Oct 042015

Open Intensive

How do people create nontraditional partnerships that are loving and fulfilling? There are few established scripts or visible role models for open relationships, so people in them can often struggle without support and guidance. In this four hour intensive program, sex and relationship educator Tristan Taormino shares some of the key principles that can help your open relationships succeed. She will review some of the most common styles of open relationships, from partnered nonmonogamy to solo polyamory, and discuss how to customize them to meet your individual needs and wants. She will share wisdom from the over 100 people she interviewed and profiled in her bestselling book Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships.

The workshop will address common issues and problems including:

  • New relationship energy
  • Time management
  • Sexual and emotional safety
  • Boundary setting
  • Agreement violations
  • Coping with change


Through creative exercises, you’ll discover how to unpack all the different elements of jealousy and identify what triggers your jealousy and how it manifests for you; learn to develop coping strategies and find access points to the practice of compersion.

Learn how to tackle challenges including:

  • Communicating about highly-charged topics
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • The art of re-negotiation
  • Roadblocks to fulfillment
  • Confronting fear


Whether you’re a newcomer or veteran to the world beyond monogamy, come discover strategies to help you nurture and grow your open relationships. Open to people in all kinds of relationship configurations as well as solos and singles of all genders and sexual orientations. Seating is limited and pre-registration is strongly encouraged.


Date and Time: Sunday, November 15, 2015, 1:00-5:00 pm
Location: The Stockroom, 2809 1/2 Sunset Boulevard 
Los Angeles, CA 90026.
Register at Eventbrite. Open to people in all kinds of relationship configurations as well as solos and singles of all genders and sexual orientations. Seating is limited and pre-registration is strongly encouraged.
Ticket Types:
Early Bird (through October 15) $75
Regular $100
VIP $125: priority seating, personalized signed copy of Opening Up, gift bag
VIP + Dinner $200: priority seating, personalized signed copy of Opening Up, autographed DVD, luxury gift bag, dinner with Tristan after the workshop

Jun 032015

Cultural Humility and Affirming Polyamorous and Non-Monogamous Relationships
Organized and facilitated by Shawn Chrisman and Ruby B Johnson

July 26, 2015
Vantage Point Counseling
3300 Oaklawn Ave, Suite 415
Dallas, Texas 75219
for more details, go to polydallas2015.com.

In Dallas, Texas on July 24 2015, PolyDallas2015 is hosting the Affirming Polyamorous and Non-Monogamous Relationship Symposium. It is being held at the office of Vantage Point Counseling Services. This is the first symposium, with a primary focus on polyamorous relationship and family structure, to be held in the Dallas/Fort Worth [DFW] area. Co-Presenters Ruby B Johnson and Shawn Chrisman hope to contribute to the knowledge base of mental health practitioners and other community providers. For those attendees who are not in the DFW area, this symposium is offered as a live webinar stream.

Polyamorous and Non-Monogamous relationships have become more visible over the last decade. The way individuals, in their 20s to early 30s (Millennials), are relating, connecting, attracting, and permitting themselves to have non-traditional relationships is creating a more sex positive and dynamic relationship structure. However, Generation X proves to have a different experience and expectation of relationships and their structure.

Hence the exposure, experience, and knowledge base of these different relationships is mysterious to many mental health and substance abuse providers within the community. Demystifying and educating providers is key to providing a conducive non-shaming therapeutic environment. Providing knowledge is a practice of cultural competence; infusing cultural humility into practice creates authenticity and positive regard within the clinician.

To support these principles of the helping relationship, the content richly addresses definitions of polyamory and non-monogamy, coupled with a graph which offers a visual aid for attendees. Heteronormative and monogamous privilege is exposed as well as how those forms of privilege create challenges to provider’s beliefs, values, and norms of relationships. To assist with unpacking privilege, myths and misconceptions of these relationships are debunked. Next, the focus shifts to the therapist and other helping professionals.

