Eat, Drink, Blog / Gypsy's Musings

The Question of Being a “Slut”

questionSo, this is one of those questionable posts that you might not want to read. This is due to it having sexual content (duh! header!) and that it’ll probably piss off a lot of women who don’t like certain epithets that have been twisted to mean something pejorative when the word isn’t necessarily a pejorative to begin with. Finally, if you don’t like spoilers and haven’t seen Silver Linings Playbook, you might want to come back at another time (I’m not revealing key plot points, but I will discuss the film and its characters).

For those who don’t know, SLP is a dramedy about a bi-polar man, Pat (played with great nuance and skill by Bradley Cooper), and a neurotic (possibly nymphomanic, more on this below) woman, Tiffany (played with brave, occasional scene chewing by Jennifer Lawrence), who come together as friends and become a little less crazy in the process. In the suburb of Philadelphia where the characters reside, there are few secrets. It’s well known, for example, that subsequent to her husband’s death (possibly before and during their marriage, as well), Tiffany was pretty much labeled the town “slut.”

I’ve gone round and round a bit with this label. I personally don’t have a problem with this word, but a lot of women (especially feminists, among whom I consider myself a member) don’t like the derogatory terminology for a “woman who likes to have sex.” In fact, I think it’s the perfect word to describe a certain kind of woman: one who likes to have a lot of sex in as many different ways and scenarios as she can.  This isn’t about “sleeping around” or having multiple partners; it’s about being sexually adventurous. Dangerous diseases and people aside, not everyone likes adventurous sex. Sluts do. I think you can even talk about “man sluts,” if you like. Not guys who are Lotharios or cheaters, but men who really like their sex in 32 flavors and then some.

I struggled with my inner slut for most of my life. I was monogamously married for 18 years, and my ex was not comfortable with my flamboyant nature. My ex occasionally tried to satisfy me, but mostly he just oppressed me and made me feel bad for who I was. I think this is what is known as “slut shaming.”  And while we had a lot of sex during our marriage (and, to be honest, I miss the frequency if not the man), it wouldn’t make the average person blush.

Since our break-up, I have definitely had my share of blush-worthy encounters. But you know what? I’m not ashamed of being a slut. I own it. I’m even thinking of getting a “slut” tattoo (I have no tattoos, so this is rather remarkable branding). I don’t want to be told I’m bad or I should hate myself simply because society doesn’t like sluts. For the record, I am very much against cheating, but monogamy and fidelity are not mutually inclusive. I want to reclaim the label slut because it is not a synonym for promiscuous, but rather a sexuality that is no more or less authentic than any other form of sexuality.

In Silver Linings Playbook, Tiffany doesn’t brag about sleeping with everyone at her workplace (including women), which results in her losing her job. Nor is she ashamed for having slept with everyone at her work. She’s not trying to titillate, she simply has no issues with fucking random people. I’m sure there will be those who watch this movie and assure themselves that her slutty days are behind her by the end of the film. I actually doubt that she changes sexually, because that is not where her neurosis lies.

Tiffany says something really awesome near the beginning of the film when Pat judges her for being a slut:

“There’s always going to be a part of me that’s sloppy and dirty, but I like that.”

She then shouts at the convoluted Pat if he likes himself as much as she likes herself. I think that’s key to anyone who comes out, whether you come out as gay, a fetishist, or as a slut. If you like yourself, you like the sloppy and dirty stuff that is you. And if you never acknowledge you have a sloppy/dirty side, you won’t be happy in your relationships with other people, be they monogamous, polygamous, or somewhere in between.

And if you can’t have a sense of humor about all these labels, maybe this will help.

2 thoughts on “The Question of Being a “Slut”

  1. Good heavens…where to start?

    A Slut IS one (Woman) that IS Promiscusous. Period.
    And for that, she is shamed, and some claim, rightfully so. As She often carries STDs, and/or hidden HPV, that can cause cancer for her and her partner decades down the road if not sooner, and the emotional baggage of being used only for her goods, and ridden like a merry go round at the town store.

    ..Perhaps the first time we had sex..

    Men will basically try to bang any girl or woman that will let them.. they cannot wait.. They are fantasizing about sex daily, and it is not involving “love” at all.

    Now women are quite different.. Usually women have sex for the first time with a guy they atleast think they love.. Not many girls are in a hurry to get banged by anybody.

    Now over time, many girls can become abused, scorned, hurt, influenced by media etc, and they will drift away from their true nature, which is attaching sex to love.

    While women CAN physically have casual sex over the years and it does not destroy them, inside they are never truly content with this..A very small % that might have underwent abuse/are bipolar/repeatedly hurt can block out their natural female emotions as a way to protect themselves.

    Apparently casual sex for women with no emotions, can be satisfying, yet the women who claim to do this admit they have done it very very sparingly, or with friends..Or once in their entire lives after a break up.
    Sounds more like being lonely than really enjoying emotionless casual sex.

    Sorry, but there are egregious double standards, to sex for the sexes..
    One small example would be crying… Acceptable for women over many small things, not acceptable for men..I doubt many women would be attracted to guys who cried almost daily over any small thing.

    I am pointing out that sex is vastly different for men and women.. That is how we are made.. Even the girl who says she has casual sex without emotions points out the sex she had was with people she was already emotionally connected to, her friends.

    I have found that the most insecure women are the most sexual. Making a guy cum seems to be a quick fix for their insecurities. of course aftewards they feel like trash, or are so cold that they lack feelings completely.

    I have NEVER met a secure, balanced, confident woman who could just have sex, get up, leave, and feel happy to never see that person again.

    • While I whole-heartedly disagree on pretty much everything you’ve written here, you wrote it very respectfully, so I thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment in an intelligent manner. That said, you might want to look beyond whatever sources you currently cite, because there’s a great deal of evidence to the contrary (oh, and condoms are a thing… use them and eliminate that whole nasty STD problem, not to mention unwanted pregnancy). I highly recommend you read The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy. They include a brief but thorough list of resources to enhance your education further, should you wish to do so. And you might want to get out a bit more: There are many thousands if not millions of “secure, balanced, confident woman who could just have sex, get up, leave, and feel happy to never see that person again.”

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