2017 Sessions

Keynotes

Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins

How and Why Society Constructs, Polices, and Mystifies Romantic Love

Tracy Bear

Red Erotica: The Fall and Rise of Indigenous Erotica

 


After the Call-Out: How to Face Public Conflict With Grace and Accountability

with Eve Rickert, Alex S. Morgan and Anlina Sheng

You’ve hurt someone. Maybe you violated their consent. Maybe they say you gaslighted them, or that you’ve been abusive. Maybe you’re in a leadership position, or have a platform, and you’ve been called out in public.

What do you do now?

For many people, the instinct is to shut down—minimize, silence, retreat into shame or denial. But for those who truly want to be accountable, who want to own and repair, it can seem like working examples or role models are few and far between.

In this workshop, we will talk about what true ownership and accountability look like, particularly for professionals, community organizers, and others with leadership roles. How can you show that you’re listening and understand the harm you’ve done? What does a true apology look like? What other steps can you take to repair? When might you need to step back, temporarily or permanently, from a position of power? How can you get better at unlearning toxic behaviours?

This will be an interactive workshop that includes examples, small group exercises and role-plays.


Anal Pleasure and BDSM

with Meagan Lee Filteau

In this workshop, customised for educational BDSM play parties in Calgary, AB, Meagan of Eudaimonia Sexuality Seminars opens up discussion on a variety of anal play topics while interweaving the erotic potential of BSDM power dynamics. Discussion topics include safer anal play, anal training, prostate stimulation, anal sex with a strap on, anal fisting, large insertion, and enemas, as well as the vagus nerve and its relationship with ‘sub space’.


“Be mine” - Dimensions of Coercion and Control in Mononormative Culture

Dr. Liz Powell and Angie Gunn

While recent years have brought a welcome focus on consent in sex and relationships, we are also unfortunately steeped in a culture that encourages all sorts of insidious forms of coercion and control. Whether it’s rape culture themes that tell people to pester and stalk someone into dating them, popular ideas about what constitutes cheating, or pushing a partner for sex in long term relationships, mononormative culture often removes consent and disempowers those raised in it.

When definitions of “cheating” can include fantasies, emotional support, and even finding a celebrity attractive, who among us is not cheating? Who actually owns our sexuality if our private thoughts are infidelities? When a partner can use guilt or pressured expectations about sexual duties to get the sex they want, where does that person and their sexuality stand outside of the relationship?

Unfortunately, these cultural messages about coercion and control can be difficult to shake and even therapists and sex educators can find themselves perpetuating messages of disempowerment.

In this class, we’ll discuss how to differentiate between boundaries, agreements and rules and how different levels of empowerment vs. control tend to be present in each. We’ll also help unpack blind spots about control and coercion and identify ways to create greater consent and empowerment in relationships.


Beauty and Power: How Cultural Stereotypes Can Influence Our Self-Esteem and Our Relationships

with Cathy Vartuli

How people perceive influence and power, how we're able to get people's attention in ethical ways, can be strongly impacted by social definitions of beauty.  Studies show how closely we resemble cultural ideals of attractiveness can subconsciously sway the primitive parts of people's brains and strongly determine how much authority and value our words and actions are given.

And that constant, subtle pressure can cause us to conform to others’ expectations... Sometimes moving us off the path we believe in or reducing our confidence or conviction.

There are privilege, stereotypes, and social pressure on all sides of the fence. We'll discuss issues around beauty, race, size, ability and gender.

Beautism isn't going to go away, but the higher the consciousness around it, the more people are aware, the easier it is to counter. We'll lead specific exercises to bring awareness, identify the patterns, and give perspectives that allow more choice and self-expression.

We all have value, and a powerful voice and transformational ideas should not be ignored because the person sharing them doesn't conform to societal ideals of beauty and status.

Subtle social pressure exerted repeatedly over time can influence even the most passionate voice, and crush activism that would bring self-expression and freedom, or give undue influence to others. And everyone can be caught in the trap of these expectations.

The human mind naturally and efficiently will make decisions about the worth of ideas and projects based on external looks, unless we bring awareness and insight and hold space for everyone's voice and value.


Bisexuality Bias and Other Biases in the Lifestyle

with Ying Ying Lee

Being in the Lifestyle doesn't automatically mean everyone is open-minded or non-judgemental. One obvious example is bisexuality bias in the Lifestyle. There is a perception in the Lifestyle, particularly in the world of swingers, that all women are assumed to be bi but all men are assumed to be straight, which meant straight women are an oddity, and bi men are shunned.

