Why you should drop the ‘e’ in ethical non-monogamy

1. It concedes the immorality of non-monogamy

In The Ethical Slut, considered a seminal book on the topic of non-monogamy, the ‘ethical’ is used as a preface to help reclaim the highly offensive term following it. It is used to insist on the recognition that one can have multiple lovers, partners and relationships and still be concerned with their ethics and morals. It serves to decouple the notion that the only moral way to have sex is in a committed, monogamous relationship. In some ways, the authors designed the title of their book to be a counter-weight in a society obsessed with shame and judgement.

2. It disallows non-monogamy the right to be messy

We have relationships. With other humans. And this means there will be imperfect, complicated and messy moments. Lying, deceit and mistakes are made everyday in monogamous marriages and monogamous relationships. Yet our society does not afford non-monogamists the same lee-way.

3. It has been used to mask unethical behaviour

This may seem like a trivial turn of phrase, but the move to cease using the ‘Ethical’ in non-monogamy is timely one. It comes off the back of a series of well-documented cases of abuse by individuals claiming to be experts in ENM or a part of the ENM community — including Franklin Veaux, Jeremie Saunders, and Eliot Winter.

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Claire Louise Travers is a writer, podcaster, and humanitarian aid worker. She writes on Medium about polyamory, ethical aid, and international development

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Claire Louise Travers

Claire Louise Travers

Claire Louise Travers is a writer, podcaster, and humanitarian aid worker. She writes on Medium about polyamory, ethical aid, and international development