Well adjusted sluttiness

There is an excellent post up at Feministe on sluttiness. I don’t have much to add since I just kept going “THIS” while reading the post. Go read it right now. Emphasis mine:

I’m telling you this because sluthood saved me. Sluthood gave me the time and space to nurse a shattered heart. It gave me a place where I could exist in pieces, some of me craving touch, some of me still too tender to even expose to the light. Sluthood healed the part of me that felt my body and my desires were grotesque after two years in a libido-mismatched partnership. Now I felt hot, wanted, powerful. My desire and enthusiasm was an asset, not an unintended weapon. Even now, with more time passed, now, when I am actually ready for and wanting a more emotional connection, sluthood keeps me centered. It keeps me from confusing desire and affection with something deeper. It means I have another choice besides celibacy and settling. It means I won’t enter another committed relationship just to satisfy my basic need for sex and affection. It gives me more choices, it makes room for relationships to evolve organically, to take the shape they will before anyone defines them.

This is post 38 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.


  1. LS says

    Even when I was hardcore Catholic, this is a double standard I could simply *not* understand, even a little bit. Back then I was *appalled* when my male friend told me he’d had sex. How could he break faith with one of the most important tenets of our faith?And even before abandoning my Catholic roots, most of the girls I dated were significantly more sexually experienced than I was. I have no idea why they were willing to date a guy that refused to put out. Since rejecting faith and beginning on the road to actually being a good person, I’ve actually held on to the idea that a person shouldn’t have sex with very many people (though that is an idea I am beginning to reject. I just want to make sure I’m rejecting it based on evidence rather than desire first.)I’ll be the first to admit that many “correct” attitudes that I (and many others) hold are hard-learned. Something we’ve had to force ourself to accept despite our upbringing and intuitions. But the issue of sexual promiscuity? It has never even occurred to me that the rules are any different between the genders, no matter what rules I’ve accepted through my life.Though, confession, I totally laughed when told “A key that opens any lock is an awesome key, a lock that opens for any key is a shitty lock.”

  2. StephenS says

    Wow. Thank you for the link, Jen. One of the things that keeps me reading your blog is all of the links to other blogs.

  3. Azkyroth says

    Should I be surprised by being male and yet relating quite a bit to that article, at least in principle?

  4. says

    To preface this, I’m a guy, which means there’s not anywhere close to as much social stigma on me for sleeping around as there is for women. I still haven’t gotten over this one either.Unlike you, however, this has absolutely no root in religion, and every root in society. For the short time I actually cared about religion (probably a little when I was five or six, when the stories sounded cool), they never mentioned anything about sexuality. I’ve just always taken it for granted that having sex was something you waited for, and was a very meaningful and private thing.I admit, I have never thought well of people who dress using the least amount of clothing possible, and then proceed to approach guys and essentially climb all over them. This article really made me sit down and think, why?Anybody I’ve seen revealing themselves THAT badly was never somebody I wanted to be around whether or not they were dressed, that’s why. I think we really need more stories like this. We need to make guys think, and we need to make women (and men alike!) feel comfortable with whatever sexual preferences they may have. Thank you for the link.

  5. says

    My sister is going to cut my throat for saying this.When her boyfriend dumped her, she started to sleep around, and it did help a lot of the self esteem issues. Not that she was unsafe or anything (that would have gotten her into trouble for me), but there was definitely a change in her attitude – especially when she rejected a few people who would be considered very attractive. She was still really worried about public perception of her, which is why she was talking to me about it, but the empowerment aspect…that was definitely there.

  6. Tory says

    I have never been as happy as I was when I was a slut.I slept with whoever I wanted that also wanted me. I apologized to nobody. I was positively shameless.I think it’s the shamelessness that made it so wonderful. For once in my life, I had decided wholeheartedly to live a life free from shame. Everything that happened afterward, that was a result of that decision. I wasn’t ignoring shame so that I could sleep around. I was sleeping around because without shame, I saw no reason not to. Sex is fun, really really fun, and there is no reason whatsoever that two (or three or four) consenting adults should not engage in a safe, mutually pleasurable experience.

