Abstracts and Papers

1st Global Conference
Kink
An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference

Saturday 9th March 2019 – Sunday 10th March 2019
Prague, Czech Republic


ABSTRACT AND PAPERS


LGBT Youth Finding Love, Support and Community Using GPS Assisted Technology
Jessie Andre
USA

Key Words:
GPS dating, LGBTQIA dating, virtual connections, Asian youth

Individuals who identify as LGBTQIA across the world might have varying experiences of acceptance, quality of life, sexual experiences, dating etc… The internet has created possibilities for those who might never meet to connect, learn about each other from each other. The internet has made the world accessible and in doing so helped create new virtual worlds for those who might feel rejected in the physical world.

The family has long been a key component within Asian societies with its own hierarchical structure, its complex web of social roles, regulations, duties, and moral values. One complex social role is the responsibility of children to marry, and reproduce; a difficult if not complicated task for LGBTQIA individuals. During several trips to Japan, China, and Korea, I met with over 30 individuals between the ages of 18-30 using social apps and dating apps to discuss how they navigate their gay identity, finding community, finding support, finding love within and standing out in societies that demand conformity. From individuals seeking “cooperative marriages”, individuals looking for sexual encounters, to individuals looking for queer mentors; queer individuals are using GPS assisted technology and virtual connections to help create acceptance where there might be none. This paper in this symposium introduces emergent research about queer individuals dating, connecting and creating support in Asian countries.

Objectives
Participants will:

  • Learn about the status of current research of queer individuals, and GPS assisted dating
  • Examine narratives, and influences shaping being queer, representation, and how individuals navigating dating while “out” or “not out” from participants in the project.
  • How queer individuals care out space to be authentic

Kink Between the Covers
Teresa Cutler-Broyles
Progressive Connexions

Key Words:
kink, fetish, dom, sub, relationships, monogamy, polyamory, scenario, sex club, bdsm, consent, trust

In January 2014 a friend invited me to something called Dark Con at an upscale hotel in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. I knew it would involve some kink and fetish demos and had always been fascinated by the concept and the world – aren’t we all, in some way, interested in such things? Dressing up in Steampunk frills and lace and leather was fun, the dance parties in the evenings were even better, the poly and alternative events in invitation-only suites on various floors were exciting to attend, and for two days and nights I wandered and enjoyed and met people, and I wondered… where was the fetish component? Where was the kink? (Some might argue that the poly events are part of kink, but that’s another subject – addressed in the actual paper.) (As will be the difference between the two.)

And then on Saturday night the entire ground floor of the hotel turned into a dungeon. Stages and areas were set apart by curtains, and stocks sprung up, with flogging and electric prods and clamps, and a man demonstrating perfect Shibari rope technique with a woman swinging high above the crowd, and everywhere I looked were stilettos and tails and masks and gags and more. You name it, it was there. As were all those things at the Fetish Ball I attended not long after that. I was hooked. It was as if I’d come home to a place I’d known all my life.

In a way, I had. I’d been to sex clubs – mostly as voyeur. I’d been in consensual non-monogamous relationships all my life until my marriage. And I’d had friends for as long as I could remember who were into the kink and / or fetish scene and kept me up on their exploits. But I’d never really felt the desire to be part of it.

That event in 2014 changed everything. But not as one might think. I am not a full-fledged player. I don’t participate in my daily, private life in kink or fetish scenarios. I don’t own whips and chains… okay, I do own a flogger. And some leather. And I have a membership at a Phoenix sex club which I visit periodically as a voyeur, and participant with friends with whom I attend. I have one or two other venues through which to play, and I’ve switched roles enough to know the ins and outs of both, the vital importance of consent, and the intriguing, exciting, some would say dark pull of the world on the non-vanilla side of sex.

This has played out for me in a number of interesting ways, most notably in the creation of a series of novels I’ve begun writing starring a dominatrix, and my exploration, using my main character as proxy, of all of the possible intricate ways people can enter and move around in and interact within the kink world.

My presentation will examine the undeniable attraction and draw toward this ‘unconventional’ expression of sexuality, delving into the fact that many practitioners report enhanced sexual satisfaction, which might be expected, but also more emotional benefits such as closer connections to partners, more trust, more communication, and overall healthier relationships

As a second level, I will use my own experience as a window into the sometimes conflicting desires that need to be negotiated when one finds that this life exists, that it’s easy to enter, and oh so much fun – and has all those added benefits. What happens when one partner in a monogamous, non-kink-related relationship is flatly uninterested in opening it up to other possibilities? What are the strategies for accepting this aspect of a partner, and of creating a safe, non-threatening opening for discussion of the subject, and exploration of the world, by only one of a duo? Is it even possible?

