Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Want to Slut-Shame Someone? Here I Am.

My goal at Zen Parenting is to awaken, to enlighten. Let me enlighten all of those who see themselves as moral compasses for the rest of us, those who feel their individual morals should be everyone's morals, those who love to tell anyone who didn't "save" themselves for marriage or has had sex with more than a handful of people that they're promiscuous sluts who should close their legs: you're talking about, you're looking down on, you're judging me. That's OK. It's your prerogative to do so. What you think of me is none of my business, though I know many will feel the need to share regardless. Also OK.

What is slut-shaming? According to Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog, "slut-shaming, also known as slut-bashing, is the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. Furthermore, it’s 'about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior' (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a whole. It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term 'slut' itself is not used."

Now that we have the definition clear, let me tell you a bit about my sexual past. Before I do, let me tell you why I'm writing this. I am writing this, I am opening myself to the inevitable fall from grace (in some people's eyes) and harsh judgement because it needs to be shown that those who have sex with many, those who have sex for fun, those who have sex because that's just what they want to do are every bit as good as those who don't.



Let me also first share that I was raised Mormon, as some of you know. That being the case, an incredibly high value was placed on my virginity. As I mentioned in a previous post, even masturbation was shameful and, boy, was I ever shamed for it. I spent 18 years believing that I would wait until marriage to have sex. My first boyfriend came at 17 years old and while we had oral sex, we didn't succumb to our instincts and feelings until I had graduated from high school. After that first time, I spent days in a deep, deep depression as a result of how "shameful" my act was, how I had completely ruined myself body, mind, and soul. I almost broke up with my boyfriend, because I no longer felt I was good enough for him. I felt hollow and ill and abysmally ashamed. Why? Because I had sex before I was married. Clearly, I was Satan's spawn.

It wasn't until a few months later, when I was away at college, that I realized how ridiculous all that hoopla really was. I liked sex. It felt good to my body, it felt good to share that with someone I loved, it just felt good all around. I promptly marched myself off to the local Planned Parenthood, got myself some birth control pills, and hid them in my room. (I was living with my dad and his new family, so heading to the family doctor was never an option, since we were all in the same ward and would see each other that Sunday.) I felt smart and strong and empowered. My body was my own, not the church's, not my family's, not my boyfriend's. I had taken control over myself and my body. I became a woman, not because I had sex, but because I was no longer afraid of having it.

That boyfriend was a loser (not a term I use lightly, trust me), so he eventually had to go and I was onto others from there. All told, and I'm estimating here, because I stopped keeping track at some point, I believe I had sex with around 30 people. Oh, ya, "people," because there was one woman in that mix. The horror! Most of those were wonderful, fun experiences. The overwhelming majority of those were multiple-time experiences (one-night stands weren't my thing, though I don't see a problem with them if they're you're thing). I wouldn't change most of those experiences.

Here I am. A real, honest, open, sexual being. I am not ashamed of who I am. I haven't always made the best decisions, I haven't always done what was right, but this is who I am and I will not allow anyone to tell me that I or anyone else should be ashamed of who we are. I like sex. Today, I only have sex with one person. I like sex every bit as much as I always did. I had fun then, I have fun now. If I were still single, who knows how big "my number" would be now. And who cares? Not me. And you don't get to, either.

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for being real, being honest!

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  2. works for me! sex is natural & normal---for both genders, transgenders, & for all preferences. virginity, which should be simply a moment in biological time, or at most, a biology-based rite of passage for a girl or boy, has been correlated artificially with a woman's worth; this nonsensical notion is an artifact of exploitive, controlling, patriarchy. thankfully, i was not raised this way, probably because my parents are atheists, & i'm not raising my daughter that way. i never use the word "slut" (or "bastard" or any of those meaningless pejoratives created by patriarchy), & i remind my daughter not to use it. if anybody wants to call me a slut, they are welcome to try it: i have plenty of time to discuss it...

