The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

by Dossie Easton, Janet W. Hardy

Paperback(Revised)

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Overview

The essential guide for singles and couples who want to explore polyamory in ways that are ethically and emotionally sustainable.

For anyone who has ever dreamed of love, sex, and companionship beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this groundbreaking guide navigates the infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer. Experienced ethical sluts Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy dispel myths and cover all the skills necessary to maintain a successful and responsible polyamorous lifestyle—from self-reflection and honest communication to practicing safe sex and raising a family. Individuals and their partners will learn how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to define relationships on their own terms.

"I couldn't stop reading it, and I for one identify as an ethical slut. This is a book for anyone interested in creating more pleasure in their lives . . . a complete guide to improving any style of relating, from going steady to having an extended family of sexual friends." —Betty Dodson, PhD, author of Sex for One

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781587613371
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 03/28/2009
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.70(d)

About the Author

JANET W. HARDY is the author of more than 10 books and founder of Greenery Press, a San Francisco Bay Area book publisher specializing in sexually adventurous books. She swore off monogamy in 1987.

THE AUTHOR SCOOP

Do you eat your vegetables?
Yes, but I’d rather steal your dessert.

Have any good pet stories?
My dear Amy – a gigantic shaggy lab/poodle mix who went to doggie heaven last summer – is still the stuff of legend in San Francisco’s alt-sex scene. One evening, she wandered into the room during a bondage demo: a sweetie of ours was modeling a spreadeagle pose. Amy took one look at her beloved auntie and immediately flopped down next to her on her back, all four legs spread out in the identical pose, as the room dissolved in hysterics and Auntie sat up, rubbing her wrists indignantly, and sputtered, “Upstaged by a fucking dog!”

Are you "six degrees of separation" away from anyone famous?
Distantly related to Clement C. Moore, author of The Night Before Christmas.

Do you have a scar anywhere on your body? How did you get it?
A stylized elephant branded on my right calf, put there by Fakir Musafar. Elephants are large, smart and matriarchal – hence, my totem.

What was your favorite birthday?
Ah, this is a good one… my 35th, the year my two main squeezes at the time took a cabin at Sea Ranch for my birthday and we spent the weekend mushroom-hunting, binge-eating and fucking.

Name a favorite dish that your mother used to make.
“Israeli salad,” which she learned to make when she was trapshooting on the American team in the Maccabiah Games, the Jewish olympics. A chopped salad made with tomatoes, cukes, hard-boiled eggs, bell peppers, etc., and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Spelunking in my own brain.

DOSSIE EASTON is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in alternative sexualities and open relationships. She is the author of four other books. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been an ethical slut since 1969.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Part 1 Welcome

