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Nov 9th 2019 at 5:13:20 AM •••

Feels like at one point the articles stopped being about a trope and more about the creator\'s political views.

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Nov 9th 2019 at 7:26:05 AM •••

Is there an example of what you\'re talking about?

May 24th 2012 at 2:25:33 AM •••

My own views on Sex I feel qualify (And I indeed interpret the Bible as consistent with it) I think. The only area that might not is that I do view prostitution as unethical not a major Mortal Sin however, and I ave no porblem with people who are Prostitutes, since I live by Jugh Not Lest Ye Be Judged Yourselves. And as a Libertarian I certainly don't want it illegal (It never was Illegal in Biblical Israel).

As an aspiring writer, just about any story I write will likely feature a character with the same outlook as I have. Though likely having far more experience in actually engaging in Sex then I do.

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Aug 5th 2018 at 9:47:19 AM •••

Discussion pages are for discussing how to edit the page to make it better. If you want to talk about the trope and your thoughts on it, post in Trope Talk on the forums.

Jan 13th 2012 at 2:19:42 PM •••

So, can a character still be considered an Ethical Slut if s/he normally fits the trope's criteria, but then faces a dilemma where s/he is the only one who can help his/her True Companions out of a troublesome/dangerous situation, and the only way to do this is by performing an act that goes against his/her Ethical Slut moral code?

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Oct 8th 2011 at 6:08:22 AM •••

Once upon a time, I was rather new at TV Tropes. Ethical Slut was 12:th trope I ever launched, a number that has since grown to 130. The concept was good, but the description I wrote was too long and rambly. Replacing it with a more condensed and to the point version now.

Edited by Xzenu Hide/Show Replies
Oct 8th 2011 at 6:09:54 AM •••

New description:

Express yourself, don't repress yourself
Express yourself, don't repress yourself
And I'm not sorry
It's human nature
Madonna, "Human Nature"

This character is a moral and benevolent person, at least when it comes to matters of romance and sexuality. A person who has a strong (and reasonable) ethical code, a strong (and not misguided) sense of empathy, or both. Because of this, regardless of this or in spite of this (depending on the setting), the character believe that Sex Is Good and that it's wrong to impose heteronormative limits to what sexuality should be like.

This is a character who is strongly opposed to abuse, exploitation, emntitlement and Double Standard, while at the same time also opposing judgmental and moralistic attitudes about such matters as promiscuity, Polyamory, OpenRelationships, Friends with Benefits, homosexuality, BDSM and Mixed Marriage. Since this standpoint is a personal one, the character does not have to be interested in politics or activism. More often than not, the character is simply leading by example by (directly or indirectly) embracing a wide range of sexuality and by caring about the emotions of everyone involved. Simply having a a good time while being a good person.

Note that embracing does not mean to make something mandatory. An Ethical Slut is allowed to be celibate or monogamous if he or she so prefer. However, cheating on a partner is totally unacceptable: Open relationships are okay, but deceit and dishonesty is not. The concept of Ethical Slut is a gender neutral one: The idea that only women can be sluts is a Double Standard, and the idea that being a slut would be a bad thing reeks of [Moral Guardian moralism]] as well as confused emotions. The trope is named after the book "The Ethical Slut: A practical guide to polyamory, open relationships & other adventures". As the other wiki summarizes it:

"The authors define the term slut as 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. The term is reclaimed from its usual use as a pejorative and as a simple label for a promiscuous person. Instead, it is used to signify a person who is accepting of their enjoyment of sex and the pleasure of intimacy with others, and chooses to engage and accept these in an ethical and open way rather than as cheating."

See also Love Goddess, Good Bad Girl and Chivalrous Pervert. Compare Hooker with a Heart of Gold. Contrast The Casanova and Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality.

