Many people dream of having an abundance of love and sex and friendship. Some believe that such a life is impossible and settle for less than they want, feeling always a little lonely, a little frustrated. Others try to achieve their dream, but are thwarted by outside social pressures or by their own emotions, and decide that such dreams must stay in the realm of fantasy. A few, though, persist and discover that being openly loving, intimate, and sexual with many people is not only possible but can be more rewarding than they ever imagined.People have been succeeding at free love for many centuries – often quietly, without much fanfare. In this book, we will share the techniques, the skills, the ideals that have made it work for them.So who is an ethical slut? We are. Many, many others are. Maybe you are too. If you dream of freedom, if you dream of intimacy both hot and profound, if you dream of an abundance of friends and flirtation and affection, of following your desires and seeing where they take you, you’ve already taken the first step.
I’ve worn my polyamory heart necklace almost every day for about a month, and nobody has noticed it. However, carrying around the book Ethical Slut, you get tons of people approaching you asking what the book is about. One gave me a thumbs up and giggled. Another gave me a thumbs up, but then frowned, saying, “my wife would never go for it.” I’m not sure what was going through either of these men’s minds. Did they want to hook up with me? Did they think I’d slept with hundreds of guys (and girls)?
Others have had more positive responses. An open-minded, respectable, outgoing middle-schooler thought the idea sounded “cool.” Maybe she will be polyamorous one day. A married man was reasonably comfortable with the idea of polyamory, but said, “It’s so difficult living with one woman, I wouldn’t want to deal with two!” I wasn’t sure how to respond to that without offending him and implying that he was not managing his relationship with his wife very well.
One woman actually asked me about what polyamory was, and I talked to her about the distinctions between polyamory, open relationships, and swinging. I talked about the importance of constant communication, getting over jealousy, confirmed that most poly people practice safe sex, and eventually transitioned to give her an outline of my relationships. She said she knew someone who had sort-of practiced an unstructured form of non-monogamy, but suspected the lower level of openness and honesty, along with the lack of a community to help support him, caused all of his relationships to fail.
I’ve heard from some that the only reason they are not polyamorous is because they feel like they are greedy and they want their partner to themselves all the time, and don’t want to share them, mainly due to time restrictions, and the fear that other benefits of monogamy would be sacrificed.
Cheating is so prolific, and breaks thousands of relationships every year. Wouldn’t it be great if cheating did not end relationships? What if we lived in a culture where it was more acceptable to discuss with your partner why and how you wanted to cheat, and seek permission…rather adhering to the “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” mentality that leads to so many divorces.
One poly relationship I know of sprouted from a form of cheating. My friend’s wife made out with his best friend. Instead of getting mad and divorcing, or burying the memory as a sin of the past, they decided to welcome him in as a member of the family, to live in a poly triad family, and they have remained that way for quite a few years now. When I told my good friend about this, she was extremely impressed with how the three of them, especially my friend, handled the situation, not irrupting and immediately calling for a divorce and never speaking to the friend again. While I have never been anywhere near in that sort of situation, and imagine it could be very hard to go through, creating a poly family just seems a very logical solution, not anything exceptionally deviant or impressive.
Jealousy is a powerful negative emotion. It has killed people, and can be a significant burden. However, polyamorists have learned to live with minimal to no jealousy. Once you get past that emotion to a significant extent, love is more powerful and open. I have never been particularly prone to jealousy, but thinking about polyamory has taught me to really think about what exactly actually makes me jealous, and think deeply about these things. If they are legitimate concerns, I will discuss them with the person concerned. If not (which I have pretty much always determined any spikes of jealousy to be), I just think through them, and quickly get myself over the problem.