Last week, I hooked up with a stranger for the very first time. He was an Ivy League hotshot with a French background. I definitely wanted to see his baguette, if you know what I mean. I met him through Instagram, and yes — I slid into his DMs. We decided to hang out in person with mutual intention to hook-up. When we met, we talked for thirty minutes and then… we had sex. It wasn’t until after I had gotten home that a fearful question began to sneak into my head: Am I a slut?
I was stunned. The whole experience was exciting, totally entertaining, and really fun. Why did something that felt so silly and random have to be hexed with this negative connotation? Was I entering the Sisterhood of Sluts? The sorority that I had never rushed but was shoved into anyway by the countless years of demoralizing sexually active women. The truth is I don’t feel gross or dirty for sleeping with some random guy. So what does slut even mean and why does being a slut have to be a bad thing? Guys get praised all the time for sleeping with random girls. Yet, I don’t see anyone giving me a high-five — and not to brag, but I’m really good at high-fiving.
This double standard shit is hard to escape from, even intrinsically. Before having sex with Baguette Boy, I said to myself, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’m not a slut.” What the fuck! I sort of betrayed myself with that exclamation (realizing it only afterwards when I was lying in bed alone). Bottom line: I felt deep down that I had to justify my sexual behavior and he didn’t. Even though I still don’t know how many sexual partners he’s had, somewhere inside of me, I felt like I had to prove to him that I was not a “used-up woman.” I felt like I had to prove my purity, which technically, by this socially constructed standard, I had lost long ago. And why is that? What made me the one who had to assure him I was clean enough to touch, to fuck? And what will happen the next time I sleep with someone new? Will that feeling come again? And again?
In all honesty this whole thing is rather confusing.
Society seems obsessed with defining women’s sexuality for them, and has come up with this negative concept of sex that almost feels like a scare tactic. Isn’t that what the word does? It makes women feel derogatory for enjoying something so basic. Why should tiny glitches in my life, tiny moments spent with other humans, short intervals of random sex come to define me as an individual? I know I’m more than how many guys I’ve slept with; whether that’s one or fifty. Screw the world for making me think I’m no more than a number. The truth is, sex with my Baguette Boy won’t be on my mind in five months, let alone five years. If sex is the most natural thing humans do, then isn’t it unnatural for us to categorize each other by how much we do it? Couldn’t we do the same with how much we eat or drink? Isn’t it all in our biology? Yes. Yes, it fucking is.
First, I’d like to address that this double standard is a clearly defined differently depending on the gender that’s having the (too much) sex in question. But I’d also like to address that this issue, at its core, is about our overarching need to categorize people. We think if we can categorize people as “sluts” and “non-sluts” that there’s a “better” side. Not to say there isn’t value in drawing a personal line for yourself, but it seems that that line is being drawn for women rather than by women.
So how do we contend with this idea of female promiscuity? It’s been so ingrained in our heads that this is a negative thing, that it becomes almost impossible to ignore. Hard to push away the thought that you’ve “done something wrong as a woman.” It’s hard to ignore that you’ve, “let society down.” And what’s all this guilt and shaming for? For twenty minutes of your life that a dick was inside of you? Is that what your whole self-worth is going to come down to?
Yes, sex is important in a lot of different ways, but the amount of sex we have is not who we are. Why would anyone want to be defined by who they’re sleeping with in a given week?
Nonetheless, women are constantly defined by their sexuality.
I wish I knew how to make this problem go away. I wish I could show you the male equivalent of slut in the dictionary. (There isn’t one by the way. Manwhore doesn’t count because whore is still defined as a promiscuous woman. Fuckboy doesn’t count because it’s not in the dictionary — yet.) I wish I could say there are no consequences for having as much as sex as you want as a woman. But sadly, in today’s world, people are likely to talk about you differently, look at you differently, and treat you differently.
I think all I can do to help is just be honest. Maybe, if I can show you that it’s okay to do whatever the fuck you want sexually, you won’t feel so alone out there. The reality is that women like sex and want to have sex. If it’s impossible to shed ourselves of the slut title, let’s choose to own it. Let’s make those judgmental bastards cry! Instead of being unknowingly inducted through whispers and shit-talk, I cordially invite you to the Sisterhood of Sluts: a new sorority.
If you want to join great, and if you don’t — that’s great too. Don’t let someone else push you to join. Open the door yourself, if that’s what you choose to do.