OpenSF 2012 Sessions

Any particular planned session may not actually happen or may be altered due to unforeseen events such as presenter illness.

Click here for the full schedule of sessions.




Atheism and Sexuality

Greta Christina

The sexual morality of most traditional religions tends to be based not on solid ethical principles, but on a set of taboos about what kinds of sex God does and does not want people to have. This is especially the case with morals about non-traditional sexualities, such as polyamory, queer sexuality, BDSM, sex work, etc. And while sex-positive communities offers a more thoughtful view of sexual morality, they still often frame sexuality as positive by seeing it as a spiritual experience. What are some secular alternatives to these views? How can atheists view sexual ethics without a belief in God? And how can atheists view sexual transcendence without a belief in the supernatural? This presentation is aimed at both believers and non-believers: offering ideas to non-believers about secular sexualities, and helping believers get a better understanding of atheists and atheism.

Beautiful Struggle: Open Hearts Project

Rey (Reina) Fukuda, Mark-Anthony Johnson, Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, Povi-Tamu Bryant, Ren-yo Hwang

This workshop will explore the ways in which non-monogamy and polyamory can offer healing and counter hegemonic practices for queer and transgender people of color’s relationships to ourselves, our communities, dominant norms and systems of power. Our aim is to creatively explore the ways in which our lives have been shaped by a hetero-normative, monogamous, capitalist, racist, and colonizing frameworks while unpacking the ways these deficient and toxic models have become naturalized to us. We will look at the contradictions and conditions of living within a white supremacist nation, asking each other what impacts this has on our relations to: family/community, religion/spirituality, educational institutions, and media/culture. We believe that each of these entities have greatly influenced our thinking and practices of intimacy, communication, insecurities/jealousy, self-love, self-care as well as our understanding of community. Multiple facilitators will conduct this workshop using interactive tools in large circle conversations and smaller breakout groups.

This is a space for poly questioning/practicing QTPOC (queer/trans people of color). This workshop is not a space for white folks, unless they are partners of QTPOC.

Fat Sluts, Hungry Virgins

Virgie Tovar

Virgie Tovar - fat girl, fat activist, sexpert (MA, Human Sexuality) and author of the upcoming anthology Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion - invites people of all body sizes to this fat-positive workshop. We’ll discuss, dissect, and brainstorm around fat & sex, sluthood, shame and celebration, mixed-size relationships, pleasure, desire for the fat body, unapologetically sating our erotic hunger, and, oh yes, there will be a fat slut photo shoot so feel free to bring your booty shorts and your ruffle butts!

Kink, Race, and Class

Yoseñio V. Lewis, Ignacio Rivera

How do race/racism/classism play into our kink? As people of color in the kink world, can we leave some of our identities at the door? Are queer play parties and kink worlds accessible to poor people? Why? Why not? Do kinksters operate in a political vacuum? Is it possible to be kinky and political? How can we respect one another and continue to navigate within the kink sphere? (Kink may encompass bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism, power exchange play, fetishes, multi-partner encounters or relationship configurations.)

Non-Monogamy Without Sex: Making Sense of Chosen Family, Non-Sexual Partnerships, and Romantic Friendships

Marcia Baczynski, Julianne Carroll

In open relationships, we spend a lot of time talking about how to make it okay to have casual sexual relationships, but what about the inverse: serious committed relationships and partnerships that don’t include sex or romance? Call it emotional non-monogamy, romantic friendship, chosen family, prioritizing community over partnership, or non-sexual life partners - not every model of open relationship involves primary partners, or even sex. But how do you talk about your relationships with new potential partners when language barely exists to prioritize non-sexual relationships? What happens when the chosen family of one’s 20’s collides with the realities of children, mortgages, and marriages in one’s 30’s, 40’s and beyond? How do multi-generational chosen families work? Drawing from models pioneered by the queer community, leather families, blended families, and other long-term “arrangements,” we’ll explore the issues, challenges, and benefits inherent in these atypical (but not uncommon) partnerships.

