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on 3 January 2016
Hmmm, I dunno... summit didn't sit right with me from the start with 'The Ethical Slut'. I read on hoping it'd pass, but I left feeling distinctly unsatisfied.

For my part, I acknowledge my own limitations / expectations going in to this. I had thought it would be a balanced account on relationships involving polyfidelity - offering an (almost academic?) account of both the joys and pitfalls of navigating an exclusive relationship with multiple partners. i.e. a useful tool for polyfidelity. I thought it'd be discussing the dynamics (good and bad) of that particular set-up. To be clear, this book is not that.

First off, whilst the book is written in an accessible and communicative way, it's certainly not academic. When I say that, I mean - it's not an impartial account. The authors clearly live a certain lifestyle, and the book is evidently written to justify and promote that. Whilst they do put in the occasional warnings, misgivings and pitfalls etc, it just feels like a token gesture so that they can appear to be unbiased and fair. But, the vast majority of the book is given to extolling the virtues of non-monogamous sex, and installing the reader with the resources to actioning that lifestyle.

Don't get me wrong. The authors are clearly experienced in a given lifestyle, and provide useful strategies and insights for those wanting to immerse themselves in that same said lifestyle. They provide periodic useful exercises throughout the book, to provide the odd self insight. Plus, it's easy to read. It really is a useful resource if you want to be a 'slut' (I'm avoiding the word 'ethical' here as it's too loaded, too ambiguous, and the authors didn't do a great job of convincing me just how 'ethical' this all is).

I've giving this 3-stars - as the 'middle ground', and to be fair-minded - as whilst it definitely wasn't what I was after, if you're looking for a way to rationalise promiscuity, or justification to live a non-monogamous lifestyle, this is the book for you. For me though it fails as it's an idealised, biased account that almost reads as a sales pitch, rather than a legitimately balanced approached that gives serious consideration to monogamy or standard relationships. 'The Ethical Slut' left me with a distinct whiff of very much being a product for (of?) the 21st Century 'social media' generation - all about instantaneous impulse gratification, ego-stroking and personal 'specialness', with no serious consideration of responsibility, self-discipline (yes, I said it - self-discipline!), or deeper meaning. I want to use the word 'superficial'. Ultimately, there was just something about the whole 'ethical slut' experience that left me feeling disheartened - as if it were all just some sad reflection of sex within a modern consumer society.

Be honest with yourself here - if you're looking for a way to rationalise or justify (either to yourself or others) the likes of a non-monogamous or promiscuous lifestyle, then this really is the book for you.
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on 29 April 2009
This book redefines what it is to love and be loved, to enjoy sex and to be sexual. It explores the history of non-monogamy as well as the beliefs that have convinced people that to love more than one person at a time is somehow wrong. It shows that love need not be exclusive and controlling, but instead how it can be inclusive and liberating. The title is an attempt to take back the term 'slut' and use it to describe someone who enjoys and explores his or her own sexuality in a consensual and conscious way. I have read several books on polyamory and new relationship forms and this is clearly the one that has been most influential, not just to me, but to the whole poly community.
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on 8 May 2009
I bought this after having come across it years ago, when I thought the idea of polyamory (open relationships) was a good one in theory but far too daunting for me. I came to a stage in my life where I felt it would be worth trying, and the book has been very inspiring and helpful. It shows it can be done - the authors have lived long and happy lives without being monogamous and also raised children. Some of the exercises are a bit "california" but some, like "yes no maybe", are useful if you can force yourself to approach it with an open mind and not crack up with embarrassment. But that's the hard work that needs to be done to open up relationships - breaking through the embarrassment and fear and awkwardness; and the book's straighforwardness makes that easier. A great book for anyone who's ever felt tbey could love more than one person at the same time.
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on 21 May 2015
This is basically good. I found it a little bit kumbaya at times (prefering the style of 'More Than Two') but it's still been really helpful. The exercises in this book are what really make it stand out from the other books on poly I've read.
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on 4 January 2011
Like many, I bought this book after people recommended it as a good book for learning about polyamory. It's been sitting in my garage since that first painful read through. I learned more from website FAQs and friends than I ever did from this book.

If what you're interested in is swinging, or a poly relationship where people are regularly finding casual partners, this book may well be very useful for you, and don't let me put you off buying it if that's what you're looking for.

If you're looking for a book that will give you information and guidance on closed or more family based, or long term poly, this book is not it. You will get this book recommended to you regardless of what your situation is anyway. My girlfriend and her partners are generally in a semi-closed situation, and this book couldn't be less applicable for us.

My recommendation would be to start with Xeromag's Poly FAQ and go from there.
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on 25 April 2015
Read and enjoy this book! Well written by two experienced writers with a wealth of personal experience. Read to gain insight into polyamory, yet all of the recommendations, insights and guidelines hugely important and relevant to all forms of relationship. Cannot recommend this book enough!
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on 29 October 2015
One of the finest books on relationships, sexual or otherwise. Don't be mislead by the title; yes, a big part of the book focuses on amorous relationships, but it also delves into setting up all manner of dynamics to meet your emotional needs. I can't speak highly enough about this book. You just REALLY should read it.
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on 30 November 2013
I bought this book because my therapist gave it to me to read as I have been exploring the world of poly relationships. Serial monogamy has not fulfilled me, I also have gender issues and sexuality issues so this book has been the beginning of a new journey for me. I would highly recommend it.
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on 9 October 2011
An interesting approach to human interaction, and a very enjoyable read trough. A significant list of related publication are given as reference at the end of it, providing an opportunity to read more about connected subjects.

The advice can be applied to polyamorous settings, including the special case of monoamory, and hence the read should not be reserved to the strict former case.

If you wish to get some information about the subject, it is a good buy; if you want to learn about peoples take on respect and limit setting it is a good buy; if you wonder whether this type of setting is a good thing for you, it is a good way to get an idea as to which issues one is likely to encounter and hence a good buy.
In the general sense, it is a well written publication, leaving the reader full liberty to think and setting a respectful framework to relationships. Get it!
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on 27 August 2014
I like it, and it's useful for people who are new to poly, open relationships, alternative lifestyles etc. The chapter on jealousy is particularly insightful.

I started reading it, but didn't finish as I found the style a bit saccharin. It is, however, totally accessible and shows consideration to all genders, orientations, self-definitions and lifestyles. Good to dip into when having a polywobble.

It's also brilliant to have on your shelf when your date comes round as the literary equivalent of pampas grass on your front drive.
When spotted, it almost always prompts discussion, whether that's, 'Gosh, what's this?' or, 'Aaaaah, so you're sex-positive too. Yay.' A good intro for newbies on consent, compassion and sharing the lurve.
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