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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sex Positive Me – Slut Shaming


In my previous post I used the term Slut Shaming, and I would like to give this concept a little more light.  Here is the link as per Urban Dictionary Definition, basically summed up as putting women down for being sexually active.  I have written about my tale of being slut shamed in University for kissing guys and the negative impact that had on me.  I basically went into my shell and decided to prove all these guys wrong and became completely monogamous.  It is a very effective tool for men to use in order to get woman to settle down and leave the dating pool, especially in my case.  After writing my last post I received this comment, “you’re right about the stigma about enjoying sex, you don't hear anyone criticize other physical activities like sports do you? Lol”.  And it is very true, at least it is now.  40 years ago, if a female really enjoyed a sport, let’s say hockey, then she must be a lesbian.  Woman breaking gender roles always seems to cause a negative reaction from men on a societal level. 

Woman fought to get a vote, followed by fighting to break free of the home and earn equal wages.  Now the battle is to have sexual expression and freedom without stigma?  I have fallen hard and fast into this very trap.  In my open relationship I once asked E if him sleeping around would have a negative effect on me from his friends point of view.  Would his friends judge me for putting up with his behaviour I wondered and would my value therefore decrease with his peers?  These are the flip sides of slut shaming that one in a sheltered and monogamous world does not have to think about.  If he was sexing it up, would it then get mentioned that I was sexing it up too?  And if that was true then of course I am a slut and he is just being a man.

But as my friend aptly implied above, the next generation may very well forget out current struggles to have sexual equality and perhaps this will cease to be an issue if we are open an honest about the sexuality of woman.  When articles are written about sexuality from 2001 pretty much onwards there seems to be a common disclaimer made, which states that studying female sexuality is a recent occurrence and that there is no previous data with which to make conclusions.  Men’s sexuality on the other hand has been explored for decades, for a multitude of reasons very few of which include increasing a females sexual pleasure (sorry of for the low blow, and yes Viagra I would argue is more for the male in many circumstances).  Woman dismissively in the sexual realm are looked upon as too complex to really study with any depth.  And thus we are left with the old adage of we always fear what we don’t understand, and with fear comes the inevitable shame.

The same can be held true for bi-sexuality for another example of fearing what has been unexplored and what we don’t always understand.  Society has long implied that you are straight or gay, middle ground is often ignored.  In 2011 a study came out that finally confirmed that bisexuality is real sexual category, Article.  How baffling though that this study only came out less than a year ago. Why did it take this long to prove something that feels so basic and simplistic?  Because admittedly when I was in Junior High I know that I thought you could only be gay or straight, and I know the words, “if he says he bi he is just being selfish by not picking a team”.  Yes I will ashamedly admit I have said that in my early teenage years.  But my knowledge and awareness of sexuality about all things was skewed as a teenager.  We believed that sharks could sense menstrual blood and that blue balls were some mythical and horrible disease that we should never ask questions about.  But as Dan Savage points out, bi-sexuality has been around for centuries and it may lie to the bisexual themselves to start being more open about it.  Pride parades threw in the straight people’s face that they were here and queer and to get used to it.  Bisexuality is no different, and similarly women need to start standing up for their sexual rights as well.

I love sex, and I love a little variety from time to time.  There shouldn’t be shame in saying that and honestly the more I write about this topic the easier it gets to write it without nerves or re-editing.  It is a step in the direction of ending slut shaming.  A step in bringing more focus towards healthy sexual expression for all genders bringing about healthier relationships for all of us.

20 comments:

  1. I say do whatever you want. I doubt most people really care. However, for those that DO care, get over yourself. I don't like sluts, wouldn't date one, wouldn't marry one. That's just me. Obviously I'd have sex with one, but beyond that I have no need for them in my life. This isn't slut shaming, it's just being realistic.

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  2. So to be clear to the anonymous writer, you would use a slut but not date one? That is not realistic as you put it, that is why slut shaming is disgusting and needs to be brought to light so it can be ended!

    Thanks for writing this K!

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  3. Yes, although I disagree with your use of the term "use". The goal is to find some sex-positive woman who wants strictly sex. Why should she care whether or not she isn't relationship material? I say go and have sex as much as you want. No issue there. I'm just not attracted to the idea of marrying such a woman, or having her meet the family.

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    1. I would argue that some people out there want a happy and healthy sex life in a relationship as well. I would not settle for a person who was not sex positive if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with them. I truly believe that a woman can be both things, sexually expressive and a great companion who would impress a family. I am saddened that there are people out there who think sex positive means that they are only looking for sex.

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    2. "I am saddened that there are people out there who think sex positive means that they are only looking for sex."

      I don't think this.

      "I truly believe that a woman can be both things, sexually expressive and a great companion who would impress a family. "

      If "sexually expressive" is a euphemism for one that sleeps around, then I am not impressed. Trust me though, this isn't a "choice" to be unimpressed by her. It's just a natural inclination. Some people prefer blondes for example, others prefer non-slutty women in the context of a relationship. Some even go so far as to prefer virginal women. This trait doesn't get a free pass over being evaluated. It's helps determine attraction as much so as freckles, skin tone, weight, size, talents, intelligence, etc. Sexual history is one of many factors to evaluate long term partnership, and it ranks relatively high with me. With few exceptions I would not be as attracted to the prospect of such a woman as a wife nor mother of my children.

