The Ethical Slut

Polyamory

The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities’ is a 1997 non-fiction book written by family therapist Dossie Easton and sex educator Janet Hardy (given as pseudonym Catherine A. Liszt for the book’s first edition).

The book discusses consensual non-monogamy as a lifestyle, and provides practical guidance on how such long-term relationships work and are put into practice.

The authors define the term ‘slut’ as ‘a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.’ The term is reclaimed from its usual use as a pejorative and as a simple label for a promiscuous person. Instead, it is used to signify a person who is accepting of their enjoyment of sex and the pleasure of intimacy with others, and chooses to engage and accept these in an ethical and open way — rather than as cheating.

‘The Ethical Slut’ discusses how to live an active life with multiple concurrent sexual relationships in a fair and honest way. Discussion topics include how to deal with the practical difficulties and opportunities in finding and keeping partners, maintaining relationships with others, and strategies for personal growth. It contains chapters discussing how consensual nonmonogamy is handled in different subcultures such as the gay and lesbian communities, information on handling scheduling, jealousy, communication, conflict in relationships, and etiquette for group sexual encounters.

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