Saturday, August 7, 2010

On Sluts

This article about sluthood is pretty awesome, and I totally relate. I went through my own period of explicit sluthood* just before embracing feminisms, and I found it empowering in a number of similar ways.

Like Jaclyn, "Sluthood gave me the time and space to nurse a shattered heart. It gave me a place where I could exist in pieces, some of me craving touch, some of me still too tender to even expose to the light." I had just exited a very emotionally-fraught long-term long-distance relationship. I was full of self-loathing from that, plus my mind was thoroughly colonized with all manner of fun patriarchal tropes, primarily that my fat and my inability to appropriately perform femininity made me inherently unattractive.

I eased into sluthood gently; I met Mr. #2 on Valentine's day, at a bar where we were both being mopey about being single, and he treated me like a princess. After that, I was all like, OMG men really do find me attractive? And they want sex -- with me?! Well hot damn! If dudes think I'm hot enough to dipstick, I must not be as bad as I think!

Yeah, I know, that's pretty fucked up, right? But that realization was the start of a journey that led to who I am now - a self-assured, self-confident, sexy-as-hell feminist woman. I needed that initial self-esteem bump to get to a place where I could really look at myself and go, hey self, you're actually doing pretty good for [all of these reasons unrelated to fuckability].

Plus, being with a diverse group of men taught me a lot about my preferences and needs. Sometimes that came from having my needs met spectacularly. Sometimes that came from not having my needs met, and learning how to negotiate through that... or learning how to cut my losses and move on. (And learning that sometimes I deserve better, and that I'm completely right to cut my losses and move on.)

It wasn't always sunshine and rainbows. But having those experiences and learning from them helped me to be a better person. A lot of the pushback ignores this outright, in favor of pointing out how fucked up us self-proclaimed sluts were at different points on our respective journeys.

Listen folks: people are often pretty fucked up. People aren't born perfect. Jaclyn's story and mine are chronicles of how we started with pretty fucked up ideas and learned better ones through engaging in casual sex. That's the whole point of saying that sluthood "gave me the time and space to nurse a shattered heart."

It might sound outlandish to you, but you might have had (oh I don't know) a completely different set of experiences than me. There's a good follow-up post on Feministe addressing how this kind of thing doesn't resonate with everyone. And it doesn't have to! But that's no reason to dismiss those of us for whom sluthood is an amazingly positive experience.

* I'm in the top 3% of women!  Lol...

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