January 19th, 2011
Just finished reading The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, original edition. I was only a few chapters in when I realized that I would be reading it over again, with pen and paper in hand, if not moving up to the revised edition with the same. I’m not looking for free love any time soon, but I do have a freer love than a lot of the people I know. I currently have two partners, my husband and my boyfriend, and for a couple years I had another boyfriend as well. I do a more poly-fidelity type thing, than free love. I establish solid relationships these days more than random hookups. So, what do I need with The Ethical Slut?
It is not a book just about sleeping around and getting it on with anyone you find attractive. It is a book about relationships of all types, and communication, and being sex positive, whether or not you’re actually having intercourse with someone else. It is about being comfortable with yourself, and your wants, needs and desires first. Then going out and talking to your partners about them. Then considering the possibility of other partners. And lastly, learning to live safely in the world you are creating.
Something I’ve posted about repeatedly is my shyness around sex and asking for what I want. This book addresses it directly. Talks about societal causes and gives ideas on how to work through your social programming to get what you want out of life. It is not just about intercourse, but about any of your wants that aren’t being met. Sex can have a lot of different connotations to a lot of different people. I’m kinky, sometimes I get better orgasms from an intense rope scene than I do from traditional intercourse. Is this sex for me? It can certainly be highly sexual.
Recently, a game was proposed in which points could be redeemed for activities, and lists would be required of said activities. The game did not commence, but the idea is still stuck in my head. Simply because it is an organized way of thinking about and asking for what I want. What with the convention this past weekend, I have not created said lists, but as I am currently couch-ridden, they will probably be created soon. Getting past my insecurities of “what if he doesn’t want to” or “what if he says no” is something I am still working on. But putting ideas out en masse for future consideration, seems easier than saying I want something right here and now. One step in the right direction anyway. With more to come.
The book also talks about communication, and the importance not just of communicating, but of setting aside time to do so. In poly life, time is a valuable commodity. And sometimes we hesitate to use it fighting, or having hard discussions. “I just want to relax.” “We can talk about it next time.” “It’s not really that important.” And then we spend the whole evening stewing about it and it is days before we see them again. They call it scheduling a fight, and I resisted this terminology at first, because I don’t like fighting. The reality is, however, that high emotions can turn into a fight, and if you set a time to discuss something, it gives a release valve for the emotions. It gets rid of the feeling that “he doesn’t even know anything is wrong” and replaces it with “okay, I just have to wait until X and then we’ll sit down and figure this out.” A much more useful thought to have, and it gives you both a set time frame to get clear and ready for the discussion.
Overall, a great book, with lots of good things to think about and discuss. One read through is definitely not enough.