With each one of the tenets of cultural humility, solutions, techniques, and suggestions for change are offered that include (not limited to) unconscious bias, racial bias, counter transference, professional boundaries, dual relationships, microaggressions,, social, political, economic bias, sex positivity versus sex addiction, and intellectual privilege (Dunning-Kruger Effect).

Certain theories have been shown to assist with effective practice such as systems, constructivism, Bowenian, feminist, and gender queer. Techniques such as the genogram, gender/relationship inclusive assessments, narrative versus structured assessment, collaborative (with client) treatment planning and interventions, including considerations for cultural, social, community, and services barriers. Additionally, one must be aware of community resources and support.

Please follow us on Twitter @polydallas2015.


Ruby B Johnson (LMSW, LCDC, SAP, CSAT Candidate) received her Bachelors of Social Work in 2003 from Texas Women’s University and her Masters of Social Work in 2005 from the University of Texas at Arlington. Since 2003, Ruby’s roles have included clinical practitioner, community and professional development educator, and graduate and under graduate adjunct professor. In private practice, her areas of expertise are substance use disorders, sex addiction, intimacy and love addiction, multi-cultural families and couples, SOGIE, polyamorous/non monogamous partnerships/families, and Kink/BDSM. Ruby Johnson provides therapeutic support, care, and intervention with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender variant/non-binary, queer, and same gender loving communities. Currently, Ruby is in private practice at Vantage Point Counseling Services and Inamorata LLC.

She has presented at several national, state, and local conferences including Society of Social Work Research Conference, Council of Social Work Education Conference, DFW Behavioral Health Symposium, and, most recently, her proposals were accepted at The State Texas Association of Addiction Professionals Conference and Black Families, Black Relationships, and Black Sexuality Conference in Philadelphia. Ruby is a member of various professional organizations including Texas Association of Addiction Professionals [TAAP], Association of Addiction Professionals [NAADAC], International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals [IITAP], American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists [AASECT], Society for Advancement of Sexual Health [SASH] and most recently, Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians [ABSC].

Shawn Chrisman (MS, LPC, PhD Candidate) is currently a practicing Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas.  He received his clinical training with a Master’s in Counseling from Southern Methodist University, and is currently working towards his doctorate degree in Human Sexuality from Widener University.

Shawn works with individuals and couples on sexuality-related issues, including addressing intimacy, sexual identity, gender dysphoria, sexual dysfunctions and other concerns.  Shawn also identifies as a kink-aware therapist and works with couples enjoying diverse relationship structures, such as open or polyamorous relationships.  Shawn is an active member of American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS).  He has also presented workshops for professionals and community members at local universities and organizations. Shawn has been published in Qualitative Health Research.


Nov 202014


This Friday on November 21st at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT, I will be live on Sex Out Loud radio with Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, the co-authors of the new book, More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, a hands-on toolkit for having happy, successful polyamorous relationships. They discuss their new book as well as their latest project, Thorntree Press, a new, independent publishing company with a focus on rational, evidence-based approaches to sex and relationships, as well as sharing real-life stories. They’ll also answer listener questions about navigating non-traditional relationships.

This week’s show is LIVE so call in with questions and comments at 1-866-472-5788, join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter, or e-mail me via tristan(at)puckerup.com and I’ll read them live on the air. Tune in to Sex Out Loud every Friday, you can listen along on your computer, tablet, or phone, find all the ways at SexOutLoudRadio.com!

Franklin Veaux is the co-author of the groundbreaking new book More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, and the author of the top-ranked polyamory site on the Web, morethantwo.com. He is also the creator of Onyx: The Game of Sexual Exploration, maintains the sites xeromag.com and symtoys.com, which include extensive writings about BDSM, publishes erotic fiction under the pen name William Vitelli, and is the co-founder of the publishing company Thorntree Press and the sex toy R&D company Tacit Pleasures. Franklin started practicing non-monogamy from the moment he started becoming aware that boys and girls are different. He started writing about it in 1998. Over the decades, he’s made just about every mistake it’s possible to make in polyamorous relationships. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgment. Today, he has five partners, lives in Portland, Oregon, and spends a great deal of time writing about everything from relationship ethics to transhumanism to computer security.