And while I won’t spend much time on theory, I will note Freud, Foucault and behaviorists on the development of sexuality, conditioning, and early ‘programming’, as well as more recent studies by Danielle Lindeman, Wismeijer and Assen, relationship experts, and others in support of some of my foundational claims.


Creating Spaces, Maintaining Places for Male on Male Kink
Nick Mulé
York University

Key Words:
BDSM, Bisexual, Fetish, Kink, Gay, Liberation, Male, Place, Queer, Space

This study looks at male-to-male sexual activity in the subaltern world of male sexual spaces. The importance of such spaces is examined regarding opportunities, safety, etiquette, status, safer sex practices, negotiation and navigation of sexual expression through sexual activity and time-limited communal engagement for sexual pleasure and affirmation, and how all of this contrast normative societal expectations. Through hard copy and online content analysis and observations in the subaltern world of gay male sexual spaces such as bathhouses, circuit clubs, fetish balls, sex clubs and dark rooms, examined is a self-monitored subculture that creates its own tribal rituals at various odds with both mainstream societal and LGBTQ movement norms. By deviating from and resisting such norms, this tribe demonstrates how it maintains a core drive of their liberated sexuality outside of mainstreamed sexual governance. Premised on spatial theory, in which space and place are deconstructed with regard to the creation and preservation of male-to-male fetish activities, a link is made to queer liberation theory that supports self-defined sexual expression including that of kink.


Fat Fetishism, Feederism, and (Non-)Exploitation Cinema
Kylo-Patrick R. Hart
Texas Christian University

Key Words:
BDSM, deviance, exploitation cinema, fat fetishism, feederism, film, kink, media, representation, sexual fetishes

Fat fetishism refers to individuals who find themselves extremely sexually attracted to clinically overweight individuals, most commonly of the opposite sex. The related phenomenon of feederism refers to the process of one person deriving sexual arousal and gratification by encouraging the gaining of body fat in another person through the process of excessive food consumption. Because fat fetishism and feederism have largely been excluded from both polite conversation and mainstream films, this presentation will explore the representation of these kinky sexual phenomena in two of the few films to portray them to date: the exploitation film Feed (2005, directed by Brett Leonard) and the non-exploitation film City Island (2009, directed by Raymond De Felitta).

It is not uncommon for kinky sexual phenomena to be introduced to the public in somewhat extreme ways, such as through works of exploitation cinema. The problem with those sorts of approaches is that, with few exceptions, the kinky acts being represented are depicted as deviant, harmful, shameful, and/or disgusting rather than as natural forms of human sexual expression between consenting individuals. The value of this presentation lies in providing analysis of the same kinky phenomena (i.e., fat fetishism and feederism) as portrayed in both.


Getting Kinky with It: Increasing Comfort and Finding Trans–‐communal Applications of BDSM
Noelle Summers
George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis

Key Words:
Consent, Mindfulness, Communication, Intimacy, Power Dynamics, Teaching BDSM

In a post-­‐Fifty Shades world, conversations about BDSM and kink are more commonplace. Educators working with young adults and beyond must be prepared to respond to questions about BDSM and kink; furthermore, BDSM framework can provide a way of navigating a variety of sexual and non-­‐sexual interactions with increased self-­‐efficacy and satisfaction. The goal of this workshop is to move conversations around consent from a violence prevention perspective to an intimacy and pleasure building framework provided by the practices of negotiation and aftercare in BDSM. Researchers have found that an increase in communication self-­‐efficacy correlates to an increase in safe-­‐sex conversations with partners among college students (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-­‐2648.2000.01525.x), and that traditional gender power dynamics play a huge role in the orgasm gap among college students which can be countered with sex positive education (https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-­‐6095(17)30659-­‐8/fulltext). The heart of this workshop is providing a concrete framework to have conversations about protection and pleasure, as well as exploring how BDSM practitioners define and use power dynamics in their activities. I believe that having conversations about sex using the BDSM framework will increase sexual self-­‐efficacy, thus increasing safe sex with university students and beyond, as well as decreasing the orgasm gap. The methods used in this interactive workshop include: anonymous polling to identify attitudes about and comfort with BDSM practice, a discussion about scene negotiation and how to disseminate the practice of negotiation into non-­‐BDSM communities, a handcuff tie activity including mindfulness, and space to process the activity including discussion of how consent worked and felt during the bondage activity.


