Category Archives: romance

Well & Good Interviews Dr. Eli Sheff on Open Relationship Pros & Cons

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Zoe Weiner at Well and Good interviewed me recently about when open relationships work, and when they don’t.

 

 

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/health-pros-cons-of-open-relationship/

 

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Filed under consensual nonmonogamy, dating, diversity, Families, Gender, Health, interview, love, marriage, Media, non-monogamy, open relationships, Polyamory, relationships, romance, sex, sex education, sexuality, Uncategorized

Cronica Post Foro: Reflections on Conference in Spain

 

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I just returned to the United States from the first annual Foro Poliamor in Spain, and was completely charmed by it all – the people I met, the places they showed me, and the conference itself.

If you have never been to Spain and could possibly travel there, I strongly suggest that you try to find somehow, someway to get there. It is a lovely, diverse, delightful country with friendly people and incredible places to visit. Going for the Foro is the perfect excuse to explore this incredible country!

 

Catalunya

The Catalunya region of Spain is gorgeous and diverse. A charming mix of ancient and ultra-modern, Barcelona is the transit, tourist, and business capitol of the region. The Foro Poliamor conference met at the delightful Hotel Cardos in the Pyrenees Mountains. Roughly three hours from Barcelona by car, the mountains have lovely trees and burbling brooks in the summer and skiing in the winter. With barely any competing light and clear air, the night sky in the Pyrenees is so dark and clear that you can see the band of the Milky Way standing stark amid the most stars I have ever seen.

 

Hotel Cardos

FORO 01 grounds .jpgHotel Cardos is a charming, quirky, and comfortable hotel with a lovely deck, swimming pool, gardens, and grounds. A collectors’ dream, Hotel Cardos boasts a diverse and fascinating array of objects (especially nativity figures), sculptures, and wall-art gracing each of its six floors. The dining room offers a large and inviting space with a central buffet for breakfast, and long tables where lunch and dinner are served. The staff are delightful, incredibly friendly, and accommodating, and helped to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Inviting sleeping rooms provided comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and windows with gorgeous mountain views of the fierce late June sun during the day and lovely cooling breezes at night. The grounds of Hotel Cardos are filled with delightful nooks and crannies, from a fountain grotto with elaborate stone designs to a gazebo surrounded by trees and horses in the field next to the pool. Indoor spaces provide a wide range of places to hang out – among them the Piano room for big meetings and social chatting, the Zen room for quite thinking, reading, or meditation, the Botanica space that straddled the sunroom and stone patio, or the underground discotheque complete with lights and sound system.

 

 Foro Poliamor Conference

A three-day fiesta of thoughts and interactions, learning and socializing – what’s not to like? In fact, the entire conference was lovely, from the flexible nature of the programming to the delightful conversations around delicious food. There were two organized tracks – four workshops with me and four workshops with Nico Castellanos. My workshops covered types of CNM and when they work (or not), a brief history of CNM and its place in social change, dealing with jealousy, and children in polyamorous families. Nico Castellanos presented workshops on four-hand massage, BDSM for the curious, conscious touch, and a sensory journey.

A third track was organized by the folks who came to the conference in the moment, with people writing suggestions for what they would like to discuss and others offering expertise in specific topics. I attended one of the open track sessions on ninja training led by the impressive and intrepid Irene and it kicked my ass, even though I was not in time to meet them for the running portion of the workout. Doing the stairs, jumping up and down a bench (except in my case more stepping up and down) and lifting blocks of concrete from a squat or in a lunge was more than enough for me. By the time we got to repeatedly jumping in the pool and lifting ourselves up using upper body strength I decided I might just stay in the pool for a while. Everyone was jovial and encouraging, some joining me in the pool to luxuriate in the delightful water and others continuing their (grueling I must say) workout. That moment was characteristic of the Foro for me – I was free to do as I wished with the delight and support from those around me in a relaxed learning and collaborative environment. Non-ninja-related topics included dancing, defining and establishing consent, working through the emotional pain that can come with polyamorous relationships, and many more.

 

Socializing

There were many fun opportunities for relaxed socializing. Meals at long tables encouraged spontaneous conversations with folks who ended up next to each other, and the swimming pool and patio offered many opportunities to lounge and chat. A costume party Saturday night had everyone cross-dressing and boogieing in the disco and watching the absolutely incredible (I cannot sufficiently express how truly amazing) night sky.

 

Language

While I learned a little bit of Spanish as an exchange student in Guadalajara, it was not even enough to really communicate then and I have forgotten most of it in the intervening years. Even with such limited skills, I was able to communicate easily with people at the conference because many of them spoke at least some English. During my workshops the Foro provided someone to translate between English and Spanish, and they even gave me a personal translator during the group meetings who whispered to me in English. In the rare case that the person I was chatting with could not understand my broken Spanish and could not speak to me in English, there was always someone else nearby who was happy to translate on the fly. Overall, I found the language quite easy to navigate and people happy to help me through stumbles.

 

The next Foro happens in June of 2018. Tickets to Barcelona are not all that expensive, especially if you start looking for deals early. If you start saving today, you might be able to travel to Spain next year for the Foro. In my experience, it was totally worth the time, effort, and expense to get there for the amazing experience.

