A journalist for an international, reputable publication wants to write an intimate, thoughtful longform piece that follows a married couple as they start the process of opening up their marriage to ethical nonmonogamy. Ideally, this couple is in engaging in couples therapy as they navigate this new phase of their marriage; those conversations, recounted or recalled, would provide structure for the story and a way of clearly translating the complexity of the thought process of the couple. The couple could remain unidentifiable; ideally, the therapist would use his or her name, although that could possibly be discussed as well. This article would seek not to sensationalize this phase of the marriage, but explore it as an increasingly logical, even possibly conventional option, in a world in which the traditional family has already been reconceived and marriage itself has expanded its definitions. The piece, which could be part of a larger cultural reframing, has potential for high impact. If you're interested, please email asktristan [at] gmail.com and I'll connect you with the journalist.
Participants needed for Qualitative Study
Vanilla and Kink: Married Couples in Which One Partner Identifies as a Part of the BDSM Culture and the Other Partner Does Not.
Looking for a legally married couple:
- At least 18 years of age
- Married for at least 1 year (including open-marriage and other variations)
- Male and female partnered marriage
- Speak and write English language fluently
- One partner self-identifying as a part of the BDSM culture/community for at least 1 year and the other partner self-identifying as not specifically BDSM (including vanilla, kinky but not identifying as BDSM, etc. )
- Not currently pregnant or experiencing psychosis or suicidal ideation
Due to the limited time and resources, this particular study focuses the above specific population. Future research will include a variety of types of committed relationships, sexual orientations, etc.
For questions or interest in participation, contact:
Catherine Meyer, MA, LMFT #88224, Cmeyer2 [at] alliant.edu
Supervised by Hao-Min Chen, Ph.D., Hmchen [at] alliant.edu
Goal of this study is to understand how married couples communicate and negotiate the rules, roles, and expectations about their sexual relationship when one partner identifies with the BDSM culture and the other does not.
All identifying information will be kept confidential.
I’m currently seeking 20 female and male individuals who are interested in speaking about their experiences of being in a marriage in which one partner identifies being in the BDSM culture and the other does not. The interviews are part of a doctoral dissertation study (entitled Vanilla and Kink: Married Couples in Which One Partner Identifies as a Part of the BDSM Culture and the Other Partner Does Not?) which is required to fulfill the requirements for the doctoral degree of the Couple Family Therapy Program at Alliant International University, Irvine campus. The project supervisor for this study is Hao-Min Chen, Ph.D. The study is interested in learning about and understanding how married couples communicate and negotiate the rules, roles, and expectations about their sexual relationship when one partner identifies with the BDSM culture and the other does not. Criteria for participation includes the following: at least 18 years of age, male and female partnered marriage, ability to speak and write the English language fluently, self-report being a part of the BDSM community for at least 1 year, be in a marriage for at least 1 year (inclusive of open-marriage), and not currently pregnant or experiencing psychosis or suicidal ideation. Interested individuals will be asked to fill out a short demographic questionnaire (about 5 minutes to complete) and participate in an interview, which will last approximately 60-90 minutes. Please note that participation in the study is voluntary. If you choose to participant in the study, I will be removing your name and any other identifying information from the final document to conceal your identity. If you are interested in being interviewed for the study and/or would like more information, then please contact me by email or phone so we can discuss, in more detail, the purpose and the process of the study. —Catherine Meyer, MA, LMFT
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.
Admission: 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.
Early Bird (through October 15) $75
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
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.