Oct 8th 2011 at 6:12:44 AM •••

Old description:

Express yourself, don't repress yourself
Express yourself, don't repress yourself
And I'm not sorry
It's human nature
Madonna, "Human Nature"

The Ethical Slut character lives by the rule that sexuality is good as long as everyone involved behaves responsibly and respectfully towards themselves and each other. For example, sleeping around is okay as long as everyone involved is in on it and do their best to protect from diseases and heartbreak. Cheating is not okay, but having an open relationship is. The reason this can work is that it's based on a much healthier dynamic (mutual trust) than the more traditional Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny.

Please note that this trope is not in any way limited to female characters, and that the word "slut" is not meant in a negative way. Please also note that this trope emphasizes the ethical element, hence is limited to good characters.

An Ethical Slut is likely to be a Chivalrous Pervert or Good Bad Girl, but doesn't have to be: Many Ethical Sluts of both genders simply don't put enough time, energy and interest into it to qualify for either trope. Also, the two gendered tropes are contrasts against the negative stereotypes they reflect, while Ethical Slut can be used in a purely neutral sense.

Likewise, a Chivalrous Pervert or Good Bad Girl is likely to be an Ethical Slut, or at least ought to be. However, the Ethical Slut is confident in his or her morality, while a Chivalrous Pervert or Good Bad Girl might feel guilty about her desire and consider this guilt to be justified rather than stem from unfair pressure from society.

Ethical Sluts are often Ethical Hedonists, but they don't have to be. Some believe in different (although compatible) values, while others simply want to have as much fun as possible, yet actively avoiding hurting others along the way. In either case, they are most likely to be Chaotic Good or Neutral Good, but they can also be Lawful Good with a huge emphasis on codes and protocols for formal consent, et cetera.

The trope is named after the book "The Ethical Slut: A practical guide to polyamory, open relationships & other adventures". As the other wiki summarizes it:

"The authors define the term slut as 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. The term is reclaimed from its usual use as a pejorative and as a simple label for a promiscuous person. Instead, it is used to signify a person who is accepting of their enjoyment of sex and the pleasure of intimacy with others, and chooses to engage and accept these in an ethical and open way rather than as cheating."

This perspective is common in Real Life: The vast majority of people who describe themselves as "sex positive" embody these views, whether they are promiscuous themselves or not. When an author lets the Ethical Slut become the social norm in her world, we have a Free-Love Future.

An Ethical Slut may or may not be kinky, but respect those who are in either case. Depending on your definition of "Good Sex", Ethical Sluts are either an example of Good People Have Good Sex, or the opposite of it. They exemplify the trope when "Good Sex" includes a lot of respect for varying tastes and will recognize that even weird, creepy or scary kinks are acceptable so long as they aren't inflicted on others who don't (or can't) consent.

That said, it follows Ethical Sluts would be contrary to definitions of "Good Sex" that confine it to a very narrow and normative gamut of behaviors or functions (such as the belief sex is only for reproduction). It's not compatible with Sex Is Evil*

, but can be compatible with Sex Is Cool.

An Ethical Slut may or may not hate prostitution, but is very unlikely to hate prostitutes (or other sex workers). If he hates prostitution, it's because he thinks that the prostitutes gets hurt and exploited, not because he somehow considers them "dirty", or that what they do is wrong. Dating someone who is in an awkward social situation may be OK, but exploiting them is not.

In fiction, the Ethical Slut is kinda the polar opposite of the Lovable Sex Maniac. While both can be Played for Laughs, the latter lacks ethics and has to be played for laughs in order to not be disturbing. However, the two categories can overlap a lot due to Values Dissonance.

Compare Friends with Benefits and participants in Polyamorous relationships. Contrast The Casanova though it's likely Casanova himself was an ethical slut depending on which of his tales is being told, and by whom. Also contrast Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny and Heteronormative Crusader.

Regarding examples:
While a character, plot or lyric doesn't have to be very philosophical to qualify for this trope, it must go a bit beyond the "I want sex" or "I had sex and liked it" level. No individual real life examples please — and keep the artist examples to their works, without any talk about their personal lives.

