Beyond eggplants & peaches: relationship communication IRL

Popular culture likes to remind us that the key to a successful relationship is communication. But what does that look like at the moments when you're feeling ashamed, self-conscious, avoidant, worried about loss, jealous, attracted to multiple people, or feeling trapped in domesticity? This interactive and experiential workshop will include an exploration of some of the unique experiences queer guys face when seeking both casual sex and long term relationships. We will then delve deeper into our own attachment styles, approaches to open relationships, experiences of jealousy, and the nitty gritty of relationship communication.

CONTENT
This workshop includes four (4) key parts; each one is comprised of psychoeducation, individual or group work, and facilitated discussion.

Part 1 Attachment Style, Relationship Orientation

Participants will receive an overview of attachment theory and the various attachment styles. We will use a checklist to self-assess our own tendencies toward anxiety and avoidance in the context of sexual and romantic relationships. We will then consider the connections between attachment style and relationship orientation (on a spectrum from monogamous to polyamorous). Then, we will review questions to consider when creating “rules” for open relationships. 

Part 2 Sexual Interest Inventory

Participants will reflect on their own awareness of personal (and others’) sexual interests. We will discuss themes of body boundaries, use of words and terms in sexual contexts, relationship models, sexual health concerns and preferences, approaches to sexual response, and finally, the range physical and sexual activities that spark interest. Individual reflection and larger group discussion will be facilitated. 

Part 3 Managing Rejection

Participants will examine ways to manage the impact of rejection and reflect on how they

 personally respond to others’ sexual/romantic requests and proposals. We will consider the connections between the sexual landscape of gay men’s communities and our attachment style and relationship orientations.

Part 4 Mixed Messages, Rewards & Challenges

Participants will explore the specific messages queer guys receive from dominant strai

ght culture and queer men’s communities about casual sex and longer term relationships in order to establish the presence of conflicting “scripts”. We will then examine both the rewards and challenges queer guys experience when pursuing both casual sex and longer term relationships. Attention will be given to the various issues that arise at various stages of LTRs: seeking, beginning, maintaining.