Poly to the People!

Amy Jo hosting Dirty Talk Olympics, Poly Living 2011

Dirty Talk Olympics with Reid Mihalko at Poly Living

I had a fabulous sex positive weekend! Friday night I attended the fundraiser for Sex Work Awareness (SWA). My good friend Reid Mihalko did a little sex ed stand-up on deep throating—demonstrated on bananas by audience volunteers. His was among an array of other performances, including some sexy burlesque, hot gay spoken word, Grey Dancer’s beautiful rope tying, and an inspiring opening talk about the history of the Speak Up Media Training by SWA founder Audacia Ray.

Saturday morning, after digging my car out of the ubiquitous Brooklyn snow, I drove down to Philadelphia with Reid Mihalko for a quick sex educator’s adventure at the Poly Living conference. I presented for the first time on breaking-up, a workshop called, “Relation Transformation: How to Break-Up With Grace,” and I hosted my self-created, and, if I do say so, *fabulously fun* event, “The Dirty Talk Olympics.”

As sometimes happens when teaching something new, something that has not yet grown legs, I decided when people were being pokey after lunch that no one was coming. Who wants to talk about break-ups? Downer at a poly conference, right? Wrong, apparently. About 25 people showed up and we had a heartful talk about how to approach break-ups, including how to change our language around them, how to create rituals and how to use gratitude, blessing and community to our healing advantage. We really only scratched the surface and the participants were more than willing to offer up their do’s and don’ts and stories and musings on what helps us to be graceful in the transitions our relationships will inevitably sustain. I felt filled by the conversation and hopeful that many thinking people want to do relation transformation in positive ways, thoughtfully.

The truth is that we do break-ups the way we do relationships. If we do our relationships dishonestly, we’ll do our break-up without integrity. If we communicate well and include our partner in our difficulties in relationship, we’ll find a way to do that when we break-up. We had a little debate about whether two people ever really break-up together. One man said, “Isn’t there always one person who initiates it?” Sure, often there is, but I think it can be mutually discussed and we can intentionally decide HOW we want to break-up, break-out or cause a break-through. But we have to involve the other and set that intention. Too often, we get out in sneaky, duplicitous ways and we hurt our beloved unnecessarily. I agree that sometimes we are not on the same page, but we can still break-up with a tremendous amount of respect and integrity. Mine lacked that. I am grateful still since it’s been a lesson of a lifetime and is resulting in huge break-throughs for me, but my house of 9 years got burnt to the ground and that was sadly unnecessary. I’m still clearing out the ash.

The Gold and Silver medal winners at the Dirty Talk Olympics, Poly Living Conference

On the more playful tip, “The Dirty Talk Olympics” is an event I concocted to assist people to play and take risks around erotic language in a way that is low-pressure and high fun. It’s really beautiful for me to watch people let go of inhibitions and be open to exploration—I mean that’s what makes for great sexually expansive experiences, right? So with DTO, we all co-create a show that allows us to play and enjoy and I get to be funny and punchy as the Emcee, and the walls come down and people expose things that are often kept buried. There was one couple outside deciding whether to go home or stay as they inched towards their coats. Reid and I got them to come on in and play. One of them ended up with the special award for the night, and the other ended up improv-ing a hot group sex scene in a sandbox, which won the Gold! It was sexy and fun. I do it again in two weeks at Dark Odyssey Winter Fire in Washington DC. Can’t wait to see what will be next. As long as they talk dirty to me, I’ll be happy.