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COUP/3 program looks at polyamory, relationship ideals
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Melissa Wasserman

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Emily Dahlquist created a space to express the not-so-typical relationship with its first event, "Exploring Contemporary Relationships + More Love," at Reunion Chicago on March 23.

COUP/3 GOALS is a four-session series aimed at creating safe spaces for authors, speakers, educators, activists and creatives with the purpose of forming a group dialogue around relationships, personal journey and ideals through sexual freedom and exploration. Each program focuses on a different topic including contemporary relationships, kink factors, and the freedom and happiness found in non-traditional dynamics. In this series, labels do not matter.

"Really, the real mission of COUP/3 GOALS is to create dialogue around discussions regarding alternative and non-traditional relationships as well as really focusing on the relationship with yourself and what that really means in these different relationships, whether you're single, monogamous, non-monogamous, really in general and starting to find new ways to create self-awareness within relationships," said Dahlquist, the series' founder and organizer.

"Exploring Contemporary Relationships + More Love" was a discussion about the approach and experiences in non-traditional relationships, jealousy, and techniques that can advance any relationship.

"I really wanted it to be a gateway to this series, to introduce this discussion around alternative and non-traditional relationships and sex dynamics," said Dahlquist. "So, I really felt like Kitty and Ruby were two strong women in that community and could really represent and communicate that."

While Dahlquist moderated the intimate discussion, the guest speakers were Kitty Chambliss, founder of the Loving Without Boundaries ( LWB ) movement as well as a professional relationship coach, podcaster, blogger, professional sex-positive speaker, author of Jealousy Survival Guide and graphic designer; and Ruby B. Johnson, a sex therapist, sex educator and founder/organizer of PolyDallas Millennium LLC, a symposium about consensual and ethical nonmonogamy.

"I think [this event] it's really about creating more understanding first of all to debunk some of the myths and also acceptance for people who may or may not be like us and for me, one of the things I'm really passionate about is helping teach people that they have choice," said Chambliss, who currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

Chambliss and Johnson each shared their personal stories of how they found polyamorous relationships to be right for themselves and the happiness they found. They also used their expertise to discuss the inner workings of those kind of relationships including handling emotions such as jealousy, self- care and reflection, roles in the relationships, and boundaries, among other topics related to non-traditional relationships. Attendees were also welcomed to ask questions.

Chambliss added that talking on this topic at this event is helping to show people it is just about making choices and trying to find a way to be happy, fulfilled and satisfied, "even if you're bucking the trends of what other people are doing."

"When I was young, and why I loved speaking to the college students so much, was I wish somebody had come to me and told me about all the different relationship choices or sexuality choices, gender choices, and I didn't have any choices back then, just because that's all I knew."

Some of the misconceptions within a long list, Johnson added, is that polyamory is all about sex, people in poly relationships have STDs, and their ideals are going to destroy the country and their own children.

"It's not about being commitment-phobic, it's not about being the kind of person who doesn't know how to be disciplined within a relationship, so that's another one of those misconceptions," said Johnson, who lives in Dallas.

"It's all about exploration and it's all about finding your true authentic self and also to recognize that everyone's journey is going to be impacted by stigma," said Johnson. "Stigma's from classism, sexism, genderism, racism, all of these various elements are going to impact how you interact and behave within a relationship and I think that's an important conversation…"

Dahlquist said her passion is event planning and explained that while thinking about what to do for the queer community, she wanted to create that space to generate dialogue for general growth and discussion.

"I think this is fucking awesome," exclaimed Johnson. "I love the space, I love the energy, I love the various shades of melanin, I love the various, this looks like, different walks of path—I really like this. This is my kind of space here and I love conversations."

To learn more about COUP/3 GOALS, visit

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