Healing the Image: A Conceptual Investigation of the Healing Narrative in Cultural Representations of BDSM
Susanne Schotanus
University of Amsterdam

Key Words:
Healing narrative, pathologization, conceptual research, representation, mainstream media

Since Barker et al. (2007), in both mainstream cultural products and academic literature more emanations have emerged of the “healing narrative” in BDSM, which suggests that BDSM practices offer therapeutic potential. However, no significant attempt has been made at exploring in more detail the problematic relationship between this healing narrative and the history of pathologization of sadomasochistic tendencies and practices. Barker et al. rightly point out that in suggesting that BDSM has healing potential, one runs the risk of implying that people practicing BDSM are in need of healing to begin with. This would damage the image of BDSM, which after centuries of pathologization appears to finally be moving into a realm of acceptability, as shown by both the changes in DSM IV and the increased visibility in mainstream culture.

However, the experiences of BDSM practitioners that describe their practices as healing should not be discounted and could actually help develop a more positive reputation for the set of practices. This makes the issue a political one, meaning that a solution could be found in reconceptualizing the tension as pointed out by Barker et al. In this paper, through an exploration of the concept of “healing” in cultural objects such as the film SECRETARY (2002) and the Showtime tv show BILLIONS (2016- ) this issue will be further investigated, leading to a way out of the apparent double-bind. The aim is to come to a different understanding of the therapeutic potential of BDSM, which would not only reframe the discourse of pathologization surrounding BDSM, but also to further the political goal of creating space for BDSM practitioners to explore their desires without having to experience stigmatization.


Putting Porn in Its Place: The Good, the Bad and the Orgasms
Alisha Fisher
MA, Intimacy Coach

Key Words:
pornography, media literacy, porn literacy, ethical porn, feminist porn, bodies in porn, sexual education, North America, biased research, sexual communication

Porn is everywhere, but since it is a general sexual taboo in North America, we don’t talk about it in the same way we do with other forms of media. With the media being filled with imagery that portrays a regimented script of gender and sexual interactions, how do we educate people to understand their own sexuality and pleasure if they do not have the knowledge to search and access ethically produced pornography? As much as mainstream culture is loath to admit it, porn is media that requires literacy. In this session, Alisha Fisher will address her Master’s research in reclaiming sexual agency through ethically produced porn in a feminist framework, and reveal examples of how scientific research can be easily skewed to support various ideologies. Alisha will also cover how to access ethical porn, speak about the impact that our cultural silence has on sexual exploration, consent, kink, sexuality, and gender, and how open communication can improve our sexual wellbeing.


Prague’s Kinky History
Lucie Drdová
Masaryk University

Key Words:
BDSM, communism, subculture, liberalization, kink club, leisure time, BDSM event, kink event.

I can provide with an insight to a completely different means of establishing a subculture during the strict communist persecution of various sexual expressions, the persistent omnipresent fear after the 1989 revolution and the enormous path the development of BDSM in Czech has gone through during the last thirty years AND/OR I can provide you with an evening visit to BDSM events, clubs, studios, help you with thematic kinky orientation in our city and can arrange entrance when the event is private or not public.


Work Hard, Play Harder: A Discussion With Sex Therapists about Boundaries, Sex-Positivity & Shame
Colby Agostinelli
AAMFT, AASECT, PhIIRST

Melissa Dessereau
PhIIRST

Key Words:
slut, sex-positive, professional, boundaries, kink, play parties, shame, queer, sex therapy, community

As two self-identified sluts, being a sex therapist is complicated. In kink communities, there can be personal and professional overlap with clients. Because of this, we have to think more critically and deconstruct the standard for boundaries with kinky clients, especially those active in the local community. We believe there is value in the discussion about therapeutic boundaries and how to co-exist with our clients without compromising autonomy or safety.

Boundaries are essential to all psychotherapy but especially for sex therapy. Because of this extra care we take in the therapy room we can be faced with challenges out in public spaces. These challenges leave us unsure about how to comport ourselves in our personal lives. Do we overcompensate by inhibiting ourselves at kink events? Can we even attend events?

