how to make a girl feel great. All of the angst, hours, and even tears that got put into creating this guidebook are all worth it when you hear comments like that from these amazing attendees. Love it!
A few more reviews came in recently for the book as well. Here are two of them:
“I hired Kitty to speak on one of my panels at a popular conference in Brooklyn. The humor, charm, and wisdom that she brought to that stage shines clearly throughout this book. Even the most experienced of polyamorists deal with jealousy and this book manages to make it an approachable problem without taking away from its important place in our emotional repertoire. If you like understanding relationship psychology, cultivating skills and strategies, and doing your homework, this book is for you!” — Sara Dahan, assistant to Effy Blue
“This was a great and helpful quick read. It provides some great questions to think about that gave me a fresh perspective on my relationships and thoughts about polyamory. I still feel my brain railing against it all as trying to tame my wild feels, but I’m gonna try some of the tools offered here and see what happens. If you are a jealous person and you keep getting tripped up, just allow yourself to be jealous and keep working. That’s really all you can do.” — Heath
“Top 10: Poly 101” by Susan Porter and John – I am a big fan of Susan Porter having attended her Poly Parenting workshop last year. Love this gal, whom I’ve also had on the podcast for an epic 2-hour interview. She is amazing! And her Poly 101 class with relationship anarchist John did not disappoint. Filled with practical information, smart hard-earned wisdom, and some hilarious moments as well, this was a great first workshop of the weekend.
“Financial Wellbeing in Non-Traditional Relationships” by Michelle Wilson – The law in the United States is unfortunately not kind to us non-traditional family folks. Michelle took this head on in her workshop discussing such topics as legal protections, insurance, retirement, estate planning and more! She mentioned such important tactics such as rights of survivorship and listing beneficiaries to avoid probate. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) was also brought in as a resource and tool to help fight for non-traditional families. Another topic was how to blend families as well as incomes. Great and needed discussions!
“Making Safer Sex & Play Sexy” by Sarah Sloane – This workshop was most excellent and chock-full of great information about safer sex practices, STIs in general, and I learned about PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) as well! Excellent presenter Sarah noted the shame and stigma that surrounds a person who has an STI, and how this shame keeps people from getting tested and disclosing STIs to partners. Her hope us to all stop using such words as “dirty” (versus “clean”) when discussing our STI status. As she mentions that Safe Is Relative, we discussed “What Makes You Feel Safe” and having a 30-second Sex Elevator Speech prepared to state to a new partner BEFORE the big, magical, sexy moment arrives. We also discussed things that affect our safer sex decisions, which was quite illuminating. Sarah highlighted that we are able to be more fully there and give our attention to our partners when we feel safe and not worried, and cautions to pre-game for that moment of intimacy. Nice insight!
“Poly Parenting” by Michelle & D’Art – As part of my research for my presentation at the National Sex Educators Conference (NSEC) that I presented at on December 8th, I attended this workshop. Many of you know that my husband and I are infertile and do not have children of our own. We are godparents to two awesome little girls, and I am having a hoot of a time getting to know my beloved’s young son, as well as his lovely wife. Amazing! Yet since I am not directly a parent, I feel I need to educate myself to have a deeper understanding of how polyamory and parenting intersect. Michelle and D’Art have a very caring and compassionate way about them as they vulnerably shared some of their own mishaps as well as triumphs in raising their children and now their grandchildren! I cherished how they pointed out that children seeing poly parents interact with their partners is kids simply watching people who love each other. They stressed that teens may feel awkward having “different” (polyamorous) parents, yet kids will always be faced with something that makes them feel “weird” as they go through puberty. Having poly-practicing parents helps teach youngsters diversity and to learn to handle differences and change. They also discussed the trials and tribulations of potentially combining households and what the entails. Deciding ahead of time the hierarchy of authority of having multiple adult authority figures can help greatly. Nice!
“How To Have A Difficult Conversation” by Lee Hencen & Murray Schechter – Oh my goodness I LOVED this hands on workshop! As all of us know, communication is of paramount importance in ANY relationship but even moreso in multiple relationship configurations such as polyamorous households. They started the workshop pointing out that when the stakes are high and we have fear in our hearts, we knee-jerk to self protection. This can make us defensive and feel that we are under attack. A good part of the workshop was helping partners stop and do the inner work first before even commencing a difficult conversation. They also stressed various guidelines to uphold for these talks, such as to come from a place of CURIOSITY versus the more competitive “who is right and who is wrong”. The goal is to understand each other and find a mutually agreeable solution and a win-win for all involved. They ended by doing a live demonstration which was remarkable and extremely helpful. We can all have different perceptions / perspectives, yet still love each other and value each other. Yay for that, and yay for this fine workshop!
Dan, Dawn and Karen: I feel so much GRATITUDE for your hard and diligent work in putting on this conference year after year. We all appreciate your efforts, and the collective efforts of the presenters, the volunteers, the Beyond The Sea soirée decorators as well as the amazing attendees! You guys are all beautiful, brave, and deserving of a wonderful holiday season! I wish you all – and our fine readers – much love and holiday cheer to bring you into another year full of potential.
Wishing you peace, love, and happiness!
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)