Letter To A Slut

Dear Slut,

I am writing a letter to you, because you’re quite a controversial person in society these days. I mean, you’ve always been. We all think you’re something different. Some would say that you and me have quite a bit in common. So I asked a bunch of people what they think you are and got some pretty interesting responses.

Question: How would you define a ‘slut’?

“A discrace [sic] to all women.” – Urban dictionary

“Someone who is careless with sex, with a reckless disregard for their own health and/or feelings and those of their partners. This is not necessarily someone who has a lot of sex or different kinds of sex, but it does require multiple partners. It definitely isn’t exclusive to one gender.” – A female on Facebook

“A derogatory term used by men who see empowered women as a threat. Or women who are jealous and so embedded in the classist/sexist society that they refuse to see beyond it. It’s a non-term. Fake news.” – My sister

“An old English word, which used to mean an unclean and slovenly woman. This would be circa 16th century England.
In recent years, the word has changed to mean a promiscuous woman.” – One of my male subscribers

“Someone who has multiple partners with no emotion behind what they do” – A female friend

slut pic 1

“There’s no such thing.” – A female on Facebook

“Someone who just sleeps around with anything that walks without standards. Like fucks the entire football team, because they thought it was cool” – A male I had a fling with

“Someone who plays with people’s feelings and/or manipulates them” – A male friend

“It’s not a term I really use or think about. To me, it’s an idea that was probably created by insecure men to control female sexuality. If women want to enjoy sex or have casual relationships, how can that be a bad thing for single guys? There has to be some kind of upper limit, though. Maybe if someone was being so indiscriminate that they were spreading STD’s around without knowing or caring, that could count. If there is such a thing as a slut, though, it should be equally possible for a man to be one.” – One of my male subscribers

“Girl coming from todays [sic] broken family (usually related to motherly neglect) that dresses/acts innapropriately to gain attention from others because she never had a mother influence and got way too much attention from her family. Grew up spoiled, confused and misguided. Mother is out finding herself, leaving the father to go search for her, which leaves the children also alone! The father is left to support and do the motherly responsibilities which the father has no instinct for, but he does his best.” – Someone else on Urban dictionary

slut pic 2

“I think of the term in someone who would sacrifice intimate, family, and personal relationships for sexual gratification…” – A male on Facebook

“I tried to reclaim the term for myself for a long time and it didn’t make me feel better. A nasty term used by people who want to police others’ bodies” – A female friend 

“Someone who is promiscuous, not safe in her sexual practices, maybe uses it to get whatever she wants from people” – A female friend

“I use the term not to describe how much a person has sex, but why the person had sex. For example, the time in my life I felt “sluttiest” was when I was in a committed relationship, he was the only person I had sex with, but I tried to use sex to get him to like me again. I wasn’t having sex because of any positive, healthy reason. I felt dirty, used, and “slutty.” So if I hear a friend say “I want to have sex with 10 strangers because I am super horny,” I would definitely offer safety advice (and probably try to talk him/her out of it), but not call that slutty. If the friend said “I want to have sex with the girl I’m dating because that’s the only way she will agree to be my girlfriend,” I would say that is slutty because the friend is not using his/her body in a positive, healthy, self-respecting and self-loving way.” – A female on Facebook

slut meme

“I don’t use the word. Sexuality is free and innocent. Since this word is almost never applied to men I think it’s purely an attack of women’s freedom.” – A female on Facebook

“A person who is having sex with anyone for any reason without regards to who they may be hurting by their sexual actions. So someone who sleeps with married or committed people without regards for the persons spouse or significant other, and in such a way that is meant to hurt others or without valid emotional ties except for self gratification, can be a slut.” – A male on Facebook

“A woman who sleeps with multiple men at the same time and isn’t picky about who they sleep with” – A male I had a fling with

“I’ve been involved in BDSM/kink for pretty much my entire adult life, so it’s almost natural to me to think of “slut” as a pet name or a term of endearment. The word itself doesn’t make me upset, offended, or any negative emotion like that. In most of my circles as well as for me personally, it usually is used to refer to any person (though it does tend to take on a more “feminine” identity more often than not) who is sexually free, liberated, expressive, and empowered through his/her sexuality.” – A female on Facebook

“A promiscuous person, free with intimate affections but performs them in a disassociated way. I think it applies to all genders.” – A female friend

slut meme 2

“I think this word defines the person using it more than the person it’s being aimed at. Personally I think it’s a term that is supposed to shame someone else for how they choose to display/use their sexuality. I’ve seen it used to describe people who have only had sex with one person just because the person using it wasn’t happy with their action. I’ve also seen it used to describe someone who had sex with many people but it in no way hurt or affected the name caller. Either way, it’s a term used by a judgmental person to try and shame another person.” – A female on Facebook

