Author: has written 15 posts for this blog.

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162 Responses

  1. ScaryJoann
    ScaryJoann July 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm |

    Wow. Just… wow. Blew me away.
    That was a fantastic and poignant piece with so many good, spot on points it made my brain shake. Extra points to you for having the guts to put it all out in the open.

  2. Thomas
    Thomas July 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm |

    Yes! To get all Butler, the “slut” and “whore” are abject identities the spectre of which are used to police women’s sexual behavior and expression of sexuality. Owning the abject identities, or refusing to revile them when directed at others, takes away their power.

  3. emily
    emily July 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm |

    Thank you!

  4. Meg W
    Meg W July 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm |

    This was brilliant. Bravo.

  5. O.
    O. July 26, 2010 at 1:00 pm |

    I read this piece and I have to say I feel the same. As much as I want a relationship, I’m tired of relationships with “the wrong” person.

    There’s definitely ways to enjoy life and sexuality without having to be attached, committed or monogamous.

  6. Carolyn E.
    Carolyn E. July 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm |

    Brilliant, insightful and inspiring.

  7. Phedre
    Phedre July 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm |

    Thank you. I think a part of me really needed to read that today. I can definitely relate to the feeling broken part, and the inability to be that vulnerable again anytime soon. Perhaps I will try out your path to healing. :D

  8. FilthyGrandeur
    FilthyGrandeur July 26, 2010 at 1:29 pm |

    wow. thank you so much for sharing. this is seldom discussed with women. generally speaking, we’re taught that we need to be “good” and desire a long-term relationship, and if you don’t get that, well, you’re doing something wrong. which is just ridiculous. everyone has their own wants and desires. there should be no standard since relationships can take all shapes.

  9. Corbin
    Corbin July 26, 2010 at 1:33 pm |

    (Awesome)10,000= this article.

  10. Melissa
    Melissa July 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm |

    My first big step in healing from my rape consisted of a one night stand. A one night stand in which consent was expressed by both parties at each and every step of the process.

    The actual sex was horrible. Really terrible. But that wasn’t the point. The point is that my “slutty” decision to do something that could certainly be perceived or an “unhealthy method of coping” or “damaging” or “dangerous” was none of the above. It was a major step in fixing what had been broken. And THAT is wonderful.

  11. Jadey
    Jadey July 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm |

    I’ve got some life stuff standing in the way of my aspirations for sluthood, but I cheer for you (and for the other inspiring sluts in my life).

  12. Clarissa
    Clarissa July 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm |

    I am not American and culturally the idea of counting your sexual partners and then defending your right to that number is very unusual to me. This is a great post because it offers an important insight into the culturally constructed nature of sexuality. Here, for example, we can see how a profound American fear of sexuality constantly keeps trying to control the potentially disruptive forces of sex by quantifying it and talking it to death.

    It’s also always very curious to me how Americans honestly believe that they are very sexually liberated simply because they talk about sex incessantly. This endless need to verbalize sexuality, however, demonstrates just how problematic it is for Americans.

  13. Thessa Mercury
    Thessa Mercury July 26, 2010 at 2:03 pm |

    Wow. That was… really powerful. I admire you for being able to own your desires and decisions like that, and I wish you the best in your sluthood :)

  14. Trenia
    Trenia July 26, 2010 at 2:24 pm |

    WOW!!! Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve had a similar experience as a result of a very painful break-up and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one. I especially like the part about being broken into pieces and not being ready to be that vulnerable again. I would love to read more about your experience.

  15. Lucy
    Lucy July 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm |

    That was a brilliant and (for me) timely post. I can so relate to the feeling of simultaneously reviling and craving a monogamous relationship and all its associations, but ultimately wanting an incredible kind of love. And yes, having been extremely slutty for the past few years and still working out my feelings about it, I see that there is a lot of unnecessary cognitive dissonance between being sexually satisfied and being capable of a mature relationship. I will most probably read this again. You’ve given me a lot to chew on.

  16. ImNoAngel
    ImNoAngel July 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm |

    This.Is.Amazing!! In my own life, I’m considering owning my own sluthood again, as a way to have that sense of touch and connection while waiting for my long-term, soul, body, and spirit mate to manifest. I feel empowered, now, regardless of which path I choose to follow. Thank you!

  17. Aliem
    Aliem July 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm |

    If I were a better writer, I could have written most of this from my own perspective. This is a powerful piece that resonates pretty strongly on a lot of levels, and writing it makes you pretty awesome.

    Also, not for nothing, acknowledging your privilege like you do in an article like this is extra amazing. Much love.

  18. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage July 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm |

    *applause*

    Sex is *supposed* to be fun for everyone involved. I’ve never understood why so many people (men, in particular) are determined to make it scary, painful, humiliating, and devoid of enjoyment.

  19. Spectra Speaks
    Spectra Speaks July 26, 2010 at 3:11 pm |

    Jaclyn,

    Thank you SO much for this really brave, candid, and hilarious piece! The way you take personal experiences and ground them for us all via larger issues so many kinds of women can relate to is a gift. I’m so grateful that you share it. ‘Cause seriously, I’m a little braver after reading this today. Thank you.

    This line: “Sluthood healed the part of me that felt my body and my desires were grotesque after two years in a libido-mismatched partnership.”

    What? Were you in my head today?? I can’t shake that line… The courage behind those words plus the conclusion so many of us try to avoid saying out loud; I need to go write in my journal now… I think you just saved me some money in therapy!

  20. Atheistchick
    Atheistchick July 26, 2010 at 3:24 pm |

    Great post! I’m a slut, too!

  21. sophia b
    sophia b July 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm |

    thanks for posting this.
    Tonight I i’m gonna be sleeping with a guy who knows its just for fun and not a relationship. I’ve done this before and it hasn’t generally been great (but neither has all the inside a relationship sex). I think its sometimes gone wrong because the guys i’m sleeping with don’t really care much about my pleasure especially with a one night stand arrangement.
    A few nights ago i was wondering if maybe the casual sex wasn’t for me, maybe it really is only enjoyable when i’m with someone i love. Which made me incredibly sad, i want to be able to enjoy sexual pleasure with someone else when i’m not in a relationship, cause i don’t really want a relationship right now. I think i’m gonna give it a few more goes before giving up on the casual sex.

  22. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin July 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm |

    I wonder if the phrase slut can really apply to a man. Suffice it to say, however, that I’ve had many wonderful sexual encounters with people I met over CL and the internet. Back in my teens, the internet was the only way for socially awkward people to meet each other. When I’d meet someone, male or female, they were as starved for a sexual outlet as I was. And I am not ashamed of these times.

    I learned a tremendous amount from these hook ups. I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot from sexual partners. Some of these became relationship material, some stayed friends with benefits, and some I never saw again, ever. But all of them were very pleasurable.

  23. Marlene
    Marlene July 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm |

    Lovely lovely lovely! My slutty self and my slutty girlfriend also met through a slutty NSA Craigslist hookup.

  24. Jade
    Jade July 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm |

    I came across this purely by accident (StumbleUpon) and it left me feeling so many things….all very positive. I’m in awe of the author’s candor and self awareness. I’ve bookmarked the site and can’t wait to read more!

  25. Kelly
    Kelly July 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm |

    Oh my god, thank you so much for this. I’ve been in committed, often long-term, monogamous relationships ever since I was thirteen with very few, very brief interruptions. I was dumped a little less than a month ago, and I find myself with a variety of options, and haven’t known how to handle it. Thank you for showing me that interest does not necessarily have to lead to a serious relationship, and that if it doesn’t, that that’s okay, and perhaps even for the best. I hope I can come to be as comfortable in my own skin as you seem to be. Thank you.

  26. F
    F July 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm |

    I want to give you a standing ovation. This is the most awesome damn piece I’ve read anywhere on the internet, all day.

  27. Agnes
    Agnes July 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm |

    *standing ovation*

    This is AMAZING! I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for almost two years now, but before that I ‘slept around’ quite a bit and could never really work out why other people thought this was a bad thing, when I enjoyed it and it didn’t cause me or anyone else any harm. I spent the first year or so of my relationship feeling like I should be feeling dirty and ashamed of myself because of the number of sexual partners I’d had (not a huge amount, but my partner had only had one). It was until I started reading feminist blogs like this one a few months ago that I thought – ‘WAIT a minute… why’s that now?’ This post has just cemented my belief that there’s nothing wrong with being a ‘slut’ if you want to be one and no one – NO ONE – should ever make any woman feel like a bad person for enjoying sex with more than one person.

