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Authors: Dossie Easton

The Ethical Slut

BOOK: The Ethical Slut
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MORE PRAISE FOR
THE ETHICAL SLUT


The Ethical Slut,
in this new and expanded edition, is the definitive guide for creating and sustaining all conscious relationships—polyamorous, open, alternative,
and
monogamous. Don’t enter into another relationship without it!”

—Barbara Carrellas, author of
Urban Tantra

“Dossie and Janet’s blend of good humor and forthright honesty makes for some of the best writing I have found on sexually complicated relationships and blended family options. Engaging, disarming, forthright—this is the book for those of us still brave enough to make the ethically complex choices.”

—Dorothy Allison, author of
Bastard Out of Carolina

PRAISE FOR THE FIRST EDITION

“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

“A useful guidebook for radical relationship travelers … experienced counsel to those on the polysexual frontier.”

—Ryam Nearing,
Loving More
magazine

“A postgraduate course in ethical relationships of every stripe. The authors pull no punches and are totally outrageous.… You’ll never be bored.”

—Stan Dale, DHS, founder of the Human Awareness Institute

“Frank, funny, and full of practical advice … life-saving validation, empathy, and plenty of insider tips from the experienced big sisters you probably weren’t fortunate enough to have.”

—Deborah Anapol, PhD, author of
Polyamory: The New Love without Limits

Copyright © 1997, 2009 by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Celestial Arts, an imprint of the Crown
Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
www.crownpublishing.com
www.tenspeed.com

Celestial Arts and the Celestial Arts colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Previous edition published as
The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual
Possibilities,
by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt (Greenery Press, 1997).

L
IBRARY OF
C
ONGRESS
C
ATALOGING-IN
-P
UBLICATION
D
ATA
Easton, Dossie.
   The ethical slut: a practical guide to polyamory, open relationships, and other adventures. — 2nd ed., updated & expanded / Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.
      p. cm.
   Summary: “A practical guide to practicing polyamory and open relationships in ways that are ethically and emotionally sustainable”—Provided by publisher.
1. Non-monogamous relationships—United States. 2. Free love—United States. 3. Sexual ethics—United States. 4. Sex—United States. I. Hardy, Janet W. II. Title.

   HQ980.5.U5E27 2009
   306.84′230973—dc22

                                   2008043651

eISBN: 978-0-307-79048-4

v3.1

Acknowledgments

We’d like to thank: Amy, Kay, and Bo; Barbara Carrellas; Cecelia & Corwin; Jennifer Collins; Betty Dodson; “E”; Jaymes Easton; “Finn”; Rae Goldman; Francesca Guido; Kai Harper; Lizzard Henry; Sybil Holiday; Ron Hoffman; Richard Karpinski; J Kimball; Laurie and Chris; Deirdre McGrath; Sunny Knight; Adric Petrucelli; Carol Queen; Reid & Marsha; Paul Romano; Maggi Rubenstein; Ruth and Edward; “Sockermom”; Doug Stinson; Susan S.; “Snow White”; Ben Taber; Miles Taber; Tom and Katy; Jay Wiseman; Lolita Wolf; and Joi Wolfwomyn.

With special thanks to our editor, Brie Mazurek, and all our dear lovers, friends, clients, colleagues, families, and advisors.

PART ONE
Welcome
CHAPTER ONE
Who Is an Ethical Slut?

MANY PEOPLE DREAM of having an abundance of love and sex and friendship. Some believe that such a life is impossible and settle for less than they want, feeling always a little lonely, a little frustrated. Others try to achieve their dream, but are thwarted by outside social pressures or by their own emotions, and decide that such dreams must stay in the realm of fantasy. A few, though, persist and discover that being openly loving, intimate, and sexual with many people is not only possible but can be more rewarding than they ever imagined.

People have been succeeding at free love for many centuries—often quietly, without much fanfare. In this book, we will share the techniques, the skills, the ideals that have made it work for them.

So who is an ethical slut? We are. Many, many others are. Maybe you are too. If you dream of freedom, if you dream of intimacy both hot and profound, if you dream of an abundance of friends and flirtation and affection, of following your desires and seeing where they take you, you’ve already taken the first step.

Why We Chose This Title

From the moment you saw or heard about this book, you probably guessed that some of the terms here may not have the same meanings you’re accustomed to.