Also, please be careful with mythology examples. When a Love Goddess is portrayed as an Ethical Slut, it's usually a Historical Hero Upgrade as well as a Take That! aimed at the negative Alternative Character Interpretations popular during the Victorian era and the fifties. Since she was worshipped in an age far different from our own, the original mythological Goddess is far more likely to follow some kind of Blue and Orange Morality rather than being a Ethical Hedonist.

Oct 8th 2011 at 6:15:45 AM •••

What has been removed completely from the new description is one paragraph explaining that the "ethical" part is needed for an example to be an example, and one paragraph explaining that ancient mythology was in fact not written in the 21:th century. While this information is totally valid, I think we can live without it. :-D

Sep 30th 2011 at 9:41:40 PM •••

Err, the worldwide "Slutwalk" is a demonstration attacking the widespread attitude that "Rape is Okay When it Happens to a 'Slut'" and is a bit tangential to this trope.

Given that, the article currently suggests that tropers should accept varying mileage on the idea that rape can sometimes be okay (or at least "not a big deal.")

Edited by Azkyroth Hide/Show Replies
Oct 8th 2011 at 3:24:24 AM •••

Ouch. "M o G 2" has been at it again, it seems. Reverting to the previous version:

  • Boston Slut Walk 2011, operating under the principle that a society that engage in slut shaming is a rape culture. In other words, rape is indirectly getting socially justified and normalized when you portray the victim's lifestyle as being the problem or part of the problem. The problem is the assumption that a woman dressing a certain way, having multiple sex partners, having once had consensual sex with her abuser, being intoxicated, and/or flirting means she forfeits the right to say no. A woman could run around naked, flirting with every legal-aged person she came across, and that still wouldn't give anyone the right to sexually touch her without her permission, and if someone does sexually touch her without permission, they are in the wrong and have no right to try to claim her actions are responsible for their choice to break the law.

Jul 19th 2011 at 4:03:33 AM •••

Would the Kids in the Hall sketch "Sex Girl Patrol" fall under this trope?

Oct 5th 2010 at 3:19:35 PM •••

Like it or not, the term 'slut' DOES have a negative connotation, and automatically makes one think it is a female-only trope, as the discussion started by Mr. or Mrs. would show. I would like to ask that the name of the trope be changed to something more neutral.

EDIT: I'm a failboat. Ignore me.

Edited by Chelicerate Hide/Show Replies
Oct 6th 2010 at 2:47:55 AM •••

It's the subject itself that isn't neutral, not just the title.

The reason the term have a negative connotation is that many consider the meaning of the term to be a bad thing. And the reason some people automatically think it is a female-only trope is because of a Double Standard: If a man and a woman sleeps around with each other, only the woman gets considered filthy for it.

This trope is about works that defy and counteract this anti-sex and anti-women view, making the title totally fitting.

Jul 8th 2013 at 11:16:27 PM •••

That double standard claim doesn't hold up to research. Actually, research indicates a confirmation bias(which I can't link due to paywall). People will see it even in fiction where it was intentionally not present. Equal positive and negative references for both the male and the female in the story results in most people remembering the negative references toward the female and the positive references toward the male. Those people don't like it either, so the presumption of the double standard is actually a perceptual bias so deeply ingrained they can't not see it, even where it verifiably isn't.

Edited by
Aug 19th 2010 at 4:13:13 AM •••

Given that "Miss Yo-Yo Knickers" apparently sounded too sluttish, I'll be interested in seeing how long it is before the title of this trope gets changed.

May 23rd 2010 at 12:07:44 AM •••

Wow, we live in a seriously messed up world if Woman Who Has Sex When She Wants to and Isn't Evil is actually a trope in itself. Just saying.

Edited by Hide/Show Replies
May 23rd 2010 at 1:36:20 AM •••

Yeah. :-(

Maybe over time Sex Is Evil will become a Dead Horse Trope along with Double Standard, and Ethical Slut becomes reduced to People Sit On Chairs. But there's a long long way to go before that will happen.

