I recently picked up a book titled “The Ethical Slut” by Easton and Hardy that has provided me educated fodder in responding to a recent article about the prevailing “hook-up culture” on college campuses. In this initial response, I feel the need to shine the light on prevailing assumptions of mainstream culture. While my blog may focus specifically on the multiple forms of love, an overarching theme is questioning societal norms and discovering personalized paths, regardless of or in spite of the rejection from mainstream society.
Unethical sluts have given us a bad name. By “us” I mean ethical sluts. And I might as well further delineate that by saying female ethical sluts. (Because let’s be honest, single, straight men are in another realm when it comes to hook-up culture since they do not have to succumb to slanderous names like we do. Just think about the dichotomy between Casanova and Salome. While the latter is usually paired with the words “dangerous seductress” the former is defined as “amorous towards women”.)
Unfortunate for us women who value our freedom of choice in all matters are the decisions made by women who carelessly and without recourse open their legs for anything male that moves. These women (unethical sluts, as interpreted by Easton and Hardy), for their own indecipherable reasons, feel the involuntary need or desire to obtain attention from peers (both male and female) by sleeping around. Since I’m no subject matter expert on psychology, I can only surmise that these decisions, made by girls of all ages, relate somewhat to upbringing. The first scenarios that come to my mind are that these girls were raised in a broken home, with or without formative parental figures, subject to abuse or simply lacking in positive attention. And in the worst case scenarios, these girls get pregnant young, contract STDs, or continue to be physically and mentally abused by the men from which they seek attention. I am neither judging nor providing excuses, but simply hypothesizing here. In another life (or perhaps later on in this one), I could see myself as someone who helps these women break the cycle and recognize the difference between ethical and unethical slutdom. And recognizing is the key to making a conscious, rather than forced, decision.
What’s my motivation for wanting to enlighten these women? First, I am aggravated at the realization that all women must overcome the dominating female reputation that derived from the unfortunate decisions made by a significant minority. Second, I’m more specifically frustrated for ethical sluts, who perhaps are less likely to reveal their “out of the box” lifestyle due to the negative reactions already looming around other non-monogamous women, i.e., unethical sluts. What is the difference between the two? Ethical sluts make the conscious decision that mainstream monogamous culture does not coincide with their desired lifestyle. Easton and Hardy discuss a variety of scenarios. But for the sake of my blog, I will limit it to my own, which is that the company of many is more beneficial than just one, as long all parties abide by the rule of open honesty and safety and also harbor no preconceived notions of the familial construct eventually transitioning into mainstream monogamy. And unfortunately, ethical sluts, who have dissected their lives and exercised the freedom of conscious choice to embrace all forms of love, must answer to the common judgment and disgust sprouting from the actions of unethical sluts.
At this point I’m wondering why the prevailing opinion chooses to focus on unethical sluts to make a broad absolute assumption about the whole of the female population while turning a blind side to the lesser-known conscious public that reject a monogamous lifestyle. Can the majority not accept that there are those who would consciously choose such a “disreputable” life and are they only comfortable categorizing such decisions as forced paths due to subconscious preconditioning from disjointed childhoods? Perhaps. It seems to be that way in my eyes. I cannot help but presume that this provides yet another way for traditionalists to raise monogamy and marriage on a high pedestal, as hollow as it may be. It is not my disbelief of marriage that provides a basis for my blog, since I do believe it is the best path for some; but, rather, it is my belief that the preponderate embrace of the inevitability of marriage should be deconstructed.
What I’d like to see happen is more vocal ethical sluts speaking up for their right to choose their own path. Even unethical sluts have the right to be what they are. But I would throw out the caveat that they would need to be as such consciously and not as a victim of their psychosis or pressured environment. Even I would respect someone who consciously chose that path, despite the fact that I disagree with the hurt they would inevitably cause others and themselves. What matters to me most is women not fearing power or agency to choose their own path, no matter how far outside of mainstream it lies. If we embrace our sexual liberation in a healthy way, and not treat it as taboo, perhaps we can overcome the slander that has eaten away at our female identity for thousands of years. And maybe, just maybe, we can define our sexual identity, without it defining us.