Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

June 22, 2012

More stories from OpenSF

Oakland Local
Bay Area Reporter
and elsewhere

More news stories are out about the record-setting OpenSF conference on ethical nonmonogamy that happened in San Francisco June 8–10 (see my original post and the earlier San Francisco Bay Guardian story).

Here's one in the nonprofit Oakland Local, "serving Oakland’s low-income communities of color through education":

First OpenSF Polyamory conference brings many Oaklanders to San Francisco

By Susan Mernit

Last weekend's conference OpenSF was... organized by a heavily Oakland-based group of sex-positive polyamorous activists and community members.

(Photo: Polyamory Weekly podcaster Cunning Minx is flanked by fellow podcasters Shira and Gavin Katz of Pedestrian Polyamory and Life on the Swingset.)

More than 500 people registered for three days of workshops, classes, and talks - and signed up for evening events ranging from a cuddle party to poly speed dating.

Workshops ranged from "So many honeys, so little money," a session on low-cost dating, to "Kink, Race and Class," a discussion of how race and class play out in the kink community, to "Balancing poly parenting," a session on building new family models.

"OpenSF has been an incredible experience," says Pepper Mint, one of the team of nine core organizers who worked with a team more than 12 people to pull the conference together over six months of planning. "The success of this event shows the growth of this community in the Bay Area, and the need for new ways to connect."

InvisibleInk, an Oakland-based organizer, told Oakland Local that the conference had made a commitment to diversity early on. Unlike some conferences for polyamorous people, Open SF had a notable age range and far more people of color than most conference of this sort....

Among the Oakland-based presenters were the following folks:

Good Vibes educator and AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator Dr. Charlie Glickman.

Blogger, sex worker an sex-positive activist Kitty Stryker.

Sex worker and activist Sandy Bottoms.

Organizers and local community members Ned and Maggie Mayhem.

Sex educators and writers Allison Moon and Reid Mihalko.

For more information on SFOpen,visit the SF Open website.

For information on poly groups in the Bay area,visit here: www.polygroups.com/groups/Bay-Area-Polyamory-

Susan Mernit is the founder of Oakland Local.

Read the whole article (June 22, 2012).

This next story appeared in the GLBT Bay Area Reporter:

Open SF holds first polyamory conference

By David-Elijah Nahmod

It may not be for everyone, but there's no denying that some people prefer polyamory relationships – earlier this month some 500 people gathered for Open SF 2012, what organizers billed as the Bay Area's first conference for ethical non-monogamy. [Not true; there have been poly conferences in San Francisco before.]

...Even if polyamory isn't quite your cup of tea, the honesty and respect for others exhibited at the conference was enlightening.

..."I'm a queer porn performer," Maggie [Mayhem] told the Bay Area Reporter. "I was quite uncertain that I could find a partner who could love and accept me, let alone be accepted by his family. I've been presented with a great opportunity to redefine family values."

Emotional safety was one of the many topics discussed at the conferences various forums. Sex educator Tristan Taormino, whose platforms include lectures, books, and videos, taught a fascinating class on dominant/submissive relationships.

...[Organizer Pepper] Mint noted that the official conference website, http://www.open-sf.org, will remain online. It will be updated slightly to report on how the conference went, but may remain dormant for awhile.

"We may do it again in two to three years," he said of the confab. "With 500 attendees, there's obviously interest in this."

Read the whole article (June 21, 2012).

For more depth about what the event was actually like, see this account by Alex, one of the writers at the Polyskeptics blog ("atheist polyamorous skeptics"):

Annalisa and I spent the last week in San Francisco.... One of the major reasons for going was also to attend OpenSF, a conference on nonmonogamy, open relationships, and polyamory organized by Pepper Mint. I’d like to take a bit of time to talk about some of the interesting panels I attended and some of the people I met in and around the conference itself....

And for a closer, after the conference the major alternative paper SF Weekly got hold of keynote speaker Tristan Taormino — traveling sex educator, passionate poly advocate, and feminist porn creator — to get the story of how she put together her remarkable career:

So You Wanna Be a Sex Writer? Tristan Taormino on Activism, Anal, and Quitting Law School

By Vanessa L. Pinto

...Sex educator Tristan Taormino... was in town recently for OpenSF, a nonmongamy conference. I am always interested in how people become sex educators, sex workers, sex activists, and sex authors, but what I learned was that Taormino's career was not one she planned on.

"I went to Wesleyan University in Connecticut. That's the place where my brain got cracked open and I was exposed to Susie Bright, On Our Backs, Queer Nation, and politics. I became really active politically on campus. I was going to be an activist lawyer."...

..."Tristan, I don't think you want to be a lawyer, and I don't think you want to go to law school. I think you want to write about sex, and I think you're really good at it," Taormino's advisor told her....

...Cleiss Press sent out a note saying that they wanted proposals for sex education books. They wanted to start a new series about sex on a single topic. "I sent them a proposal for a book I called The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. This was a book I wanted to have on my shelf. I'm someone who started having anal sex in college. I really loved it, and I knew I couldn't possibly be the only person out there that liked it."

"When the book was finally done, their distributor was really freaked out about it. They said things like, 'I don't know how we are going to sell this book! Who would buy this book? No one is going to bring it up to the counter! Book stores won't shelve it!' A ton of my sales were online, which was a huge turning point....

So Taormino decided to create a workshop that went with the book and began doing it in stores like Babeland and Good Vibrations.... Talking to a room full of strangers about sex was so easy and fluid, that in that moment she realized this was exactly what she was born to do.

Now Taormino does a number of things, one of which is going to universities and educating our youth on sex.

...At OpenSF, she taught a class on nonmonogamy for people in dominant/submissive relationships. She also delivered the keynote speech about the state of nonmonogamy as a movement with political goals and aspirations.

In between all of this, she also hosts an Internet radio show called Sex Out Loud on the VoiceAmerica Network, which is something Taormino is really excited about.

Photo: Taormino with recent radio guest and fellow adult-sex-ed geek Reid Mihalko.

I think part of the reason Taormino is popular is because you can feel her passion. She is not going through the motions; she is feeling, reeling, and sharing with the world all of her experiences and ties to every kind of sex-positive community. In essence, she is giving her closing arguments to a very large audience and allowing them to decide how they feel before they make a very important decision....

Read the whole article (June 22, 2012).

For an example of what that last paragraph is about, here's her keynote speech to the 2008 Poly Pride Picnic and Rally in New York's Central Park, the first time I met her in person (and where the photo above with Reid was taken).


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