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  3. I think nowadays, people judge others much less by the number of their partners. However, there is certainly judgement, and harsh words, for those of us who do not comprehend the limit that already having a partner sets on someone's sexuality.

    I am one of them. I am an adulteress and I have been in a love-rectangle. I have been found out and I have been shamed and called all those names. I have to say, feeling sorry for the lady who "found us out", I sympathised with her, I let her know that I accepted her anger and her hatred of me. But I still came away from that experience feeling completely puzzled and lost -- WHY is it important that people do not "cheat"? Why is it even "cheating"? In what way is this cheating? I genuinely do not understand. Yes, I agree, had I been out there to take that man and flee, had I taken any of the time that was meant for his family and his "regular" partner, it would have had a major negative impact on her and the whle family. But I did not. As a sexual being, when I fall in love, I end up wanting to share my sexuality with my love, even if I contain my desire to have my object of love and desire for the rest of my life. So why is this being the ultimate slut? Why do we perceive the bodies of our partners as our property? How to explain to a woman in anger that the fact that your man has slept with another woman does not mean he loves you less? How to separate the feelings of property and morality from the feelings of true love?

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  4. Thanks for this post. I'd also like to hear your opinion on adultery. WHilst I don't think people are judged in the West anymore that much based on the sheer number of their partners, there is certainly harsh judgement for those of us who do not comprehend why should being someone's partner set limits on our sexuality.
    I am an adulteress. I have been in a love-rectangle, I have been "found out" by the partner of my lover, and have been called all those names. I have to say, I sympathised with her as I listened, and let her know I accept she feels angry and cheated. Yet, I was puzzled at the same time. Why is this "cheating"? In what sense? Had I wanted to take her man, had I spent the time with him he would have spent with her, yes. But I did not. I never wanted to take him away from his family, not temporarily, not for long term. So what's the big deal? Why do we feel we own our partner's bodies? If I am in love, I wish to share my sexuality with my object of love and desire. Unless this is breaking the "old" relationship because I only want the new partner, why is it wrong? Is it wrong to mastrubate if you are married? Is it wrong to have sexual thoughts about someone else than your long term partner? How do we separate the feelings of ownership and morality from the feelings of love?

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  5. Thanks for this post. I'd also like to hear your opinion on adultery. WHilst I don't think people are judged in the West anymore that much based on the sheer number of their partners, there is certainly harsh judgement for those of us who do not comprehend why should being someone's partner set limits on our sexuality.
    I am an adulteress. I have been in a love-rectangle, I have been "found out" by the partner of my lover, and have been called all those names. I have to say, I sympathised with her as I listened, and let her know I accept she feels angry and cheated. Yet, I was puzzled at the same time. Why is this "cheating"? In what sense? Had I wanted to take her man, had I spent the time with him he would have spent with her, yes. But I did not. I never wanted to take him away from his family, not temporarily, not for long term. So what's the big deal? Why do we feel we own our partner's bodies? If I am in love, I wish to share my sexuality with my object of love and desire. Unless this is breaking the "old" relationship because I only want the new partner, why is it wrong? Is it wrong to mastrubate if you are married? Is it wrong to have sexual thoughts about someone else than your long term partner? How do we separate the feelings of ownership and morality from the feelings of love?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for this post. I'd also like to hear your opinion on adultery. WHilst I don't think people are judged in the West anymore that much based on the sheer number of their partners, there is certainly harsh judgement for those of us who do not comprehend why should being someone's partner set limits on our sexuality.
    I am an adulteress. I have been in a love-rectangle, I have been "found out" by the partner of my lover, and have been called all those names. I have to say, I sympathised with her as I listened, and let her know I accept she feels angry and cheated. Yet, I was puzzled at the same time. Why is this "cheating"? In what sense? Had I wanted to take her man, had I spent the time with him he would have spent with her, yes. But I did not. I never wanted to take him away from his family, not temporarily, not for long term. So what's the big deal? Why do we feel we own our partner's bodies? If I am in love, I wish to share my sexuality with my object of love and desire. Unless this is breaking the "old" relationship because I only want the new partner, why is it wrong? Is it wrong to mastrubate if you are married? Is it wrong to have sexual thoughts about someone else than your long term partner? How do we separate the feelings of ownership and morality from the feelings of love?

