I’ve slapped my fair share of people in 19 years of life, so I could hardly be surprised when karma finally caught up with me and it was I who was left standing, eyes watering, cheeks stinging – but it wasn’t a physical slap that left me speechless. Instead, it was the blow of an accusation thrown at me by someone I had stood by during countless dark days of depression; he dared to suggest that I wouldn’t notice his absence in this world because I’d be too busy ‘being a slut’ and sticking my tongue down the throat of countless guys. I stood there wondering after the shots were fired: maybe his words were true? Forget him – I would never – but am I a slut? Is it fair to define me that way?
Before I could answer that question, I consulted the Oxford dictionary definition of the word ‘slut’, because I am definitely a nerd, and a nerd always does her research. ‘Slut’ is defined as a derogatory word to describe a woman who has many casual sexual partners. The definition was simple enough to understand, but nothing about it implied to me that the term should be derogatory. When we think about men, we often think that all they care about is sex, money, and more sex; an overgeneralisation that is terribly unfair to them, whilst nonetheless making it normal for males to desire many sexual partners. It’s just guys being guys when they go out with the lads, hit on a couple of girls, and attempt to pull before the night ends – a nice guy who actually cares about more than simply fucking is special, a gentlemen to be praised for his enlightened attitude.
Alternatively, women are bound and gagged when it comes to their right to sexual expression; they are supposed to be emotional, out for love and commitment rather than simple physical release. It’s only socially acceptable for us to participate in sexual relations when it’s getting serious and we’ve started planning the wedding. Society and God forbid we simply go out and find a guy because we’re horny; lust is a sin (right?), and you don’t want to be impure.
In a university town like St. Andrews, the classic cases of drunken make-out sessions and blurry Sinners nights are perfect examples of how nice girls have “slutty moments.” Apparently, if we actually act on our secret desire for that tall, sultry-eyed, totally-a-model Swede from our psychology module, we’re sluts. Well, guess what? Female desire is a thing. While we’re not running societies, kicking ass on sports teams or planning world domination (though that one might just be me), we have spare moments in which we get all hot and bothered and a long run or cold shower just simply isn’t enough to satisfy us. And why should it? Sex is a basic human need; like breathing or eating, it’s an act that serves a purpose biologically and is required for the continuation of the human race. However, just as you don’t need to dine at fancy restaurants or purchase gourmet chocolates to ingest enough nutrients to survive, you don’t need to have sex only to get pregnant; sex is like treating yourself to Janetta’s, but with far fewer calories. Besides, its benefits as a stress-reliever, a sleeping aid, an immune system booster, and a heart attack reducer, it’s kind of mind-blowing, feels amazing, and is a lot more fun than going to the gym.
I’m not saying that you’re wrong to wait or that sex is completely devoid of emotional significance; you are sharing an intimate experience with someone and if you think a few dates and perhaps knowing his name is necessary before you fall into bed and get kinky, that’s completely your right. It is, however, equally my right to decide that I’m far too busy for a relationship right now and can’t pencil in more than a casual hook-up. That doesn’t make me less respectable, intelligent, or moral; it doesn’t give you the right to call me a slut, accuse me of being easy, or label me a whore. My personal life and what, or who, I do in it should not be my defining characteristic, and I should not join in with the voices unfairly labelling me. No one can make you feel inferior unless you let them; so don’t let them. Do not add your voice to their criticisms, do not agree with their labels, because then you start accepting their image of who you are, and that’s a dangerous thing. Embrace your sexuality; explore the possibilities that exist because sometimes the weirdest things turn you on and that’s okay. It’s your body and as long as you feel comfortable and are having fun, there’s no shame in hooking up with someone you’ll never speak to again. Alternatively, there’s nothing wrong with waiting till that guy you’ve been secretly crushing on asks you out on a date or two.
The important fact is that sex is your choice and no one should be able to judge you for the decisions you make regarding it. I am not a slut; I am a person with needs who likes to find creative ways to keep myself entertained and satisfied. If you’re not okay with that, I’ll be over here with my tongue down someone’s throat, not listening.
Photo credit: Sally Allmark