The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities, by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy was first given to me by a friend when we were talking about alternative lifestyles. She said this was THE groundbreaking book to read.
Both Easton and Hardy identify as queer and polyamorous and the authors set out to teach individuals and their partners how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to redefine their relationships.
The book has been significantly updated and expanded from when it was first published in 1997 to include sections on poly pioneers, black poly activism and shifting attitudes towards polyamory.
The conversational style will suit some and not others. Personally I struggled with the writing style but I understand their reasoning for wanting to write something that was less academic and more approachable and anecdotal. For those who know nothing about non monogamous lifestyles this is a great starting point. But if you have more than a passing knowledge, then many of the chapters feel not only repetitive but also dated.
Admittedly as a book about polygamy it is going to bang the drum for non monogamy but, it seems too simplistic in its advocacy of polyamory = good, monogamy = bad. It seems to take for granted that non-monogamy is superior and inherently better. For me it doesnt really address either the emotional side of polyamory focusing predominantly on the sexual side nor does it adequately address boundaries. The issues around jealousy were too simplistic.
Also, if you’re looking for depth this isnt the book for you. What it is is a good book for communication tips in all relationships and not just sexual ones, and advice to challenge views about sex and sexuality. The exercises and definitions are great for novices. Boiling it down, being an Ethical Slut is all about being honest with yourself and with others.