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  7. I really like your article. I love how honest you're able to be.

    I too was what most people would call a slut in my early twenties. I had sex with a handful of guys mostly when shitfaced. I am not proud of my raunchy behavior when drunk but I also don't think that I should be shamed by our culture for choosing to be a sex having creature. To some people, I'm sure some might read thing and say, "Well, duh!" but if you're like me (I come from a very religious family, like the author did) and your whole family is made up of Christian conservatives who would never, of course (as its no part of polite conversation) discuss outwardly their disdain for women who've shared their bodies before marriage but it's still there.

    I think that my most recent 2 year relationship is a big part of why I feel so shamed. My ex was abusive (I left the relationship with a broken foot). He'd constantly accuse me of cheating on him, wanting to if I wanted to hang with friends, of being "a slut" especially if (God forbid!) I wanted to go out dancing. I found it nearly impossible to leave him without much support from friends and family and went back to him several times. I think, his constant demonization of American women really has taken a toll on my self confidence whether I like it or not. I was well aware by the end of our relationship of just how much some men HATE american women for...

    wearing makeup
    dressing up
    drinking
    partying
    being themselves
    being sexual beings

    All of it, in my opinion, is interrelated. I'm realizing as I write this that I think that all of it actually has to do with control.... and while my ex would control me by throwing me around and verbally and emotionally hurting me, our society does the same through chastising women for exercising their rights... because,

    "If you do, you're a slut so stop. We'll protect your honor or in other words, control you completely and praise you for it."

    -Our society

    I'll have to chew on your whole article for awhile. It's so beautiful and fresh to me... like morning dew.

    Thank you.

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  8. Thank you for this post. I grew up in a home where sex was frowned upon unless you were married. I was treated badly by other girls because I was viewed as a slut for sleeping with people I was not married too. I was even shamed for living with my husband before we were married. I think that sex is a beautiful thing between two adults and if we treated it like the beautiful thing it is, people would be more responsible about sex and "slut shaming" would be a thing of the past. There is no reason for us to judge each other about sex, but rather we should embrace our differences and learn from each other. I am so happy that I went on the journey I did and didnt save myself, because that is what made me the perfect person for my husband today.

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    Replies
    1. I apologize for so many comments on your blog today! I just found your blog and am loving reading everything you have to say!

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  9. Beautiful! Shaming really is an awful way to screw up a person, no matter how old they are. I've still got scars from round-about shaming as a young adult. Very well written post, as usual!

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  10. I agree 100%, but I wish there wasn't so much pressure put on everyone when it comes to sex in general. Sometimes I feel like I'm looked down upon by friends for choosing NOT to be promiscuous (apparently it makes me a prude, or naive to not want to have orgies). Everybody should be given the same amount of respect for whatever choices they make.

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  11. Thank you for that text! It's not about what decision you make ("no sex before marriage" or "sex with as many people as possible", just to mention two opposite ends of the spectrum), but that it's your own decision and not that of your parents/friends/church/peer group...). But then, for a teenager or a young adult, it takes a lot of self esteem and empowerment to defend those decisions that my seem unpopular to others and to stand up and say "it's none of your business". It took me a long time to get there, and now, 26 years old and married, sometimes i still have to tell myself: "This is for me, not for my partner, not for society." I also have to say, that caring about what other people said, often ruined some otherwise really good experiences for me. Again, it takes a lot of strength not to care.

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    1. I'm so glad it resonated with you and everyone else here. This is why I write about such personal issues - to let us all know we're not alone.

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