  28. Lola Nicole
    Lola Nicole July 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm |

    I absolutely loved this!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me realize that I don’t need to feel bad about myself and decisions I have made, that sleeping with a man that I am not in a relationship with does not mean I have ruined my chances at finding real love.

  29. Kristen
    Kristen July 26, 2010 at 5:17 pm |

    Love this article. <3
    My only problem is/was that I was using sluthood as a method to find a long-term relationship and it was ending it one disaster after another and i was subsequently getting more hurt than if I had just "stayed home." i'm convinced i may be too immature to handle sluthood and maybe i'm not the only one? after dabbling in both areas, i may have to make my own robo-boyfriend/grlfriend.

  30. ManDude
    ManDude July 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm |

    That was absolutely necessary. Thank you for your candor and bravery, this has really been a terrific read.

  31. eight line poetry
    eight line poetry July 26, 2010 at 5:59 pm |

    I did the same thing after getting out of a long term relationship and all I got was a case of genital herpes and accompanying year-long-plus depressive episode.

    Glad it worked for you, though.

  32. margo
    margo July 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm |

    this was awesome!

  33. somewhere between sex-positive and asexual
    somewhere between sex-positive and asexual July 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm |

    I know this is a personal account and that the author would never expect everyone who reads this post to have the same sexual history as she does.

    BUT. (Emphasis mine.)

    I’m thinking of one particular instance in which I had what was for me a very painful dry spell: a year and a half in which I barely got to kiss anyone, and didn’t get to do anything other than that at all, sexually speaking, with anyone. It… yeah. Didn’t feel too good. Made me feel like I would never be touched or loved again. Made me feel, in a word, desperate. You know what’s not a great emotional state for making important life decisions? Desperation.

    To wit: after this year and a half of nothing, I went to bed with a woman I barely knew on our first date. Nothing wrong with that, we had a great time, and seriously, did I mention a year and a half?

    My last sexual encounter was almost three years ago. That’s not good or bad, that just the way things are. However, I’m getting from this passage that there is a vague, albeit commonly accepted limit of how long a girl can go without. And that there is a prescribed script for periods of “deprivation”.

    I am not feeling desperate. I am not feeling unloved. Yet I sometimes feel like I should be. Sometimes like when I read posts like this one.

    The reality is, I’m not having partner sex right now and I probably won’t for a good couple more months. Why? Well cause a) though I have no problems with casual hookups, I’d want something that’s a little more emotionally investing at the moment, for it to be worth it; but b) I currently have no time to sustain any kind of sexual/romantic relationship, mostly due to working constraints.

    So where does that leave me? Well, I masturbate regularly and that’s enough for now. Sometimes it’s fantastic, sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s everyday, sometimes it’s once every two weeks. I respect my urges for orgasm and I find a way to have them met. It’s not intimacy with a partner, it’s something different: more of an exercise in self-pleasuring and -exploration. Should I be feeling sorry for myself? Should anyone be feeling sorry for me? I sure fucking hope not.

    The author mentioned the “numbering” of partners as problematic. I say we should start considering counting the time during sex encounters with a partner as problematic, too.

  34. somewhere between sex-positive and asexual
    somewhere between sex-positive and asexual July 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm |

    sorry for the html tag fuckup :S

  35. H
    H July 26, 2010 at 6:39 pm |

    I have found this article at precisely the right moment in my life, when I have made the decision to embark upon my own Adventure in Sluthood in order to heal myself. Similarly to the writer, there are past traumas, triggers, a painful breakup. An inability to differentiate between lust, affection, and something deeper. Each rejection producing a fresh emmulation of the aforementioned traumas and triggers.

    Then I met J, and thank god for J. After three years of semi-enforced, semi-paralysed celibacy, here was a guy who wanted to fuck me. On his parents’ sofa. In front of the family cat. Even though I hadn’t shaved. For months. And it was awesome. And then we went our separate ways, and it didn’t matter. I barely knew the man, so there was no way I could think it was meaningful, that the connection- had there been one in the first place- was in any way an emotional or intellectual one. It wasn’t. It was sex. It was liberating, it was empowering, it was exhilarating and it felt great.

    Throughout my adult life, I’ve been ever mindful of my Number, ever cautious of promiscuity- lest I betray the traditionalist values instilled in me by my mother. Her greatest concern in raising a daughter was that she grow up to be ‘ladylike’. Well, Mum, do not despair: you did not fail. But I choose now, at 27, to reject those ideals. I am going to fuck my head together again. I need not to care in order to built the strength to dare to care once more.

    All these thoughts I’d been having for a fortnight or so prior to finding this article. Finding it has only strengthened my resolve, now that I realise that what I’m feeling is really nothing new, nor is it peculiar to me. It is absolutely valid and absolutely fine.

    And I’m really going to enjoy the next few months.

  36. thordora
    thordora July 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm |

    I am in the exact same place. THANK YOU for saying this. All of it.

  37. Tash
    Tash July 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm |

    Im a slut. And in love with 1 man who i would do anything for. I just love sex, what can I say?

  38. Hailey
    Hailey July 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm |

    What an amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing with us!!

  39. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe July 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm |

    If you self-identify as a slut, fine, but I’ve always found the whole “slutiness” concept so nebulous as to be nearly useless. Ask 10 people what a slut is and you’ll get 10 different answers. At least.

    Slutiness seems always to be defined as the opposite of some other (presumably righteous) form of sexual/romantic behavior: lifelong monogamy, serial monogamy, arranged marriage, whatever. This makes it like the horizon, constantly shifting, more of a concept than an actual thing.

  40. Heather
    Heather July 26, 2010 at 7:39 pm |

    Very well spoken, and I respect you for being so honest for yourself. At this point in my life sluthood is not for me, but maybe in the future it will be. I am very glad to see that you are making choices in an effort to be happy, and well rounded as every individual should be entitled.

  41. Juliet
    Juliet July 26, 2010 at 8:00 pm |

    I can’t even tell you how wonderful this piece is. I actually teared up a little in the middle there. Thank you for your honest eloquence and awesome bad ass lady power.

  42. Katy
    Katy July 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm |

    Hurrah! Brava! I love your use of the word. Words have power, and the more we don’t or are too afraid to use them the more power they gain. I’m quite fond of taking the power out of the word “cunt”. Cunt. Cunty Mc.Cunt cunt.
    Hurrah for female sexual prowess, hurrah for you!
    My 5 year relationship is on the rocks right now, and in between crying myself to sleep and being determined that he and I will fix this, I know if my world comes crashing down, slutdom would eventually be on the docket.
    A glorious, glorious bout of slut. :)

  43. Brenna
    Brenna July 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm |

    I have had my fair share of sluthood myself. I was in a relationship that was off and on for almost a year and a half. We broke things off for good, and the amount of guys I slept with went from 1 to 18 in between my senior year of high school and sophomore year of college. Through my slut time, I had maybe three or four guys that decided to stick around for 2 or 3 months at a time, but after it got too serious, they kindof dropped of the face of the earth along with the rest of them. All of the sleeping around I did was centered around trying to find a guy that was worthy of staying with, and showed me that they cared for more than sex. After all of my slutty/shitty experiences, I have finally found a boyfriend that shows that. Thanks to you, I no longer feel like a whore for doing what I did.

  44. ka
    ka July 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm |

    cool

  45. Hannah
    Hannah July 26, 2010 at 8:47 pm |

    This piece sounds a lot like my current life. I’ve met a B (punctuation jokes included) and things haven’t turned out the best with him.

  46. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon July 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm |

    Like many who have already commented, I related so deeply to this beautifully written piece. Brava!

  47. Kara
    Kara July 26, 2010 at 9:09 pm |

    Reading the comments here was almost as interesting as reading the article itself. It’s a fantastic article, and it makes an excellent point. The thing that bugs me is that there’s a need to write it at all. Even in the Wikipedia definition of the word slut, it clearly states that “The term is generally applied to women…”

    It’s rare that anyone calls a guy a slut, no matter how many casual sex encounters he has. In fact, in our culture, that kind of behavior is generally expected of and encouraged – for males.

    Not everyone will choose this path. Not everyone needs it. Every person, man or woman, has their own personal sex drive, and their own personal need for sex (or lack of need, as the case may be). Those needs can be physical or emotional or mental, and are as widely varied as the people who have them.

    Definitely, being a slut, as described in this article, is healthier than shoving yourself into relationships for no better reason than that you want the sex, or want to feel desired and attractive, or simply want to feel the touch of another human being.

