The Ethical Slut

The Ethical Slut The Ethical Slut

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy first came out in 1997. It was updated and reprinted in 2009.   The two authors want to reclaim the word slut to mean something more positive.  Slut is generally used to describe a woman who is voracious, indiscriminate and shameful in her sexual encounters.  However, a man who acts the same way is known as a stud.  To the authors the word slut has come to mean a person of any gender who celebrates sexuality and believes that sex is nice and good for you.  Solo sex, sex with the 5th Fleet, heterosexual sex homosexual sex, and bisexual sex are all included under the umbrella of sex is good and nice here.

The term Polyamory was coined in 1990 by Morning Glory Ravenheart Zell.  Modern marriage is no longer essential for survival; so many other arrangements have crept up over the years.  Kinsey once said that the term nymphomaniac simply meant someone who had more sex than you.  In any case, Polyamory is not necessarily promiscuous, amoral, sinful or pathological.  Why is being easy considered wrong?  Is there some virtue in being difficult?

Datingish

Easton and Hardy go over the common myths.  1) Long term Monogamous relationships are the only real relationships.  And that we will automatically lose interest in other people if we are in love 2) Romantic love is the only real love. 3) Sexual desire is a destructive force. 4) Loving someone makes it okay to control his or her behavior. 5) Jealousy is inevitable and impossible to overcome.  6) Outside involvements reduce the intimacy of the primary relationship. 7) Love conquers all.

Ethical Sluts know that it is important to treat people well.  They do their best not to hurt anyone.  They value consent and honesty over all else.  They recognize the ramifications of their actions and they are respectful of other’s feelings.  Being an Ethical Slut requires skills like communication, emotional honesty, affection and faithfulness as well.

The best way to describe the attitude of an Ethical Slut is this, “We believe its okay to have sex with anybody you love and we believe in loving everybody!”

Slut Love

Abundance of love and sex is entirely available. Far too often people believe in the starvation economy theory of love—that there is only so much to go around.  Just because you love one person doesn’t mean you can’t love another.  Loving more people doesn’t take away from the feelings you feel from anyone else.

There are a variety of ways to experience love and sex.  There can be long term couples and long term couples who swing with just one other couple in a long term situation.  There are swingers who have Saturday night puppy pile orgies.  Swinging often embraces bisexual women, but not bisexual men.

Progressive Thinking

As an Ethical Slut you can be single or in a relationship either one.  It can be tricky, but vital to introduce your lovers to one another.  People can make commitments to each other in numbers greater than to as well.  Remember in a three-some there are three couple.  There is A&B, B&C and A&C.  Things are often broken down into primary relationships and secondary relationships.

An important thing about sex is that it should be fresh and fun for everyone.  Some pointers are to slow things down, make sure you practice clean or honest loving but talk dirty and embrace the use of toys. Find what turns you on and get loud about it.  Don’t feel ashamed for enjoying yourself.

 To Love

In any case, boundaries are very important for Ethical Sluts. They need to have clear, strong, flexible and conscious boundaries.  Don’t dump on others or allow them to dump on you.  Don’t project your feelings onto them or allow yourself to be projected upon.  Don’t have revenge sex or treat others as objects as you wouldn’t want others to treat you that way either.

 Sex shouldn’t just be safe. It should be safer. Perhaps have agreements to keep “fluid bonding” with your primary or people you know and use protection for people you don’t know as well.  You should always get tested and do your best to prevent any sort of infection or STD.  Condoms aren’t always the most fun, but lube inside and out can help with that.

 Circles

Childrearing in such a situation can be a good thing.  In the author’s opinions it has been easier to raise children with more people around.  There is security for children in sexually interconnected extended families.  Group living has its advantages, such as built in babysitters, etc.

Jealousy can be a problem, but not an impossible one.  Jealousy may be an expression of fear. It could be a fear of abandonment or simply feeling left out.  It could be a fear of not being good enough, feeling inadequate or just plain feeling awful. Jealousy is often rooted in a sense of grief and loss.  But have you really lost anything when your partner comes home from a hot date happy and ready to try new things with you?  It is important not to deny jealousy. But it is also important to talk about it and not necessarily act on it.

As Khail Gilbran says, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”

Ethical Slut 1It is healthy to embrace conflict, but in doing so they suggest a few things.  Begin your complaints with “I” and not “you.”  Schedule fights.  Write it out.  Own what’s yours and don’t blame everybody else.  Time is your friend.  And know that fairness doesn’t mean perfect equality.

Make agreements to divide up your time.  Your lovers and your primary both deserve time with you and neither should suffer.  Give your consent to allow your lover to be with others and devote time to them as well.

Scrable

The Single Slut has rights. They have the right to be treated with respect, have feelings heard and responded to, have dates and plans honored even if lover is in a marriage or another relationship, right to have help when needed, have limits and set limits, right to not be blamed for other people’s problems, right to not be a dumping ground for someone else’s problems and a right to be valued and welcomed.  As an Single Ethical Slut you are responsible for making clear agreements, having safer sex, be honest and promote intimacy.

The life of an Ethical Slut neither demands nor excludes marriage.  It is a possibility like anything else.  Keep in mind no matter if you embrace monogamy or the life of an Ethical Slut that relationships have an ebb and flow. Break-ups happen to the best of friends and most passionate of relationships.  But that is okay.

OpenThe words of Edna St. Vincent Millay perhaps say it best:

After all my erstwhile dear

My no longer cherished

Need we say it wasn’t love

Just because it perished?

 Polyamory Sign

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About carilynn27

Reading and writing and writing about reading are my passion. I've been keeping a journal since I was 14. I also write fiction and poetry. I published my first collection of short stories, "Radiant Darkness" in 2000. I followed that up with my first collection of poetry in 2001 called "Journey without a Map." In 2008, I published "Persephone's Echo" another collection of poetry. Since then I've also published Emotional Espionage, The Way The Story Ended, My Perfect Drug and Out There. I have my BA in English from The Ohio State University at Mansfield and my MA in English Lit from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I also have my Post BA Certificate in Women's Studies. I am the mother of two beautiful children. :-)
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One Response to The Ethical Slut

  1. Pingback: In the beginning… | 3's Love

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