The Ethical Slut

Posted: February 8, 2011 in Desire, Kink, Uncategorized

“A slut is a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.”

— Easton, D. and Liszt, C.(1997) The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities, Greenery Press.

The Ethical Slut is the Bible of kink. Or one of them. Of ‘feminist’ kink. ‘Sex positive kink’. I have read bits of it. I kind of went with it at first.

But now I think it’s bullshit.

I don’t want to be an ‘ethical slut’. It’s like being a ‘feminist submissive’. Or a ‘respectable pervert’.

And I don’t think sex is nice.

And I don’t know if pleasure is good for you or not.

And I want it to be possible for me to be degenerate.

And I don’t want to separate myself from sluts who do it for the money.

Or out of desperation (everyone is desperate, aren’t they? Aren’t they?)

I don’t need a handbook.

I don’t need your approval.

Ethics are ‘rules’ and hierarchies with a semblance of a social conscience.

There has to be a point where we abandon everything.

Comments
  1. kimboosan says:

    That’s like saying, there is a point where we have to abandon language. Society redefines itself though its adjectives.

    One of the reasons I adore your writing is that you point blank challenge progressive assumptions about what constitutes activism, feminism, etc. Your hatred of the “It Gets Better” campaign was crucial to the dialogue about it, because it caused people to pause and reflect on what message was being sold, exactly (well, I hope it made them pause).

    But you fall into the jingoistic nonsense of “defy all labels! History is now!” that disengages the issue from how people actually live.

    And while I’m not raging at you here, I’m at the point where I want to scream “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” at any activist who eschews labels under the banner of “freeing society from restrictions”. They display not only a profound lack of understanding of linguists but also no concept of history or of how cultural change is made.

    It is not made in a vacuum. It is made slowly as people change their adjectives; the “It Gets Better” campaign WAS flawed, certainly; but it *existed* which represented a huge advancement. Only through it’s existence can we take the next step of questioning it, moving forward in the discussion, and creating the next cultural change. Which will be just as flawed, just in different ways. And we’ll learn from that, too.

    Likewise, “ethical slut” is empowering to many, many women who have only ever been shamed sexually by the term slut. You can’t take a middle class, repressed girl (random example) and tell her to “rise above” the word slut. That has no context for her; whereas “ethical slut” makes her question society and her own precepts of what ethics are. Only at that point can she grasp the arguments you have made here. Don’t denigrate that necessary process because you want to be contrary.

    Don’t get me wrong; I adore your contrariness. It’s necessary. But in this case, it’s counter productive; you take away the adjective, you take away the ability of people to change.

  2. which adjective- ‘ethical’?

    But I don’t think I share the ethics of the people who are proposing I use that term.

  3. when it comes to sex, I don’t think of myself as an activist.

    I’d accept the term, in relation to ‘sexualities’ and issues like It Gets Better/ Gay Marriage (which I am not into)/Trans people’s identities/ bisexuality etc

    But sex? I am just one person and I don’t like to be prescribed to about my sex life and the ‘correct approach’ I should take towards it.

  4. p.s. I am a middle class repressed girl! I am that more than I am most things.

    p.p.s. the fact you still read my blog despite our differences makes me happy! I like being challenged too – your comments don’t go unheeded at all.

  5. I am stuck on that comment, KBS, of ‘there is a point where we have to abandon language’.

    I think there is. I think I may be at that point. I think that is what I may be saying here. But I only have language…

    But in sex we also have our selves. Our bodies.

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