Every now and then, one of us will take a few minutes of the show to “get up on a soapbox”, going off for a little bit on something we really care about. The following is a lightly trimmed transcript from our show on 9/21, “Chef Sluts: Who Comes Out on Top”, where I spoke about our need to empower women to talk about sex without shame, both so that we can keep ourselves safe and so that we can enjoy the joys of sex to their fullest.
Listen to the SoapBox Segment by clicking here.
Or check out the full episode on Heritage Radio.
I’m a woman. I have sex. And I don’t find a need to apologize for it.
I’ve had sex with guys who I am friends with. I had sex with one guy for ten years – I was in a ten-year relationship. I’ve had a few one-night stands, where if I know the guy well or I don’t we have sex once and that’s it, and the next day we go back to being friends. I’ve had amazing sex, I’ve had mind-blowing sex, I’ve had bad sex, I’ve had in the middle sex, where if I could go back in time maybe I wouldn’t add that name to my list. I’ve had sex that’s felt spiritual and really connected me with a person in a way that I never could have expected possible. I’ve had sex that’s been purely physical; going through a bad breakup when I just needed to be touched and held. I’ve had sex because I have a weird chronic illness I’ve had since I was little and my body hurts a lot, and having sex feels really good. Those endorphins do good things for us!
This doesn’t make me a bad person.
On top of that, I’m a very responsible adult. I have a job I manage, and an apartment, and a car, and a dog, and that illness thing. I try to be a really good person. I work hard every day at being kind and good to people, and to honor myself and move forward. To really be a good human being and know my place on this earth.
I do all of that, and I have sex, and that’s okay. I think as long as sex is safe and mutually desired, go for it.
The problem is, we shame women like me for having sex. We call them sluts, we call them whores, we say that they’re not respecting their bodies if they have sex outside of marriage. We like to judge women very quickly. Obviously there’s a huge spectrum with circumstances – I’m not saying this is black and white – but we shame women for doing that.
I was talking the other day with a cousin of mine, one of the best men in the entire world, and he said that sometimes men can be called whores and sluts. Obviously that’s true. But a second later he noted that it’s usually a compliment if you call a guy a womanizer or a player or a man-whore or a slut. We credit men for being sexual and virile, and we shame women for being easy, or have the audacity to judge her, saying that she’s not respecting her body by having sex.
This makes women embarrassed or ashamed to talk about sex with others, especially young women coming into their first few years of sexuality. We’re afraid of what others may think of us. I’m a tiny bit (maybe 2%) nervous about talking about this on the radio.
We don’t ask the important questions. Young women, on top of wanting to know how to keep ourselves safe with condoms and diaphragms and birth control, don’t get to talk about the kinds of relationships we want to be in, or if we’re comfortable sexually. I lost my virginity to that ten-year boyfriend; that took, in my mind, a little bit of chutzpa.
We need to own that. We need to be empowered to talk about things. Because if we don’t, we don’t stand up for ourselves. Men like to have sex without a condom all the time. You have to be strong and insist on certain things. You have to be strong and empowered to protect yourself from shitty things like rape. Rape is horrible! We need to be able to talk about that. And about things like abortion and being called things like a slut or a whore. I had a guy once, in the middle of having sex, call me his little whore, which was the least sexy thing he could have said. I had to stop him and put him in his place, and he apologized and we kept going. But somehow down the line this very respectful person who had been nothing but kind to me before had been taught that it’s okay, the first time you’re having sex with a woman, to say that. He thought it was going to be sexy.
I think all of this is bullshit.
We need to be able to talk about these things. We need to not pretend that if we don’t talk about issues like women having sex, kids having sex, women being called words like slut and whore, then we can’t offend anybody and they’ll go away.
Women who do are considered extremists or crazy feminists. I’m a pretty middle, down the line person. I’m somewhat boring. I’m pretty responsible. It took a long time to own my sexually and even longer to be comfortable talking about it. We need to be able to have these conversations. We need to empower women to talk about sex without having to get on a soapbox to do it.
