The Ethical Slut 2nd Edition (Pt 3): An Interview with Dossie Easton

by Reid on February 1, 2018

Part 3 in this 90-minute interview with the legendary Dossie Easton, therapist, and co-author of the book The Ethical Slut, now in its 2nd Edition!

Full interview with audience Q&A available @ www.ReidAboutSex.com COMING SOON!

Reid: I think the thing for me being a sex educator is this idea of that you’re always giving permission. No matter what you’ve done just by being who you are you’re giving permission. The Ethical Slut, for so many people gave us the ‘okay’, that it was okay, that finally it was okay to have pleasure, it’s okay to have sex and here’s a couple of guidelines to be able to make that navigate those waters a little bit better. If you could sum it up for the people who haven’t read the book yet, the people who might be listening, or watching this recording later maybe the top 3 or 5 guidelines or areas that people should get their black belt in around relationships to help them to be really become an ethical slut?

Dossie: One is pluralism. That is so abstract. We never found a real philosophical argument there but I don’t know if you think in this term so much of our philosophy is either this or that. It’s either right or it’s wrong. It’s either good or it’s bad. It’s either or some rank that is high in hierarchy that adds up to a lot of either this or that like as if you could put or oh, say you could walk into the club and put every single person on the ladder that will tell you who’s more desirable than whom. We think like that a lot. Our society is built on dualism and we think in terms of rankings and hierarchies all the time. What we are into is pluralism. We are into saying that there are a lot of different ways to do things, there are a lot of different wonderful people out there. You could have a lot of different relationships with them. Rather than say this kind of relationship is the best kind, this is the 2nd best kind or the 17th best kind, what we say is each relationship will seek its own level if you let it. Like water, if you flow together with somebody, you will find the shape of relationship that fits for you and that other person. If you just allow it to go with what works and don’t worry about the parts that don’t fit together because you don’t have to unite them. That’s not really 3 things but that was…

Reid: No. That’s great! Rumor has it, I believe I read this on your website, that the 2nd edition is 25% bigger or the way I said that on my website – 25% more slut. So, we are literally getting more bang for our bop now in buying the 2nd edition?

Dossie: Yes, sluttier and sluttier.

Reid: I’m curious about what did you feel needed to be added in the 2nd edition and why? Was it because something left out the 1st time or is it because culture itself shifted its thing?

Dossie: It wasn’t so much that stuff left out the 1st time. We wrote a chapter on opening up an existing relationship. We wrote segments on dealing with cheating, we wrote segments on keeping passion alive in a mature relationship. We wrote a new chapter on slut scouts style on the single slut or looking at being single as a lifestyle and not just some waiting period. We wrote a lot of new material. We revised and expanded and updated like crazy. There’s a lot more internet connection than there was back in the 90’s. Although, I don’t think we covered twitter cause that haven’t might happened yet.

Reid: And even Facebook. How many people are on Facebook? Do you own a Facebook?

Dossie: No.

Reid: No. You can find me on Facebook and I’ll point you towards Dossie once she gets on Facebook. There’s actually for relationship status, you can set it to open relationship which is one of the things when I found out that has setting, and as far as I know, right now, you still can’t list like 2 or 3 people that you’re in relationship with which kind of counter intuitive like, “Dude, if you’re going to program it for open relationship, at least let me list like 3 people.”

Dossie: Let me point out the problems in terminology. Open relationship is like open marriage. It says it is a relationship and it is open. Not that there are 12 relationships or 4 relationships, even 2 relationships that are different in their nature. I don’t actually like the primary, secondary lineage unlike life partner, for the person I’m sharing a mortgage and rebuilding a house and belong with you know and possibly raising children and so on because the people that I live with towards certain relationships are part of the working part of building life and projecting it into the future; how are you going to save the money for retirement, whatever. By making the house worth more than it used to be and we have to learn how to like put it in a floor which I did recently. There are lots of fun. Where was I trying to get to?

Reid: I was making a joke about Facebook and you were making a point about…

Dossie: What you were asking about new slut. Okay. The other thing that is different slut 2nd is that I am a therapist, okay? After the 1st book got widely known published in ’97, I have been, in the last 12 years, been working with all kinds of people who brought their concerns their lifestyle, their relationships, their jealousies, their difficulties, their fears in very intimate sharing into my therapy office. I have learned an enormous amount. I have met people I would never in my own personal social life. I have met a lot of people that are more conservative [inaudible 00:05:57]. I have met a lot of people… well I know it’s not a fashion term but I actually know some of people who call what they do ‘swinging’. I met a whole bunch of amazing people, doing amazing things with relationship. So, I just learn a lot more. The sections on jealousy and conflict and making agreements which has become its more chapter are far more sophisticated. They have been extensively re-written. Also, adding in some material from the recent functional MRI research about make the list and emergency response systems and what it really means physiologically when you’re flooding with some emotions you wish you weren’t flooding with which makes a big difference on how we work with things and I also have been doing a lot of homework exercises with all of my clients and so I wrote up a whole bunch of exercises and put them in the book.

Reid: You had mentioned a minute ago that back in ’97, there wasn’t a lot of language like in Facebook now it says open relationship like what does that really mean and, you know… I’m curious about what did you guys have to make up language for in the 1st edition that now if you have changed terms, the terms are changing because people are creating language that’s actually starting to work for people’s scenarios?

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