  7. says

    Okay, so I will start by saying I’m a guy (the name may not be a dead givaway to some). I hate the word slut. To me it is used far too often. If a girl chooses to sleep with 1 or a thousand people, as long as she chooses then I really don’t see the problem. I would also not call her a slut and would be offended if she referred to herself that way. I will never judge a date by the number of partners she has had. So Jen to you and the rest of the female element of the feminist community please stop using that word. By using that word you are perpetuating the double standard. What double standard some of you may ask? Can you think of the male equivalent for slut? I can’t and I have tried. So for the sake of equality (ed. please) stop using that word.

  8. says

    I grew up without religion in my life at all, and until I came to the realization that some of my friends were no longer virgins I never really thought about it much beyond having fantasies.But the girls who throw themselves at people rarely appeal to me, and I’m beginning to wonder whether this is because society has had this stigma associated with it that I’ve picked up on or whether it’s just a matter of taste. I’d certainly like to think it’s the latter.

  9. Tory says

    Icaarus, just because you would judge a woman by the number of partners she has had doesn’t mean that she won’t be judged. I’ve been called a slut more times than I can count, starting before I had even kissed a boy. And for a long time, it hurt, every time I heard it. By calling myself a slut, with pride, I feel as though I’m throwing that word back in the face of everyone who has ever used it to wound me. As for the male equivalent, I’ve heard sexually indiscriminate or excessively promiscuous men called “dogs” before, though rarely.

  10. Azkyroth says

    On the male equivalent, I think my favorite permutation is Vinnie Tesla‘s use of “slut” and “perv” as equivalent female and male, respectively, terms meaning “person who is uninhibited and very into sex.”As far as the use of “slut” goes I guess I should add explicit statements on her part about the empowerment thing to my list of when I’d use the term for a woman, which currently consists of “if we’re joking around, the humorous intent will be clear, and I know it’s not something she’d be sensitive about” and “if we’re in bed and it turns her on.”

  11. says

    Er?It seems like “telling women what words they can and cannot use to define their experiences” is perpetuating a double standard more than the use of any word in particular.

  12. says

    The two things don’t have to be exclusive (and probably aren’t — and this isn’t a commentary on you, but more one about society). I was talking with a good friend this week about how subtle racism and racial preferences play out in our romantic interests, and I really couldn’t think of a good answer. I think we have to be careful about keeping our feelings and sensations in context, otherwise we’re no better than the religious, right?

  13. says

    Thanks for reposting this — loved it when it was posted on Feministe the first time and still love it now. It’s very powerful.

  14. says

    Warning to all: the following contains words that are considered offensive, though they have not been used in that manner they are present in this rebuttal. Please note no ill intent or insult is present in the following.Tory, maybe it’s the type of people I associate with, or maybe it’s the area I live in, but for the most part it seems to me it’s the religious fanatics and other girls that use the term in a derogatory fashion. You are using the same argument that my jewish friend used when explaining why he was trying to take back kike, or my chinese friend when their group was trying to retake chink. Or the two African-American guys that I had a similar discussion with over the word nigger. It hasn’t worked so well for them so why should it be any different for the word slut? Let’s see, I’ve been called nerd, panzy, gay, fag, albino, retarded, a post-pounder, ass-pounder, red-neck, inbred, hillbilly, and a long list of far more polite yet still demeaning insults. Considering I am a caucasian, western raised, straight, Canadian science grad, only a couple come close to applying, and of those only one fits. Should I go around calling myself a red-neck nerd? Just because a label is used against you in insult does not mean it applies, and furthermore does not mean you should accept it. Tory, take pride in your sexuality, not the label you wrap it in.

  15. says

    StephenAm I asking, yes, am I pleading, yes, am I arguing, yes. But I am not telling them they cannot use the word. Also I have had the same argument over different words for different groups (see my response to Tory below) so how is asking someone to refrain from using a hateful word when describing themselves a double standard?