What makes us good sex therapists is our comfort with our sexuality. We hear it time and time again from clients that past therapists did not address sex with them. Many therapists are still uncomfortable even when clients bring it up in session. This tells us that what is needed is more critical thought, not reactive inhibition.
It is important to separate personal and professional experiences but to do so with the autonomy to live your life without shame is important. Therapists should explore and challenge the distinction between shame and general discomfort around sex in therapy.


Ooh, Shiny: From Cat Woman and Missus Peel to the Latex Submissive and the Leather-Clad Dom
Jeremy Vaughan
Independent Researcher

A street corner in Florence. A child in his father’s arms reaches out to the shiny object before him. Like a spinning sparkling lure it called and beckoned. Dancing fingers stretch helplessly, triggered by the object just out of reach; the need the desire the wanting… oh the wanting… and finally the touch and the slight accomplishment. And then the grasp… the object shiny and silver, cool and warm at the same time. He pulls and tugs and yanks, and the young woman in the fitted dress and heels whirls in anger before realizing it’s a child and not his father pulling down the zipper of her dress….

I was three years old.

For a brief two seasons Batman and his side-kick Robin dashed across TV screens in full hot color, fighting crime and the likes of the Penguin, the Riddler, and the Joker. In my 70’s high-gloss vinyl bean bag chair I watched these reruns in the open common room, captivated not by the hero, nor the villains. No, it was the Catwoman I was fascinated by. Lee Meriwether slinked gracefully across the screen in a sultry, playful sexy cat dance; mewing and purring her words though pressed pouting lips. Studio lights reflected off her shiny catsuit (was it even called a catsuit then?) accentuating the length of her legs, the curve of her hips, and taunting my senses for something I knew was hidden underneath though I did not yet know what.

I was ten years old. And so it goes. From there, as they say, the rest is history. Shiny, latex and leather, and all manner of fetishism history.

In this paper I examine the question of the origins of fetishism, the beginnings of kink, and the ‘appropriateness’ of fixing sexual desire to shiny objects of all kinds.

As well, per Freud, there is a kind of conditioning required, a simultaneous failure to attach sexual arousal to ‘appropriate’ objects or persons while instead focusing on, well, Catwoman.

I propose that there is no necessary either / or, no appropriate nor inappropriate. Using Freud as a jumping-off point rather than for any in-depth analysis, I ask: does it still count as fetish when it only piques interest and arousal but is not itself the be- or end-all of such? What constitutes a fetish when the point is simply difference. As a twisting – or a kinking, as it were – of Derrida might have it: if sexual arousal is deferred from object to subject, from latex to lover, is it still a fetish?


Kinking Histories, Practices and Wellbeing: A Panel on Kinking Perspectives and Temporal Parameters in the UK
Gemma Commane
Birmingham City University

Lesley Gabriel
Birmingham City University

Annalise Weckesser
Birmingham City University

Keeley Abbott
Birmingham City University

Overview of panel:

The panel presents three innovative perspectives exploring kink histories, entrepreneurial practices and queer sexual wellbeing. Set within a UK and a predominantly West Midlands context, the panel outlines current research and practice that offer different frames of reference when engaging with ‘kinky’ identities, communities and industries. From the histories of individuals in communities and seeing the Professional Dominatrix as entrepreneur, to the celebration of kink from a queer and feminist perspective: the papers highlight new embodied knowledge, absent voices and activism. The combination of papers brings together scholars in the fields of cultural studies, history and sexual health exploring different objects of study, temporal parameters and methods.

Approach 1: Lesley Gabriel (Birmingham City University) will be exploring the importance of applying an ethnohistory to the histories and traditions of the Kinkcomminity in the West Midlands.

Approach 2: Dr Gem Commane (Birmingham City University) discusses Kinktreprenuership and the framing of the Professional Dominatrix as an entrepreneurial practice.

Approach 3: Dr Annalise Weckesser, Dr. Keeley Abbott, Gemma Williams, Dr. Gemma Commane (Birmingham City University) and Pip Mcknight (University of Birmingham) will reflect on Bean Flicks: Birmingham UK’s first feminist porn fest.


