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Publisher's Summary

For anyone who has ever dreamed of love, sex, and companionship beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this groundbreaking guide navigates the infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer. Experienced ethical sluts Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy dispel myths and cover all the skills necessary to maintain a successful and responsible polyamorous lifestyle - from self-reflection and honest communication to practicing safe sex and raising a family. Individuals and their partners will learn how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to define relationships on their own terms.

©1994 Celestial Arts (P)2012 Dossie Easton & Janet W. Hardy

What the critics say

"I couldn't stop reading it, and I for one identify as an ethical slut. This is a book for anyone interested in creating more pleasure in their lives...a complete guide to improving any style of relating, from going steady to having an extended family of sexual friends." (Betty Dodson, PhD, author of Sex for One)

What listeners say about The Ethical Slut

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This is the relationship Bible

I find myself recommending this to pretty much everyone. It's fantastic for anyone interested in polyamory but it's also pretty great with just general relationship advice

4 people found this helpful

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Just talk about it

For good f***ing's sake, just be honest to people you fuck about who you fuck, if they would like to know that info (a preference which you should already have asked about, tactfully. Yes it is difficult to do well).

Don't forget to keep 'em gloves on, and get tested.

Variation in audio quality was a minor gripe of mine.

3 people found this helpful

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Quintessential advice on relations, sex, and love

THE ETHICAL SLUT

This is an essential read for anyone regardless of orientation, sexual lifestyle, and experience; Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton take care and with conviction offer their insights.

Subtitled a book on polyamory and other adventures, I found the book to be just as rich and helpful when discussing any and everything from monogamous relationships, to safe and passionate sex, how to deal with emotions including jealously, how to identify and have your needs met, self-care and caring for your partner/s, child-rearing, and much more. 

Staying true to its title, every chapter is fitted with guiding messages on ethics and behaviour. In reading this you may awaken to the realisations that all sexual lifestyles are in essence correct, so long as you are honest, trusting, communicative, and considerate. Anecdotes, exercises, and an easy to reference layout help to ease you into this fundamental exploration of your identity and/or further you along in expressing yourself.

Reviewed via Audible, the authors as the narrator are calming and carry the appropriate weight in presenting their decades of experience, through highs, lows, and everything in between. Even if you do not plan on open relationships, or having multiple partners, I am sure you will come away from this book with advice you may not have known you needed or could make use of.

2 people found this helpful

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Yuck!

I think this book was written by someone with a sex addiction and avoidant attachment style. it was way more political than I expected going into it. characterizing monogamy more like the handmades tale than honestly trying to understand it. using lots of "us vs them" language, it does a good job sounding academic but it doesnt actually cite any studies or data. cherry picking what science it does reference and presenting anecdotes as facts. look, relationships are hard. maybe this book speaks to people who dont really know where they fit in society. fair enough. if this is being presented to college sorority types, ok, go nuts. but to apply this to any adult genuinely looking for love, it's great advice if you want to die alone. and dont believe anyone who tells you this is a sexual education book. It offers some sexual etiquette advice but this is by no means an appropriate book to be presenting to minors. unless you want them parading around how "proud" they are to be a "slut". yes it goes there too. it uses classic manipulation tactics and reads more as a rebuke on monogamy than anything resembling advocacy for polyamory. read it. understand it. practice tolerance when you're confronted with disgust. keep an open mind. I am not here to yuck anyone else's yum but I can't ignore the bad taste in my mouth. I think this book has probably done more harm than good.

1 person found this helpful

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Nothing that enlightening

meh. repeated the same mantra over and over again. Nothing here is based on understanding of human psychology it basically 60s free love.

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Everyone should read this

This is a very valuable book for anyone in a loving relationship where it be with one, two, three or More people. Amazing communication and relationship building exercises!

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Best book ever!

thank you to the amazing people that wrote this book. it has opened up my mind and world. everyone should give this book a chance even if you are not into polyamory. there is so much more to this book than I was expecting. going to listen to it again because there was so much amazing information in it. I am now a proud ethical slut!!!

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nope

no thanks. this is outdated and won't do well no matter how many updates you do.

