Integrating Eros and Intimacy (Winter, 2018)

Integrating Eros and Loving for Kinksters
An 8 Week Workshop
January 24 to March 14, 2018

Sex is easy. Birds do it. Simple. The erotic is not so easy. Eros is the shape, form and meaning we give sex.  Eros is how sex becomes meaningful. The erotic is as complex as the human mind. Spicy of vanilla is just a start.  Not so simple.  This workshop will help you understand your core erotic desires.

For infants bonding is easy. Bonding is hard-wired.  We seek to bond as quick as we are cut from the cord. But for parents and other caretakers, reciprocating the infant’s hard-wired need is not so easy, but over time we learn to love in ways that meet our parents’ conditions. The path from infancy to adulthood imposes increasingly complex conditions on bonding.

The conditions of loving we have learned become, of course, the conditions we demand of ourselves and our beloved.  These conditions both shape our desire and fray the connections between eros and intimacy.  That’s a puzzle: they both inspire desire and frustrate desire. Most of us are unaware of our own conditions of loving. Loving our self is difficult enough, loving the “other” is a hard-won achievement. Half of marriages fail, and many of the intact ones are not happy. As a therapist, I have come to understand that very few find adult intimacy easy.

“Attachment Style” refers to a specific aspect of how we bond.  Attachment Styles have been researched for over 50 years. The attachment style we learned in childhood predicts a stunning variety of things about us as adults. This workshop will help you identify and understand your own attachment style. Changing adult attachment style takes a lot more work.

People with spicy eroticism face many additional challenges in loving, inner and from the outside. Perhaps most important,  persons with stigmatized gender or sexuality have learned to despise their sexual desires long before they are old enough to realize they enjoy spice over vanilla. Sexual shame, the inward face of stigma, is a wedge that cleaves eros from intimacy. In youth, stigma is internalized as shame.  In adulthood, with work, stigma is externalized as pride, then pride softens into love.

This Workshop

This workshop requires work.  Participants are expected to commit to all 8 sessions, do homework, be prepared, be open to deeply exploring their connection of eros to intimacy, and to support others doing the same work.

There will be lectures that require attention, homework to do, self-assessment tools to complete and share, and the expectation to participate in the group process.

Many skills of group participation mirror skills of intimate loving:  openness, risking vulnerability, reflecting the other, empathy, validating, and the art of complaining without being critical. These skills will be coached in the context of a deep exploration of what eros and intimacy means for each group member.

When and Where and Cost

The group meets in Hillcrest, Wednesdays from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, from 1/24 to 3/14.

The Cost is $240, payable in full by Visa or cash before the group starts. That’s $15 an hour.  Health insurance probably will not cover the workshop, but we will attempt to submit claims for you.  Two full or several partial scholarships are available. Limited to 24 persons.

Future Groups

This workshop is just a start to exploring these themes.  Integration of eros and intimacy is a lifetime’s work.  I hope an ongoing group of 8 to 12 persons will evolve out of this workshop.

Based on interest and the information from the intake forms, I hope to create a series of these groups: all focused on integrating eros and loving, but each with its own twist, such as Littles, sensuous spice, pain play, power exchange, D/s, CNM (consenting non-monogamy), substance use, and perhaps one for persons dealing with unwanted sexual desires

The Presenters

John McConnell PhD is both a Psychologist (PSY10673) and a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT23675). His office is in Hillcrest.  John has 30 years’ professional experience working with diverse sexualities and genders, and is active in the community. His work is humanistic, psychodynamic, attachment-based, and informed by control-mastery theory (CMT).  He has advanced training in Imago Therapy and is a registered Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT).

James DiGloria MA (MFT Intern 95541) works from an Internal Family Systems (IFS) perspective. He is accumulating the last of his supervised hours from Dr. McConnell so he can sit for the Marriage and Family Therapist licensure exam, and is working on his doctorate in psychology.

Lonny Miller, MA (MFT Intern 103902) has provided treatment for substance abuse for several years. He also specializes in parenting and poly relationships. He is accumulating supervised hours under Dr. McConnell to sit for his MFT exam.

To enroll e-mail Dr. McConnell.  Put “Eros Group” in the subject line.  Please provide your name, phone number, email, and a brief description of your interest in the group.

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