What kind of people would revel in calling themselves sluts? And why would they insist on being recognized for their ethics?

In most of the world, “slut” is a highly offensive term, used to describe a woman whose sexuality is voracious, indiscriminate, and shameful. It’s interesting to note that the analogous word “stud,” used to describe a highly sexual man, is often a term of approval and envy. If you ask about a man’s morals, you will probably hear about his honesty, loyalty, integrity, and high principles. When you ask about a woman’s morals, you are more likely to hear about whom she shares sex with, and under what conditions. We have a problem with this.

So we are proud to reclaim the word “slut” as a term of approval, even endearment. To us, a slut is a person of any gender who celebrates sexuality according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you. Sluts may choose to have solo sex or to get cozy with the Fifth Fleet. They may be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, radical activists or peaceful suburbanites.

As proud sluts, we believe that sex and sexual love are fundamental forces for good, activities with the potential to strengthen intimate bonds, enhance lives, open spiritual awareness, even change the world. Furthermore, we believe that every consensual sexual relationship has these potentials and that any erotic pathway, consciously chosen and mindfully followed, can be a positive, creative force in the lives of individuals and their communities.

Sluts share their sexuality the way philanthropists share their money: because they have a lot of it to share, because it makes them happy to share it, because sharing makes the world a better place. Sluts often find that the more love and sex they give away, the more they have: a loaves-and-fishes miracle in which greed and generosity go hand in hand to provide more for everybody. Imagine living in sexual abundance!

Your Authors

Between us, we represent a fairly large slice of the pie that is sexual diversity.

Dossie is a therapist in private practice in San Francisco, specializing in relationship issues and alternative sexualities. She has identified as lesbian for the past twenty-five years and still values her experience as both bisexual and heterosexual before that. She has always been
a slut. She committed to an open sexual lifestyle in 1969 when her daughter was newborn, and taught her first workshop on unlearning jealousy in 1973. She has spent about half of her adult life living single, sort of, with families of housemates, lovers, and other intimates. She currently makes her home with her partner in the mountains north of San Francisco.

Many of you may remember Janet from the last edition of this book as Catherine A. Liszt, a pen name she used back then when her sons were still minors. Now that they’re grown and independent, she has gone back to using her real name. Janet lived as a teenaged slut in college but then essayed monogamy in a traditional heterosexual marriage for well over a decade. Since the end of that marriage, she has not considered monogamy an option for her. While most people would call her “bisexual,” she thinks of herself as gender-bent and can’t quite figure out how sexual orientation is supposed to work when you’re sometimes male and sometimes female. She’s married to a bio-guy whose gender is as flexible as hers, which is less complicated than it sounds. She makes her living as a writer, publisher, and teacher.

Together, we have been lovers, dear friends, coauthors, and coconspirators for a decade and a half, in and out of various other relationships, homes, and projects. We are both mothers of grown children, both active in the BDSM/leather/kink communities, and both creative writers (Dossie of poetry, Janet of personal essays). We think we’re an excellent example of what can happen if you don’t try to force all your relationships into the monogamous till-death-do-us-part model.

Sexual Adventurers

The world generally views sluts as debased, degraded, promiscuous, indiscriminate, jaded, immoral adventurers—destructive, out of control, and driven by some form of psychopathology that prevents them from entering into a healthy monogamous relationship.

Oh, yes—and definitely not ethical.

We see ourselves as people who are committed to finding a place of sanity with sex and relationships, and to freeing ourselves to enjoy sex and sexual love in as many ways as may fit for each of us. We may not always know what fits without trying it on, so we tend to be curious and adventurous. When we see someone who intrigues us, we like to feel
free to respond, and, as we explore our response, to discover whatever is special about this new, fascinating person. We like relating to people and are quite gregarious, enjoying the company of different kinds of people and reveling in how our differences expand our horizons and offer us new ways to be ourselves.

Sluts tend to want a lot of things: different forms of sexual expression, different people, perhaps men, or women, or people in between, or some of each. We are curious: what would it be like to combine the energies of four or five people in one incandescent sexual encounter? What would it be like to share erotic energy with that person who has been our best friend for years and years? What would it be like to share a household with multiple friends and lovers? What would it be like to be intimate with someone who is very different from us?

BOOK: The Ethical Slut
5.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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