Genital and Sexual Prosthetics. Curse or Emancipatory Potential?
Myriam Raboldt
Promotionskolleg KoMMa.G (TU Braunschweig)

Key Words:
prosthetics, doing gender, queer theory, masculinity, material or functional loss of genitals, enhancement, queering heteronormativity, viagra, critical medical research

A lot has been written about cyborgs and sex-robots. But what about medical prostheses that repair‘, enhance or re-|construct sexed bodies? Based on the assumption of a ‚doing gender through the use of technology‘, it seems that while ‘doing gender’ is obvious in products such as razors or bikes that function through their (gender) scripts, prosthetics take ‘doing gender’ even further: The examples of breast and testicle implants and penile prostheses help to show how gender can be modeled by ‘doing sex’ through technology.

Which norms regarding bodies and sexuality do these practices follow? The interesting yet ambivalent point is, that the same practice is used as an instrument to reproce hegemonial norms, while at the same time it has the potential to dissolve/deconstruct or infiltrate the binary heteronormative matrix. From a cultural-technological historical as well as from a gender perspective I do research on male genital-sexual prosthetics and its contexts: How do cis-men cope with the material and/or functional loss of their genitals, either by (war-related or civil) injuries, cancer or else? Which therapies (prostheses, plastic surgery, hormones, viagra,…) does the medical-industrial (or, as Preciado calls it »the pharmacopornographical«) complex offer? Which norms do these practices follow? Where is the line between therapy and enhancement? How does the loss and/or the therapy change the sexual life of the patients? Is a revision of the concept of masculinity evoked that is genital/phallus/virility-centered? Which technologies play a role in the field of either reproducing or deconstructing the binary heteronormative gender regime of bodies and sexual practices?


On a Few Trends in the Live Cam Market: From Globalization to Diversification and Authenticity
Jérémie Garrigues
STSlab, Université de Lausanne

Key Words:
live cam ; sex work ; authenticity ; sexual diversity ; web scraping ; dynamics of markets

Live cam websites appeared at the dawn of the 2000s, probably with LiveJasmin, with what is and will remain the closest transposition of New York’s model peep show. Because of the emergence of a common global space, the drastic drop in production and traffic costs, and the subjudiciarization of Internet, the live webcam breaks up with the peep show: globalization of the market, parallelization of consumption, independence of the producers toward party places, democratization of access to producers and consumers. The live cam internal story does not then stop being the story of emancipation from the peep show model. Our proposal will seek to get an in-depth look at two sets of trends. We will first establish the trends that have stirred the live webcam market, from the emergence of LiveJasmin to the domination of Chaturbate. The talk will highlight three dynamics: the internalization of sexual diversity, the collectivization and the concern for authenticity. Then, from a quantitative survey started in July 2017 thanks to web scraping, we will document some dynamics specific to Chaturbate: the growth of the platform, the growth of inequalities, and the restructuring of internal markets (more and more around the business model – public or private show – and less and less around the sexual composition of the webcam rooms – men exclusively, women exclusively, trans people exclusively or mixed webcam rooms). We show, indeed, that market restructuring has less to do with the curiosity of consumers – which remains weak despite the diversity internalized by the website and the possibilities of zapping and parallelization by multi-tabs / pages – than the emergence of producers bringing together submarkets that would be otherwise separated. We conclude on the consolidation of a class of robust producers who, besides being local stars, resist time, variations in the intervals between two performances, breaks, and price variations.


The Mansion of Unearthly Delights – A Kink-based Storytelling Game
Andreas Schneider
Independent Researchers

Key Words:
game, interactive, storytelling, sims, BDSM, exploration, liminal, brainstorming

I am currently in the preliminary stages of developing an interactive, text-based adult storytelling game for smartphones and computers that aims to focus on sexual and emotional relations between player-controlled and computer-controlled characters. It might help to imagine this as a cross between The Sims, digitally-assisted and expanded “choose-your-own-adventure” books and the more imaginative and emotionally resonant aspects of kinky porn.

The game takes place in a communally rented gothic mansion where in certain places at certain times erotic fantasies, dreams and other imaginations overlap into a reality that is partly shaped and changed by the player’s decisions. The liminal setting, non-player characters and pregenerated starting options will cater for common erotic fantasies but are especially geared for curiosity and exploration into the fringes. The game aims to be a beginner-friendly entry into various areas of kink, with BDSM as a starting point, an intersectional outlook, and transhumanism as a specific area of exploration, possibly providing a twist in the overall story arc.

In the context of the conference, I would like to present the game’s concept and invite interested people to join in a brainstorming session about what might happen in a specific instance, where A does B to C while D is watching, and what repercussions this might have when D is in a later stage encountering C.