A bitch I don’t like. It has nothing to do with sex.” – My best friend who’s female

Cheaters, and those who cheat with cheaters” – A female on Facebook

“A woman with the morals of a man” – Someone else on Urban dictionary

My thoughts about you, Slut

So people generally acknowledge your existence, but mainly associate you with negative things. I mean, look at all the memes above too (there are tonnes more). I’m not saying they’re wrong; it’s not just about you sleeping around with multiple partners. It’s also about you not being picky, being emotionally detached, manipulative, not safe in sexual practices and a cheater, amongst other things. Some people associate you with positive things. Some say you shouldn’t be labelled. I think that there are two different types of sluts out there that everyone’s talking about.

The first type of slut: The one that just sleeps around

I think you sleep around. But it’s not my job to label you a ‘slut’, because you could have different reasons for sleeping around. And I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that, if you’re honest, safe and don’t screw people over (figuratively). You’re the type of slut that everyone jumps in to defend. And with good reason.

slut strippers

Maybe you are discovering your boundaries and seeing how far you can go. Whether you’re OK to sleep with men you have no intention of marrying, having a relationship with or even dating. Whether you’re OK to have a threesome, foursome or orgy. Whether you’re OK with butt sex, BDSM, role-play or other kinky things. Maybe you won’t be OK with some of these things, but you’re pushing societal norms and rules to explore your own identity and not letting others tell you who you are or who you should be.

Maybe you’re in a period of transition. You’ve just started university and everyone is sleeping around, so you’re seeing if it works for you. Perhaps you’ve just been dumped, gotten out of a long-term relationship, gotten a divorce so you are seeking a rebound or multiple rebounds. This may or may not work for you, but you’re trying to heal yourself. Maybe you’ve suffered loss and just want to block it out before being dragged back to face it. Maybe you’re dead broke and need to strip/escort/do whatever to earn some cheddar – who am I to judge? Just be careful not to hurt those around you or yourself.

slut pic 3

Maybe you’re proud of your sexuality. You enjoy pleasing and being pleased, give blowjobs like a champ and think of yourself as a bit of a Samantha from Sex And The City. You like the confidence that comes with sexual experience and relish in your skillset. And of all the interesting stories you have that start with “On my Tinder date with so and so…” (yes, I have a lot in common with you.)

Whatever your reasons or gender, I think you have the right to own your own body and carry on sleeping around (with protection). You also have the right to label yourself. I think that the word ‘slut’ is a bit like the word ‘ni**er’ in that you can call yourself one if you choose to, but nobody can force that title onto you and strip you of the power of finding your own identity. If you’d rather say you’re ‘liberated’, ‘sexual’ or ’empowered’, then that is exactly what you are.

slut satc

The second type of slut: The one who’s not honest

If on the other hand, you’re an emotionally detached, cheating, hurtful, manipulative, attention-seeking person….. Then that’s shitty behaviour and should be called out. But that’s exactly what I would call you; ‘an emotionally detached, cheating, hurtful, manipulative, attention-seeking person.’ I wouldn’t call people like you a ‘slut’, because it’s such a broad term and could mean all the horrible things in the world as we’ve seen. It takes the power away from you to be called what you are – and we all deserve the power of truth, no matter how awful we are. I’m not saying the people I asked are wrong. Asking them to define you is kind of a trick question in itself. And actually that just proved how much of an umbrella term ‘slut’ is.

slut pic

The word ‘slut’ conjures up a negative image of a girl in a short skirt and takes power away from women to sleep around. When actually, the sleeping around is acceptable to most people here, it’s the hurtful things coupled with it that aren’t. So those hurtful things should be labelled in a specific way, rather than putting an ugly black smear on sleeping around and throwing all the other stuff in with it, causing a hell of a lot of uncertainty and negativity, all because of one word. Slut.

If we take all that negativity and cram it into the same word that could also simply mean ‘sleeping around’, then that will do nothing to get rid of negative attitudes towards women… Read more about combating female rape anxiety here. I’m not saying that you’re a rapist if you can define a ‘slut’. But we really need to think about how labeling affects our attitudes towards groups of people.

How would you define a ‘slut’? Leave a comment or shoot me an email :). Here’s some more dating advice… 

Yours Truly,

Zainab (A.K.A Tinderella) X

 

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