  16. Magnetic Dave says

    I feel like I’m from a different planet.My peer group at uni and shortly after (starting about ten years ago) were what you might call “liberated” – outright polyamory wasn’t common, but relationships changed rapidly. Sure there was drama when people cheated, but I was never (like, ever) aware of any kind of stigma associated with women being promiscuous. The idea of being derogratory towards someone based on their sexual history was plain taboo – if they were a woman. If they were men, there was some light teasing and name-calling (we called them “tarts”) but it seemed almost unheard of to be snippy about a girl exercising her libido.It was the opposite for guys like me. I craved exactly the kind of sexual experiences that this author describes, and time and time again I was railroaded into long-term mismatched relationships, and my libido was dismissed as being such a “typical man” thing, a nasty stereotype, like women being bad drivers.I can see now how much of a different planet that little counter-culture microcosm was (although I’m still gobsmacked when I hear stories of how disempowered women in other social circles are), so I don’t think my experiences generalise, but it does raise questions (in my mind anyway) about whether recriminations about sexuality do fall universally towards women.I’m very, very glad this author has found the self confidence to embrace this aspect of her personality, and gained the useful ability to shrug off sniping and reclaim the term “slut” for herself, and I’m sure she had a harder journey reaching that than I would as a man; but I hope she feels priveleged for the simple fact that she *can*, if she chooses, take a third path between celibacy and settling. Many of us, men and women, simply don’t have this option.

  17. Anonymous says

    I lived with three girls in a dormitory who were, by the very definition, sluts. They were disgusting people, and I hated sharing even the littlest of my space with them because sex was really all they seemed to live for. In the beginning when I was friendly with them I never really felt comfortable with their mannerisms, and I could sense that they weren’t very interested in befriending me unless I was a cock addict like them. One of them was surprised when I admitted I was a virgin and she told me “I wish I had kept my virginity.” It struck me as a very depressing statement.Some of their conversations were ridiculous, especially during a dinner we had together where two of them claimed that they didn’t want boyfriends because having random casual sex meant they were “more mature” than other people who chose to date and have relationships. If you don’t need a man to be happy with your life that’s cool, but I really don’t believe that you’re any better than someone who can find happiness in a monogamous relationship. It was probably just selfish arrogance on their part, but in a way they were very laughably sad creatures. I can think of nothing worse than being so unsatisfied with your life that you have to seek solace from sexual encounters with strangers, and that giving out your body and making no personal attachments because of FEAR that you would be hurt from a real relationship holds you back.I was a virgin until I met my husband, but we had sex long before we were married. After years of my mom calling me a slut at the slightest drop of a pin, I learned that sexual freedom isn’t really a bad thing, but likening yourself to a slut isn’t an ideal one should embrace. I feel that sluts are very weak people who have a lot of problems, and while I have no problem with someone who doesn’t want to marry before they have sex, my respect for that person depends on how they carry themselves.

  18. GirlJack says

    Yeah, I’m going to go with ‘grow up’. Someone isn’t ‘dirty’, ‘used goods’, going to cheat on you, immature, or desperate because they’ve had sex with other people recently. What, exactly, is the problem?And that’s not even considering they ma not even be interested in you.

  19. says

    It’s always amusing to me to hear people complain about months- or even a year and a half-long dry spell. I’m probably approaching about a year myself, but before my last relationship? Over four years with no action other than my hand. I understand that’s a bit of a woe-is-me statement, but I don’t mean it to be critical; as I said, the different perspectives simply amuses me.That said, I loved the article and fully agree with every point made. As if the slut-shaming women face weren’t bad enough, you then have the inverse of men being ridiculed and their sexuality called into question if they’re not getting laid fairly regularly, which only exacerbates the issue by encouraging many to go out looking for “conquests” where they may not necessarily have any genuine interest, thus compounding the problem. I’m truly amazed sometimes by the fact our society continues to function with such dysfunctional customs and attitudes.

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