Recently a co-worker’s daughter was confiding in me about her most recent one night stand. I say “most recent” because this was not the first time she had slept with someone she barely knew (or met that evening).
Considering most of you reading this are probably in your 20s or 30s, this is not breaking news. I’m sure a good percentage of you banged a stranger last weekend and only reflected on it briefly while sneaking out of their apartment, but what if I told you she was still in high school? Does that make a difference? What if she was a he? Would that affect your opinion of this person?
This got me thinking… Is she a slut? What makes someone an actual “slut” as opposed to just being called one as a term of endearment when being greeted by your best friend?
Let’s start out by exploring what the word means or in other words, lets talk about sluts, baby…
Sluts, skanks, whores, tramps, ho-bags…there is no shortage on variations of the word, but regardless of how extensive your vocabulary is, they are all essentially slang for the same word: promiscuous.
The definition of promiscuity is literally “The practice of having casual sex frequently with different partners or being indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners.” The definition of the word slut is “A term applied to an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous.” By definition, if you are going to sleep with lots of people then you are promiscuous (aka a slut).
So if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck then it’s a slut just like if you are going to eat meat, you are a carnivore, right? It should be that simple, but it’s not. People hate to be labeled (unless they are vegan, a cross-fitter, or a vegan cross-fitter) so generally even stating the obvious pisses people off. When that label refers to you having loose (sexual) morals, you aren’t printing up t-shirts baring it any time soon.
But what actually makes someone a slut? Is the amount of people you have had sex with? What if Jane has been with 15 men, but it was over the course of 20 years where as Becky was a virgin, but she blew the entire Patriots football team after the Super Bowl? Jane had meaningful relationships with each of her numbers while Becky has lockjaw. Who would you rather bring home to meet grandma and share stories around the Thanksgiving table?
Clearly, numbers don’t seem to be the end-all be-all here.
Perhaps a slut is defined solely by reputation. The more people know about your sex life, they more likely they are to use the word to describe you. If it’s a mystery how many times you have taken the train to pound town, the word may serve no purpose. Like a proverbial tree in the forest falling, does a slut only make a sound if people are around to hear it?
Maybe being considered one is more circumstantial. What if Jenny has only been with 8 guys her entire life, but they were all at once during an alcohol induced spring break back in ‘05? What if Erin banged some guy (whose name she couldn’t remember) in his car 20 minutes after she met him? Is either one of these girls more of a slut than the others?
How about if Jane and Becky were John and Brian? I’m willing to bet this wouldn’t even be a discussion. Most would praise them for their sexual conquests although I personally have met plenty of guys I wouldn’t bang with a stranger’s vagina. I still refer to them as sluts, probably more often than I have ever referred to a woman as one.
I once had a roommate whose bedroom had a revolving door. When I referred to him as slutty one time, he said he wasn’t slutty but “sexually promiscuous.” That’s like me saying, “I’m not short. I’m vertically challenged.” Regardless of how you choose to phrase it, we all know what you mean.
If being called a slut offends you, you may want to ask yourself why that is instead of leading a crusade on political correctness regarding bedroom behavior. At the end of the day it’s just another word which will only have as much power as you choose to let it. I say if the shoe fits, wear that slutty sandal proudly or keep it in your pants.