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Past Events: 2017

Love, Bonding and Intimacy

Co-hosted by the Weiland Health Initiative

9:30-10:00am - Check-in & light refreshments

10-10:30am - Welcome

10:30-11:25am - Dr. Sue Carter: The Healing Power of Love: An Oxytocin Hypothesis

This presentation will discuss the hormonal and neural mechanisms that support the beneficial and healing effects of loving relationships.  Love is deeply biological.  Love also has profound effects on our mental and physical state, pervading every aspect of our lives. Without loving relationships or in isolation, humans fail to flourish, even if all of their other basic needs are met. As such, love is clearly not just an emotion.  The neuropeptide, oxytocin and related molecules are at the heart of the biological substrates for love and the consequences of the presence or absence of relationships.  Embedded in this sytem are ancient hormones and receptors capable of regulating the capacity for a sense of safety, which in turn allows social cognition, social bonding, social support, growth and restoration. Oxytocin regulates the functions of the autonomic nervous system, with effects on vagal and sympathetic pathways. Oxytocin also has direct antioxidant and anti-inflammatory consequences for tissues throughout the body. The oxytocin system is influenced by early experience, and oxytocin can epigenetically alter the expression of its own receptors. The capacity of oxytocin to regulate these systems helps to explain the pervasive adaptive consequences of social experiences for emotional and physical health across the lifespan. Knowledge of the pathways through which oxytocin and related molecules act offers a new perspective on the healing power of love.

11:30-11:55am - Dr. Inge Hansen: Rethinking Relationship Identities

Relationships tend to be viewed as healthy and normal when they meet certain criteria, such as being straight, monogamous, hierarchical, and escalating in seriousness according to a specific timeline. Such criteria are problematic and limiting. Instead, I propose a relational model in which we reinterpret each of these categories as a spectrum, in which each person may identify in a different place in each arena and no identity is considered superior to another.  In this talk, I’ll explore ways to uncover a more thorough and accurate picture of one’s relational identities. This model is more inclusive of poly, asexual, and queer-identified individuals, and also reflects the relationship identity diversity that exists hidden in the mainstream.

12:00-12:55pm - Lunch buffet

1:00-1:25pm - Lily Zheng: Transmuting Intimacy: The Frontiers of Trans Love and Sex

When sex is talked about in relation to transgender, gender-variant and intersex people, the conversations tend to focus overwhelming on the negative. Discussions of sexual violence, relationship abuse, sexual exploitation and the dangers of sex work abound - but positive representations of sexuality for trans people are rare. In this talk, I focus on those overlooked representations: the joy and empowerment trans people experience in relation to love, sex and intimacy. What does empowering sex for trans people look like? What are healthy relationships for and between trans people? How do trans people rebuild, transform and transmute what is typically thought of as intimacy? In exploring these questions, I hope to challenge the associations that often arise when the topics of trans identity and sexuality collide.

1:30-2:25pm - Dr. David Ley: Integrating Porn and Love

Few people in college today have not seen porn. Indeed, as a result of abstinence-only education, many people learn about sex from porn. Most discussions of porn frame it as a dangerous, evil, sinful and addictive distraction. But what if we can learn about ourselves and our sexuality from porn? Are there ways to ethically, responsibly integrate porn use in a mindful way into our personal and relational sexuality? Dr. David Ley thinks there is, and offers advice on how to have these conversations.

2:30-3:25pm - Dr. James Wadley: Black Love, Black Relationships, Black Sexuality 
This presentation uses various media and moves away from contemporary discourse and depictions that sensationalize or pathologize Black loveand intimacy and invites participants to reflect upon how beautiful and multifaceted relationships are with this unique population.  Consideration is afforded to sexual diversity within the Black community and offers conceptual frameworks that recognize some the affective, cognitive, and behavioral experiences of those who have been traditionally silenced and/or marginalized.  Black love, Black relationships, and Black sexuality are indeed beautiful. 

