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

Authors: Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton

Year Published: 2009

Main topics Covered: Polyamory, Relationships, Sexuality, Communication, Consent, Boundaries

Written for: All Genders, All Sexual Orientations, Poly-Couples, Poly-Curious

Recommended for: Clinicians/Therapists and Clients

Perspectives taken: Feminist, Sex-Positive, Inclusive

Type of Resource: Psycho-educational book with personal anecdotes

APA Citation: Easton, D., & Hardy, J. W. (2009). The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures. Berkeley: Celestial Arts. Print.

Book Overview:

The Ethical Slut challenges the traditions of monogamy by presenting sexual relationships in a new light. By redefining the meaning of being a slut, the authors encourage promiscuity in an adventurous, responsible way. The book presents relationships in a way of emancipation from the constraints of societal norms, and the exploration of sexuality with freedom and fluidity.

The Ethical Slut is a practical guide- the book dispels myths, reinforces sex positivity, and creates a welcoming atmosphere for both monogamous and polyamorous couples. By addressing common relationship issues such as communication, boundaries, and jealousy, the authors present modern “sluthood” in a way that is empowering and sexually liberating. Topics such as opening a pre-existing relationship, cruising, raising children, and group sex are discussed in details- the do’s and don’ts, rule making, keeping it safe and consensual, and beyond. The safety is discussed to ensure individual and partner responsibility to ensure a conscientious and successful poly lifestyle.

Easton and Hardy offer their personal experiences for many topics, making the book feel extremely personal and humanizing. While the book acknowledges that no relationship is ever perfect, the reader never forgets that the authors themselves are not flawless- the reader learns through (the authors’) past mistakes and mishaps, urging the reader to objectively explore their own sexual journey.

One thing to note is that this practical guide does not necessarily dictate what a relationship should or should not be- in fact, the authors urge couples to redefine relationships on their own terms, and to draw boundaries in which each couple feels most comfortable– free of constraints of societal norms.

The Ethical Slut does not discriminate in its audience. Any reader, whether straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, trans, gender-queer etc. is able to follow the guidelines of this book in search of a successful companionship. While this book is aimed towards polyamorous couples or couples looking to open a relationship, the monogamous couple is also able learn about communication and responsible partnership from this book, while also learning about different lifestyles of others. This book can be recommended towards clients by therapists/clinicians for a thorough understanding and a glimpse into a polyamorous lifestyle. The book is written in a “feminist” viewpoint, due to its heavy emphasis on empowerment of both men and women in the act of sluthood.

About the Authors:

Janet Hardy is a writer and sex educator, publishing books such as “Spanking for Lovers” and “Girlfag: a Life Told in Sex and Musicals”. She has appeared in many documentaries speaking about topics ranging from sexual spanking to sex toys to ambiguously gendered relationships. She is currently Editorial Director for Greenery Press and Down There Press.

Dossie Easton was born in Massachusetts, but was drawn towards San Francisco during the great sexual freedom movement of the 70’s. As a proud flower child from the Summer of Love, she has published many nonfiction works on BDSM, polyamory, and other relationship and sexuality topics. She has collaborated with Janet Hardy on many books, such as “The New Topping Book” and “The New Bottoming Book”. She is a registered marriage and family therapist, and works with many women’s health centres and mental health clinics.

 

Review written by Westland Researcher Adrianna Xue