Normally, I’m a quick reader. I made it through nearly all of the Harry Potter books with non-stop 24 hour reading. I’ve never been a big fan of non-fiction, however, as my reading needs to slow down so comprehension goes up. It took me a few days to make it through the first six chapters, also Part 1, of The Ethical Slut. That said, I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to move on to Part 2. The general message of the first six chapters is the who and what regarding ethical sluthood. I starred quotes and passages that really stood out to me, so the format I will take, is to share one, then talk about it. The first passage is from chapter 1 in the section titled “Sexual Adventurers”
“We see ourselves as people who are committed to finding a place of sanity with sex and relationships and to freeing ourselves to enjoy sex and sexual love in as many ways as may fit for reach of us. We may not always know what fits without trying it on, so we tend to be curious and adventurous. When we see someone who intrigues us, we like to feel free to respond, and, as we explore our response, to discover whatever is special about this new, fascinating person. We life relating to people and are quite gregarious, enjoying the company o different kinds of people, and reveling in how our differences expand our horizons and offer us new ways to be ourselves” (pg 5-6)
This stood out because it’s a mindset I’ve struggled with in past relationships. Being monogamous has meant there were more limits on how and when I could explore another fascinating person – especially within the kink world. I love surrounding myself with such an array of people – my friends don’t fit into a neat little mold of all being from the same place or being into the same things. The majority of my scene friends in relationships or marriages, are ok with their partners playing non-sexually. That is, spanking or BDSM play that does not include intercourse or genital touching. I’ve always wanted to take my spanking play further, with specific partners who were open to it. For me, I had never done that outside of a committed monogamous relationship, so it seemed odd. Society said that wasn’t proper behavior for a respectable lady. It’s a line of thought I grew up with. Then, once I was in a relationship, maybe that partner wasn’t interested in exploring the exact same thing I was. Then it was the flip side – someone “in a relationship” doesn’t have needs met outside of that relationship – or so I’d always been told/taught to think.
This brings me to part of the reason why I decided to read The Ethical Slut and start this re-teaching of myself. I met someone over the summer who I just think is the coolest person ever. I also remember that one of the first things I said to him was “Oh, I’m not poly” when he asked if I was going to a local event called Poly Cocktails. It was my default reaction. I’ve been thinking about what I said since then. Why was I so quick to point it out? Perhaps out of fear; fear of something that my upbringing and society told me wasn’t going to make me happy.
In the last several months, though, I’ve been thinking more and more – hey maybe it COULD make me happy. If I stop limiting myself, and start enjoying the people in my life for what and who they are. I’d love to be someone’s priority, but I need to re-evaluate what that means. Being someone’s priority doesn’t mean being their ONLY priority, and vice versa.
In chapter two, The Ethical Slut spoke about the shame and taboo that is often associated with sex. I wasn’t brought up with any specific religious teachings and my mom didn’t push abstinence we mostly didn’t talk about sex at all. I thought I was a freak when I started masturbating at the age of 6 and then when I realized I was kinky, I was horrified of myself. Then I found the internet. I feel like this quote would be more appropriate for someone else, but I identify with it a bit.
“But human nature will win out. We are horny creatures, and the more sexually repressive a culture becomes, the more outrageous its covert sexual thoughts and behaviors will become, as any fan of Victorian porn can attest.” (pg 10)
I think that the concept of love for many, is one I already practice. I find it’s difficult for me to NOT have love for people I spend a lot of time with. Typically, if I am choosing to spend time with someone, it’s because I like them. I see them as an asset to my life, and I’d like to think I am to theirs as well. I definitely love my friends. Some of the males, a bit more romantically. That doesn’t mean I’m in love with them. That said, I’ve always assumed that’s how everyone felt about “just friends” but it’s not. The people I consider “just friends” by societies definition, are more along the line of acquaintances. The rest of my friends are more like BFFs who I’d do anything for. Why would I spend my time with anyone else? I wouldn’t have known poly if it hit me in the face.
No one in my life could explain it to me, even now. No one would even know what I was talking about – or they would think I was crazy, trying to do something so completely unconventional. This is probably what stood out the most from Part 1 for me.
“We are pacing new roads across new territory. We have no culturally approved Scripts for open sexual lifesryles; we need to write out own. To write your own script requires a lot of effort, and a lot of honesty, and is the kind of hard work that brings many rewards. You may find the right way for you, and three years from now decide you want to live a different way — and that’s fine. You write the script, you get to make the choices, and you get to change your mind, too.” (pg 11)
So, we’re all winging it. Figuring it out as we go along. And I’m no different. I’ve known one “way of life” for the last 24 years, and more recently in my adult dating life, 6 years. There is so much more that stood out to me in reading Part 1 but this post is a great intro and covers a lot of important things for me, so I’m going to tie it up here and talk about the rest in Part 1.2.