As a Lifestyle event planner, I have had the pleasure of creating events where attendees can expand their experiences by offering topics that may be not as commonly talked about, which will hopefully help people think about their own biases, and make people more open-minded and tolerant. Join me for a discussion on biases in the Lifestyle and how I use events as a platform to educate people.
 


Boundaries, Dialogue, Empathy and Agency in Relationship Anarchy configurations


with Elisabeth van Assum

Elisabeth will be giving a well-crafted and engaging workshop in the art of boundary setting in non-conforming encounters relevant to the social landscape Relationship Anarchy invites you to traverse. She will asking you questions such as, “What are boundaries?” and “How do you know what your boundaries are?” and “What’s the difference between boundary violation and boundary crossing?”; have your answers ready and prepare to learn some concrete skills to add to your tool chest and to facilitate you in maintaining your sanctus sanctorum, how and when you let people in and out, and why strong boundaries generate strong connections.


Compersion in Relationships

with Jillian Deri

After completing my book, Love’s Refraction: Jealousy and Compersion in Queer Polyamorous Relationships, I have turned my attention to the ways we can inspire compersion within our friendships and communities.  Compersion is the art of taking pleasure in the pleasure of others, wishing people well, connecting deeply and is best articulated through joyful presence. I will present on ways to strengthen care and joyful dynamics without our transformative & sex-positive communities. 


Creating Your Safer Sex Elevator Speech

with Reid Mihalko

If someone asked you what your safer sex protocols are, could you answer in 2-minutes or less? World-renowned sex and relationship educator Reid Mihalko can, and thinks you should be able to as well. Join Reid as he guides you through an empowering, informative and humorous talk aimed at getting your “Safer Sex Elevator Speech” down pat! This workshop is designed to give you the tools to discern what your health and emotional safety needs are and how to communicate them clearly, concisely, and without shame. Topic Include: What “safer sex” actually means, What “Harm Reduction” and “Risk Reduction” models of safer sex look like, The difference between emotional safety factors and health safety factors, How treating safety factors separately makes for a healthier and less stressful world for you and your partners, Reid’s recommended safer sex paraphernalia, Not-so-scary ways to inform yourself regarding STIs and gauge your needs around them, How to take your needs and communicate them clearly, How choose lovers and play partners who meet your standards, What to do and how to support one another when someone tests positive for an STI. Help strengthen our communities and keep ourselves, our lovers and lovers’ lovers healthier by talking about safer sex and communicating personal needs and boundaries clearly. www.ReidAboutSex.com


Honor Yourself: How to Say NO With Absolute Love

with Little Woo

It’s easy to over-extend yourself when you care about many people, events and causes.  Sometimes, it’s guilt or obligation that compels you to take on more than you can juggle. Whatever the reason, over-commitment can be a stressful and exhausting cycle!

At this workshop, we’ll explore the life-changing practice of “saying no with absolute love”. These principles will help to dissolve guilt or resentment.

You’ll also learn a special method for decision-making. (It will also help you better recognize your boundaries with different people and situations)

We’ll look at where in your life this could be used immediately. Having these key skills will save you from BURNOUT and help you stay sustainable while giving generously of yourself!


“If you can’t love yourself…” Intersections of mental health and non-monogamy


with Stella Harris, Eve Rickert, Alex S. Morgan and Anlina Sheng

It’s a common pseudo-motivational saying: “If you can’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?” That saying, and its cousins, shame people with mental health issues such as depression, and imply they’re not worthy of relationships. And surely you’ve heard the even more charming, “don’t stick your dick in crazy”? That clever bon mot is even more prevalent in open relationship communities, where mental health is often casually tossed out as a prerequisite.

So how do depression, anxiety, and other common mental health issues interact with polyamory or other forms of open relationships? What does it look like when someone in your poly network is struggling and needs extra attention or care? How does that affect other relationships?

In this panel we’ll tackle these questions and more, and allow plenty of time for the audience to share experiences and ask questions.

LGBT+ Refugees: Privilege and Resilience

with Chad Walters

Looking at the phenomenon of LGBT+ asylum seekers, and their journeys to safety that are driven by incredible resilience. This presentation intends to invite the listener to acknowledge their privilege and complacency in a world where people are fleeing persecution and execution for merely loving who they love.