    I do think though, that we also need to work on not feeling unloved or unworthy just because it’s been a while since we last had sex. I’ve known the desire to just ‘be touched’ when it’s been a long time since anyone last held me in their arms or caressed me… but I’ve never felt that because I hadn’t had sex in a while that I must be unlovable or undesirable.

    ‘When we last had sex’ should not be a ruler for our self-esteem any more than ‘how long our last relationship lasted’, or ‘how many people we’ve had (or haven’t had) sex with.’

    I’m an awesome person. When I last had sex, who I had it with, whether or not I was in a ‘relationship’ with them, isn’t going to change that.

  48. Tanya
    Tanya July 26, 2010 at 9:28 pm |

    I can not begin to thank you enough for this! I am on the edge of where this idea germinated for you, and I’m so thankful to be given such a generous and open option to consider for myself. You are a gift and this is a gift! Thank you!

  49. lizfits
    lizfits July 26, 2010 at 10:12 pm |

    This was fantastic. Thank you for saying it.

  50. Athenia
    Athenia July 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm |

    [quote]I do think though, that we also need to work on not feeling unloved or unworthy just because it’s been a while since we last had sex. I’ve known the desire to just ‘be touched’ when it’s been a long time since anyone last held me in their arms or caressed me… but I’ve never felt that because I hadn’t had sex in a while that I must be unlovable or undesirable.[/quote]

    I had this same thought. If I staked my happiness on the amount of sex I’ve had in the last 25 years, I would have been a very unhappy girl for 24 of them.

  51. karen
    karen July 26, 2010 at 11:27 pm |

    AWESOME. my friend sent me this link. said she read it and thought of me, i was flattered – as a recently divorced (17yrs!-married young) turned happy slut pushing 40 i say, yes!! no time like the present. I’m only getting older so i might as well exercise the temple to it’s greatest regret defying pleasurable heights!
    more power to you and every slut in the world.
    gotta make that word -slut- less negative and more meaningful.
    thanks for posting your thoughts.
    Karen

  52. Jen
    Jen July 27, 2010 at 12:16 am |

    I have chills. Thank you so much.

  53. confused
    confused July 27, 2010 at 12:25 am |

    Post break-up, being termed something close to a slut due to a few visits by a few male friends, I would say that your post is truly well- written, and strikes a chord. The loneliness, the depression, and the reluctance to get into another relationship, all seem a lot less ominous after reading your post. remarkable!!

  54. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 27, 2010 at 1:02 am |

    If I staked my happiness on the amount of sex I’ve had in the last 25 years, I would have been a very unhappy girl for 24 of them.

    Ditto… and I’m only 23! ;p

    I loved this post, but it was entirely alien to my personal experiences. It was like a mysterious, interesting travelogue. :D

    Gotta cosign a bit of somewhere between sex-positive and asexual’s point (which, ps, LOVE the name) where I say 1.5 years? That’s not universally a dry spell! …But maybe you like to stay hydrated, and I’m just well-adapted for a desert environment.

  55. LC
    LC July 27, 2010 at 1:33 am |

    This was lovely, thank you.

  56. Margaret
    Margaret July 27, 2010 at 1:34 am |

    Never too old to learn! I’m 54, and I think back to earlier years and how I felt debauched and as if no decent man would ever want me – after only one boyfriend! The shame that accompanied my sex life was a heavy burden. And the sexual politics on top of that – it seemed like I lived in a “you poke it, you own it” world where guys got to keep the girl if they wanted, and the bragging rights if they didn’t. Male “conquest” was almost all that ever seemed to be on offer, and I rejected it, to many a lonely night. Female sexual agency was shamed and ridiculed.

    I think this system benefits the guys: it gives them a chance to have relationships with girls who wouldn’t otherwise have those guys, because of being ashamed of their “number”. I ran into lots of guys who expected a relationship to result after sex. The idea I’m trying to get across is this: that slut shaming pressures girls to “settle” for less than what they want.

    If guys had approached me for sex as a fun thing for two people to do instead of trying to turn it into a game where if we have sex, he “wins” and I “lose”, it would have made for better sexual experiences.

    So, after becoming widowed, I decided to become a slut and lost the baggage, at least most of it. It helps to live in a city large enough to allow me some anonymity.

  57. Kelsey
    Kelsey July 27, 2010 at 2:14 am |

    Gosh, you make this sound easy. I can’t even get guys interested in me for sex. I mean, I’m only 19 and definitely on the rebound and it’s summer so there’s not really any opportunity to see guys at the moment, but at school it’s like I might as well be invisible– except for the one creeper who almost ruined my first semester by following me around whenever he could. I just don’t know how to do this. I’m a complete virgin in every sense of the word and it feels like the longer it takes, the harder it will be to get anyone interested in me. I mean, if I’m 29 and still a virgin, who would want to crack into that, right? And it doesn’t help that I’m fat and depressed and difficult too.

    I need the healing but half of the problem is I can’t be a slut until someone wants to have sex with me. :/

  58. RD
    RD July 27, 2010 at 2:31 am |

    This is alien to me too, and kind of depressing. I probably shouldn’t even read or make any kind of attempt to relate to things like this tho.

  59. bryony1
    bryony1 July 27, 2010 at 2:31 am |

    I’m a feminist from the early ’70s, and one of the things feminists tried to do back and ever since is eliminate derogatory terms for sexually active women: “whore,” “slut,” etc. How has this failed to be known to younger women? Why is the word “slut” so common on the Internet?

    The healthy exercise of one’s libido, whether with a few people or many dozens, should not be interpreted as anything bad, as long as one’s careful about who one’s with and takes safety precautions against STDs and unwanted pregnancies. PERIOD.

  60. EbyKat
    EbyKat July 27, 2010 at 2:32 am |

    I am so proud to see these words. I felt a lot like I could have written so much of this. Only for me my sluthood came as an unintended response to a bad break up. I just started seeking the physical more than the emotional ties.
    I’m back there again, though on healthier terms, and I’m ok with that. I’m more than ok, I’m excited and giddy that I’m free. So GO YOU. And let’s all fly our slut flags with pride. :)

  61. RD
    RD July 27, 2010 at 3:20 am |

    “as long as one’s careful about who one’s with”

    So as long as you don’t have SEX with sluts, its fine to be one?

  62. anon for this one
    anon for this one July 27, 2010 at 3:47 am |

    I mean, if I’m 29 and still a virgin, who would want to crack into that, right?

    Well, I’m 24 and a virgin; it’s not that bad. I figure anyone prejudiced about older virgins isn’t worth my time anyway.

    This was an incredible article – I’m going to print it out and tape it up in the womyns’ room and queer room at uni. And maybe the cafeteria. I’m definitely looking forward to letting my slut out of the box, in the future!

  63. S
    S July 27, 2010 at 4:06 am |

    Thanks very much for this post, it really speaks to me (and to others obviously). I also got out of a short marriage with mismatched libido, and felt quite unloved and unwanted. Afterwards I started a friends w/benefits which was very healing. That’s over now, but I think I’m considering going into sluthood a bit more, as I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship right now.

  64. RD
    RD July 27, 2010 at 4:19 am |

    Like I said I found this a little depressing. Maybe because you seem to be about 15 years older than me and still strike me as more “innocent/inexperienced” (? opposite of slutty?) than “slutty” and yet you still feel the need to defend yourself. I don’t even know what my “number” is, to start with (but I also don’t really know anyone who cares about “numbers” and haven’t in at least several years), etc.

  65. atheist
    atheist July 27, 2010 at 4:36 am |

    Great essay, thanks for sharing it, Jaclyn! I’ll have to consider sluthood on a much deeper level now.

  66. Ross
    Ross July 27, 2010 at 6:50 am |

    That a market-loving, libertarian, middle-class white boy like me is considering adding this blog to my RSS feed after reading just this one post is some indication of how refreshing this was to read. (It may also speak volumes about my impulsiveness, but we’ll skip that.)

  67. Cecile
    Cecile July 27, 2010 at 7:16 am |

    ““as long as one’s careful about who one’s with”

    So as long as you don’t have SEX with sluts, its fine to be one?”

