Even though I am a slut, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a slut, and think that slut-shaming is harmful. I still find myself saying to many men (aka guys who want to fuck me/date me):
“I am not a slut”
“Just because blank, doesn’t mean I am a slut” (insert I am polyamorous, you found me on a BDSM website. etc.)
“Please don’t treat me like a slut”
And every time I say that I feel guilty. I feel like I am the slut-shamer. I wonder what is wrong with me and why I can’t embrace that term. However, my definition (brand?) of slut isn’t always the same as many of the gentlemen who have pursued me (tried to take from me) in the past. My sluttiness has evolved. But, when I say those things I am speaking to what I think they consider a slut.
The first time I was called a slut by a man was by my father. He had found my journal and read about a sexual encounter in which I was taken by an older boy. In 1995, there was no consent education. There was violent, forceful rape by a stranger where the women is struggling and screaming no and there was Elena Bobbit. So, in my perception of what happened to me wasn’t rape. It was sex and love. I was 15. A year later the same boy took my PIV virginity. I was really into church at the time so I was definitely being a slut by religious definition. Even though he laid on top of me and begged me over and over until I said it was ok. These were my first two sexual encounters and they were both tinged with shame. Shame would become a key ingredient in sex as I continued on in life.
At 17, I slept with a family member’s husband. He cheated on her with me. I stole him from her. We ran away together and lived in secrecy until I was 21. When I left him, I went into full on slut mode. Within 30 days I had written down the names of 21 men that I had fucked. He begged me to get help, to stop fucking everyone in our small town. I let him take me to rehab, because clearly I was being such a slut because of all the drinking and the blackouts. Right? I fucked #22 during the 28-day program. Who runs co-ed treatment centers anyways? I didn’t stay sober, but my various attempts at it managed to slow me down a bit. Doing hard drugs really helped. Because, A) No blackouts and B) I lived on the streets and I wouldn’t have lasted long without a boyfriend, and C) The drugs were better than sex anyways.
I got clean and sober at age 23. The women in my 12 step program recommended no sex or dating in the first year. I made it 18 months. This is the longest period in my life I have ever gone without sex. When I started dating again, I was very naive. I thought a guy liked me and I liked him, so I would have sex with him. Because, that’s how people show they like each other. Right? This was usually on the first date or the first time he tried. Aka: I was easy. I always got so upset when they didn’t call again. Or they didn’t want to date me. I thought I was a victim, like sex was some kind of contractual agreement to be my boyfriend. I had no accountability for my own choices. I couldn’t even admit that I had no ability to say no, once my body started saying yes.
A lot of 12-steppers are religious and the religion of choice is Christianity. I was learning about spiritual principles. I thought that not fucking everybody was one of them and I was failing. Of course, now I think it is a necessity for both my physical and spiritual health. But, back then I was ashamed. Since 2005, I have slept with an average of 5 to 6 new men every year. I have tried Sex Addicts Anonymous twice, (oh the slut-shaming in SAA) I haven’t made it more than a few months at a time without sex and I can’t count those instances on one hand.
I became involved in the fetish community in 2012. For the first time in my life, I heard the opinion that having lots of sex, sleeping with a lot of guys, and/or loving it, DIDN’T make you a bad person. I learned about sex positivity. I started accepting myself. I also found out that pain, loss of control, and sometimes even degradation REALLY turned me on. So even now that I accept myself as someone who will never be content fucking the same guy for the rest of my life, someone who likes to have sex often, someone who has tried pretty much everything I want to try, I still usually take that acceptance with a side of shame.
I am 36 years old. I have done a shit ton of step work and therapy. I have spent years in self-reflection. I consider myself very self-aware (FYI getting your Bachelors degree in Psychology will provide you with a lot of insight into exactly why you are so fucked up). So, while I do accept that I have a lot of sex with a lot of different men, I can’t say whether it is because I actually like sex or if I really want to feel loved and that’s the way I feel loved. I have found that certain things bring on a lot more shame than others and I try my best to avoid doing those things. For example, I try not to have sex with people I have no emotional connection or attachment to. I try not to have sex with two men in one 24 hour period. I try my best to maintain my own personal boundaries during sex. I try to only have as many partners/prospects as I can emotionally sustain for periods longer than a few weeks. I try not to have sex with other people’s partners without their knowledge and consent. These are things that carry shame for me because of my own personal history with sex and shame, not because I think people who do them are bad. When I don’t accomplish these things, I have people I trust to help me work on them.
Yes, I am a slut and I am not ashamed. But, that doesn’t mean that I want to be pursued as an object only. It doesn’t mean that I will send strangers “naughty pics”. It doesn’t mean that I will play with myself on command. It doesn’t mean that I hooked up with multiple men at the BDSM party last night. It doesn’t mean that I will let you fuck me in the ass, perform ATM, or have a threesome with you. And most of all it doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve to be treated with respect. I don’t know how to tell men this without saying: just because blank doesn’t mean I am a slut. Maybe I should start saying: just because I am slut, that doesn’t mean blank.