As home of a thriving film industry, the Black Glitterati, and the largest gay population between Miami and Washington DC, Atlanta is a city of rich cultural diversity. One of the elements of that diversity shows up in the incredible range of relationship and sexuality related cons to which the lovely city of Atlanta plays host. Listed in chronological order below, these conventions add a smart and sexy strand to the vibrancy of Atlanta.
All of these cons have online registration, meet in large hotels, have social and learning components with panel presentations and gaming rooms, and include vendors rooms with merchants selling everything from jewelry, books, and crafts to corsets, kilts, and sex toys. While the cons usually have blocks of rooms reserved for reduced rates, it can be cheaper to stay in smaller or more modest hotels nearby.
InfinityCon – February
Fresh from its first excellent year, InfintyCon specializes in the kinky side of polyamory. Touting itself as an educational conference with flair, InfinityCon aims to deliver a wide variety of information on polyamory and other forms of ethical non-monogamy. It is a sister con to Atlanta Poly Weekend with a more adult focus to contrast to APW’s family-friendly goals. In addition to their educational tracks, InfinityCon hosts a fun track designed to help folks connect with like-minded people with social time, dancing, and relaxation. InfinityCon is scheduled for February 9 – 12 in 2017.
Frolicon – April
Known among locals as DragonCon’s slutty little sister, Frolicon is a chance to “join all your favorite deviants for a fun filled weekend of debauchery and decadence.” A kink and think con for the “naughty side of paradise,” Frolicon features fun for thinkers, artists, and kinksters. Think tracks include those for writers, LGBT+, costuming, and polyamory, The kink track has classes on techniques, theories, and relationships, and the sync track helps frolickers make connections through meetups, speed dating, and mingles. For the kinksters, there is an incredibly well-equipped dungeon (configured by Sadistic Engineering) that fills the hotel’s largest ballroom and hosts open play as well as theme parties. Partiers will enjoy the Saturday night Party Battles in which groups of people try to outdo each other with making their party the most fun. Frolicon happens in the spring, when it is time to frolic, and is scheduled for April 13-16 in 2017.
Atlanta Poly Weekend – June
Having just completed its sixth year, Atlanta Poly Weekend is the only child-friendly con that features a kid track and pg-13 programming during the day, with the NC-17 programming scheduled after 9pm. Established by the Relationship Equality Foundation, APW offers polyamorous or poly curious folks the opportunity to meet and mingle, learn new skills, get advice, make family connections with other polys with kids (or without kids :), and learn about the wide world of communication, negotiation, and honesty among multiple partners. Atlanta Poly Weekend is scheduled for June 2 – 4 in 2017.
South East Leather Fest SELF – June
In addition to lots of classes and opportunities to learn everything from An Introduction to Biting or Conflict Resolution Within a Master/slave Framework to Erotic Shaving or BDSM and the Law, SELF also hosts a range of competitions. Titles include Master/slave, Ms. SELF, SELF Boy/Boi, Mr. SELF, Southeast Bootblack and Southeast Person of Leather. SELF also hosts a huge dungeon with some very sophisticated scenes – dedicated to a much more serious version of kink than Frolicon, which also has a giant dungeon but is focused more on play and less on protocol. This next SELF is scheduled for June 22-25 2017.
DragonCon – September
While not officially a sexualities-related convention, DragonCon is the kind of sci fi geek paradise that appeals to the kinksters, queers, polys, and cosplayers. Founded in 1987 and now in its 30th year, DragonCon touts itself as the largest muilti-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction & fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe. It hosts one of the most impressive parades I have ever seen and brings media figures from Sarah Gellar to William Shatner who speak to adoring throngs. The many fan tracks focus on everything from alternate history, animation, and armory to paranormal, puppetry, and robotics or urban fantasy, video gaming, and young adult literature. My personal favorites are the science and skeptic tracks. The mingling of thousands of imaginative people in sexy cosplay (with a decent dose of alcohol) leads to sexual exploration and fantasy play. DragonCon is a great place to get your geek on, and your freak on. It is scheduled for September 1-4 in 2017.
Sex Down South – October
Organized by a cadre of smart young queers, Sex Down South focuses on the intersections of sexuality, race, class, gender, ability, religion, social justice, and pleasure. In 2015, the first year of this excellent con dedicated to diversity and sexual liberation for everyone, speakers included psychologist Dr. Rachel Kieran, writer Fiona Zedde, sexy disability activist Robin Wilson Beattie, Velvet Lips founder and sex educator extraordinaire Marla Stewart, performance artist Ignacio Rivera (aka Papi Coxxx), minister Aldalphie Johnson, and author, podcaster, and cliterati Tristian Taormino. Sex Down South is scheduled for October 13 – 15 in 2016 and includes an impressive line-up including Tyomi Morgan, Sinclair Sexsmith, Orpheus Black, Ken Melvoin-Berg, Sunny Megatron, and yours truly (Elisabeth Sheff). SDS is coming right up — October 13-15 2016 at the Hilton in downtown Atlanta.
Do you know of any relationship or sexuality cons in Atlanta that did not make the list? Let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure to add them.