On Being A Slut

I’m being butthurt about sex today. I’m really sorry to use that word but I swear to god it’s the only one that accurately describes my feelings. For the record, I really respect all you fierce females (and males) out there fighting the good fight. Don’t get mad at me for what I’m about to say.

I am a female sociology major who goes to a small liberal arts school in Los Angeles. In other words, don’t even get me started on the whole “slut” thing. If you’re reading this, you are probably on a similar wavelength, and I think I can jump to some conclusions. You probably know that “slut” is a misogynistic slur used to oppress women who want to do whatever they want with their own vaginas (and other body parts). You probably know that there is a double standard when it comes to sex – men can spread their seed like wildfire and be celebrated, while women have to blue-balls it half the time to maintain some intangible personal value. You probably know that the fact that women are often judged based on the number of penises that have been in her vicinity is a painful reminder that we still live in a sexist society.

I know all of these things too.

But I’ve got a news flash for you: None of this shit is any comfort to someone who has actually banged 15+ people in 4 years and is suffering the societal ramifications.

On the outside, since starting college, I’ve been auditioning for the Vagina Monologues, participating in discussions about masturbation, bragging to friends about my sexcapades, wearing what I want to wear, flaunting my freed sexuality, and generally not giving a fuck what anybody says. People tell me I’m awesome for being so open and unconstrained by societal norms. I write angry comments on Reddit, and I insist that anyone who talks to me eliminates the word “slut” from their vocabulary. I mean, for god’s sake, my Facebook cover photo for a month was a picture of a naked woman with “End Slut Shaming” written across her breasts.

I get all that stuff. Believe me.

I can safely say that if I and my sexual experience existed in a vacuum, I wouldn’t regret any of it. Unfortunately nothing exists without context. Unfortunately, because I have a vagina, someone other than me is tacitly allowed to decide what is and isn’t acceptable for me to do with said vagina. It’s as simple as that. I should be allowed to feel whatever I feel about the sex I have – personally and solitarily, without it having any impact on my worth as a human being. Unfortunately this isn’t a reality.

I would love to tell you that I have transcended societal misogyny and feel empowered by my unique and healthy sexuality. Now let’s go streak through the park!

But I have a confession to make. Every day, I hate myself, because that’s what I’ve been taught to feel. Every day, I wish I could go back in time, just a few penises back, and maybe I’d be a better person. Not for myself, but for everyone else.

When I tell people this, they universally say, “Wow, that is some deeply internalized misogyny you’ve got there.” Why thank you, now I feel shamed all over again for feeling shame in the first place. The truth is that no matter how much you can regurgitate from your “Gender and Society” classes, my reality doesn’t change.

Your “Free Love” t-shirts have not erased the big S-L-U-T that people see written across my forehead the moment they learn my “number.”

Your witty Tumblr posts have not stopped men and women alike from wondering if the reason I have such a “dangerous” sex life is that I’ve been molested.

Your Girl Code gifs did not stop my last partner’s friends from warning him that I’m “loose.”

Your sexual assault awareness campaigns have not stopped some men from thinking they can take whatever they want from me, since I “give it to everyone else.”

Your women’s empowerment campus groups cannot change that fact that I feel shame because I have been shamed, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Knowing that this is all a social construct or stigma or whatever is not helpful for me. I am done pretending that I haven’t internalized all the sexist shit. It is literally too much to not take in. This does not make me weak or antifeminist – it makes me a completely normal person who has ears and eyes and is not a recluse. It makes me a person who has been consistently reminded since she was 14 that she is a lesser human because she likes to have orgasms.

So thank you for telling me that I should be proud of who I am and where my genitalia have been – fuck the haters, etc. But as of right now, the haters are talking a little louder than you. TC mark

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