I respect my body. I respect myself. I’m very happy with my place in the world. And I don’t apologize for having sex.
So ladies, I’m here if you need me.
2 Comments Add yours
> he noted that it’s usually a compliment if you call a guy a womanizer or a player or a man-whore or a slut. We credit men for being sexual and virile, and we shame women for being easy, or have the audacity to judge her, saying that she’s not respecting her body by having sex.
Whether you approve or not, there is a logical reason for this difference.
It is usually much harder for men to have sex than it is for women. Men must usually do something pretty special to impress a woman enough to have sex with him, usually it involves a significant expenditure of time, energy and money. Women, on the other hand, can sit on a bar stool in a bar and be guaranteed a steady succession of men will approach her and offer to buy her a drink throughout the evening without her having to actually do anything. She can test these men with questions about their income, lifestyle, social status etc, and if she likes the look of one of them she can give him the green light ……. and off they go to have sex back at his place or her place (or some other place of their choosing).
“Men propose, women dispose”
This is why men generally admire other men who are able to be promiscuous. They know from experience that it’s not easy to persuade a woman to have sex, so these men must be doing something pretty extraordinary to have persuaded so many women to have sex.
But women know from experience that it is very easy for women to have sex, and that she is constantly surrounded by men who would be willing (and perhaps even eager) to have sex if the woman invites them to bed. So when a woman looks at a promiscuous women she knows she has done nothing extraordinary (nothing that other woman cannot do). She has just opened her legs and let men in, which is hardly an achievement.
Being a ‘proud slut’ (I mean as a woman) is as much a celebration of male sexuality, as female sexuality, if you think about it.
There are several reasons why women slut shame other women (slut *shaming* being more than just being unimpressed by sluts). For thousands of years, abstinence was the only form of effective contraception available to women. Abstinence was encouraged mostly by older more experienced adults and it was encouraged by stigmatising promiscuity to younger women (AKA slut shaming). 100 years ago if a mother encouraged her daughter to be ‘sexually liberated’ and sleep around willy nilly, her daughter would soon end up pregnant by some unknown father (she thinks it might have been that travelling salesman who passed through the town last month, but it might have been one of the local farm workers ….. she’s really not sure). She will probably also catch some STD’s along the way too. This will mean having to raise a baby out of wedlock. And without a husband she has no one to work to earn money, no help to split wood for the stove, no help to mend the leaky roof or help do the chores etc. The majority of paid work in the town is manual labour (mostly farm work), which is hard for her to do even without a baby in tow. So she and the baby ends up a burden on her own family and local community. No man wants to marry her because she has a bastard son, a reputation for sleeping around (will she make a faithful wife? probably not!) and she is also probably riddled with little critters (there were no STD clinics back in the day).
So slut shaming young horny women into not being promiscuous was a kind of ‘tough love’ in an age when being sexually liberated could easily lead to disaster…. not just for the young woman in question, but also to her family and the extended community who were forced to provide for her and her bastard child in an age when communities often lived on the brink of starvation anyway.
In the modern age women also slut shame other women because promiscuous women lower ALL women’s sexual leverage over men. It’s basic supply/ demand. The more women who give men lots of sex ‘for free’ the more men’s desires for sex are satisfied. This means women in general find it harder to use the promise/ possibility of future sex as a bargaining tool to extract resources and special treatment from men. What man is going to spend a month wining and dining a woman, taking her to the theatre, buying her gifts and generally treating her like a princess if that man is able to have sex elsewhere *without* having to jump through all of those hoops, and *without* having to transfer a significant amount of his heard earned wealth to a woman?
The recent calls to ban ‘female’ sex robots is an example of slut shaming. The women calling for sex robots to be banned do not want their sexual leverage over men to be undermined by robots offering sexual relief to men for free.