Poly "isms": Addressing Multiple Marginalizations in Non-Monogamous and Kink Community

Juana Tango, Invisibleank, Irene McCalphin, Roke Noir, Stacy Reed, Virgie Tovar, Xochiquetzal Duti

An in depth discussion analyzing privilege and marginalization in non-monogamous and kink communities. Panelists will share their diverse range of personal perspectives, experiences and discuss increasing accessibility by creating safe(r) spaces in non-monogamous and kink communities. We embrace diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, varied economic classes, sex workers, disabled, immigrant, queer, fat, and genderqueer and will address relevant expertise. Some selected self descriptors are socratic, visionary, poly, nappy fabulous, kinky, immigrant, lover, fat, creator, Latina, weird, pansexual, queer, women identified butch, femme, and sinister.

Poly Theory: Making Meaning and Re-making Culture Through Networked Romantic Relationships

Joy Brooke Fairfield

Can ethical non-monogamy be a tool for social change? What are the links between the radical revisioning of interpersonal relationships and the re-imagining of society as a whole? Grounded in the academic field of cultural studies, this lecture examines how theories and practices of ethical non-monogamy can generate and disseminate new ideas, techniques, and perspectives that have the potential to shift the climate of contemporary global capitalism. With an eye towards historical social justice movements of the past century, this presentation explores the forms of knowledge gained and rehearsed through the research-activities of daily life in networked romantic relationships.

Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Cognitive Differences (For those who love AND think ‘outside the box’!)

Dawn Davidson

Being polyamorous (or otherwise OPEN) is hard enough when your brain is “normal.” What if you or your partner/s are non-neurotypical in some way? AD(H)D, Aspie/Autie, Learning Disabled (LD), memory issues, cognitive changes/effects/side-effects due to surgery or medications — all these and more can present special relating challenges that are amplified in open, polyamorous, and/or ethically non-monogamous relationships of any sort. Differing perceptions and/or abilities can affect agreements, communication, time management, and sexual needs or responses. Often these differences lead to pain and misunderstandings that might be avoided with greater awareness. Come join other people struggling with these issues to discuss the most common situations, pose questions, share stories and suggestions, offer tips or tools, and brainstorm new approaches. All people dealing with these relationship issues are welcome, whether you personally identify with one of these groups, or you are in relationship with someone who does.

The Power of Social Networking For Multi-Racial Polyamorous Families

Airial Clark

Presentation of graduate level research on polyamory, race and family structures. Background will be given on how polyamory is studied in academia, the need for an intersectional understanding of consensual non-monogamy, and how social support networks are crucial for members of multiply marginalized identities.

Safe/Ward: Combating Abuse in BDSM/Altsex Communities

Kitty Stryker, Ava Solanas

This presentation is for community members and leaders looking to understand and address sexual, physical, and emotional abuse within communities that practice BDSM. While these communities hold consent very highly, they still struggle with how to prevent and deal with abusive situations - victim-blaming and silencing are still common. By deconstructing some of the behaviours and attitudes within the kink community, and giving practical solutions for event organizers and partygoers alike, Ava Solanas and Kitty Stryker will explain how to maintain safe space while still having sexy fun.

Sex With Benefits: Progressive Swinging

Cooper S. Beckett, Dylan Thomas, Ginger Bentham, Shira B. Katz

No longer content to be the pervy cousin of "more enlightened" forms of non-monogamy, swingers all around the world are redefining what ethical non-monogamy means to them. As the cultural footprint of non-monogamy grows, swingers are opening themselves up beyond the former key parties and "wife swapping" and finding themselves with wonderful benefits: relationships. Swingers everywhere are asking for "friends first" and "no one night stands," developing relationships that offer comfort, community, safety, and validation. This practice of allowing and embracing deeper emotional connections among playmates has become a phenomenon that has landed progressive swinging somewhere between the swinger sex club score and long-term polyamorous relationships. Cooper, Ginger, Dylan, and Shira B. Katz from Life on the Swingset discuss taking back the term swinging, and growth toward the sexiest of futures.

