Review of The Ethical Slut

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Reprinted With Permission from Cuir Underground

Copyright (c) 1997 Cuir Underground

From Issue 3.6 - Summer 1997

The Ethical Slut

by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt Greenery Press, 1997

Review by Liz Highleyman

"The Ethical Slut" is one of a new breed of books examining the increasingly visible phenomenon of polyamory and multiple relationships, and it's one of the better ones so far.

Easton and Liszt define ethical sluts as those who participate in honest and consensual open or multiple-partner relationships. The authors operate on the philosophy that "sex is nice and pleasure is good for you," and they encourage readers to overcome the "starvation economy" viewpoint and look at sex and love as virtually limitless. Just as a mother with four children doesn't love each any less than a mother with only one, Easton and Liszt believe people can have a wide array of lovers without "running out" of loving or erotic feeling.

The book begins with an examination of several myths that have been used to put down sluts, especially sexually active women. It then looks at some new terminology and a bit of historical background. The authors soon leave theory behind, and the meat of the book consists of practical suggestions about how to deal with the day to day realities of ethical polyamory.

The authors are clearly in favor of having as much sex as humanly possible. In fact, they are rather dismissive of non-sexual friendships, those who prefer monogamy, and those who prefer fewer rather than more relationships in order to have more time for themselves. But Easton and Liszt don't gloss over the difficulties and challenges of maintaining healthy multiple relationships: keeping boundaries intact, dealing with jealousy, managing conflict, developing agreements, raising children, and maintaining optimal sexual health. Throughout are interspersed anecdotes to give readers an idea of how real people have dealt with these issues in their own lives.

The book also includes advice on finding like-minded partners, orgy and sex party etiquette, a polyamory bibliography, and a list of resources for sluts.

Polyamory is still not widely accepted, even among the queer and the perverted -- how many people are fighting for multiple-person marriage as strongly as for same-sex marriage? This book will surely open many people's eyes to an expanded universe of relationship options.

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