The Ethical Slut

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I started reading “The Ethical Slut” this week after having it recommended to me many times over the last few months by several people (one of which is the amazing author of Multiplicities of Love). So far, I have really, really enjoyed it. The authors have said things in the first few chapters that I’ve really been thinking for the last few years but express it in a much more coherent way. When you really start to analyze their argument you find that it is revolutionary but it is really logical and based in reality.

The authors attack the old paradigm of looking at sex and love, and encourage people to explore the type of relationships that work best for them instead of defaulting to societal pressures. It is a very individualistic and libertarian view. As is often the case they are working to claim words that were once derogatory and embrace them in a positive light. In this way “slut” loses it’s negative connotation and becomes “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”. It is an inspiration to be yourself.

I may in the future have more to say about this book as I go through it but what really stuck out to me at this point is the “What We Believe” section, because these are things I believe as well.

  • You are already whole: you don’t need a relationship to define or complete you. The only thing in this world you can control is yourself and the fundamental sexual unit is one person. Adding more people may be fun and intimate but it does not complete anyone
  • Starvation Economics: This is something I’ve discussed many times with a dear friend or two, it’s the idea that sex, love, and intimacy is a finite resource. That if you give love to one person you do not have it to give to another or it somehow loses value. There are real limits on things like time, money, and energy but love does not conform to normal economic principles.
  • Openness can be the solution, not the problem: New sexual relationships and introducing new love into your life is not necessarily an attempt to avoid intimacy with your partner. Many people find that having an open relationship improves intimacy with their primary partners

The authors then state that this is what they believe and it is up to everyone to come up with their own beliefs based on what works best for them. I agree with both the beliefs stated above and the encouragement to find out what works best for each individual. It is only when we analyze, experiment, practice, and live our beliefs that we can find people that share our values and create intimate relationships. 

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