Sex Work and Non-Monogamy

Sandy Bottoms, Jaye W., Siouxsie Q, Jesse James, Kalash

This sex work and nonmonogamy discussion will be a platform for several sex workers and their partners of varying sex work backgrounds and sexual and gender identities to share their experiences in the intersection of sex work and their chosen relationship models. We will explore questions such as: Is there really such a thing as a monogamous sex worker? Does the profession help shape the relationship model? Are boundaries and agreements more around certain kinds of client behavior more stringent/relaxed because of the chosen relationship model? As a sex worker have there been times where it has been hard to differentiate between client and date?

So Many Honeys, So Little Money

Heina Dadabhoy

The recession, as well as growing interest in nonmonogamy among younger people and the increase in the use of the internet to meet partners, has meant that many polyfolk have faced some rather unique problems with logistics and practical matters. Monetary matters such as fuel costs, airfare, and motel rates can all too easily become conflicts or hindrances, while issues such as what to do when no one has a place to themselves or how to come out to roommates are ones for which there is little in the way of extant advice. This discussion will focus on coping tips and strategies for people who engage in relationships with multiple partners but do not have the financial backing to do so easily.

Trans-Queering Your Sex

Ignacio Rivera

Interested in a trans person, gender queer person, or gender non-conforming person? Wanna have fun and be respectful? Wanna experience "non-traditional" sex and desire that is not based on stereotypes? Well this is the workshop for you. Open to all sexual orientations and genders.

Nonmonogamy Skills


2nd Generation Poly: It Runs In The Family

Maggie Mayhem, Ned Mayhem, Evoë Thorne, Harold Henry

If non-monogamy proceeds from a set of values, then honesty, loyalty and a principled, respectful rejection of sexual repression are probably common values of most people who consider themselves “poly.” Since these are values that easily can and probably should be passed on to kids, it’s not surprising when the children of poly people end up choosing to be non-monogamous themselves, either for a time or as a central part of their lives and relationships. We believe it’s empirical data, not parental preferences, that inform sexuality. In our panel, we talk as a multigenerational family about our experience as openly poly parents and children navigating sexual mores that are still out of synch with those of the dominant culture. Even though we’ve taken chances in our lives that many people would not want to, we find ourselves happy with our choices and close as a family

Balancing Poly Parenting

Jay Glass, Rachel Pottol, Mary Beth Spencer, Michael Huff

Does it take a village to raise children in an open community? How do we build a new family model? There can be benefits to poly parenting - when we raise children in a multi-adult open relationship network, we increase the richness, complexity, and connections in their environment. There are more eyes and nurturing hands and cultural diversity, and often more financial stability (having two incomes and a stay-at-home parent). We also add new issues when poly-parenting, like how to explain your metamour’s validity as a designated childcare pickup/dropoff to providers and schools. What happens when children ask those awkward questions of your sub? And then there is dealing with all those sets of meta-virtual-grandparents! Having both alternative relationships and raising children can be a wonderful experience for everyone involved: children, bio-parents, custodial parents, virtual parents, partners and sweeties (aunt and uncle-like), and the rest of one’s network of relationships. Come learn about it!

Cultivating Healthy Boundaries

Sonya Brewer

Many of us think of boundaries as places of separation; we think that if we say no or we take time or space for ourselves that we are separating ourselves or not taking care of our relationships. This workshop is about reframing boundaries as points of contact or connection. From this perspective, healthy boundaries make it possible to generate more safety, intimacy and connection in our relationships. In this experiential workshop, we will learn more about how we experience boundaries in ourselves, and then explore practices for nourishing ourselves and our relationships by setting, negotiating and maintaining better boundaries.

Mono With Non-Mono: Worth the Trouble?

Silvano Colombano

We will examine the issues and challenges related to sustaining relationships among people who differ in their comfort level with openness. Why even date outside the open communities we identify with? When to bring up the issue? Can there be common ground? Do people change their minds? What kind of “open” or “mono” are you? Do people really always “know” what they are? Do we focus on real “needs” or on “labels”? The workshop welcomes 1) people who are willing to share their personal experiences, either successful or not, in navigating the challenges of connecting with people who do or did not share their desire for an open relationship, and 2) people who have questions about how these relationships can be approached or wonder whether they are worth the trouble.

