Feeld Talks: Janet Hardy, an Evening with an Ethical Slut

Experiences
November 9, 2018


American author, educator and ‘Ethical Slut’, Janet Hardy, took to the stage for the sixth instalment of Feeld Talks.

This was Janet’s first time as a speaker on UK soil, much to the pleasure of the many fans who came to listen.

Janet co-authored the cult book The Ethical Slut with Dossie Easton in 1997, whose influence has made it the unofficial guidebook for members of polyamorous and ethically non-monogamous communities.

Janet Hardy

In front of a full house, Janet moved through one provocatively smutty story to the next with her signature humour and levity. She included excerpts from her upcoming book Impervious: Confessions of a Semi-Retired Deviant, and intrigued listeners with accounts of past sexual experiences, from nitrous-oxide-induced orgasms to her love for pegging, and how she feels most at home channeling masculine energy. “I would have transitioned 20 years ago if it’d been an easier option” she shared. Though when asked about her chosen pronouns, she expressed a preference for ‘she’ and ‘her’, “…unless we’re in bed together, in which case it’s ‘Sir,’ please.”

Her honest and deeply personal stories had a profound affect on the audience, many of whom reached out to ask questions and seek advice about the challenges they personally face as a result of unconventional relationships.
Janet spoke candidly about her relationship with her husband and how over the years her interest in intercourse had diminished:

“As a sex educator not having sex, I thought I’d lost my credibility. Instead it ended up adding to it… We have to make space for those who choose to not have sex.”
Janet Hardy on stage

When asked about the title of the book she is best known and loved for, she explained that both she and Dossie grew up around gay male friends who used the word ‘slut’ as a term of affection and so always used it the same way.

“If a word that describes someone who has a lot of sex is seen as an insult, then we need to re-examine our attitudes towards having lots of sex.”

Janet’s talk ended with a question from the audience about how to deal with wanting exclusive attention from a primary partner who has other partners.
“It’s good to identify what it is that makes you feel that way. Do you need to be taken care of, do you need exclusive focus? I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for that as and when you need it. Any loving partner that you might have outside of your primary relationship is likely to understand this. All relationships have an ebb and flow of need.”

The full live recorded talk is available on Facebook.

Janet’s new book The Sexually Dominant Woman: An Illustrated Guide for Nervous Beginners is out now.