3:30-3:55pm - Break & performance

4:00-4:25pm - Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh: Emergent Relationship Model

In Western cultures, love is seen as the prize, the catalyst, the glue, the fire and the force that can conquer all. Love is viewed as something that happens to us and it is followed by an everlasting romantic relationship. Over the years I observed the intense pain that comes with having this mentality and unsatisfying relationships that are the outcomes of it. Principles of systems thinking and years of working with couples across 30 countries are summarized in this model to invite the audience to view the whole topic through a different lens. The Emergent Relationship Model strives to help individuals find meaningful connections and grow over time into shaping satisfying relationships. Join us for a thought provoking exploration of love, marriage, intimacy and cultural expectations as we walk through the Emergent Relationship Model.

4:30-5:25pm - Consensual Non-Monogamy panel

5:30-6:00pm - Mingle and network


Integrating Porn and Love | Dr. David Ley

David Ley is a clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist, with extensive expertise in addressing sexual conflicts and the bedroom issues most therapists don't ever talk about. He practices in New Mexico, and has been featured in media ranging from Time Magazine to Hustler Magazine. His latest book, Ethical Porn for Dicks, A Man's Guide to Responsible Viewing Pleasure punctures the modern porn panic and offers useful strategies towards developing sexual integrity. 

Black Love, Black Relationships, Black Sexuality | Dr. James Wadley 

Dr. James Wadley is Associate Professor and Chair of the Counseling and Human Services Department at Lincoln University. As a scholar-practitioner, he is a licensed professional counselor and maintains a private practice in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships and is the founder of the Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians.  These credentials as well as a wealth of domestic and international clinical experiences have catapulted him to be one of the nation’s preeminent marriage, family, and sexuality clinicians.


Transmuting Intimacy: The Frontiers of Trans Love and Sex | Lily Zheng

Lily Zheng is a recent Stanford graduate, a diversity & inclusion consultant and transgender activist working at Stanford's Diversity and First-Generation Office. In her work and advocacy, she hopes to leverage critical understanding of LGBTQ+ communities into tangible resources, cultural change and policy initiatives toward a broader future of social justice. She is a board member of Trans Student Educational Resources, an organization dedicated to improving the experiences of transgender youth in schools, and is coauthoring a book on transgender workplace discrimination. 

Rethinking Relationship Identities | Dr. Inge Hansen

Dr. Hansen is a clinical psychologist at Stanford University, where she is the co-founder and manager of the Weiland Health Initiative.  This initiative is dedicated to promoting mental health and wellness across all genders and sexualities, and it has generated a number of innovative clinical and educational programs, including an annual conference.  Dr. Hansen also teaches several Stanford courses in the realm of gender and sexualities, including Challenging Sex & Gender Dichotomies in Medicine, Human Sexual Diversity in Medical Practice, and Transgender Studies.  She has given numerous lectures and papers on clinical and cultural competence working with gender and sexual minority individuals. 

Emergent Relationship Model | Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh

Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh, PhD is a world-renowned Social Psychologist and Sex and Relationship specialist. She is an award-winning author and host of the BBC World Service show on sexuality and relationship issues. With her unique combination of background and extensive international experience Dr. Nasserzadeh is a sought after keynote speaker and media commentator and has been hosted by governments and organizations across 29 countries. Her international works in the area of professional development and sexuality education has been granted the World Association for Sexual Health award for Excellence and Innovation. She serves at the Board of various professional organizations including the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), chair of the Middle East Sexual Health Committee and the American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). 

The Healing Power of Love: An Oxytocin Hypothesis | Dr. Sue Carter

Dr. Sue Carter is currently Director of the Kinsey Institute and Rudy, Professor of Biology at Indiana University, a position she accepted in 2014. Dr. Carter is a neurobiologist, known for her research on the biology of social bonding and the development of the prairie vole as a model for studying the behavioral and physiological actions of peptide hormones. Her current research interests focus on the protective effects of love and oxytocin.

Special Thank You

Rayka Kumru - Communications Design

Rayka Kumru is a sexologist, sexuality educator, consultant and author of a children's and parents book set based in Istanbul, Turkey. She received her BA in Sociology and Critical Studies in Sexuality from The University of British Columbia and holds a Master of Sexology from Curtin University’s School of Public Health in Australia. Kumru is currently an instructor at Yıldız Technical University and Istanbul Kultur University teaching Sexual Health Education and Gender in Society, and a consultant. She is a member of the European Federation of Sexology’s Youth Committee, and The World Association for Sexual Health.

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