Thought Catalog
June 20, 2016

I Was A Secret Slut, And It Was Damaging Rather Than Empowering

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Flickr / Mario Antonio Pena Zapata
Flickr / Mario Antonio Pena Zapata

I have a secret.

I’ve been a slut.

I don’t look slutty. I don’t act slutty. I’m well-spoken and possess a fair amount of social grace. I’m college educated, with a satisfying career, supportive group of friends and a loving family. None of that mattered. I’ve been a slut.

I’ve fucked guys on the first date. I’ve fucked guys I met at bars or shows. I once fucked a guy who had a girlfriend. I’ve fucked friends’ roommates. Along the way, I’ve also fucked my own ex-boyfriends and my ex-husband. (I even fucked him after we got divorced.) Once, I even fucked a friend’s ex-boyfriend. I simply didn’t care.

I didn’t slow down when I got the call from a fling I’d had a year prior that I needed to get tested for syphilis. I didn’t stop when a guy I’d been seeing confronted me about a tiny bump he felt ‘down there’ when we were fooling around (turned out to be nothing more than a strain of HPV, thank God). I didn’t stop when my neck and arms were stiff and sore the morning after a particularly rough bout of whiskey-infused sex. With sex, I felt nothing but the physical. I cut the heart out of the physical side of intimacy. I never gave myself a chance to experience it.

I put myself in danger. I pushed the envelope and then wondered why I felt so low afterwards. With each encounter, I felt myself grow number and number.

My secret reign of slutdom stopped for me the day that I realized a truth so simple, yet so powerful, I literally had to take a breath.

If I had a daughter who acted the way I did, I’d fear for her safety.

It came down to one main point:

I said I loved myself, but apparently I had no self-respect.

I’ve interviewed many women my age who are what I think of as secret sluts. Their numbers would shock you. Most are in the high double digits, but more than a few sail into the three-digit category. Most of these women are perfectly normal in what appear to be healthy, well-adjusted relationships. Only a smattering of these women suffered abuse. Most of them simply were like me—they confused love for affection, got caught up in the honeyed words of a potential partner, and then let things go as far as they could go.

It stopped when I met my (now) ex-boyfriend. It was a night when I’d been feeling low (recently had lost a job, had gone through a divorce a year prior, was drinking too much and not eating right), so a friend took me out to cheer me up. I met my ex that night, who we’ll call M., and I felt…something. It started off like any other ‘slutty’ night. M and I got drunk, we kissed, he drove me home, and I invited him in for a sandwich and to continue our conversation. We wound up fooling around, but I stopped him short of anything below the belt. We joked that we should go on a real date before going further, and that’s what happened. We ended up waiting a month before going to bed together. It was a new experience for me. My previous relationships the longest we’d waited was four dates, tops. This was different.

Once we got to bed, for the next several months we practically never left it. Our sexual chemistry was off the charts. The deeper we grew as a couple, the deeper we shared intimacies, the better the sex got. It frightened me. I’d never been in love like this and never experienced a bond that encompassed me whole. It bordered on euphoria, even toward the end.

Sadly, jobs, distance, and personality differences caused the relationship to end. We both knew it was coming, knew we were in love, but that there was nothing we could do to stop the train wreck headed our way. In the time that has passed since that relationship ended, I’ve had the old temptation return. To go out with friends, feel the rush of meeting someone’s eye, to drink a bit too much to loosen the inhibitions, to flirt, to see how far I can take it. Anything to soothe the ache of loneliness. Anything to soothe the fear of a cold bed.

I haven’t done this. I’m forcing myself to learn self-love, self-reliance and self-respect. I’ve gotten a lot of get-out-of-jail free cards in my past, and I don’t want to push the envelope anymore. It’s hard sometimes, the self-love and self-respect bit, because I am an anxious kind of girl who hates the way I’ve acted, and I hate that I have this impotence at all.

I want a daughter of my own someday. I want to set a good example, and I want to start now. I want to live a life knowing that I’ve acted in a manner that is without self-shame or embarrassment. I want to love myself fully so I can share my love and not just my body with another person.

I don’t want this secret anymore. TC mark

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