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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.

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She joined a group called San Francisco Sex Organization and taught her first class on unlearning jealousy in 1973.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.Heather, who identifies as queer, liked that she could continue to explore that side of her sexuality with other women. Her boyfriend started to date a woman he worked with at a restaurant, and when Heather met her at a holiday party, she realized she was attracted to her, too.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.Today, polyamory is less tied to one specific subculture or identity.

In the two decades since the first edition of The Ethical Slut has been published, polyamory has expanded into a practice that, if not outright mainstream, is at least much more widely accepted and understood.

Hardy, was bedridden for a month with a bad flu that had evolved into bronchitis.

She was, as she recalls, "high off my ass on Codeine cough syrup" when she caught a showing of Indecent Proposal on TV.

Later, she ran into another friend who relayed an overheard conversation from the conference.

"She said, ' Did you hear about that S&M workshop this afternoon?

There were these two women, they were talking about stuff they had done together, and one of their boyfriends was right in the room!