Navigating Nonmonogamous BDSM Relationships

Kathy Labriola

Kinky people tend to be more successful in open and polyamorous relationships than vanilla folks, mainly because each person’s role and rights are clearly defined, and the skill set needed for BDSM relationships is essential in nonmonogamous relationships. Poly/open people either want “More” (more romance, attention, sex, or time), OR they want “Different” (something they are missing). Participants will work on the most important BDSM/open skills: know what you want, articulate your needs clearly, negotiate, set boundaries, don’t make assumptions about your partner, and don’t expect partners to magically know what you want. Exercises will help participants improve relationships: pick appropriate partners, know which model of nonmonogamy you are in, and learn to manage jealousy, both your own and your partner(s)'. The workshop includes some examples of open/BDSM dilemmas, and potential solutions, which usually requires answering the crucial question: Are you more kinky or more poly, or equally both?

Opening Safely: Negotiating a Middle Ground

James Starke, Shannyn de Blaauw

Creating a safe environment in which to take risks is important in newly open or poly relationships. Too many fear based restrictions can stymie growth, while moving too quickly can undermine the trust and security needed to push boundaries. It's essential to seek a balance between these two that works for everyone involved. We will lead a group discussion on the importance of honoring boundaries and examine strategies for fostering exploration and growth.

Organizing and Hosting Play Parties

Tenacious Snail

Learn about how to organize and host the kind of sex/play party that you and your friends will enjoy. Discussions about how to choose a venue and the advantages to various types of venues; determining what conduct guidelines you want and need; developing and growing a guest list; being welcoming to newcomers (both new-to-your-party and new to parties in general); and the logistics and infrastructure to pull it all together!

Partnering with Power: Kink and D/s Open Relationships

Tristan Taormino

People who practice BDSM, especially those who are in dominant/submissive or dominant/service relationships, face unique challenges in both designing their open relationships and making them work. Relationship expert and bestselling author Tristan Taormino offers practical advice and strategies for dealing with specific issues related to being open and kinky. We’ll cover: common open relationship styles within BDSM communities and how they can work best; how to negotiate for what you need within a D/s dynamic; the role of power, control, and authority in negotiation; and practical conflict resolution skills. In the interactive facilitated portion of this workshop, participants will be encouraged to share their stories, issues, and solutions.

A Practical Primer for Picking Poly-friendly Professionals

Joe Zarate-Sanderlin

While open and honest communication with the professionals in your life is ideal, it can also be a challenge. Practicing ethical non-monogamy may present a number of increased risks for those involved that require you to either find poly friendly professionals or come out to your current professionals. What do you do if you discover that these professionals are less understanding of your lifestyle than you would like? Understanding that it can feel risky to open up to non-poly-friendly professionals and that it can be risky not to be open with these professionals, the goal is for you to be as prepared as possible for these conversations and experiences. In this session, we’ll explore these topics including resources for finding lifestyle-friendly professionals and tips for coming out to the professionals you encounter.

Radical Love for Beginners: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships

Wendy-O Matik

Wendy-O Matik, author of Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships, is pushing the boundaries on firmly rooted notions in mainstream society on relationships, love, and sexual politics. Traditional models for relationships tend to focus on monogamy, but many of us are looking for ways to support alternatives. Declare yourself a revolutionary of the heart and a radical love activist! Join us in exploring your potential to love many people and navigating the complexities around responsible and sustainable relationships. Radical love is the freedom to love whom you want, how you want, as many as you want, so long as personal integrity, respect, honesty, and consent are at the core of all relationships. It primarily focuses on love and intimacy, not sex and sexual conquest.

Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster: Managing Jealousy in Open Relationships

Kathy Labriola

This workshop starts with the question, why are we jealous? Weighing theories from Freud to Darwin to the latest scientific research on jealousy, we will learn why jealousy is universal in all cultures. Experiential exercises help participants discover their jealousy triggers, exactly what makes them most jealous, and dissect their jealousy to understand the key components. Other exercises help identify the four prerequisites for jealousy, discerning rational from irrational jealousy, and emergency techniques for jealousy intervention. The last portion of the workshop will focus on two successful approaches for managing jealousy. The “engineering model” identifies and removes those situations that generate the most intense jealousy. The “phobia model” requires incrementally being exposed to jealousy-producing situations to gradually increase comfort levels. And last but not least, we’ll talk about what to do when your partner is the one who is jealous: how to help them manage and reduce their jealousy.

Sexuality and Dating


Debunking Anal Fisting Myths

Mr. Allan

Starting with 1980's "Cruising", fisting has gotten an undeservedly bad reputation. This session will discuss common misconceptions about fisting, touch on techniques for successful fisting sessions, discuss sexual energy and power exchange in a fisting contest, and offer an open Q&A discussion. While it is focused on male anal fisting, anyone is welcome at this workshop.

Erotic Breathwork for Deeper Intimacy


Breath is an anchor, a vehicle, a springboard. Breath is the glue that keeps us in our bodies & connects us deeply to those around us. Using a seamless meld of neo-rebirthing, Taoist Eroticism, and neo-Reichian techniques, M'kali-Hashiki will lead participants through breathing exercises that will not only increase your connection to your own erotic power, but allow you to more easily share erotic energy with others. In addition to showing how erotic breathwork can be shared in dyads, there will also be exercises designed for triads.

Good Vibrations Toy Workshop And Store Tour

Laurie Winters

When it comes to sexual pleasure, Good Vibrations is the place to go for info, fun ideas, and great sex toys. Sex educator Laurie Winters will talk about some of the fun ways to include vibrators, dildos, and other sex toys into your repertoire. After, come on over to the Polk St. store for a tour of more of our favorite goodies, as well as our Antique Vibrator Museum! The more ways you know how to enjoy sex, the more fun you can have, so come get your questions answered and discover some new fun.

How Not to Be a Douche (on FetLife and other sexy sites)

Cunning Minx

The great news is that we can haul all our alternative, sex-positive asses to an online community of our choosing and commence making like-minded friends. The bad news is that community sites can be rife with douchebaggery, both intentional and unintentional. Join Minx, poly dating diva who has seen the worst that FetLife, OKCupid and other community sites have to offer, as she shows how not to be a douchebag on kinky and poly dating and community sites. With a few basic tips based on extensive polling and feedback from some of the sites' most respected (and hottest!) users, you'll find out how not to be a douche AND how to get all the hot, kinky, poly or otherwise alternative ass (or connections, if you must) that you want!

The Intimacy of Sacred Kink

Xochiquetzal Duti

For some of us, poly, pagan, and kinky are said in one breath; they describe what we are and quickly help us gauge others. For others though, there might be an interest but where do we start? What is the point? Let’s explore these different and delicious avenues together!

Negotiating Successful Threesomes

Reid Mihalko

It’s a popular fantasy with twice the pleasure potential, but navigating a three-way romance (if only for one night) can be tricky. Join world-renowned sex and relationship educator Reid Mihalko for this fun-filled workshop - with live demonstrations! Not only will you get a chance to ask questions, but we’ll cover the best techniques to satisfy two lovers at once, how to overcome fears and concerns, and the most common threesome mistakes. Come learn how to make your next ménage à trois trés bien!

Pansexual Poly Sluts in Leather

Dossie Easton

Every relationship we enter into offers us the chance to deeply meet someone else, and the chance to meet new facets of ourselves. In BDSM roleplay, we explore some very shadowy selves, hot and scary and edgy, who probably have a lot to offer us in opening new visions and healing old wounds. In this workshop we will explore our pansexual panoply of selves, and journey to deepen and expand both our understanding and acceptance of who we are.

Please wear loose fitting clothes and bring a pad or cushion to sit on for the breath work, and also a notebook or journal to write in. This will be a very participatory workshop, and quite intimate, even though we will all keep our clothes on.