CANCELLED

Love Without Fear: Sex, Partnership and the Village

with John Wolfstone filling in for Ian MacKenzie

Many are beginning to question the current story of love: the belief that we must find "THE ONE": a partner who will grant our happiness and fulfill all our needs. Others are experimenting with various models of open relationship and alternative forms - some finding joy but also much heartache. The truth is that we all carry deep wounds of trauma in love, some more explicit than others. And until we are ready to collectively face these wounds, in the container of village - we will never build a resilient culture for the future. Whatever your relationship form, monogamy, polyamory or beyond, the role of community is integral to any healthy partnership – how might we cultivate communities of trust to support the freedom to love without fear? Join filmmaker Ian MacKenzie (Occupy Love, Amplify Her) as he explores the new culture of love, from the research of Tamera eco-village in Portugal, to the  emerging mythic story of inter-being.


Overcoming Shame and Perfectionism in the Sex-Positive Community: Promoting A Culture That Enhances Intimacy, Growth, and Community

with Cathy Vartuli and Dr. Liz Powell 

Sex-positive communities have a high value in inclusivity and compassion. However, there is still a strong emphasis on perfection, especially for leaders or teachers.

Perfectionist or shame-based models can create a cycle of disempowerment and blaming. Rather than seeing humans who are fallible or understanding the nuances of the situation, all too often we see victims or villains that have to win or lose. This good/evil mentality can make it hard to see the difference between “a person who messed up” and “a messed up person.”

In this binary culture, those accidentally falling outside the rules and those making mistakes are often judged as harshly as intentional perpetrators of boundary violations. This can leave members of the community isolated and with little space or support to come clean about their own mistakes and clean up the relationships affected. It can also leave no room for clients and community to grow and learn from mistakes. Silence builds more shame.

While there certainly are people with whom our clients and our community need to set firm boundaries, not all offenses or messes are equally mal-intentioned. When the options of response are limited to banning or doing nothing, clients and communities can feel trapped and paralyzed. With fear of social judgment affecting many, the nuanced discussions most needed are often stifled or shut down.

We’ll discuss the definitions of terms that are often used or misused and explore the importance of giving support while avoiding actions that can sometimes distract from finding balance and closure. In addition, we’ll discuss guidelines for what to do when things get messy including a buffet of options beyond just ban or don’t ban.  Finally, we’ll also discuss key ways to support without creating or adding drama and approaches that allow for balance and healing discussions.


Personal Value or Learned Belief? Deconstructing Relationships

with Cherish Dorrington RTC, MTC and Cora Bilsker RSW

As therapists who specialize in unconventional relationship styles, many of our clients and those within our communities fall into traditional, mono-normative mindsets and behaviours — without realizing it — due to societal conditioning which has been entrenched for hundreds of years. Each of us may feel the impulse to keep our true desires secret even when we’ve talked about them with our partner, or adhere to presumed expectations of what relationships "should" look like, as if there’s no need for discussion and agreement.

In this workshop, we aim to increase awareness around personal bias and explore whether these biases are actually true to our value systems, or are based in concepts we've incorporated through tradition. Together we’ll dig deep, beyond the obvious clichés, and explore these concepts to reveal the ‘whys’ and emotional foundations behind behavior, whether ours or our partners’. Then, in bringing awareness to these issues, we’ll provide practical tools for processing our difficult feelings and moving toward fresh, authentic and informed ways of being with one another.
 


Porn Literacy as Media Literacy

with Kate Sinclaire

Porn is everywhere, but a general sexual taboo in North America means that we don’t talk about it the same way we do other forms of media. With an internet full of any act imaginable, how do we teach people to understand the differences in others’ healthy sexual desires, especially when our first exposure to those kinks might be via a random poorly worded google search? As much as mainstream culture is loath to admit it, porn is media that requires literacy, specifically, media that affects our perceptions of our own and others’ sexuality. In this session, Kate Sinclaire will address the impact that our cultural silence has on sexual exploration, consent, kink, sexuality, and gender, and how open communication can improve our sexual wellbeing. We’ll also cover the relation between sexual content, “risky behaviour”, ideological state apparatus (religion, the family, education systems, etc), the NC-17 rating in popular movies - relating sex as art vs sex as porn - and the parental roles involved in teaching these concepts in a world where youth have essentially unrestricted access to porn.


Sex Without Upset: Learn to Navigate Complex Sexual Situations Like a Rockstar and Leave Everyone Better Than You Found Them

with Reid Mihalko

Want Less Drama and More Love and Fun In Your Community? It’s Easier Than You Think…

Whether you’ve been to Burning Man a gazillion times, are a veteran raver, or a dance festival junkie… It only takes ONE MISHAP to ruin an amazing journey or poison a community…

And with so many new people entering the festival/retreat scene, how can we help build and foster amazing, sex-positive community that’s healthy, thriving, conscious AND free?

