Dating

Hey, who are you calling "slut"?

By Danielle Simpson-Baker aka The Sexpot Therapist

Picture this: You’ve been swiping for actual decades when you finally come across the perfect profile. He's cute enough, tall enough (because, let’s face it, for some of us, it matters), and seemingly interested enough in you to hold your attention. You text for a few days, meet up, hookup, and leave on a good note. Or so you thought, until he drops the audacity-filled bomb: He can’t see you anymore because he’s not interested in someone who’d have sex on the first date… It’s just too “slutty“.

Yes, even though he also had sex, he can’t see you anymore because you had sex with him on the first date. To some people reading this, this might sound absolutely ridiculous, and I sympathize because it sounds ridiculous as I’m writing it. But this is far too often the case for many women, especially on the virtual dating scene.

Oh, sorry, is my sexuality inconvenient for you?

On a larger scale, society has a huge issue with women who are familiar with their own sexuality. It's like we can only be slutty when the time is right (that is, when it’s convenient for men), but not when we want to be, and certainly not in front of other people (who aren’t our significant other). When it comes to dating apps specifically, women are typically viewed as “slutty” if they hook up right away, but a huge bitch or a prude if they decide to make the guy wait.

The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with hooking up on the first date, just like there’s nothing wrong with making a guy wait. What's wrong is the fact that women get mixed messages about how they should express their sexuality, and when they choose to express it a way that men are encouraged to, they’re called sluts. So, consider this a love letter to any woman who can relate the scenario above, or who’s ever been called a slut for having a say in the sex they’re having. This is your pass, and your guide, to finally owning your sluttiness in a society that wants you to feel bad about it.

Guess what? The first slut was a MAN

Oddly enough, the word “slut” was not always used as a weapon, nor was it used to describe women. We can thank Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales for introducing us to the word in 1386, when it was first used to describe a man’s unkept appearance. By the 1400s, the word had adopted the meaning of “a dirty, untidy or slovenly woman”. From 1450, it took on the meaning of “a sexually promiscuous woman”, which is closest to how we use the word today.

Funny to think that “slut” was originally used to describe men because if you refer to a man as a slut today, it’s for one of two reasons: Either as a joke, or to glorify his promiscuity. We’re so used to men sleeping around that if we come across a guy who doesn’t fit that mold, we wonder what’s wrong with him. On top of that, don’t we just love a “player” in our society? He’s who all the (typically cishet) guys want to be, and who all the (typically cishet) girls want to be with. But honestly, what’s the difference between a player and a slut? We assume that they both sleep around, neither seems to prioritize commitment, and perhaps most important: They both seem to prioritize their own sexual needs in relationships. So why is it that we expect these qualities in men but when a woman does it, we can't take it?

Owning my sluttiness = owning my power

We live in a patriarchal society that has a habit of robbing women of sexual autonomy. When a woman tries to reclaim her sexuality in anyway, she’s called a slut and shamed for it. That’s why the word “slut” can be so powerful when used in a derogatory way, because the person using it is typically speaking for the patriarchy.

Slut-shaming, which happens when a person is shamed for being sexually open or “promiscuous,” underlies a greater problem in our society connected to victim blaming-and rape culture, but it also signifies a shift in society: It shows that women are getting tired of the BS and reclaiming the word “slut” for our benefit.

And therein lies the power of embracing your sluttiness. If you're able to authentically express your sexuality in a society that tells you not to, you can probably speak up against other societal standards that aren’t serving you. In that case, what is the point of suppressing your sexual desires because they don’t fit the norm? You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so you might as well do what you want, right?

Get on the road to shame-free slutty salvation

So how can you do that in a society that doesn’t want you to? The short answer is simple: Just do it. But the long answer is: Do it, but be prepared for what comes with it. I’ve come up with a few steps to get you started on the road to shame-free slutty salvation:

1. Unpack any childhood traumas or teachings.

It’s hard to do anything if you grew up being taught that it’s wrong, so it’s probably best to first turn inward and dissect what being a slut means to you. Where did those messages come from? Do they still affect you today? If you need to, talk it out with someone you trust, but it’s best to tackle this first so it doesn’t come up later (or if it does, you’ll know how to handle it).

2. Release yourself from shame.

Constantly remind yourself that other people’s idea of sluttiness has nothing to do with you and how you live your life. You don’t need to feel guilty for the shame other people push onto you! Shake it off and slut on!

3. Establish your boundaries.

Let’s be clear: Being a slut doesn’t mean you have to have sex all the time and with everyone (if you don’t want to)! Being slutty looks different to everyone, and it’s more than okay to be a slut with boundaries. In fact, it’s probably best to have at least some boundaries set in place, so learn what they are and assert them at all costs.

4. Self-care.

What do you need? Are you taking care of your mental health in the pursuit of sluttiness? Are you protecting yourself with your sexual partner(s)? Check in with yourself regularly to make sure!

5. Block it out.

If you’re at all open about being sluttier than the average bear, you’re opening yourself up to criticism. This is why it’s so important to take care of Step 1, because you’ll be better able to block out any criticism. You know who you are and why you do what you do, and you really don’t owe anyone an explanation.  

6. Practice!

So once you’ve gotten your bearings, put it all to use! Put yourself out there, assert your boundaries, check in with yourself, and ignore the slut shamers. Once you know what being a slut means for you, explore that in any way you can!

Free to be me (slutty or not)

The best way to practice is to find an environment where you can do so freely. That’s where HUD comes in – it’s geared toward people who want casual relationships, so sluttiness would actually be an advantage, especially because we encourage you to be as upfront about your intentions as possible. You don’t have to feel bad about not wanting anything serious here, because that’s not what we’re here for either!

So what do you think? Have we inspired you to embrace your slutty side? And what are some other ways you’ve found to love your slutty truth?

Danielle Simpson-Baker is a Marriage & Family Therapy Intern in Florida and a Board Certified Sexologist with the American Board of Sexology. Danielle holds an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy and is currently working toward a dual certificate in Sex Therapy and Education. She also runs a sex-positive Instagram page (@thesexpottherapist) that has amassed more than 23,000 followers since its inception in 2018; with that following, Danielle started a virtual sexual wellness clinic called Sex(pot) Therapy, LLC. Danielle provides sex therapy, coaching, and consulting, as well as a host of sexual wellness products for every person’s needs!

 

 

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