Btw, this trope does not only counter the idea that women who like sex is evil, but also the idea that men who like sex are evil. While women are more often then men considered "dirty", men are more often considered "abusive by defnition", even when they are not abusive in any way, based on the assumption that no woman could ever really want sex anyway (and that homosexuality is evil, just to cover the loophole.)

Btw2, this trope is partly inspired by the Mirror World episodes in Star Trek DS 9: Their way of showing and underscoring that Kira's mirrorSelf was EVIL was to make her slutty and bisexual. Gah! Makes one appreciate adorable cases like Roy's Mom in Order Of The Stick all that much more...

May 23rd 2010 at 7:10:03 AM •••

@Xzenu, *wistful sigh*

By the way, I added the See also: Hooker with a Heart of Gold. They aren't the same, but I think they are related. Hooker with a Heart of Gold is sometimes even an attempt to convince audiences that an Ethical Slut is a possibility.

May 23rd 2010 at 9:24:26 AM •••

I agree that there should be a link to Hooker with a Heart of Gold. However, there already is a entire paragraph on ethical slut views on prostitution, including that link.

Your thoughts on the reverse (Hooker with a Heart of Gold and High Class Callgirl views on Ethical Slut mentality) are definitely woth mentioning, but they belong in those tropes instead. I'll check them out. If you havn't updated those tropes already,I will. :-)

May 23rd 2010 at 7:01:40 PM •••

How in the world does that mean we live in a "messed up" world?

Jun 2nd 2010 at 8:01:49 AM •••

Because, as a species we're inclined towards having lots of sex, and it sucks that what is such a delightful (common, healthy and necessary) part of human experience has to be vilified by our contemporary culture.

Also, in general, Double Standards suck, such as when sexually active men are revered and sexually active women are reviled.

That is messed up.

Jun 6th 2010 at 7:53:25 PM •••

Having lots of sex with many different people is common, healthy and necessary? (I will grant the Double Standard. That's messed up.)

Jun 8th 2010 at 12:45:05 PM •••

I think you missed her point? She seems to agree with you, Uriel-238, she was talking to the first poster who doesn't seem to think so and and said that having women who enjoy sex portrayed positively means that we live in a "messed up" world.

LOL let's all go back to burkas and live like in the days where women were stoned for showing their ankles while men could have as many wives as they wanted! /sarcasm

Jun 10th 2010 at 2:01:17 PM •••


As long as you're not lying to anyone, and it's consensual sex between adults, there's nothing wrong with promiscuity. Human beings aren't made to stick with one sex partner their entire lives anyway and sexual repression is unhealthy.

What's with all the slut-shaming anyway? You seem to love it.

Jun 13th 2010 at 7:22:52 PM •••

Morality notwithstanding, there's a sizable difference between "nothing wrong with" and "common, healthy and necessary".

And then I'm afraid you lost me.

Edited by Caswin
Jun 13th 2010 at 9:50:30 PM •••

Do you know what slut-shaming is?

Edit: Common, yup, we're actually not meant to stick to one partner. And there's been scientific studies done that sexual release can do wonders for your health. "Necessary" I don't know about...meh, it's a personal choice.

Edited by soojinyeh
Jun 14th 2010 at 8:42:50 AM •••

I can guess. That said, I think if there is a place for discussing this, we're doing it wrong — I probably could start pontificating about promiscuity from the opposite angle, rather than reacting to over-selling it, but I'm pretty sure this isn't the place.

Aug 4th 2018 at 10:43:45 PM •••

There isn\'t scientific anything about whoring around. It\'s unsanitary. We are, in fact, meant to be with one person. Stop justifying BS with \"scientific evidence\" that didn\'t exist until people started wanting to be thots (w/out judgement).

Aug 5th 2018 at 9:50:35 AM •••

There\'s nothing \"unsanitary\" about having sex with multiple partners when proper precautions are taken.

Also, we are not concerned with personal beliefs about what humans are \"meant\" to do. The problem with bringing religion into discussion is that there are thousands of different beliefs, and lots of them disagree.

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