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wow wow wow

I will definitely be rereading certain chapters. this book is so insightful and relatable and anybody who's considering polyamory, new to polyamory, or even experienced polyamorous people can benefit from the refreshing perspective of these authors.

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A guide to hierarchical polyamory

There were a lot of great things about this, and some I really disagree with. There is a strong bias toward hierarchical polyamory and advice on maintaining that, which doesn't resonate with me. I don't agree with all the advice they give (like setting up times to fight with a partner, even if you don't have any disagreements) but mostly it seems to be helpful for people looking to open an already existing relationship.

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  • Quinton Mccorquodale
  • 2018-01-24

A Practical Guide that is wholly impractical.

What disappointed you about The Ethical Slut?

It lacked depth, citing itself to be a practical guide to polyamory for everyone. Telling the reader to write a journal in felt marker, buy sexy feeling underwear and recite mantras of self-worth felt less like a guide based of facts and more of a subjective set of recommendations from a couple. It glosses over some major pitfalls that I have personally seen in polyamorous relationships with recommendations that consist almost solely of "talk it out". It takes a scenario for a specific type of couple, in a specific dynamic and applies it elsewhere.

What was most disappointing about Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton ’s story?

It defined sex as a ubiquitous thing (equitable with being turned on) towards the start of the book. Later, it narrowed good sex to being a spiritual oneness with another akin to a state of nirvana. Those of us not looking to achieve transcendence when being fellated by an acquaintance don't need to be told to strive for enlightenment. Sex can be a powerful bonding experience between intimates. It can be a meaningless release between strangers. Neither is invalid.

What didn’t you like about Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton ’s performance?

It felt juvenile. Maybe it's the writing style, but there was this tittering tone to it that lost its appeal well within the first chapters. Maybe I'm being unreasonable, but I like my practical guides to be practical. You know, no-nonsense. I don't need an eighteen minute story about a woman finding love amidst a fisting at an orgy.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Wrath.

Any additional comments?

If the concept is completely foreign to you, if the book is free, then go for it. Cannibalize the useful information from the chapters that apply to you and discard the rest. I assure you when I say you'll have missed nothing.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Clarner
  • 2020-04-06

I loved this book!

I was raised to be a monogamous minister's daughter and really appreciate the open minded and broad horizons they laid out in this book. Normalizing the freedom to love and have healthy relationships outside of the past limits was a much needed thing for me. The speaker was calm and gentle. It made it a very easy listen for me. I have already referred many people to this book.

14 people found this helpful

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  • LD
  • 2018-07-10

Conceited and reads like a cult manual

Read "Designer Relationships: A Guide to Happy Monogamy, Positive Polyamory and Optimistic Open Relationships" instead.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Brian W Bales
  • 2020-05-25

Fantastic wisdom for every person!

This is my second time through the book, first time through the audio book and I have to say I loved it! This is a fantastic book that covers communication extensively! I highly recommend this book for couples and singles whether you're gay straight or whatever to help you on your path at whatever level you practice love making. I love that this book was written by two women and the reading of it as well! Very engaging stuff very intriguing stuff filled with tons of information to put in your toolbox of communication, compassion, understanding, Joy Etc
I wish everyone could read this regardless of their sexual proclivities. please look past the title if you have any judgment around it whatsoever. There is so much good stuff in this book I promise you will be pleased!
B1YOGI

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-10-09

This novel was eye opening and very informative.

I felt that this author spoke of and disccussed controversial taboo topics in way that made them acceptable and perspective changing .

4 people found this helpful

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  • Troy
  • 2015-07-28

The information and advice is 100% totally solid!

Where does The Ethical Slut rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The open mindedness, sex positive approach, and enthusiasm was enjoyable.

What did you like best about this story?

Good solid read, with enough examples to use in everyday life.

What didn’t you like about Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton ’s performance?

Having a younger, more modern adaption would have enhanced my experience. Their performance was good, my extreme reaction was more toward the grandma-like reading from Hardy and Easton - describing hardcore sex acts in detail to 20 and 30 something’s leaves a little bit to be desired.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Hire a much younger staff and make it relevant to our modern time.

Any additional comments?