1 Who Is an Ethical Slut? 3

2 Myths and Realities 9

3 Our Beliefs 20

4 Slut Styles 27

5 Battling Sex Negativity 41

6 Infinite Possibilities 46

Part 2 The Practice of Sluthood

7 Abundance 56

8 Slut Skills 63

9 Boundaries 71

Interlude: The Unethical Slut (A Rant) 78

10 Flirting and Cruising 82

11 Keeping Sex Safe 92

12 Childrearing 100

Part 3 Navigating Challenges

13 Roadmaps through Jealousy 108

Interlude: Clean Love 131

14 Embracing Conflict 133

15 Making Agreements 148

16 Opening an Existing Relationship 160

Part 4 Sluts in Love

17 Making Connection 182

18 Couples 190

19 The Single Slut 205

20 The Ebb and Flow of Relationships 218

21 Sex and Pleasure 226

22 Public Sex, Group Sex, and Orgies 250

Conclusion A Slut Utopia 268

A Slut's Glossary 272

Resource Guide 277

Index 281

About the Authors 287

Customer Reviews

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The Ethical Slut 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
and the times up ahead that have us wondering what is this all about. This book answers alot of the questions and gives a great in site of what it all can mean. From how to treat our long term 'other' to dealing with it all inside our selves. I have loned out mine so many times it looks like i need a replacement ...the true sign of a good book.
Eric_M More than 1 year ago
I personally found this book to be one of the best eye opening to ever read. Yes at times it is biased, at times it is over the top, and at other times it is less interesting. The thing that I found the most helpful is the communication aspect of it. It is not a book just about the poly lifestyle. It is not just about open relationships either. The point behind all the stories, the different points of views comes down to the ability to communicate. Communication is the one key factor in ever single relationship you will ever have. Its hard at times to allow other people into our own personal inner selves. Yes that is right. We all are guilty of it. We have a persona on the outside that we show to everyone that we belong, that we fit in, that we are sheeple. But what about your inner self? You know the one I am talking about. The one that you have shown to an extremely select few in your life if your lucky. The inner person that is adventerous, wild, uninhibited and wants to be free at times. Well this book talks about that "inner" person. It talks about the ability to open yourself up and communicate to other people. Communication that you have only dreamed about and have wished for for so long. If your looking for the one book about a certain lifestyle you won't ever find it. This book has many insightful suggestions from peoples perspectives, about their good times and bad times. But the biggest key point is the communication aspect. That aspect alone is what makes this book so good.
IReadInTrees More than 1 year ago
The Ethical Slut is incredible! I first read The Ethical Slut (first edition) as part of a college course. As an undergrad, I was already well on my way to being a proud slut - I did the usual versions of short-term college dating, hookups, f***buddies, threesomes, and the like, with or without a committed partner at various times. It all felt natural and right, but there were invariably awkward moments of poor negotiation, misunderstood communication, and mis-handled jealousy. When I read The Ethical Slut, I found an amazing wealth of information and suggestions on how I could make my various relationships work better and more smoothly. I wished I'd had this book all along - it would have saved so much trouble! If only I'd known that an agreement to "see other people" wasn't nearly complete enough! The Ethical Slut lays out all the things to think about in having open relationships of various sorts. I've been called a slut since I was 14, but it was this book that gave me the idea that being a slut could be a good thing - and now I couldn't be happier with my fabulous life as a proud slut. The Ethical Slut is an entertaining, readable, real-life explanation of all the options in relationships. Whether you want to be single or partnered or grouped, poly or monogamous, or whatever else, this book helps you figure out all the possibilities better. It's THE relationship book for anyone who wants more options than a "leave-it-to-beaver" relationship. If you're just starting to explore open relationships, or you're even just thinking about it, there's no better place to start than with this book. And if you're already immersed in poly life, it's got the "advanced level" information you need. For those who know and love the first edition, the second edition is definitely worth adding to your collection. There's a ton of new information on the really crucial details of how to make all sorts of poly and open relationships work. The second edition now has exercises exercises, taken from Dossie Easton's work as a therapist with poly folks, that you and/or your partner(s) can work on together. I loved the new section on living as a single slut - which makes the point that sluthood and open loving can be an identity that doesn't require a conventional partnership to secure or ground it. It also offers ideas on how to get one's needs met from a network of friends and lovers - useful information for pretty much anyone. The new segments on handling jealousy and conflict are especially good for those of us who have been involved in poly relationships for some time and need the more detailed info, from the voices of experience, to help through the rough spots. I feel like I'm always learning in poly relationships, and every time I go back to The Ethical Slut, there's some tidbit that helps with the complicated, hard, or unexpected parts of a generally fabulous poly life. Whether you've read the first edition or not, this is definitely a book you should own. I've read it 3 or 4 times now, and I keep going back to it to check out certain sections that become more relevant as I encounter new poly challenges. Rather than offering generalities and theories, The Ethical Slut speaks from many people's experience over many decades. It's the real-life information that you need to make all your relationships amazing!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although it was written by a bisexual female, and does contain many anecdotes I am a heterosexual male and consider the book to be one of the best and most helpful books that I have found on the subject. I would agree that it is not erotic but it also wasn't meant to be. It seems best meant to show you how opening yourself sexually is not to be feared and will actually bring more love to your life in the form of new families rather than leaving you isolated and persecuted which one would normally expect after deviating from the norm.
billierain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
when i saw this on the shelf of good vibrations in san francisco, i exclaimed to my partner, "ethical slut? hey! that's me!!" my copy of this book is well-worn; in fact it's completely battered and was dropped in the bath at least once. this is a testament to how useful and engaging the information presented here is to someone like myself. someone, that is, who has never fit in to the monogamy mold. until i found this book i created my own relationship path out of necessity. since owning it i have continued to do so, but armed with the knowledge that i am not alone and with more tools than were ever provided to me before or since.
Evadare on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel like this book speaks to me deeply, because on some gut emotional/instinctual level, I have never understood why **anyone** would want monogamy for life. It just....has zero attraction for me. And for too long I felt like a failure as a woman because I just did not grok why so much of the world thought this was important--I sure don't. Eventually, though, I've had to come to grips with the fact that a lot of people assume exclusivity = love and this is "normal," and I really needed this book to give me good logical arguments to the contrary.
persephonehazard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A friend gave me this for my eighteenth birthday, after I'd been practicing polyamory for a year and a bit. I was taught well by experienced non-monogamists and so to me it was nothing new, but it felt like the genesis of our lifestyle and something I was comforted to read. I now approach my twenty-second birthday, am still successfully polyamorous, and will soon lend my copy of this book to both of my current boyfriends - neither of whom have been in a non-monogamous relationship before.
cecily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I still blanch at the word "slut", but this is a basic polyamory primer that anyone who is interested in multiple sexual relationships should read.
freddlerabbit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this book is simple and clear - it's written quite assertively, and the tone may be a little off-putting, but essentially, it's an off the shelf self-help guide for those who believe sexual monogamy might not be the right choice for them - but who are feeling guilty or conflicted about that. It encourages honesty with oneself and one's partner and provides some basic techniques for dealing with the challenges of a nontraditional sex life or relationship. Overall, I think it's fairly solid - it can't be all things to all people, and if you already are very sex-positive and not concerned about cultural pressures to live one way or another, you might not find it useful; on the other hand, it's nice to hear those same attitudes in print, when the others are so prevalent elsewhere.
damsorrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bad: Kinda for people who believe crystals can heal.Good: Really excellent and practical instructions on forming your own relationships and becoming a whole person, whether you're poly or monogamous or undefineably sexy. Easy + fun read.
KayPrime on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book gives great advice about owning your feelings, enjoying your sex and sexuality, and setting limits that make you and your partner(s) comfortable.Although the book is a bit too "flower child" at times and could focus more on emotional connections rather than just sexual ones since it is touted as a poly book, I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in experiencing a positive message on sex and sexuality as well as alternate relationship options.
endlessforms on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Blah. Not a fan; too many assumptions.
morag_eyrie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is great for anyone to read, gay, straight, bisexual, whether or not they are in an open relationship, or even want one. Because it focuses on honesty and communication and boundaries in sexual relationships in such a clear way.
JudithProctor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this to be an interesting book with plenty of original ideas and much good advice on the subject of being honest in your relationships - which I found useful in reinforcing my own beliefs. However (and admittedly, it isn't what the book is really about), it has very little to offer to those whose partners are not keen on the idea of a poly relationship.
michaelbartley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
while the book is a guild to the world of plyamory, a way of having more then one lover and do it a ethical and healthy way. the guildllines they write about would work in a monogamous relationship. be direct in what you want, be honest is what you are, respect your lover,own your feelings, and respect your boundries and your lovers' I like this book it opened up new ways of thinking
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