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Achieving Joy, a community based counseling organization geared toward lesbian women, is hosting its inaugural Undressed Conference Friday, January 16 and 17 at the Impact Hub. The conference is a platform for participants to talk about intimate subjects in a safe space with licensed therapists, women’s health workers, and academics. Guest speakers and therapists will be available to provide answers to the tough questions that are getting in the way of building safe and satisfying relationships, including sexual, social, and emotional trauma.

“This conference is designed for those who desire to date—or have dated or want to date in the future—queer women. That’s the perspective we are coming from: learning the woman’s body and woman’s experience, and how that experience of being queer can add another layer to the relationship,” says Joy Petway, organizer and spearhead of the organization, who was inspired to coordinate the conference after observing a series of conversations with friends and colleagues.

“A lot of conversations go back to sex and relationships or something in between,” Petway notes, explaining that it was in these conversations and dialogues that she began finding the passion to create a safe space for women to learn, share, and grow with one another.

Petway notes that intimacy is not strictly physical, but contains an emotional element as well.

“A lot of queer women were going to doctors who weren’t able to know the language or have the knowledge to understand how sex was occurring within these relationships. I wanted to create a space where we can have experts who truly understand the woman’s body, coupled with experts who focus on sex therapy, trauma, and other areas that get in the way of being intimate.”

Attendees of the conference can expect to engage in a series of discussions involving individual and partner needs, as well as conversations focused on self-awareness and relationship tendencies. Topics relate to a variety of relationships, including ethical non-monogamous relationships and romantic friendships.

“Just as they say hurt people hurt people, I believe that healed people heal people,” Petway explains, adding that instances of domestic violence occur more often in relationships among queer women when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Creating a community and network of support and education is the first step toward tackling this statistic.

The Undressed Conference will be held this Saturday and Sunday, January 16  and 17, at the Impact Hub located at 419 Seventh Street NW, Third floor, Washington, D.C. For more information or to sign-up for the conference, click here.

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