It’s possible, but unless you’ve geeked out on the latest upgrades and tool, most communities are doomed to repeat the mistakes of those who came before them.

Join sex geek and community builder Reid Mihalko, founder of Camp Beaverton for Wayward Girls (Burning Man’s largest lesbian and queer women’s camp), for Sex Without Upset: Navigating Complex Sexual Situations Like a Rockstar and Leaving Everyone Better Than You Found Them.

Over the course the hour, using Reid’s unique combination of humor, pragmatic wisdom, and geekery, we’ll discuss: Why sex-positive communities often implode, 3 things that everyone can do to lessen upset, drama, and make sex and play healthier and more fun…, The 5 mistakes your friends and peers may not know they’re making that breed upset and spell disaster, How to navigate complex sexual situations that have people feel safer with you (and saying GREAT things about you behind your back).


Slut Magic- Be the slut you wish to see in the world

with Dr. Liz Powell and Angie Gunn

Open sexual expression is potentially under assault in this new socio-political climate, how do we move our sexuality work into this new and uncertain paradigm? How do we move our sexuality work into this new and yet uncertain paradigm? Come along with us as we teach you to harness your slut magic, combine the forces of your sexual power and unabashed presence in activism, work, and personal sexual expression. This power, originating in vulnerability about who you are as a sexual being and activist, opens doors to reaching new audiences and turning the tide in sexual conversations at every level.

We will explore how you as a sexuality professional balance your personal sexual expression, professional persona, and sexuality activism, and how we can support each other in moving a few steps forward. Prioritizing careers and public personas tend to win out at the expense of our own pleasure, relationships and sexual exploration. But what if you could have all three, and tap into a new audience or client base? This class is about how to be ethical, out, expressive, and open with clients and the world, in all your sex-positive slutty glory. This includes helping create community, supporting sex positive dating and confronting barriers based on race, gender, sexuality, disability or age. We will demonstrate how you can maximize your feminist/ womanist, queer, body, race, gender activist work and facilitate professional growth while finding the sex and love you want.  


Sweetgrass and Sweet Nights: Humour and Acceptance in Indigenous Sexuality

with Tenille Campbell

The images of the dirty Squaw and the Indian Princess continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes of Indigenous women, and this affects how we – and others - view our bodies and our sexuality. 

Guided by the words of Leanne Simpson, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm and Louise Half, this has inspired Tenille Campbell to create a collection of stories that echo the escapades and truths of her generation. 

This upcoming collection of poetry uses humour and sarcasm through the eyes of modern Indigenous women as they journey through mainstream events like tinder hook ups, cheating, your first John Smith, and casual intimacy. 

This presentation will be about understanding the context of how these negative stereotypes were created and perpetuated, and how the reclaiming of our Indigenous sexuality and bodies are being reclaimed through the narratives of Indigenous women. Tenille will be using humour and storytelling to showcase her own journey through sexual self-discovery – and just how much fun fry-bread can be in the bedroom.


"Tantric Physics and Metaphysics" Lecture

with Fredrick 

Have you been curious about Tantra, but averse to the ‘woo-woo’ factor sometimes associated with it?  The intent of this introduction is to create an understanding of Tantra using very clear language, examples, and practices.

Fredrick will guide you through the basics in this discussion and workshop.

* What is the point of Tantra?
* How do I practice Tantra as an individual?
* How do I bring Tantra into my partnership[s]?
* What resources are there in that I may engage to further my understanding of Tantra?

Fredrick has a background that spans from Bio-Physics to Phenomenology.  As he set upon the path of sensual study, he was averse to embracing the ‘woo woo’ nature of some events in the community, and found a great truth amongst all of the rhetoric that is very clear from both a physics and metaphysics perspective.

 


The Light Side of Sex Work: Taking the Shame out of Sex

with Joslyn Mae Nerdahl, Rebecca Mae Bond, and Ryan Thomas

There is a light and a dark side to everything in this world. Sex work is no different. Although, to most when the topic is brought up it is perceived through a tinted lense (mostly due to a lack of information to the contrary). We all have biases when it comes to sexuality, whether we realize it or not. And when it comes to sex work, bias is pretty undeniably obvious with the majority of the population which is rooted in shame.

Shame is a condition of the mind that affects most people to varying degrees, and it stands in the way of a primary desire most people share, which is connection.