I don’t want anyone to misinterpret this review, this book is great! – all the information herein is solid, well delivered, and 100% on point. I have been in a relationship for 8 years where my wife and I love to take women home for 3 way sex, bondage and discipline, top/bottom sex – or whatever you want to call it. This book is specifically geared to relationships like these. Some of the ladies we hook up with end up staying around for a while because it just works - some don’t. This book is very good at looking at the dynamic of relationships like these and also very good at offering advice for this type of situation.My critique lies in the delivery, and approach. No offense to the authors who also speak the audio commentary (read the book to you), but the experience is like having my hippy grandmother tell me very detailed stories about how her and all her old friends used to get it on back in the day. A lot of the material doesn’t translate well to someone who is, say in their 20’s or 30’s; it just doesn’t – I feel our generation is way more open than those of the past. So even though, all the information in the book is absolutely great advise for a kinky relationship or a vanilla relationship. They push good, open values that stress on the importance of communication, it's just weird having it told to you by an older person. So I would suggest this book to everybody – just be ready to have it read to you by a nice old woman who loves to use terms like cunt, cock, & ass fucking.

69 people found this helpful

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  • Angie Holubowich
  • 2016-04-19

Like a "Choose your own Adventure" book about sex.

Would you try another book from Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton and/or Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton ?

No, I do not think their viewpoints and spectrum of knowledge are helpful to me.

Would you ever listen to anything by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton again?

No

Which scene was your favorite?

The chapter on sex parties and group sex were the most useful.

Was The Ethical Slut worth the listening time?

At a mere 10 hours, you would think it would have been easier to handle. But I found this book to be a trudge through monotone voices and delusional sexual utopia.

Any additional comments?

I really looked forward to this book. All the reviews and feedback from friends and colleagues, I expected a revelation and what I got instead was a book that was constantly telling me to refer to another chapter for more information. (A little hard to do when you are listening to an audio book.)

The authors speak a lot about their own personal lives and their existence within a sexual utopia where there is no jealousy and everything seems to fit like a glove. It is a hard lesson to simply tell someone, "You're feeling jealous? Well don't."

If it was that easy I would simply choose not to feel that and save myself the credit for "The Two Towers" by Tolkien. At least that will not be constantly sending me back on an adventure on page 69 to find out more.

31 people found this helpful

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  • CrashingGirl
  • 2018-03-01

Great for all but really great for beginners.

This was the sixth book I’ve read on this subject as I attempt to move from monogamy to a open relationship. The idea was completely scary and foreign to me however this is one of my favorite books that really gave me some relevant information and tips on how to manage through this transition. I feel I’m well on my way to understanding where I sit in on different relationship styles. I highly recommend this book for anyone considering or currently in this lifestyle. I may return to monogamy eventually however I feel this book helps me get a good understanding of my other options leaving me feeling non-judge and free to make a choice regardless of what that is. The authors are very kind and gentle however direct in the information provided

32 people found this helpful

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  • Viola K.
  • 2017-10-24

Great for all relationships

Definitely a good read for all relationship types. Read by the authors which makes it super personal and comforting. Loved every minute of hearing this.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2016-10-19

fairly decent

the information was fairly decent, the reader a little bit boring for my taste. Listening to this book was almost like listening to some Christian book, except with a complete opposite point of view. Where Christianity tells you any kind of sex before marriage is a terrible idea, this book makes it sound like any kind of rules in regards to monogamy, or heterosexuality are the worst ever. In my opinion either extreme is narrow-minded and above all, untrue.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Client Amazon
  • 2019-02-06

2nd Edition only

Too bad this is just the second edition. Janet and Dossie have edited (a lot) and completed a third edition since, but nevertheless, this is one of the most important essay I ever read about love and freedom. Invaluable.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gabrielle L.
  • 2018-04-11

Life changing

I am so happy to have read this book. it changed all my perceptions on love and sex. I understood so much things about myself. Thank you deeply xx

1 person found this helpful

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  • asinoladro
  • 2021-06-12

Interesting perspective; reads like a manifesto

A useful perspective on non-monogamy, but at times it feels too simplistic and unrealistic to me. Personally I've preferred the Savage Lovecast for perspectives on this subject.