    I read this as not having sex with people who are going to treat you badly or make you feel inferior for wanting to have sex with them

  68. ce
    ce July 27, 2010 at 7:45 am |

    I love this post!!! and i’m totally familiar with your experiences i’m in my late (late) 30’s and thanks to craiglist (that is not common here in argentina, so my dates were all from abroad and i have to say all of you are lucky the best were from USA, great lovers) i had sex after 15 months. I was feeling ugly and sad and i barely go out after a really bad experience and all of a sudden i realized that i want to live and be happy and what i really wanted was SEX (and the phisical closeness that sex brings to you)
    The first time i go out with someone from “casual encounters” i was feeling exactly like you!!! and thinking, “what am i doing, going out with a complete stranger only for sex, maybe he is a serial killer, what my friends will say…etc) But i met 6 wonderful guys, to be honest craiglist is so uncommon here that there were only a few ads that worth it. Here we have match.com, but is more for relationships…And of course it wasn’t only the SEX, it was having a drink, a nice chat, it was to dress up and feel sexy again.
    Now i’m on match.com and i also start to go out again to bars and clubs with my friends. No more reclusion for me. Good and safe Casual Sex changed my attitude.

  69. Jennifer
    Jennifer July 27, 2010 at 9:25 am |

    Thanks so much for writing this. It is not just brave, but it’s very balanced/honest in terms of discussing not only your own feelings but the social context in which those play out–women aren’t necessarily supposed to behave like this, it may in some cases not be “safe” to do this, but you’ve thought about ways to mitigate that and decided to own your experience, take the risk and share it with others in an attempt help others gain more understanding and acceptance.

    Like some of the commenters, I’m more conservative in my approach to sexuality, but I didn’t read this post as a bash on how pathetic I am or a suggestion that I should be “sluttier” (whatever that means). I should be conservative, if I wish to be, because that’s what I really want, rather than because I’m afraid of the alternative. That’s the goal here–options for women. Even if I choose not to ever exercise it, I thank you for making the liberated option seem more viable to me without the shaming I have sometimes felt elsewhere about being uptight.

  70. Non Believer
    Non Believer July 27, 2010 at 9:47 am |

    Hooray for you!
    My advise (and its entirely biased) is when you find the right person for a more permanent relationship – don’t live with them. Keep it a dating relationship. Marriage type structures are one of the most dangerous things to a good romantic relationship and one of the biggest inhibitors to personal growth. How much more have you learned about yourself since your break up than you learned during the relationship?

  71. Jade
    Jade July 27, 2010 at 9:51 am |

    Amazing! You put into words everything I’ve always felt about myself and my sexuality. Well-written and so poignant, I loved it!

  72. Improbable Joe
    Improbable Joe July 27, 2010 at 9:52 am |

    Just stumbled across this blog, and the first impression is pretty damned positive!

    On the subject, I’ve been a “man-whore” in the past, in the exact situation described here. I had the sort of breakup that knocked me down so low I wound up moving back in with my parents because I was almost incapable with dealing with life after her. Being a “slut” helped me get through the couple of years it took me to regain my footing. And maybe surprisingly, I caught some flack for it from my friends. Seems like guys can’t get away with it quite so easily as they used to? Anyways, a few years later one of those casual flings turned into a real relationship. Now I’m married and happy and everything is cool and groovy… and wouldn’t have been without a couple of years of slutting around. :)

    I just wonder why people would look down on anyone, man or woman, who is going out and finding what makes them feel good. They are just choices, and there’s no real difference between choosing to avoid casual encounters and choosing to look for them. If you’re doing what feels right to you, you’re honest with people, and you try not to hurt anyone unnecessarily, then go out there and get some! Life’s too short to worry about unhappy people complaining about your choices.

  73. lauren
    lauren July 27, 2010 at 11:25 am |

    I like this post overall, but most of all i like that you mentioned that you’re fat. I’m fat, and while currently in a long term relationship, do think that I’d love to embrace my sluthood if I were single. But I’ve always felt like I couldn’t do that because I’m fat and that it would be too hard to find people interested in me. So thanks! It’s wonderful to hear about the positive experiences of another fat slut.

  74. Ansa
    Ansa July 27, 2010 at 11:31 am |

    I’m shaking and smiling as I read this :) “Sluthood saved my life”, I said it twice in my head and my smile got bigger. This is very true for me as well, but I didn’t realize exactly how to put it. I was curious, not pathetic with low self-esteem (although that is a serious issue for some young women). People treated me horribly, I was hailed by other girls and talked about nonstop by girls and boys (I say girls and boys because this was high school, really). The rumors almost ruined my high school because I wasn’t sure if I was as wrong as they were telling me. Why was it ok for a guy to be curious, but not a girl? I was never ashamed, just sexually aggressive which is apparently not something people like women to be.

    Right after graduation, I finally started talking to a very quiet guy that I really liked. This was after I swore that my days of sluttiness were over. That I wanted to actually date and see what happened. Well…I ended up at his house, surprisingly innocently baking cookies. He didn’t even look interested in anything sexual, just plain fun. I opened up, I was having a great time not having any sexual tension in the room. As is my nature, as the night wore on, I created tension and he opened up as well. He was completely inexperienced, and we were both acting out of character. He was being aggressive (for someone who had never been in this situation before) and I was being aggressive (for someone who had recently sworn aggressiveness off). We ended up doing many things. Driving home that night, I felt ashamed that I had “done it again”. Ruined another potentially first real relationship. Luckily for me, this one was different. He contacted me the next day, and not for a booty call, but for a date. My first real date ever. Four years later I’m happy to say that we’re still together, happily going on dates and occasionally not having sex (and here I thought that was what a RELATIONSHIP WAS…SEX,) and traveling together. Sluthood saved my life :) I took one last stab and it made me the happiest person I’ve been in a very long time.

    The lesson for me was to not be ashamed for trying a different route. You might end up on the best path for you :)

  75. dpg
    dpg July 27, 2010 at 11:41 am |

    thanks ! sometimes casual is only gross though. e.g. there isn’t enough affection in it, or not enough sexual understanding because, hey, this is first encounter or the guy is in macho mode or… too bad ! omg i wish i could finally find this f*%ing ONE !

  76. Steph
    Steph July 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm |

    Absolutely brilliant. I have never had sluthood articulated so magnificently. Thank you!

  77. offfwhite
    offfwhite July 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm |

    I had an epiphany after my first casual sex…. I realized I’d been lied to my entire life. I was actually free to define my sex for myself. I then spent my 20s unlearning everything I’d been taught about what sex was supposed to mean to me as a woman.

    Now at 33, I am in a polyamorous relationship with a man who loves me for being a slut. I lead such a charmed life.

  78. Morgan
    Morgan July 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm |

    @Kelsey

    I don’t know if it helps – and it probably doesn’t, much, but just in case – but up until a couple of months ago, I’d have agreed with just about every word you typed.
    And then…stuff happened, and I seem to have ended up with an embarrassment of riches on the partner front.

    Don’t give up on it, and don’t sell yourself short – virgin or not, you’ll eventually run into the right person/people. And I obviously don’t know what it’s like to be 29, but it hardly seems like it’s past it :p

  79. cathy
    cathy July 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm |

    I’m glad you shared this since I’ve always had my share of guilt when it comes to casual sex. Believe it or not I waited and waited til my late 30’s for the One. I thought she arrived but there is no ONE and soon realized that I wasted so much time. Subconsciously I thought sex had to be special thus the waiting and saving myself. Some women need a relationship to justify sex but short change themselves in the process.

    If she and I were compatible for a relationship – it would work out no matter what, waiting and saving made no difference. Ironically, she was fresh out of a relationship, like you she wanted to explore. Glad she didn’t change her mind and we never winded up in a relationship.

  80. Shaun
    Shaun July 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm |

    You need to read this. Have you considered polyamory?

  81. Lynet
    Lynet July 27, 2010 at 3:25 pm |

    Hooray Jaclyn! Sluttiness was my way of learning about sex. I lost my virginity one month shy of 24 to a random guy I met at a party whose name I can’t remember. Then two weeks later I had another random hookup just to prove to myself I could do it more than once. A few months later I went into a non-serious relationship that lasted for a month or two, and then a month or two after that I rediscovered a desire for a long-term relationship that I had almost forgotten I was capable of feeling. At the moment I have a serious boyfriend who I’m very happy with, but I wouldn’t rule out going back to being a slut if it felt right in the future.

    Learning about sex through hookups and a less serious relationship made it much easier to create an independent sexual identity. I could decide for myself what sex meant to me and look for a relationship based on that, rather than creating a sexual identity based on the needs of a relationship. It wouldn’t be everyone’s favorite way to learn, but for myself, I could not have found a better way to introduce myself to sex. So, yes! Casual sex can be good for you.