Through our work we have helped thousands of people reclaim their sexuality and we have witnessed firsthand the miracle of transformation that has been allowed to take place when a person has an experience of deep connection through sexual expression so that they feel seen and accepted in their sexuality. The heart opens to a new level of self love and a compassionate willingness to self acceptance, which is the antidote to shame.

When sex work is given in a spirit of love and belonging, it offers a unique opportunity for both the sex worker and the client to feel a connection outside of “normal” circumstances, transcending ordinary experience.

Understanding how to apply tolerance and radical inclusion when we are dealing with our beliefs around sexuality and sex work can change the world, but perhaps more importantly we will show you how to implement these simple shifts of perspective and ways of approaching your own sexuality that can transform your own personal sexual experiences in the future.


Transcending Shame

with Gloria Jackson-Nefertiti

Do you experience an underlying feeling of being inferior, or "not good enough" on a regular basis? Do you constantly compare yourself to others? Do you think of yourself as defective? Do you experience a great deal of guilt around your sexuality/sexual expression?

That's shame, and to say that Gloria Jackson-Nefertiti knows a lot about this topic is an understatement. She's grown up believing that there was something inherently shameful about her, due to her being: 1) black, 2) female, and 3) highly sexual.

In this workshop, Gloria will use her life experiences as well as exercises in the hope of providing you with plenty of tools to: 1) identify shame, 2) recognize shaming behavior, and 3) transcend shame.


Ungovernable Hearts: A Relationship Anarchy Primer

with Kale Gōsen and Adam Koebel

Hierarchies exist everywhere - you’re expected to put your spouse on a pedestal above your best friend and new loves are always supposed to be less significant than established ones. These rules, overt or subtle, can dictate the ways we engage in relationships, no matter their tenor; romantic, friendly or just fun hookups, every relationship struggles with the rules that govern them. Relationship Anarchy rejects that idea and instead embraces the philosophy that every relationship should live and die on its own merits, not by the structures of society or convention. Join your presenters for a primer on the ideals, tenets and practices of this radical approach to the way we relate.


Using Contests and Social Media To Raise Awareness and Promote Participation

with Cathy Vartuli and Reid Mihalko

Contests or "x-day challenge"can create free-publicity, goodwill, and win-wins for organizations with overlapping missions. For example, tickets for Hamilton being raffled off to those who donate to Planned Parenthood, creates a win-win situation or raised consciousness and contribution for a valuable organization, and good will and attention for the show.

Creating a contest, such as a Facebook Live video sharing a key idea learned on a given day at a Conference, is a way to increase visibility in directed ways. The rules of the contest give specific directions that help newcomers and those feeling stuck or frozen a clear path forward, and the social visibility of the combined effort increases the impact of each contribution.

We'll teach how to set contests up in an easy to run manner, and give suggestions on how to make them win-win for your business/organization and whoever your contest will support, WHILE we run a Facebook Live contest for Converge Con.

- Contest allows multiple submissions for each person.

- Winners will be drawn randomly from submissions and the winner will be the person who's channel/site the submission is posted on.

- Submissions may include multiple people, but only one prize per video.

- Must mention Converge Con

Facebook Live or video if not on Facebook. Share one thing you learned (today, in last talk, over lunch) at Converge Con and send link to Support@ReidAboutSex.com by Sunday at 3pm. Must not have privacy settings on so we can view it. Random drawing for Camp 2018 ticket and Converge Con 2018 ticket (2 separate winners). Must be at least 1 minute long, no upper limit.


Yes Means Yes, Red Means No: How Kink Handles Consent (and How We Can Improve)

with Melody Anne, Victor Salmon, Redrobin and Sara Blaze

While the BDSM community purports to hold itself to higher standards of consent in comparison to those of mainstream “vanilla” society, these “Safe, Sane, and Consensual” claims often fall short in reality. Yet, despite our occasional failings, BDSM practitioners have long worked toward a consent culture, developing paradigms for practicing consent that can benefit all individuals and communities striving to unlearn the norms of rape culture.

This panel discussion will explore BDSM’s long-standing ideals of consent, examine the difference between these “best practices” of consent vs how it is realistically navigated, and discuss how the BDSM subculture responds to breaches of consent and attempts to safeguard against such violations within the community. Furthermore, we will consider what universal lessons regarding consent can be learned from our community’s immersion in a world of power dynamics and sexual expression.

The intended takeaway from the panel discussion will be how BDSM practitioners discuss and practice consent and how this proactive approach can benefit mainstream society.