Top Quotes: “The Ethical Slut” — Janet Hardy & Dossie Easton

“We hate boredom. We are people who are greedy to experience all that life has to offer and are also generous in sharing what we have to offer. We love to be the good time had by all.

“When sex is discussed openly, people typically feel much freer to act on their desires — so, unsurprisingly, both Prok and Mac were sexually involved with several of the researchers, who in turn had sex with one another’s spouses.”

“We have found that jealousy is an emotion like any other: it feels bad (sometimes very bad), but it is not intolerable. We have also found that many of the “oughta-be’s” that lead to jealousy can be unlearned, and that unlearning them is often a useful, sometimes even profoundly healing, process.”

“Ethical sluts recognize the difference between things they can and should control and things they can’t. While we sometimes may feel jealous or territorial, we own those feelings, doing our best not to blame or control but asking for the support we need to help ourselves feel safe and cared for.”

One-night stands can be intense, life enhancing, and fulflling; so can lifetime love affairs. While ethical sluts may choose to have some kinds of relationships and not others, we believe that all relationships have the potential to teach us, move us, and, above all, give us pleasure.

Dossie remembers an interview with a young flower child back in 1967 who made the most succinct statement of ethical sluthood we’ve ever heard: “We believe it’s okay to have sex with anybody you love, and we believe in loving everybody.””

It’s not easy being easy.”

Monogamish is an agreement between both halves of a couple that their bond takes precedence over any outside connections, but that the occasional brief fling is acceptable and perhaps even desirable for keeping the home fires burning. Many monogamish couples take mutually agreed upon third parties into their beds from time to time or agree together on “anything goes” night for one-time fun.”

“Some people habitually respond to a lover’s pain and confusion with an intense desire to fix something. Fix-it messages can feel like invalidation to the person who is trying to express an emotion. “Why don’t you just do this…try that……forget about it…relax!” sends the message that the person expressing the emotion has overlooked some obvious and simple solution and is an idiot for feeling bad in the first place.”

“A friend of ours once discovered that that a would-be lover of hers had already had sex with her mother and her sister and was hoping to complete the set.”

“He allows my feelings. I don’t hesitate to say anything I want; in fact, he encourages me to. I’ve found that just being allowed to say these things, to talk about my jealousy and sadness, somehow defuses them. They lose a lot of their power because they meet no resistance from him; he just listens to them and lets them be.”

“Here’s an exercise you can do with your partner to learn how to take care of each other even when times are hard:

Make a list of ten things your partner could do that would reassure you.

Avoid abstractions — focus on behaviors, not emotions. “Love me more” is an emotion and thus hard to act on; how will you know that your partner loves you more? “Bring me a rose” is a behavior that anybody with a dollar can perform. Write your list in private, your partner can do the same, and then you can get together and look at each other’s lists.”

Here’s a good question to ask yourself as you seek to understand your jealousy: “What are the specific images that disturb me the most?” Chances are you are already imagining along these lines, so you’re not likely to make yourself feel worse by thinking about the scary stuff on purpose.

Those disturbing images, the ones that really bother you, are not telling you what your partner is doing — you actually don’t know what your partner is doing. When we don’t know what’s going on, few of us are able to just say, “I don’t know” and stop thinking about it. We fill in the blanks and, to do that, we make something up. What you see when you fill in the blanks has nothing to do with reality: it is your fear. So now you know what you are afraid of and know nothing about what is really happening.”

We need to schedule discussions at a time when we can give them our full attention.

Scheduling fights has the added advantage that you can prepare for them, organize your thoughts, and know you have a time when this particular issue will be dealt with. If you feel upset about the grocery bills on Tuesday and you know you have a date to fight about it on Thursday, it’s pretty easy to put your stuff aside until then. Most people don’t put their stuff aside very well when it seems that their issues will never get dealt with.

“Whaddaya mean, schedule a fight? Don’t they just erupt, like volcanoes? And when we have a fight, we are not likely to obey any rules or respect any limits, right? Aren’t we talking about intense emotional outbursts?” Well, yes, but we don’t believe you can settle any issues when you are in an intense emotional state. When your feelings erupt, it is important to acknowledge them.”

“Here’s how to take a time-out when you or a partner gets triggered. Find a way to stop and separate. Then, find a nurturing way to take care of yourself for about fifteen minutes without retriggering your emergency system, until your adrenaline gets back to normal, and you feel relatively calm.”

“Start by writing a letter you’re not going to send, expressing all your feelings and concerns. Janet keeps letters like this in the “Drafts” folder of her email program; Dossie writes them in her word processing program and pastes them into an email later. Write out all your feelings, letting go of any worries about how your partner may respond so you can express yourself fully. Then close the file and go do something else. Come back and add stuff (or edit things out) for a couple of days, and then check what you’ve written, making sure you’re owning your own stuff and using I-messages. We usually delete sentences that begin with the words, “You shithead.” Later, when you can read the message and imagine your friend truly understanding whatever you are disturbed about, it’s time to send it.”

--

--

--

I read non-fiction and take copious notes. Currently traveling around the world for a few years, follow my journey at https://peacejoyaustin.wordpress.com/blog/

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

If You’re Generally a Proactive Person, Try Being Reactive for a While

Dear Everyone, My Boyfriend is Dead

Friendship over a Bunch of Letters: A Friendly Analysis of Oscar Wilde Play An Ideal Husband

Why are some people so Passive Aggressive?

Of spontaneous flights and unspoken goodbyes…

10 Ways to Know They’re Trustworthy?

How to Get to Happily Ever After

Headed for Hell: How Popular Writing Tropes Romanticize Abuse

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Austin Rose

Austin Rose

I read non-fiction and take copious notes. Currently traveling around the world for a few years, follow my journey at https://peacejoyaustin.wordpress.com/blog/

More from Medium

Invest in suppliers to make the switch to EVs

The Little Cotton Swab That Had a Big Impact

Education and Equity in Relation to Districts

Oxnard: Not So Different After All