Kink Affirming Practice: What Your Clients Wish You Knew (But Are Afraid You'll Ask)
90 minutes or 120 minutes The concept of Kink Aware Practice is one that is gaining ground within the Mental Health community. More and more practitioners are seeking out information about BDSM and kink. This is a positive development. However there is a growing need for resources on this topic that go beyond simple kink awareness and instead begin to focus on how to become a kink affirming provider. This process involves leveraging the values, culture, and relationship dynamics of BDSM as therapeutic tools for our clients. This presentation provides a comprehensive overview of the BDSM and kink community and guides clinicians on how to meet the unique relational and mental health needs of its members. Beginning with a 101-style introduction to BDSM before delving into topics ranging from intersectionality within the kink community and the research on kink as a sexual orientation, to conducting a kink-affirming risk assessment and how to discern between domestic violence and consensual power exchange. We will explores differential diagnoses and clinical concerns that are relevant to health care providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health providers as well as primary care physicians and sex educators. Interwoven throughout with real-world case studies, Kink Affirming Practice presents practical suggestions, tools, and handouts the reader can use to inform their practice and serve clients in ways that meet the needs of each individual, couple, or partnership. Presented in a conversational, accessible style, Kink Affirming Practice will be beneficial for any mental health professional or educator looking to transform their practice from kink aware to kink affirming
Kink-Affirming Risk Assessment
120 Minutes This workshop begins with a comprehensive 101-level overview of the BDSM community, its practices, nuances, and mental health needs. From there, we will explore how to conduct a kink-affirming risk assessment, including diagnostic criteria and exclusions, exploring differential diagnoses, and when and how to diagnose a paraphilic disorder. We will also explore the the impact of anti-kink bias on clinical assessments and critically analyze some of the more commonly used psychosexual assessment tools. Attendees will gain a working knowledge of how to provide affirming and inclusive mental health care to BDSM practitioners. This talk contains content that is not graphic, but which some folks may find uncomfortable.
In the Shadows of Consent: DV, SA, and BDSM
90 minutes or 120 minutes As more and more clinicians begin to see clients who identify as kinky, or as members of the BDSM community, one of the most important skills we need to develop is the capability of conducting a Kink Affirming Risk Assessment. This workshop will explore the differences between consensual kink, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault using a variety of methodologies including conversation, case study, forensic analysis, and Kink-Aware Clinical Practice. Topics that will be addressed during this workshop include the Cycle of Abuse versus the Cycle of BDSM, recognizing the warning signs of intimate partner violence within a consensual power exchange relationship dynamic, barriers to disclosure and prosecution that kinky clients face after an assault, and strategies (both clinical and community) that can be used to support the kinky survivor.
Caregiver Kinks: Everything You Need To Know About Imaginative Power Exchange
90 minutes BDSM and kink have gone mainstream in a big way. Thanks to the popularity of several books and movies, it seems like almost everyone is familiar with Dominant/submissive relationships now! And while there are many people living out their Red Room of Pain fantasies these days, that’s far from the only form of consensual power exchange that D/s can take. In this workshop, we’ll explore the lesser known, and lesser understood, power exchange dynamic known as Caregiver Kink. This imaginative form of Dominance and submission weaves role play into the BDSM relationship- primarily by assuming personas that are either much younger than the individuals biological age (Little play) or by role playing as a non-human persona entirely (pet play). In this workshop (which will not contain graphic content, but will contain material that some may find challenging) we will learn more about Caregiver kinks, primarily age and pet play. We will gain insights into the reasons why this form of power exchange appeals to those who engage in these forms of play, identify ways in which these relationships foster opportunities for positive personal and relational growth, and confront the biases that many clinicians carry with them into their work with these clients.
Sex Therapy/Mental Health Topics
Once We Were Slaves: BDSM/Kink & Judaism
60 or 90 minutes In this presentation, Stefani examines the practice of BDSM/kink through the lens of Jewish sexuality, exploring historical perspectives on Jewish law related to acceptable sexual expression and applying these to the modern kink-inclusive relationships. Touching on myths and misconceptions around BDSM and religiosity, distinctions between Jewish and non-Jewish philosophies around intimacy, and understanding the diversity of kink expression within BDSM practitioners, this presentation isn appropriate for Jewish community groups, as well as the clergy and clinicians who serve them. Presented from a scholarly perspective, in consultation with Rabbinic advisors, this presentation is engaging, informative, and educational for anyone seeking to expand their cultural competency in this area but should not be taken as halachic opinion or guidance.
10,000 Years of Cybersex
45, 90, or 120 minutes This historical retrospective will explore the evolution of erotic imagery from 7200 BCE until today. We will discuss the role that erotica has played in the development of technology as well as the way that technology has been used to foster connection, romance, and sexuality. In addition to a timeline-style discussion of erotica, we will discuss the sociological and psychological perspectives of cybersex and teledildonics. This session contains adult content- including photographs and video- and is not appropriate for attendees under 18.
60 minutes or 90 minutes Throughout time, folks looking for love (or lust) have found and formed relationships with one another by leveraging community networks – relatives, clergy, nosy neighbors, even matchmakers. For the first time in human history, our relationships are no longer being mediated by other people but rather by technology. From social media and circuit boards to algorithms and artificial intelligence, tech is influencing the way humans form intimate bonds in ways never seen before. From dating websites to holographic partners, technology represents an evolutionary factor we have not seen since the agricultural revolution. This presentation is on the emerging themes on relationships and intimacy as these have been influenced by the explosion in sextech, online dating, and the pervasiveness of erotica. Attendees will learn how to critically examine both their use of technologies AND their relationship to these tools. They will be able to articulate a framework for digital health and apply its principles to their on- and off-line relationships. And they will be able to critically examine surveillance culture and the way it influences user safety across the lifespan. Anyone dating, parenting, or using technology to maintain their relationship with their partner(s) will have specific actions to protect themselves and their loved ones. Attendees building apps will have new threat models to uncover these personal attacks and new security controls to secure their user’s sexuality. And attendees in cybersecurity will leave informed and prepared to apply our skills to this very needed domain.
Thin Ice and Burned Bridges: Conflict Resolution Basics
Pillowtalk: Life Lessons from a Sex Therapist
60 Minutes or 90 Minutes
With Sprinkles On Top: Working With Couples in Mixed-Desire Relationships
90 minutes, 3 hours or 8 hours Stefani will present an overview of her new book With Sprinkles On Top: Everything Vanilla People and Their Kinky Partners Need to Know to Communicate, Explore, and Connect and guide attendees through the process of working with partners presenting with mixed desire (vanilla/kink) concerns. Beginning with the moment of discovery/disclosure, Stefani will help Clinicians guide their clients through building empathy and understanding for each person’s unique identity, engaging in structured activities to foster both self- and mutual-discovery, feeling safe and strong setting personal limits and boundaries, evaluating their relationship dynamics to determine what, if any, role BDSM and kink will play in the future, and moving forward with confidence and compassion. Topics covered will include discovery trauma, guilt and shame, myths and misconceptions about vanilla and kink identities, navigating anti-kink bias, offering unconditional positive support for partners who may be in very different places, and building professional comfort with a variety of client relationship outcomes.