Both Easton and Hardy identified as queer and polyamorous, and Easton wanted to reclaim the word slut.
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There were these two women, they were talking about stuff they had done together, and one of their boyfriends was right in the room!
'" Kink was no big deal to the Mensa crowd, but non-monogamy could still shock in 1994.
Hardy, 62, was married for 13 years when, in 1988, she realized that monogamy no longer appealed to her. A few years later, in 1992, she met Easton through a BDSM group in San Francisco called the Society of Janus.
Easton was teaching a class called "Pain Play with Canes from Psyche to Soma" and Hardy volunteered to help her demonstrate.
The three of them entered a relationship together that lasted just under a year.
The Ethical Slut describes this relationship model as a triad, but at the time neither Heather nor her partners knew that."That was one of our first experiences that wasn't a casual or one-time thing," she says.
"A million dollars and Robert Redford, and they have a problem with this? I really got it at that point, how distant I had become from mainstream sexual ethics."Hardy reached out to her friend and sometimes collaborator, the psychotherapist Dossie Easton to work on a book about non-monogamy.
The pair had already coauthored two books on kink which were read in BDSM circles, but not much elsewhere.
In 1997, under Hardy's own indie sex-ed publishing house Greenery Press, they published The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities. The the first usage of the word polyamory is credited to pagan priestess Morning Glory Ravenheart Zell in 1990.
Though different forms of non-monogamy have presented themselves in various cultures for millennia, in Western culture in the early 1990s it was still seen as an alternative practice, the kind favored by, well, pagan priestesses.
The two Canadian teenagers didn't yet have the language for what it is they wanted."This was pre-Internet forum, pre-all of that stuff. All that she and her then-boyfriend knew was that they liked each other a lot, and they didn't feel the need to be exclusive."We had a conversation where we both realized, ' I don't care if you flirt with other people,'" she says about the beginning of their relationship. I love that side of you." She and her boyfriend were both extroverted, social people, and flirting with other people just felt natural.