Pickup Arts for Sweethearts

Kisser Of Sinners

Everyone wants to be able to talk to the person they think is hot. The trouble is often we freeze or become so high on our own brain drugs we forget how to be our awesome selves. In this class we’ll look at how to be the person we’d want to date. Most importantly, I teach the basics of approaching and flirting without being creepy. Class includes confidence building exorcises, body language basics, and self care. No scripts, No jerks, just spreading the love and making new friends. Hope to see you there!

Sex, Shame, and Love

Charlie Glickman

Developing shame resilience makes it easier to deal with this difficult but inevitable emotion, along with jealousy, loss, and fear. It also helps us create more space to give and receive love, explore our authentic selves, and build the relationships that suit us. Through both presentation and facilitated discussion, you’ll find new ways to keep shame from getting in the way and create the relationships that work for you!

Who's the Boss: Power Playfulness in the Bedroom

Shay, Stefanos

For those who want to add a little spice, playfulness, fantasy, and mental connection to their sex lives, this class is for you! Undressing, kissing, dirty talk, and foreplay - all the sexy things you already do can be slightly adjusted to fit into bedroom dominance. We will start by introducing the idea of playing with power exchange and discuss using safewords to enhance your play. We'll show some specific techniques to get you started (including kissing, hair pulling, verbalization, and using teeth and nails for maximum effect), and finish it off with a detailed demonstration of reading and using body language in this context.

Movement, Art, and Writing


Creative Loving, Healing, & Intention: Poly Expressive Arts Therapy

Richard Wright

An introduction to expressive arts therapy for the poly-intimate. We will use the arts as a therapeutic vehicle to gain clarity around knowing ones boundaries and relationship needs from an embodied place. Creative expressions from an authentic place tend to circumvent our psychological defenses and get right to the heart of the matter. Art modalities will range from visual arts, movement appropriate for all levels of ability, and creative journaling. No "artist expertise" required! It promises to be fun and insightful. Led by a queer-positive person of color.

Honing Non-Judgmental Communication Through Touch and Movement

Grotesque Human

Any relationship requires skill in communication, but unconventional relationship structures -- such as nonmonogamy and D/s -- particularly call upon emotional bravery and openness. In the first part of the session, we’ll explore the basics of Improvisational Contact Dance, including the concepts of weight sharing and momentum in pairs and groups. Then we’ll discuss how movement and desexualized touch can apply to any relationship to practice non-judgment in communication, help us release from our expectations, and appreciate the beauty of being in the moment. This session requires no previous dancing experience and is not restricted to any gender, orientation, or level of physical ability – anyone who wishes may participate.

Massage for You and You... and You Too!

Irene McCalphin, Jackson

Touch is one of our greatest tools for connection. This class will teach basic massage techniques that aid in fostering physical and mental well being as well as togetherness. Learn how you and your partners can use your hands to creatively and compassionately communicate love and affection on multiple levels. In addition, we will place emphasis on proper posture in order to share the gift of touch while reducing the chance of injury. After all, the better we take care of ourselves, the more wonderful massages we can share! This class is best attended by groups of three, though singles and doubles are quite welcome to join.

Photo Perspectives

Forbidden Light, Mim Art

Arranging participants in groups of three and more, we will take photos of each individual from the perspectives of the other group members. In addition, prints will be made of each photo. Each participant will then write their thoughts/words concerning the person captured in the portrait. This exercise is made to illustrate how a single individual can be perceived in several different ways, thus the capacity to form unique relationships with each person. In nonmonogamy, we believe it is important to understand that every connection is different, with its own set of dynamics. It will be an epiphany to see one’s lover to the eyes of someone else. To see one’s self through the eyes of multiple points of view will be a refreshing reminder that we are all multi-dimensional.

Writing Group Sex: Erotica for Three or More

Allison Moon

Do you like writing smut but run into issues with the mechanics? How many pronouns can you use before “his hands” and “hir toes” start getting discombobulated? In this fun, interactive workshop, you'll have a chance to write your own sexy story involving three or more characters engaged in any and all naughtiness you can put to paper! Bring your laptops, notebooks and dirty minds!