  82. Belinda
    Belinda July 27, 2010 at 3:52 pm |

    Fantastic piece, so very gutsy!
    Nobody ever talks about these things. These things that women do all the time but have to hide for fear of being reviled, stigmatized, even physically attacked.
    I am older than the writer and now that I can make a sort of assessment of the relationships and sexual encounters of a lifetime, I can say that if I had to live my life again and knowing what I know now, I would trash most of my “serious” relationships with men–a waste of time, mere illusions, bad boring sex accepted because of the supposed feelings and committment involved.
    And I would keep quite a few of my casual, “slutty” encounters, one night stands and casual affairs, style “friends with benefits”.
    That’s where I got the best sex, the most fun, the strongest sexual desire for my partners, a wonderful lightness, a great sense of playfulness etc.
    So yes, sluttiness can save your life, it can help you heal after a bad relationship, it’s good for your ego, it’s exciting, it makes you feel alive after years of married numbness.
    And most of all, women’s right to sluttiness should be socially accepted. 300 years from now, maybe it will…

  83. Inostrancevia
    Inostrancevia July 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm |

    “Don’t give up on it, and don’t sell yourself short – virgin or not, you’ll eventually run into the right person/people.”
    That’s a bullshit platitude, and I’m pretty sure you know it. If it were that easy, no one would be lonely ever…

  84. RD
    RD July 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm |

    I am baffled at your response to my comment. Seriously. I have no idea what you are talking about.

  85. Dana R
    Dana R July 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm |

    “Don’t give up on it, and don’t sell yourself short – virgin or not, you’ll eventually run into the right person/people.”
    That’s a bullshit platitude, and I’m pretty sure you know it. If it were that easy, no one would be lonely ever…

    I wouldn’t say that! I think it’s bullshit to say “life will bring you the person you want, at the right time, and the right kind of relationship!” But while it’s entirely possible to have everything seem to happen at the wrong time/in the wrong circumstance, you *will* meet people with whom you can have rewarding relationships – casual or serious.

    I appreciate this post. I’ve always been a slut and owned it – my mother is the same, both parents taught me to own my own sexuality however I want it, and the first time I kissed a boy it was *two* boys at the same party. It was great. When I heard some girls I didn’t know were calling me a slut I thought it was hilarious and it cemented my indifference to social norms.

    I have been incredibly lucky in both my sexual and romantic partners. Despite how utterly fucked up my upbringing was in some ways I don’t think I’d swap it for one that was supportive but conservative. I got a lot of good things out of my parents, even if we don’t have a relationship now. I’m trying really hard to impart those values to my siblings since the sex-positive attitude I was brought up with seems to have been morphed beyond recognition as my mother has got older and less aggressively herself.

    Thanks :)

  86. Fucking with Fucking « Scrawled in Wax

    […] first is called “My Sluthood, Myself“, in which writer Jaclyn Friedman argues for the redemptive power of, well, sluttiness: […]

  87. Tara
    Tara July 27, 2010 at 6:28 pm |

    The author said that her friends were cool with her newfound sluttiness. Two pearls of wisdom earned from personal experience:

    1.) The friends were cool with it probably only as long as your partner wasn’t someone they knew.

    2.) You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family. Some family members with whom I am close weren’t cool with it. How did they find out? See #1.

    So yes, there are downsides.

  88. geekporn
    geekporn July 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm |

    Kudos. Well written and said. That it’s written by a female gives it unique value – as a male I can’t just “explain” my (similar) sentiments (about casual sex and feelings of hurt self-worth in females OR males) to a thusly-prejudiced female mind, without sounding self-serving…

    Two other things come to mind:
    – It kinda reminds me of my attitude towards nudism, after having stumbled into it in lovely Crete. It’s a great way to get to feeling better about your body and sexuality (tho it’s usually only about 2% sexual).
    – Okcupid is full (well, maybe not FULL) of people who’ve already internalized this, so a. there might be hope to western culture yet and b. maybe that’s a place to start, for folks too wary of craig and his lists…

    Thoughful,
    Penis

  89. Tash
    Tash July 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm |

    Are you me? I feel like everything you wrote is exactly what I’ve been going through in the last year. Thank you for writing this…It’s just like reading a more eloquent version of my diary.

  90. Liz
    Liz July 27, 2010 at 7:59 pm |

    This really came to me at a good time, I’ve felt that this was pretty much my story. I have slept with now 8 guys, the most recent being a bigger deal because A. it was a guy i’ve been interested in for three years and B. he has a girlfriend. I have been saying over and over how i want a real relationship, but this has reminded me that i should have no regrets and keep on moving forward.

  91. Samantha
    Samantha July 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm |

    This was brilliant. Thank you for validating my feelings and fears. I’m so there.

  92. Dee
    Dee July 27, 2010 at 10:24 pm |

    This was a great read and I don’t know how to respond because I feel so conflicted. Your post is absolutely amazing but I guess it just points to how much I have internalized “shame” that for me this seems so foreign. On the one hand I feel like I really don’t care how many people someone sleeps with and I’ve never called someone a slut because how it is used against women to control them.

    And yet, somehow this socked me in the gut:

    And because even if you don’t ever want sluthood for yourself, you’re going to be called upon to support a slut. I’m telling you this because when that happens, I want you to say yes.

    I read that and realized I couldn’t say yes, not yet anyway but hopefully I will get to the point where I can.

  93. Embracing Sluthood « Savory Dish
    Embracing Sluthood « Savory Dish July 27, 2010 at 10:51 pm |

    […] recent blog post from Feministe encouraged women to embrace their inner slut. I thought it was a fun and interesting spin on an age-old double standard. I’m sure some […]

  94. Dawn.
    Dawn. July 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm |

    I just wanted to chime in and say: I am loving this SO HARD. Thank you for such a soulful slut manifesto.

  95. Kaitlin
    Kaitlin July 28, 2010 at 12:22 am |

    This was amazing…. I especially love that you sought to prove the point that sluts can want to be in love, and the advantage is to not confuse sex with love.

    I was a serial monogamist too until I broke up with someone I was head over heels for because of distance and other issues. I got branded a slut after my actions after this… because I wasn’t ready for another relationship.

    I lost a lot of friends over this label, but the ones that stayed and understood me showed their true colors.

    Thank you so much for writing this article, I hope it might change at least one persons mind about sexuality.

  96. Cynthia
    Cynthia July 28, 2010 at 12:24 am |

    I found your article fascinating.

  97. Shawn
    Shawn July 28, 2010 at 1:25 am |

    Jaclyn, growing up in a conservative household I have different outlooks for relationships and sex. I want to ask you, would you consider marriage, or an LTR, ever again? I get the sense that you’ve had enough and would never want to try those things again?

  98. Jan
    Jan July 28, 2010 at 3:04 am |

    How about starting by dispensing with the constant use of the word “slut”?

  99. gold
    gold July 28, 2010 at 3:48 am |

    Bravo!

  100. Jennifer
    Jennifer July 28, 2010 at 5:27 am |

    Thank you, thank you, thank you SO MUCH for this post. It’s incredible how much this addresses what I’m going through right now… I will be printing this one out and referring to it now and again when my doubts about who I am and what I want start creeping up.

  101. Maria
    Maria July 28, 2010 at 11:36 am |

    I am a Mexican American, definitely part of a culture were slut hood is very stigmatized. Interestingly enough, my friends, who are what I can “very Mexican” guys (which basically means very nice to most women but still strongly believe women have their place) have granted me a status among the guys. A status, they do not grant any other girl I know. I think it is because of my mentality on slut hood which is very much like the one in this article.
    I enjoyed reading this and I am glad that there are other women who are finding, not just the pleasure, but the realize their is in their sexuality.

  102. eddy
    eddy July 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm |

    this is exactly what i’ve never been able to put into words. brilliant

  103. K
    K July 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm |

    Thank you for this post. It truly spoke to me.

  104. eli bishop
    eli bishop July 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm |

    i am so delighted craigslist casual encounters worked for you, because this is almost exactly how i found my amazing boy — and had a lot of fun in the meantime. :)

  105. Slut is it a dirty word « Repatriare

    […] more often simply so they can indulge their more lustful instincts, but why get trapped in a destructive realtionship just so you can experience physical intimacy? A woman, getting married for the fourth time, goes to a bridal shop and asks for a white dress. […]

  106. Tyler
    Tyler July 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm |

    beautifully written. this article would make any good queer theorist or material feminist cry with passion.

    yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!