Kiss the Rod: Love and Porn in the Time of Sexology
Lorraine Rumson
Freie Universität Berlin

Key Words:
Porn studies, literary studies, Victorian Britain, Victorian sexuality, sexology, medicalization

Over the last decades, the view of sex in Victorian Britain has come to be that the medical field of “sexology” and its effort to pathologize sexuality pushed all forms of “abnormal” sexuality “underground.” However, while this paradigm is accurate in many cases, it does not take into account the field of pornography, a sub-sphere in which “abnormal” sexualities abounded.

With the exception of Steven Marcus’s book-length study The Other Victorians, pornography has not been broadly approached as a meaningful source of insight into Victorian sexuality. To correct this, this paper addresses the pornographic periodical The Pearl, which ran between 1879 and 1880. The Pearl represents, in stories and poems, sexual relationships predicated on or incorporating (among others) erotic power dynamics, polyamory, group sex, rape and rape roleplay, and whipping or spanking – a perennial Victorian favourite – as well as heterosexual, lesbian, and gay male sexual encounters.

To represent the medicalized views of sexuality that The Pearl operates in tension with, I draw from the sexological encyclopedia Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard von Krafft-Ebing, first published in 1886 and translated to English in 1892. Psychopathia Sexualis is responsible for codifying categorizations crucial to the medicalization of sex and kink, including the terms “sadism” and “masochism.”

While The Pearl’s broad representations of varied sexualities sidestep the pathologization of sex and kink that dominated Victorian medical discourses, it nonetheless operates within Victorian sexological hegemony. While the women of The Pearl hardly “close their eyes and think of England,” neither can their perspectives necessarily be said to humanize sexological “abnormalities.” This paper analyzes the tensions between late Victorian England’s medical and pornographic discourses of sexuality, and seeks to illuminate how these discourses work, neither identically nor in opposition, but together, within a cultural sexual psychology.


The Pakistani Sexual Landscape: An Oxymoron
Erum Khan Ghazi
University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan

Key Words:
Sex, sexuality, Pakistan, culture and religion.

Naked men in cages brought in to titillate the audience and lingerie clad women dancing to music, as men and women sit around laughing and drinking at a party. Some couples walk away from the crowd, towards the sofas strategically placed in dimly lit corners where they proceed to undress and have sex. As guests walk out of the orgy and get into their cars a young boy of ten years comes running begging for food. He is a scrawny looking street kid, raped by his older brother’s friend and then by other older males in his neighborhood; he ran away from his village and came to the city, hoping for a better life. He now begs till late at night and has sex with men who pay him a pittance for his services.

This is the Pakistan that no one talks about, a society where men don’t know the meaning of no and women don’t know how to say no. Where one is shamed for wanting sex and is made to feel guilty for watching pornography and masturbating. Culture and the misinterpretation and abuse of religion has also played a significant role in giving rise to a rape culture and human rights violations. However, change is happening, as various organizations work towards providing sex education, therapy and safe havens for victims of sexual abuse as well creating platforms for discourse on equal rights for an LGBTQ community and a burgeoning feminist movement and continued open dialogue on sex and sexuality among Pakistanis. This paper seeks to analyze the sexual landscape of Pakistani society and the necessary elements required to make way for a more humane and sex-positive environment.


The Impact of Social Media on Individuals and Relationships
Kristine Seitz
Therapist & Educator, USA

Key Words:
Social media, relationships

Texting, sexting, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. Social media is now an unavoidable and overarching aspect of our life together. Whether we’re waiting in line, crossing the street, riding the train or trying to get work done, the pull of social media is always with us. As professionals it’s hard for us to keep up with the changing landscape of all the ways people are connecting online. The mental health profession as a whole also lags behind in establishing best practices for both social media use by therapists and treating clients whose lives have been affected by online dating, texting arguments, and Facebook affairs. Ethics surrounding social media and therapy are evolving at a fast pace and yet still fall behind as well. At the same time, having conversations with friends and relatives separated by time and distance, finding support for life’s challenges and issues and being able to feel understood and heard by a community are also part of our online lives. This interactive workshop will address the changing landscape of social media and its impact on relationships.

Workshop Learning Objectives
At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to
1. Define the term social media
2. Identify at least five different ways people use social media
3. Identify differences between normative and problematic social media use
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the impacts of social media use on relationships

X