Eve Rickert is a professional writer, editor and mastermind, and the co-author of the the new book More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory. Until taking time off from life to write the book and go on a book tour, she co-organized a group for poly women in Vancouver, Canada, and she blogs at the More Than Two website. She owns a science communications firm in Vancouver, Canada, called Talk Science to Me, and she is the co-founder of the publishing company Thorntree Press and the smart sex toy R&D company Tacit Pleasures. Eve has been living poly since 2008, though her poly roots go back much deeper. Her approach to poly has changed radically over the years: from early experiences in high school, to first hearing the word “polyamory” in 1998, to first swingers’ party in 2006, to her current three long-term relationships. And being poly has radically changed her. She’s made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of hard lessons. She co-wrote More Than Two to share those experiences with anyone who is struggling to maintain ethical multiple relationships with integrity, compassion and courage.


Jun 052014

Two new poly social networks have been launched recently!

The first is Beyond Two, a poly dating and friendship site. Launched in September 2013, it uses a dating/Facebook format and is family-friendly. There are configurations on the site for every possible scenario. Membership growth has been steady and strong, with members all over the world, but predominantly in the U.S.

The second is Polyamory Network, a social network for anyone with an interest in polyamory. It is very new, having launched mid-April, but the owner has contacted large interest groups in hopes of spreading the word. All content can only be accessed by members.

Both sites are completely free.

May 282014

Dr. Eli Sheff, author of the recent The Polyamorists Next Door, is working on a new project: Stories from the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families. Her call for submissions reads, in part,

Are you a member of a poly family and willing to share your story (anonymously) with the world? Consider writing a brief entry for an upcoming edited book. Submissions can range anywhere from a few sentences to 10 pages long, depending on the age of the submitters, the format they select, and how much they have to say. You are free to submit essays, short stories, poetry, drawings, and photographs, or whatever else you can think of. All submissions will be anonymized, so no one will know who you are when they read the book.

Find all kinds of topic ideas and prompts for children, teens, adults, and elders, on Sheff’s blog here. If you wish to submit something or have any questions, contact Eli Sheff at drelisheff@gmail.com.

May 202014

To those already in the poly community, it is not news that the mainstream media has been talking about polyamory. But it matters because there is a snowball effect taking place. More and more mainstream media outlets have turned an eye toward polyamory, and Bitch published a whole run-down on their blog.

Erica Thomas purports that the rise in attention to polyamory began with the publication of “landmark books” such as Opening Up and The Ethical Slut, and is continuing in the literary world with new books such as The Polyamorists Next Dooras well as on TV with shows such as Polyamory: Married & Dating.

Thomas notes that when it comes to reporting on non-monogamy, stories tend to fall into one of three types: the Comfortable Distance Story, the Personal Profile, and the Slippery Slope. Most egregious is the Slippery Slope, in which writers and news outlets argue that, of course, polyamory will lead to all manner of immoral things.

The most amenable type of story is usually the Personal Profile, because, as Thomas explains,

These personal profiles tend to be the least sensationalized treatment poly families get. After all, they’re stories from the mouths of the people living them, so they can actually answer to a lot of the criticism and speculation in a way that’s practical and understandable. Often in these first-person pieces or profiles, the author spends much of the piece simply explaining how their style of non-monogamy works, and describing what their day-to-day looks like in the interest of combating misconceptions about their lives. The descriptions can sometimes read like celebrity lifestyle profiles, “Hey! They’re just like us!”

Slate has recently been publishing a series of first-hand-account blog posts, penned under pseudonym Michael Carey, about the author’s own exploration into polyamory . . . The series has been getting some less-than-stellar reviews via the comments section. The main complaint? The posts are “boring.” It’s a good sign that we’ve reached the cultural acceptance point where it’s possible for writing about open relationships to be banal.

It’s an interesting — and pretty spot on — analysis of the way non-monogamy is treated in the media, with tons of links to various articles spanning a whole range of perspectives.

Read the rest on Bitch.

