2011 World Polyamory Association Annual Conference

The World Polyamory Association is gearing up for its 2011 annual conference, which will be held July 29 - 31 at the Harbin Hot Springs Conference Center in Northern California. There will be a wealth of exciting activities to participate in, such as panel discussions, poly-tantra, and poly relationship commitment rituals. At this conference you can meet new friends and possible lovers, and converse with like-minded folks about poly issues.

Join us in an intensive, playful, entertaining, active, respectful, informative participatory sharing, learning opportunity for networking and celebrating polyamorous conclave consciousness for a weekend.

This year we move again into our favorite venue, Harbin's Conference Center. It's our private, gated, sex-positive celebrative community, complete with its own huge group room, breakaway areas, two hot pools and camping area. Harbin Caterers dish up yummy food. Camp, sleep in a group room or your RV.

Sounds awesome! The association is still taking applications for presenters, and tickets to the conference are sold on their website.


Researchers seek your experience with porn

Do you read or watch porn? Researchers Feona Attwood, Martin Barker, and Clarissa Smith are looking for participants in an online questionnaire about your experiences with porn. Unlike most research into porn consumption -- which is often concerned with the potential negative effects of porn -- this project is focused on the actual people who use porn.

Our project is concerned with the everyday uses of pornography, and how the people who use it feel it fits into their lives. Pornography is of course a highly topical issue, subject to many opposing views and ‘strong opinions’. And we are not saying that there are no moral or political issues. But we are saying that the voices of users and enjoyers have been swamped. In fact, there is very little research that engages with the users of pornography, asking how, when and why they turn to it.

The questionnaire is a mixture of multiple choice and open questions. It will ask questions about what porn you watch, how you find it, what you like/dislike, and how your porn consumption influences your feelings about sexuality. The questionnaire should take about 20-30 minutes to complete, and responses will remain anonymous. Go fill it out!

Watch Law and Order: SVU tonight!

Tonight's episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, entitled "Bombshell," has an interesting premise: two detectives are assigned to investigate criminal activity at a "swingers' club."

The Woodhull Foundation is hoping that viewers will tune in to the show and submit their responses to it on the foundation's website.

While we have not seen the episode, we have apprehension that it may feature gratuitous demonizing and sensational characterizations of swingers and others involved in the swinging lifestyle . . . help us review the show as we consider any possible response we may wish to make to the network.

The episode airs tonight, Wednesday, at 10 pm ET on NBC. Submit your thoughts on the Woodhull Foundation's website.

Student at Smith College comes out as poly in newspaper

Smith College's newspaper, The Sophian, features an ongoing column called Sex and the Smithie written by a different anonymous author each week. Last week's column is entitled Hear me out, I'm polyamorous and proud! (free registration may be required).

This student does an excellent job of dispelling myths about polyamory while also asking for understanding from their community. By drawing comparisons between poly people and other marginalized groups, the student author hopes that readers will better understand what it means to identify as poly.

So, yes, I'm coming out as poly. Before you commit to that visceral revulsion, I ask that you take a moment to draw a parallel. A romantic situation that's not socially acceptable. An orientation that you feel you have to keep secret. Something your religion prohibits. It disgusts some people. It's "wrong." You just feel this way; you can't help it. How are you going to find a partner? It is not the social default. You may even try to have a normative relationship. You struggle with how to tell your family and friends. Sound familiar to anyone?

. . . my point is that I find some very relatable parallels to being LGBTQ. It's non-normative, you might initially think your inclinations make you a bad person, and only relatively recently has it become not completely unspeakable and taboo. And, yeah, it's not for everyone. Plenty of people are heterosexual, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that; just please don't try to make me like you. We feel the same way about monogamy: there's nothing wrong with it, just please don't tell me my orientation is sick or wrong.

It's always great to hear how young people and students navigate polyamory, and this is a wonderful example of "coming out" with pride.