The Ethical Slut - guides to a better sex by Greenery Press - review by lexical

The Ethical Slut

Book by Greenery Press

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How to Own Your Sluthood

The Ethical Slut is a well-written, comprehensive guidebook to modern relationships. Polyamorists and monogamists alike will certainly benefit from reading this wonderful book which has been translated into several languages and has sold over 50,000 copies. Each of its 279 pages are jam packed with information that will undoubtedly alter your outlook on relationships. It is worth every penny.
Eye-opening, practical, well-written, chock full of information.
Somewhat disorganized first edition, indiscreet cover art.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy (AKA Catherine A. Liszt and Lady Green) have collaborated to write a series of books about alternative sex and sexuality. Dossie Easton is a psychotherapist, relationship counselor, educator, and author. Janet W. Hardy is a writer, a sex educator, and the founder of Greenery Press, which publishes books on BDSM, polyamory, and general sexuality. Many kink-related books by well-known authors are published by Greenery Press, such as Jay Wiseman, Midori, and Laura Antoniou.

Previously, I have read both The New Topping Book and the New Bottoming book, by Easton and Hardy. Their style is congenial and warm, as though you're discussing the topics with a dear friend. They are knowledgeable folks who have years of experience in the lifestyles and activities that they write about. If you are interested in learning practical information about kink or polyamory, I heartily recommend any one of their books. Or all of them!
    • Multiple contributoring authors
    • Very personal approach

Content / Style / Audience

This book is mainly directed at those who are considering engaging in or are already in the throes of polyamorous or open relationships. The summary on the back of the book is as follows:

"At last...a comprehensive, no-holds-barred guide for anyone who dreams of having all the sex and love and friendship they want. Here are the skills you need for successful and ethical sluthood, from scheduling dates to handling jealousy, finding partners to resolving conflict, raising children to caring for your health. If you've ever envisioned a universe beyond traditional lifetime monogamy, this is the book for you!"

That about sums in up! This book has information on all of the aforementioned, as well as ethics, social norms, boundaries, agreements, jealousy, and more. I have yet to find a better guide to navigating the uncharted waters of modern day relationships, from lovers to friends, from polyamory to monogamy. This book is a great read.
    • Instructional / educational
    • Non-fiction


I feel that the second edition of this book is laid out significantly better than the first. Both are organized into four main parts, with chapter titles that accurately identify the subject matter discussed therein. The information in the second edition flows much more naturally from topic to topic. Some chapters have been condensed into one, some have been expanded upon, but the vast majority of the information remains the same.

No matter which edition you pick up, this is a book that is very easy to navigate, especially if you're looking for specific information. For example, say you're having some issues coping with your partner's developing relationship with another person. If you take a peek at Part II in the first edition, "Between One Another", you can locate Chapter Number 3, on Jealousy, and take a little refresher course on how best to deal with those emotions.

I think the cover art of the first edition is weird and rather ugly. It's a surreal mass of faces, bodies, patterns, colors, etc. There's even what appears to be a couple of ladders thrown in, as well as a black bird overlooking the melee. I suppose it's meant to be symbolic, but I much prefer the cover art on the second edition, which is pictured here. However, the cover art on the first edition is a bit more subtle and discreet, which I appreciate immensely. The word "slut" blends into the background, which was important to me when I was reading this book around people who may be less open-minded than I.

The binding and materials are nice. It has held up incredibly well to thorough reading by me and a number of my friends, as I like to pass my books around and share all the worthwhile knowledge contained within :)
    • Not very discreet cover
    • Soft cover

Personal comments

This book is chock full of wonderful take-away quotes. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Any sexual pathway, consciously chosen and mindfully followed, can be a positive, creative force in the lives of individuals and their communities.”

“Most of our criteria for ethics are quite pragmatic. Is anyone being harmed? Is there any way to avoid causing that harm? Are there any risks? Is everybody involved aware of those risks and doing what can be done to minimize them? How much fun is it? What is everybody learning from it? Is it helping someone to grow? Is it helping make the world a better place?”

“Being able to ask for and receive reassurance and support is extremely important.”


As a single, heteroflexible, kinky young woman...this book absolutely blew my mind. My view of relationships and people in general has been completely revamped because of the knowledge I gleaned from The Ethical Slut. Before I started reading this book, I knew that this shift in my perspectives was beginning to happen and I was excited about it. Reading TES at that point in my life was very timely. I’m glad I didn’t read it before because it wouldn’t have meant as much to me as it does then. And still does.

I don’t think I’m the only one who is experiencing this change in outlooks. It seems that more and more people are realizing that our existing beliefs about relationships are malleable. We can question the way things are. We can re-program ourselves. We can unlearn the things that are supposedly common knowledge. For example, it seems that increasing numbers of people are becoming conscious of the fact that long-term monogamy is not the only way to approach relationships, and that it is certainly not the only real or right way. People choose to remain childless, they choose to have children later in life, they choose to focus on their career pursuits, rather than on raising kids. People have open marriages, group marriages, multi-racial and same-sex marriages. Some people even…GASP…choose to stay single! Can you even imagine?

Because of this book, I have learned to buck the chains of society's expectations in the realm of my love life. I still plan to remain mostly monogamous, but my approach to seeking that out has changed drastically. To quote The Ethical Slut, “You can get your needs met in an infinite variety of ways.” I only VERY recently realized that I don’t need to be dating a certain someone in order to get what I need and want. I have sexual intimacy, emotional support, intellectual stimulation, artistic inspiration. I have romantic crushes, I have fuck-buddies, I have play partners, I have friends and more-than-friends, I have lovers. Eventually, I’d like to have a long-term primary partner. In the meantime…I’m going to enjoy the hell out of the relationships I have.

Thank you, Dossie and Catharine!
Follow-up commentary
While I still really appreciate the perspective and information I gained from this book, I do have a complaint about a portion that is left out. I feel that the focus was on relationships wherein there is a primary, secondary, tertiary partner, etc. I have since met a number of polyamorists who do not practice their relationship styles in that format at all, but use a more free-flowing model. It has been extremely interesting to learn about how my friends navigate those waters. I would love to see that sort of information included in future editions.
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Do you like this review?
  • Waterfall
    Wonderful review!! This sounds like a good read. Right now I have "Opening Up" which I hope to read soon, maybe I will read this one as well
  • Waterfall
    Wonderful review!! This sounds like a good read. Right now I have "Opening Up" which I hope to read soon, maybe I will read this one as well
  • The Curious Couple
    Awesome review, thanks!
  • Eva Schwaltz
    This sounds like a really good read, thanks for the review.
  • Lady Neshamah
    thanks for the review
  • lexical
    You're welcome, everyone! Thank you for your comments!
  • Linga
    Sounds like a great read! I'd love to give this a read, I'm adding it to my list of books right now. Awesome review
  • lexical
    Thanks, LingaLoo!
  • ijako9
    I think this would be an interesting book
  • lexical
    It's definitely worth a read, ijako9.
  • Dawn (Lilac Distraction)
    Yay! Awesome review! I'm reading this one, too!
  • lexical
    Glad you found it helpful
  • Tuesday
    I really like your writing style. Nice review.
  • lexical
    Thank you, Tuesday! How flattering
  • Heatherbipoly
    love it
  • freud13
    Adding this to my wishlist to buy soon after reading your review. Excellent book review
  • freud13
    Adding this to my wishlist to buy soon after reading your review. Excellent book review
  • lexical
    Thanks, freud13! Glad you found it helpful.
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