  107. Brittany
    Brittany July 28, 2010 at 11:15 pm |

    thank you for putting into words what i’ve been grappling with since my last breakup, as well. thank you for honesty. and thank your friends for giving us hope for ours. :)

  108. Brittany
    Brittany July 28, 2010 at 11:46 pm |

    also, thank you for addressing the “number” stigmatism that is rampant in our society. while i feel that i have no problem, if all exterior influences were removed, with my number, i find myself ashamed to admit it to most people. i wish i didn’t.

  109. Erika
    Erika July 29, 2010 at 1:28 am |

    I just wanted to tell you that this post was like a breath of fresh air for me. I have been trying to heal from a 3 year relationship and in the same exact place you were, part of me wants to be touched and be accepted, and another part of me is too bruised for too much vulnerability. A new relationship would make the damage worse, but sometimes is incredibly hard to resist when it’s being offered and seems like the only way out of your own loneliness.

    I thought the rest of what you had to say was wonderful, I just thought I should mention the part that most moved me.

    Thank you.

  110. Worth Your Time « Planning the Day

    […] culture, education, Ghana, Haiti, kindergarten, music, sexuality by Meg Jaclyn Friedman’s My Sluthood, Myself is an amazing personal reflection, combined with political critique about what it means to be a […]

  111. madhattermx
    madhattermx July 29, 2010 at 6:31 am |

    Bravo. A long time since I’ve read something so powerful.Thank you.

  112. Julia
    Julia July 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm |

    I don’t believe in “sluts!” This article makes me want to BE YOU! I know jealousy is unbecoming… I have had one terrible experience in meeting a man on-line which has forever turned me off from dating via www. Also, I am a single mama, so it is not that I could go down to the bar on a whim–or have a stranger over to my place. Anyway, it made me a little sad that a year and a half of hardly any sweet, hot action made such a strong woman “desperate.” Try unwarranted undesired solitude for two whole years or six or ten. Going solo is a bummer, but I am still in no way “desperate!”

  113. Meghan
    Meghan July 30, 2010 at 11:47 am |

    Chalk me up as a late responder… I got through the first paragraph but got SERIOUSLY sidetracked. I went home and had a discussion with my friend about the numbers thing and what it means (I’m her ‘slut’ friend, and she supports my habits and doesn’t look down on me. Me: 18(?) Her: 4).

    This piece is brilliant, powerful, emotional, and every other amazing word rolled into one. It’s awesome to see so many positive comments, but even more awesome to see so many other people supporting it and being ‘slutty’ as well. I, for one, sometimes feel that my sluttiness alienates me just a little bit. I know it does for other girls around me.

    It spoke to me, too. I consider myself a serial monogamist – I do the whole crossmyfingersandhopeforarelationship thing. Post high-school graduation and the first semester of college was a time of finding my sexual self. From my second semester of freshman year til my first semester of my junior year, I dated a guy who was sexually controlling, cheating, etc etc,… we saw plenty of other people within our relationship, and I finally got out of it when I met M, who was fantastic. I thought we were going to get married. We’d looked at rings, planned our post-grad lives, but a year into that and I realized we were very sexually mismatched and he ended up being, well, boring.

    I can’t say I’m FULLY back into the swing of the happy slut life; I jumped right into some sort of strange relationship, but since he’s a man-slut and unwilling to fully commit, I have no problem having the option of going out and doing my own thing, as well.

    And yes, I think men can be called sluts, too! The nice part about this relationship is he’s been a slut, I’ve been a slut, and that works. Strangely, but it really does work. We don’t have to talk about numbers, and we choose not to share our past sex lives.

    I also want to say thanks for mentioning the privilege thing. I’m really bad about recognizing my privilege, and I appreciate you pointing out the privileges I do have to make myself more aware.

  114. Susie
    Susie July 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm |

    I have to agree. I think people should be wayy more tolerant. As a young woman in the midst of the slut epidemic, I used to be an accuser. Then I realized just what it could do for me. Coming out of a long term relationship, I had my first one night stand. And I felt GREAT. I was over my last boy before you could blink an eye. If I hadn’t accepted my sexuality I would still be laying in bed crying, waiting for him to come back. THANK YOU

  115. DB
    DB July 30, 2010 at 11:09 pm |

    Wow. This article has helped me come to terms with a few aspects of my– for lack of a better term– libido. I’d had an inkling recently, but… reading this helped me define and fully realize the ideas that were formulating in my mind. Thank you for documenting your experiences! I don’t know if it sounds heartless or not, but I’m glad that there was someone else to experience these things before I did, because I might be able to make better decisions now.

  116. Cecile
    Cecile July 31, 2010 at 1:45 am |

    Baby girl.
    You are so good. You are so smart, and on-the-ball, and so good at being honest with yourself, and knowing what you need, and how to take care of yourself– which helps you do what you need to do without hurting the people you are involved with. I guess that was a run on sentence, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m proud of you. I don’t even know you and I’m proud of you, because that was a really good thing you just wrote, knowledge hard won. Keep it up. You fucking rocked my world just now =)

  117. E.M. Russell
    E.M. Russell August 1, 2010 at 12:26 am |

    This is my story! I’m terrible at getting dates and figured I’d never find anyone by sitting in my apartment alone so I tried out Craigslist. Five or six awkward hook-ups later I found my boyfriend of over a year. Neither of us were really looking for anything serious, but he smart and funny and (also) wasn’t an axe murderer! Yay! Also – I’m with a bunch of other folks in saying it’s a numbers game. More dates = more chances of finding someone you really like. And hey, if some orgasms happen in that searching process all the better!

  118. Icaarus
    Icaarus August 1, 2010 at 11:17 am |

    I was redirected here from BlagHag, and yes I did enjoy reading your story, so much so that it should be required reading for everyone. But If I may make a few comments? Okay.

    So I will start by saying I’m a guy (the name may not be a dead givaway to some). I hate the word slut. To me it is used far too often. If a girl chooses to sleep with 1 or a thousand people, as long as she chooses then I really don’t see the problem. I would also not call her a slut and would be offended if she called herself one. I will never judge a date by the number of partners she has had. So to the feminist community, especially the female portion (yes there are feminist guys) please stop using that word. By using that word you are perpetuating the double standard. What double standard some of you may ask? Can you think of the male equivalent for slut? I can’t and I have tried. (man-slut/man-whore don’t count as they are maculated versions of feminine terms. Neither does gigolo as it is the male equivalent of prostitute not slut.)

    So for the sake of equality stop using that word.

  119. eileen
    eileen August 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm |

    Thank you for writing this. Your prose is so wonderful to read! and thank you for acknowledging that sluthood isn’t bad at all. this is exactly what i needed to read. i shouldn’t feel guilty at all. so thanks for freeing me :)

  120. kindaagree
    kindaagree August 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm |

    I’m a guy and have to say that I definitely agree with everything about casual sexual relationships being much preferable to getting into a relationship just to make it more permissible to have sex. I gotta say I worry about getting into a Jerry Spring situation though. This works best when there are multiple forms of birth control involved. I’ve been with four women in the past month and unfortunately I’m relying on the effectiveness of condoms alone in all four cases. There is nothing wrong with being a “slut”, but for god’s sake use protection every time (including for oral sex!) and have birth control as a backup. I wish they would hurry up and get the male birth control pill on the market so I could take responsibility for that myself.

  121. Kibrika
    Kibrika August 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm |

    Thank you for the good food for thought!

  122. heather
    heather August 2, 2010 at 11:06 am |

    holy shit, how did you write this from my brains?

  123. Destiny
    Destiny August 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm |

    This is the first time that I have ever seen the word slut used that I wasn’t offended. Thank you so much for writing this article. It is inspiring.

  124. Lisette
    Lisette August 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm |

    bryony1 & Jan

    Many of us “younger” women choose to use the word slut as a form of reclaiming. We’re not ignorant of second wave feminism (we’re mostly either at the younger end or the children of second wave feminists), but have chosen to take a different approach to the idea of embracing our sexuality. It’s not an insult that we haven’t chosen the same path you did.

    Laura, I’m on the chubby side and found it really exciting and affirming to realize that there are many men (and women) out there who find my very attractive just the way I am.

  125. Amy
    Amy August 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm |

    Wow, I just stumbled on your article and I have to say Thank you. You summed up ‘sluthood’ as you call it very well. I find it really sad in our society how women are labeled by their sexual experiences and I hope your message and the messages of others gets passed along! Thank you once again,

    Amy

  126. ariel
    ariel August 4, 2010 at 8:02 am |

    Came by way of Red No.3. Thanks for that. Twas enlightening, and generally wonderful and liberating to read.