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  4. That's ok, lots of sexually active women are not attracted to the idea of dating or marrying a misogynist with double standards. Anon @12:25 is certainly free to live according to his/her views, just as more progressive and fair-minded thinkers are free to see through his/her bullshit for what it is.

    The great thing about being a sex-positive woman is that it's pretty damn easy to find a sex partner, and it's a piece of cake to pass over these idiots in favour of someone who actually has some character.

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  5. I did not know character affected sexual performance, today I learned.

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    1. absolutely does. Misogynists tend to not be so good at pleasing women in bed, I've found.

      but that's not the point.

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  6. What? There are people, believe it or not, who are both a) good at sex, and b) not jerks. Some women prefer to sleep with these people, rather than with a jerk who happens to be good at sex. But maybe the logic is a little too overwhelming here.

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  7. I guess I'll find someone willing to come down from that pedestal than. As stated, I don't desire them to think the world of me. I don't personally care much for them either. They can't sleep with all the non-jerks they want. But, you are kidding yourself if you think every woman is going to somehow learn my position and decide the same thing. For the record, I wouldn't date or marry a slutty man either. Not sure how this makes me a "jerk" :/

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  8. Thanks so much for all the comments. This is an issue that I think needs as much light shone upon it as possible.

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    1. I agree. It is definitely to both sides' benefit. I think the push towards slut-acceptance should not be confused with slut-encouragement though. Once is a social necessity and the other is an individual decision. Society at-large should not make sexually active women feel less about themselves, same with minorities, women, gays, immigrants, etc. However, there is no logical basis for asserting that in light of this all individuals must accept and appreciate a slut as they would a more chaste woman. I never will as one is inherently less attractive to me. I also don't enjoy racists (I'm black) or aggresive individuals (although I do MMA myself, strictly to stay active). People are complex like that. As long as we establish and maintain the common level of respect ALL people deserve (slut or otherwise) you personal opinions of another group don't need justification from others.

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    2. Despite disagreeing with your other comments, I was understanding and accepting the points you were making in this post. But then I came to the part where you give some examples of other traits, not having to do with sexual experience, that you avoid in a significant other. Do you realize that when you lump such overwhelmingly negative traits like racism and aggression in with other "undesirable" attributes like being sexually active and sex positive you are being counter productive to the goal of society at-large not making sexually active women feel less about themselves"?

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  9. First, if your desired marriage partner is someone who only has sex inside a long-term/meaningful relationship, that's totally fine, so long as you hold yourself to the same standard (i.e., you also only have sex inside long-term/meaningful relationships).

    The "jerk" factor comes from the double standard: (This is assuming Anon @ 21:23 is the same person as Anon @ 14:18. And for ease of pronoun use, I'm going to assume that this person is a man, but the argument stands regardless of gender.)

    If a guy's goal "is to find some sex-positive woman who wants strictly sex" without regard to their relationship potential, and he would "obviously have sex with one" but not date her -- why is that guy NOT a slut, when they are engaging in the exact same behavior as the sex-positive woman?

    Both parties here are seeking out and engaging in sex, without caring about having a relationship. Why is it that only the girl is considered the "slutty" one?

    What makes you a "jerk" is that you are not affording women the same freedoms as you grant yourself - i.e., the ability to sleep with people outside of a relationship context, without being considered a "slut" or non-marriage material.

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  10. Whoa now, that is not what I said (these are all my comments by the way). I have no issue being labeled a slut, and to some my behavior does make me non-marriage material. I accept this. I would not fault a woman who thought exactly the same as me, and decided my past made me incompatible (or at least less desirable) for marriage. That is her right and I respect her decision.

    However, it is not hypocritical to seek two different things in life. Wanting a marriage with a woman who has not followed my sexual history is a-ok. As long as I can accept the fact that I put my position at odds with all the women who MIGHT want a sexually-reserved male. I do accept this.

    I am a slut looking to marry a non-slut, who doesn't mind marrying a slut. Standards are high, but I don't feel like settling for a woman of my own (slut) standing. Reach for the star and all that.

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  11. > I don't feel like settling for a woman of my own (slut) standing

    There you go again. Why does having sex with people devalue someone's standing? Don't you see that you're implicitly assuming that sexual experience is a bad thing?

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  12. After reading this post and reading all these comments, I want to give my own input. A person's sexuality is, I feel, a very personal thing. It's going to be different for everyone. You should do what feels right for you and you should NEVER think any differently of a person based on their sex life. I personally don't think I could have sex with a person I wasn't in a serious relationship with, but I don't think any less of someone that's different. In fact I encourage it. If you're going to judge someone because they've had more partners than you, or because they've experimented with their sexuality, or for being with both sexes, or for anything related to this, then frankly you are a bigot.

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  13. I do not judge anyone by how sexually active they are. I judge them by how they conduct themselves in those encounters.

    If they are not honest about their intentions, not honest about their involvement with other people and they do not practice safe sex then I would call them a slut - either gender.

    If they are honest, respectful and safe, then they are just sexually active.

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    1. Thanks for the well stated opinion :)

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