 

 

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Women’s Health Magazine Interviews Dr. Eli Sheff

 

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Alexandria Gomez from Women’s Health Magazine interviewed me recently for a piece on polyamory and consensual non-monogamy. You can find the article here.

 

 

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-love/open-relationships

 

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SwingTown Publishes Dr. Eli Sheff’s 6 Benefits of Polyamorous Relationships

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The fantastic folks over at SwingTown have published another one of my blogs, this time on six of the benefits people can experience in polyamorous relationships.

Image is of a hand-drawn saying on a piece of paper “because of your love i am free” in colorful pencil outline.

https://swingtowns.com/blog/poly/six-benefits-poly/

 

 

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SwingTown Publishes Dr. Eli Sheff’s Post on 5 Common Problems in Polyamory and How to Avoid Them

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The folks over at SwingTown asked if I would write them a blog about how to deal with common problems that beset polyamorous relationships. This is what we ended up with — enjoy!

https://swingtowns.com/blog/poly/five-problems-polyamorous/

 

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Dr. Eli Sheff Gives AASECT Training May 20 in Atlanta

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Poly Relationship Training 05/20/2017

Therapeutic Issues for Clients in

Polyamorous/Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationships

Date/Time:  Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 09:30 am.
Cost: $120.00 (lunch on your own)
Location: 1640 Powers Ferry Rd, Bldg 27, Ste 200, Marietta, GA 30067
6 CE’s by AASECT & LPCA-GA
Please Dr. Elisabeth Sheff and Angelique Burke, LPC, for an educational extravaganza providing therapists and counselors with six CEUs certified by both AASECT and LPCA-GA.

 

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce mental health practitioners to polyamory and the therapeutic issues they can face when serving clients in polyamorous relationships. It begins with defining Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM) and contrasting it with cheating/adultery. Then it explores the primary types of Consensual Non-Monogamy practiced in the United States: Open Relationships, Polygamy, Swinging, Polyamory, Monogamish Relationships, and Relationship Anarchy.

This workshop looks at therapeutic issues facing people in CNM relationships, both internal to and external of the relationship. Internal issues vary by person, and often include dealing with jealousy, conflict, and boundary negotiation. Issues that are external to the relationship often include facing stigma, coming out to families of origin, and therapist bias.

In the workshop we will also identify at least three expressions of therapist bias and a discussion of the ethical issues inherent in combatting therapist bias. Practitioners will also obtain tools to recognize and address their biases, and/or provide appropriate referrals.

There will be exploration of the advantages and disadvantages associated with poly families and relationships, which will utilize research from a 20-year study to include an explanation of the ways in which these families affect children.

Register at www.SexTherapistNat.com

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The Polyamorous Black American Anthology — Call for Submissions

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Christopher Smith is collecting original stories written by African Americans who identify as polyamorous. If you are in that category, please consider submitting to his anthology!

 

 

 

While completing my academic article entitled Open to Love: Polyamory and the Black American (which will be published in The Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships in the winter 2017 edition) I realized that theory, research and the few personal narratives I complied alone are not sufficient to display the eminence of the Black American polyamorous experience. The people themselves need to share their experiences, hearts, minds, and thoughts through essays, poetry, dance, monologues, narratives, biographical stories, text conversations, social media posts, and whatever other avenue comfortable for the individual and/or collective. The people themselves need to be heard…

The Black American Polyamorous Anthology Project is an avenue for self-identifying polyamorous Blacks/African Americans/Black Americans to express; through any form written, audio or video; their experiences. To be clear this project is meant to represent ALL self-identifying polyamorous Blacks/African Americans/Black Americans regardless of socio-economic class, age, sex, sexuality, gender, and polyamorous formation.

There is NO limit to what is expressed, this anthology seeks to show the totality of the Black American polyamorous experiences (the good, bad, happy, sad, celebratory, abusive, rehabilitory, cautionary, progressive, troublesome, sexual, nonsexual, affective, discriminatory, comfortable, uncomfortable, racial taboos etc…) and its intersections with our everyday lives (as pastors, clinicians, hostess, waste disposal professionals, CEO’s, accountants, artists, mothers, fathers, military members, it does not matter). The goal is to show a robust and true view of our lives.

The project has two elements:
1. Written anthology to be digitally released
2. Video/Audio anthology to be digitally released and presented at film festivals

The due date for submissions is July 16th, 2017

For more information about and the directions for participation in this project please email Christopher N Smith at tenabilitymovement@gmail.com expressing your interest.

 

About Christopher N Smith
Christopher N. Smith is researcher focused on consensual non-monogamous relationship trends in current and historical contexts. His prior education includes doctoral studies in Sociology; a Master of Arts in Religious Studies with a concentration in Religion and Society; and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology form Howard University. He is in pursuit of a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies with a concentration on Minority Serving Institutions. Mr. Smith has extensive experience publishing, working, teaching, presenting and conducting research studies within the education, sociology, human services and criminal justice sectors. Currently he is a Management Analyst for the District of Columbia & in the United States Air Force Reserves. He is an educator, community builder, father, relationship advocate and passionate about increasing awareness of and support for non-monogamous relationships structures in the United States.

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