  127. arima
    arima August 4, 2010 at 12:16 pm |

    thank you for this! this is me right now in my life!! thank you…thank you!

  128. Selina
    Selina August 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm |

    Jaclyn, a question… how do you decide which guy is just sex and which guy is more? And when do you decide that?

    I’ve found that I get emotionally attached and end up getting hurt. Wish I could do this whole sluthood thing without unnecessary emotions getting in the way and messing it up for me.

    Advice???

  129. Lindsay
    Lindsay August 4, 2010 at 7:47 pm |

    i feel like she just wrote all the things i couldnt quite piece together for my own life. its like she wrote the summary of what ive been trying to explain to myself.

    thank you for this!

  130. Ahria
    Ahria August 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm |

    AMAZING writing. I really appreciate having stumbled upon this, as it has really made me wonder about my own life – I am 22 and have been in a serious relationship for two years. He’s amazing, and I think he might be “the One”, but he is the only man I have ever slept with. This bothers me because I am quite confident that if we were to ever break up, I would undoubtedly embrace “sluthood” – and I really feel like I may be missing out on something that is important for defining who I am. I discovered who I am sexually through my relationship with him. But I love him to bits so this is just something I will need to wonder about for the rest of my life? *Sigh* if only I had slutted it up earlier.

  131. dl
    dl August 6, 2010 at 10:59 am |

    I’m pushing fifty, incredibly grateful that my fourth (and last) marriage is safely navigating across happily ever after seas; her only flaw being her taste in men. You arrive by letting go while refusing to give up, and one day that will resonate instead of sounding inane. It will be a good day. I wrote that to nurture hope. I am compelled to comment because what I just read was simply amazing. Thank you for that.

  132. amanda
    amanda August 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm |

    I am in your exact state right now…you have inspired me!!!!not to feel dirty but embrace pleasure even if it isnt attached to love and that the 2 are very different and when I do find that one person–I will know it isnt because i was desperate….this should be published in a book!!!you should write a book (if you havent already)

  133. jemma
    jemma August 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm |

    well done, jaclyn. this was a pleasure to read, and the comments were brilliant too. it’s lovely to think that you’ve touched so many people just by being honest about your experiences.
    as for the debate over the word ‘slut’- possibly it’s like every other word: defined by the context. and in this context, was fab.

  134. Tanya
    Tanya August 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm |

    You are a beautiful soul. Thank you for risking what you have.

    Again I am reminded that the universe brings things to us when we need them.

    Consider me a fellow slut and supporter. ;)

  135. Noli Irritare Leones » Blog Archive » Your Mileage May Vary – But How Far?

    […] when it comes to choices about sex? Here I turn to the next post, from Jaclyn Friedman, a post on Feministe that was later carried on Jezebel entitled My Sluthood, Myself, in which Jaclyn Friedman describes […]

  136. Christine
    Christine August 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm |

    I am a proud former slut who has been in a monogamous relationship for eleven years now. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. If my marriage were to dissolve (which I don’t expect) I’m quite certain I would return to my former ways (albeit with a hefty dose of maturity and newfound discernment – I am, after all, now a mother). Being a slut doesn’t mean you can’t control your actions. I was always quite sure of my sexual pursuits. And monogamy came just as easily when I found the right person.

    Kudos for you and your honesty. I identified with so much of what you wrote and it was very validating, even after all these years of monogamy under my belt :)

  137. Interesting posts, weekend of 8/8/10 « Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction

    […] discussion – something about sluts vs. prudes. See, a few weeks ago Jaclyn Friedman wrote up My Sluthood, Myself. Most of the reception that I saw around the feminist blogosphere was positive. The post did not […]

  138. Amanda
    Amanda August 9, 2010 at 3:14 am |

    Wow. When I blog, I don’t blog with such honestly, but you’re inspiring. An excellent discussion and repositioning of “appropriate” sexual behavior for women. I married young without a sluthood period in my life (and for me, I didn’t have the need or desire for one), but consider me a supporter. People should be happy. :D

  139. maka
    maka August 9, 2010 at 7:45 am |

    thank you!! this article was so great, and i identified with so much that you said.

    i was married to my children’s father for 11 years. we weren’t monogamous, but for most of that time i was spending more time and energy on raising and homeschooling my kids. my now-ex-husband and i mistakenly believed that using a primary-secondary model in our relationship would make it “bulletproof.” it didn’t; our relationship deteriorated and he ended up leaving the relationship to marry his newest lover.

    after we split up, i realized that i had never really been on my own. i had never defined myself except as i was related to other people: somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, somebody’s aunt, somebody’s wife, somebody’s mother. i chose to spend a year celibate to learn to be my own primary partner. a couple of times i slipped into couplehood with one or another of my lovers, which inevitably caused me to pull back and cool things down with that person. i actively chose autonomy. i chose to be consciously single. i chose to be a slut.

    i explained this to my lovers and stood my ground with those who said things like, “you would be the perfect partner for me if only you were monogamous,” or, “but aren’t you lonely? don’t you want to get married again someday?” i was proudly, openly, and ethically nonmonogamous.

    those accidents that bring about change? two men attacked and raped me in a city park late one summer night three years ago. over the course of the next year, my reaction to the rape became more and more severe. i ended up unable to be sexual with anyone for months, i started having panic attacks, i became severely agoraphobic. i didn’t leave my house unless i had to. i lost a job i’d held for years, most of my lovers drifted away, and i lost contact with my children who were living with their father.

    one of my lovers stayed present with me, spending night after night sleeping fully clothed on top of the covers next to me, listening to me cry, sitting with me through suicidal days, telling me repeatedly that i was not too broken for anyone to ever want or love… he provided a significant portion of my support through the early part of my recovery process.

    i found myself settling into couplehood with him… and instead of squashing it, i let myself revel in it. enjoy it. embrace it. 21 months ago last week, we stood before our friends and loved ones and pledged a lifetime of love to each other. we couldn’t “make it legal” at the time; here in oklahoma we don’t have same-sex marriage and the state still thinks my wonderful husband is female. we hope to have that changed in time to sign our marriage license on our 2nd anniversary.

    i still don’t think of myself as a monogamous person, but right now we are monogamous. that will probably change eventually.

  140. Post from Bitch « 20 Minutes Ago
    Post from Bitch « 20 Minutes Ago August 9, 2010 at 10:11 am |

    […] never be and don’t deserve to be happy. Because, you know, sluts. When someone like Jaclyn writes that she enjoys —you know, because only sluts enjoy sex with someone other than their long-term […]

  141. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers August 9, 2010 at 10:40 am |

    I really appreciate your writing this, Jaclyn.

    I am personally monogamous in practice because I don’t like people — I’ve met very few people I’m sexually attracted to, I don’t easily make friends, and I’m a female control freak in a patriarchal society. Sex with a new person is terrifying, to me, and rarely worth it, to me, so I’ve had very few sexual partners (enough to upset the religious right, but that’s about it) and no desire to acquire others. But ideologically, I despise monogamy. Or rather, I despise the primacy our society gives it. If an individual person finds that monogamy works best for them, of course I’m for that — especially since I *am* that individual person :-) — but the social validation we give the extremely negative emotion of jealousy, and the *useless*, worthless, life-destroying, disgusting attitude we display toward women who have had more sex partners than we think they should have… those things nauseate me and I want them to die in a fire.

    In my ideal world, people would not feel they own their sexual partners, or that they had given themselves to their sex partners to be owned. In such a world, jealousy would still *exist*, of course, but it would be taken about as seriously as jealousy of your best friend’s other friends — it would be considered a character flaw you should work on getting over, not something that society considers so fully acceptable that you’re seen as somehow broken if you don’t feel it. And “bad” sexual behavior would include sex with people you feel contempt for, sex that’s aimed at humiliating others, sex that’s aimed at manipulating others for personal gain, sex that’s inconsiderate and completely selfish… *never* consensual, friendly sex between two partners who’re doing their best to please each other, whether they’ll ever see each other again after that night or not.

    It’s posts like that that help to bring us just a tiny bit closer to that world. And since we don’t live anywhere near that world yet, I know this post has gotten you a lot of crap elsewhere on the net, and there have been a lot of attempts to shame you by strangers who are convinced that women (but not men!) are duct tape and can lose their chemical stickiness by having too much sex. I’m sorry that that happened to you, and I really appreciate that you were brave enough to post this anyway even though you probably guessed that would happen.

  142. tt
    tt August 9, 2010 at 3:31 pm |

    thanks for sharing!