May 122014

In March, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in a case involving a marine who engaged in a consensual threesome and was later convicted of adultery, attempted consensual sodomy, and indecent conduct. The brief argued that prosecutors on the case were ignoring the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision in which it was decided that moral judgment is not a basis for criminalizing consensual sexual conduct.

In April, the Navy and Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals accepted NCSF’s amicus brief.

Dick Cunningham, NCSF’s Legal Counsel, said, “This is an important brief in support of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision — Lawrence v. Texas. Prosecutors and courts have no right to impose a narrow view of sexual morality on consenting adults.”

To see the full legal documents on this case, click here.

Apr 192014

Guest speaker Kathy Labriola, the author of The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships, is teaching a free workshop on Monday evening at Feelmore510 in downtown Oakland! Here’s more info about it.

Monday, April 21st 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Feelmore510 Adult Gallery
1703 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland (near 19th Street BART)

In this workshop, you will learn tools and techniques to help you deal with one of the main obstacles to happy and healthy open relationships: jealousy . You will learn how to accept your own jealousy and jealousy in your partner(s), and to manage it effectively, in ways that help you grow as a person and strengthen your romantic bonds, instead of creating anxiety and insecurity in your relationship(s).

Jealousy is a natural and normal reaction to a potentially threatening situation. If you have some tools and can work cooperatively with your partner, it can bring you closer together and make you stronger, in yourself , as well as in your relationships.

This workshop deconstructs jealousy to help you understand what and why certain situations and people prompt such distress, and will give you some practical tools to help you understand your jealousy and reduce it significantly.

A few of the topics covered are:

  • “Know your Jealousy Pie Chart: Managing the Fear, Anger, and Sadness of Jealousy”
  • “Understanding the Difference between Jealousy, Coveting, and Envy”
  • “Are you in Poly Hell?”
  • “What to do When your Partner is Jealous”
  • “What is Compersion and can it be cultivated?”

Kathy Labriola is a nurse, counselor, and hypnotherapist in private practice in Berkeley, California. Her mission is providing affordable mental health services to alternative communities. She has been a card-carrying bisexual and polyamorist for 40 years. She is the author of two books published by Greenery Press: Love in Abundance: A Counselor’s Advice on Open Relationships and The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships.

To RSVP or for questions, contact events@feelmore510.com

Jan 072014

Dr. Meg Barker is a writer, academic, therapist, and activist in the area of sex and relationships. They are a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and have published many academic books and papers, including The Bisexuality Report and Rewriting the Rules: An Integrative Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships.

Barker was asked to speak at TEDxBrighton, a local, self-organized event featuring live speakers. Barker’s talk at TEDxBrighton was based off their book, Rewriting the Rules, so it is focused on ways we can re-examine our ideas about modern relationships. Check it out!

Find out more about Dr. Meg Barker on their Twitter account and blog.

Dec 152013

The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and FamiliesDr. Eli Sheff’s new book, The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families, has been released — and I encourage you to buy it today. Doing so can help it become a top seller in its category, which can lead to a less expensive paperback version and hopefully more mainstream recognition.

Eli Sheff is an important voice in the poly world. She was a guest on my radio show, Sex Out Loud, and has been on panels about polyamory, an expert on TV shows discussing polyamory, and a frequent source of quotes for mainstream articles exploring non-monogamy.

Sheff is one of the premiere experts on children in polyamorous families, and so The Polyamorists Next Door is a fascinating and important look at families:

In colorful and moving details, this book explores how polyamorous relationships come to be, grow and change, manage the ins and outs of daily family life, and cope with the challenges they face both within their families and from society at large. Using polyamorists own words, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff examines polyamorous households and reveals their advantages, disadvantages, and the daily lives of those living in them.

. . . This book provides information that will be useful for professionals with polyamorous clients, educators who wish to understand or teach about polyamory, and especially people who wish to better understand polyamory themselves or explain it to their potential partners, adult children, or in-laws.

Go buy The Polyamorists Next Door today to help push it to the top of its category — where it belongs!