  143. SoulSlam
    SoulSlam August 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm |

    LOVED this article! So on point ant so timely, especially the last paragraph. It still stumps me how societies still justify violence and double standard on women who have the audacity to express their fully agency over their bodies.

    I just wish that there could be an additional essay to this from a woman of color to address how it’s not as easy to let loose one’s inner slut and declare it publicly when they do not have the protection of white female privilege. And how that can complicate women of color’s relationships to their bodies and articulating and expressing their needs and desires to their partners and themselves.

  144. Some light reading « Guided by Wires

    […] This one is about the joys of reclaiming “sluthood” […]

  145. jojo
    jojo August 11, 2010 at 2:58 am |

    That’s one of the best essays I have ever read about Craigslist and monogamy. Your insights are truly refreshing.

    I am a guy that has used CL to try to have affairs because my marriage is sexless and isn’t going to change. That’s just the way it is. My success on CL is marginal because most women don’t use CL or any other web service that connects people for casual sex. The only guys that seem to be in demand are those that are young and well endowed.

    What mystifies me is that when I post what I’m doing on web forums I usually get blasted by female moralists. They seem to be the most strident enforcers of monogamy, but of course that has a lot to do with the fact that they hate men that in their minds are cheating.

    So why do women hate men that cheat when they often are the ones in the marriage that quit having sex? Mind you sometimes the roles are reversed — it’s the man who stops enjoying sex. Either way when sex stops the affairs will start sooner or later.

    I have come to the conclusion that marriage has nothing to do with sex. In my case it doesn’t even have to do with procreation since we never had kids. Marriage does have value however, and it is sad that so many of them break up because one spouse “cheats” on another.

    I wish the standard marriage vow came with a promise to accept polyamory.

    Our culture in the U.S. is very primitive, self destructive, and hypocritical.

  146. Mädchenmannschaft » Blog Archive » Aktivismus, Bravo, Sex, Kinderbekleidung, schwule Männer, Rabenmütter und Steinigung im Iran

    […] feministe findet ihr einen ausführlichen und persönlichen Beitrag zum Thema “sluthood” (“Schlampentum”), der mit vielen der gängigen Mythen und Vorurteilen […]

  147. Nehalenias Soup
    Nehalenias Soup August 12, 2010 at 10:51 am |

    My Sluthood, Myself. — Feministe…

  148. Em
    Em August 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm |

    What a thoughtful, thought-inspiring post. Rock on!

  149. julia
    julia August 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm |

    so timely for me to read right now. i can’t even express how wonderful this was to read. thank you!

  150. Vanessa
    Vanessa August 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm |

    Bravo!
    You have some big balls Jaclyn!
    I applaud you for writing this as I’m sure it wasn’t easy to post
    this for the world to see. I do hope you do not regret writing any of it as you can tell by mine and other posts, many people can relate, and are even moved by this story. This was an excellent read, exactly what I think I needed today! Never stop being you, and don’t lose your balls =) Thanks for making my day a little brighter.

  151. Janeknows2
    Janeknows2 August 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm |

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  152. Sina
    Sina August 16, 2010 at 8:22 am |

    I’m a bit late with commenting, but still wantet to say how much I appreciate this post! It’s terrible how much women get judged just by what they do with their bodies. You can be the most compassionate, caring, kind person- as soon as you act on your sexual feelings as any man would, you’re a “bad” in many peoples eyes, deserving of the most cruel treatment. Bah!

  153. Shay
    Shay August 16, 2010 at 11:12 am |

    I found this an interesting read. I know this is not meant “for me”. It’s meant for those of us that have had to suppress their inner natures and natural human sexual desires for fear of reprimand. It’s sucks when those around you feel comfortable with telling you who and how you should be. I must say this blog is a refreshing touch of “be you”. I wouldn’t call it slut hood. Perhaps it’s because it’s giving a negative touch to a very natural and healthy way of thinking and being.
    I find it very hard to see how someone, anyone, can find room to judge on this blog, topic, state of mind. Personally, I found this path years ago. As a teen. Now, years later, a married, mother of 3 my friends are now hopping on this train. My husband and I found this to be a wonderful read.
    It’s about time someone put it out there that what you do with your body, as long as you’re safe and considerate to and with others, is what you do with YOU’RE body. It’s strange how we believe it’s perfectly acceptable to judge what happens in the bedrooms of others.

  154. Hyper Heart
    Hyper Heart August 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm |

    This article is amazing. I am going through this right now. I broke up with my boyfriend of 4 years because I was unhappy, and right after we broke up I had sex with a bunch of guys.

    I am having problems with dealing with casual sex emotionally. I do want and love sex, with all kinds of guys. But I can only get aroused by guys that I feel respect me and see me more than a piece of meat. There are a lot of asshole guys in my town. I have a problem with not being seen as significant. I want to have one night stands, but I don’t want to be a ‘thing’. I want to be a sexual woman who has needs that matter. Problem being, I often feel like some guys see most girls as things to fuck.

    That might come with living in california two hours from los angeles. There aren’t a lot of decent guys. I am not sure. But out of the 10 or so guys I’ve slept with since becoming single 5 months ago, (I’m 21 mind you) only two of those hook ups were good or even worth the risk of stds and pregnancy. Those two were guys that respected me and yes wanted to fuck me, but didn’t see me as a fuck toy.
    These experiences have made me put my guard up when it comes to casual dating and my sluthood. And now I hardly fuck any guys because they are not good enough for me.

    I’m not sure if these issues I’m having are because I have low self esteem, or because I have high self esteem, or because I think too much, or because I genuinely have only met two decent guys that I wanted to fuck. Who knows. But this article has made me examine it all. Thank you.

  155. Me
    Me August 21, 2010 at 2:54 am |

    Absolutely spectacular post… I’m too, tired of bad relationships in my early start of dating in this life.. I’m prone to attachment because of comfort, and the want of love. Whether love from another or to just have someone to love.. Even though at times I’m treated badly, even as a man currently in that kind of relationship.. Your post is an “eyeopener”. Thank you.. And bravo..

  156. Andygirl
    Andygirl August 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm |

    Thank you for that! I found this via Stumble and I’m so glad I did!! With a few exceptions, it’s like you told my own story. I applaud your candor and feel moved to tell my own sluthood story on my blog. So thanks!

    Andy

  157. Suniverse
    Suniverse August 22, 2010 at 7:58 pm |

    Bravo.

    I’ve been out of the casual pool for almost 20 years, but I look back fondly [sometimes VERY fondly] on the large number of one night stands and casual sexual relationships I had.

    I like the idea that there are women [and men] who realize that sometimes, a good fuck is all that’s wanted, and that doesn’t negate the woman’s sense of self/personhood.

    Don’t judge. There’s no time for that.

  158. Ellen
    Ellen August 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm |

    Brava! You’re a helluva writer and bring a lot of clarity to the subject. I’m 50+ and thoroughly enjoyed my sluthood in the halcyon days before sex was associated with life-threatening disease. Recently, I’ve been celibate for about 5 years, and that’s OK too. I don’t know what the future will bring, and while I too hope for a meaningful relationship, I won’t rule out more slutty sex if it’s right for me.

  159. Paula
    Paula August 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm |

    I was destined to find this today. And it was destined to be written right after my own slutty McSlut incident that rocked my world….at a conference, when we met, talked and established in less than 10 minutes that we would end up in his hotel room. And stay there for the next 12 hours, barely stopping to sleep and breathe. I’ve had several slutty experiences before, and now after….and all of them have helped me realize:

    1. as a fat girl formerly in a sexless marriage, I have been healing myself through my sexual expression. My self-esteem is higher than ever, not lower because I sleep with men with whom I do not want relationships.

    2. I do want a relationship. I want one just like what I had at that conference, which is not destined to be for a number of reasons. But I’m not compartmentalizing — his non-sexual qualities were as essential as his sexual qualities, and if I hadn’t slept with him, I wouldn’t have ever known that.

    3. I don’t want to end up with someone with whom I’m not sexually compatible, which happened with my marriage when I fell in love before having very much sex.

    4. Hooking up in the beginning doesn’t mean that it’s not capable of becoming a serious relationship, as a recently-released study released today indicates.

    5. It is up to women to stand up for each other and stop judging one another if this is to change. Some guys still buy into the “there are girls you sleep with and there are girls you marry” dichotomy, but their views seem to be changing more rapidly than those of women, most who seem to be secretly resentful they’re not getting more action and so love to reinforce the judgmental stereotypes.

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