“Slut” is one of those words so often mistaken for having nothing but negative connotations. If you take into account the word’s context only within the broader framework of our patriarchal society, you’re right. Because within that context, the word is found hand-in-hand with shaming and victim-blaming.
[bctt tweet=”What’s wrong with enjoying sex or providing intimacy for money, anyways?” username=”wearethetempest”]
Like the word “queer,” however, a word formerly used to oppress that is now often reclaimed by the disenfranchised group, “slut” is subjective, and has the potential to be empowering.
This is especially the case with sex workers.
The reality is, most of my friends who do sex work embrace the term “slut,” in order to own their body’s autonomy and de-stigmatize the nature of their labor. What’s wrong with enjoying sex or providing intimacy for money, anyways?
Many folks might not identify with “slut” and may take offense to being labeled with an identity they reject or don’t consent to – which is exactly why we cannot assume and we must ask first.
However, when it comes to me, I’m quite comfortable with the term.
As a sex addict and kinkster, “slut” is a dirty, dirty word that I quite like. I feel it helps me embrace my hypersexuality and kinky fetishes in a way that makes me feel empowered.
But I didn’t always have a good relationship with the word.
When I was younger, I was slut-shamed a lot for my sexual tendencies by both by friends and jealous lovers. One of my friends told me I was being slutty the night she caught me making out with two people interchangeably. Friends slut-shamed me whenever they’d ask me who I slept with the night before if the name was different than the previous week.
A boy I used to casually see yelled at me and called me a slut when I told him I didn’t want to have a serious relationship with him. So when I was sexually assaulted in my sophomore year of college, I felt that my slutty nature was to blame. The resulting trauma led to a year of no sex for me, as my assault felt like the ultimate slut-shaming.
It was like I was telling myself that I had learned my lesson and now I was stopping.
Of course, now I know how problematic my thinking was and how shitty some of my friends truly were. I also realized my “sluttiness” was a symptom of my bipolar disorder, as having sex and consuming substances impulsively and excessively are parts of my mania that I still monitor to this day.
[bctt tweet=” If I want to be a slut in a leather choker, I can be.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I returned to sex after meeting my current partner, and got back to my old kinky self slowly, but surely. I took back the power over my sexuality, refusing to be shamed for my hypersexuality, my love for BDSM, and rejecting the notion that my sexuality was to blame for my sexual assault.
There’s definitely an extra dose of slut-shaming when it comes to folks who enjoy kink by gross men, which is something I will never get behind. I recently read The Tempest’s Apparently, only sluts wear chokers, an essay explaining how women are mistaken for sluts simply for wearing chokers and leather collars. I despise the idea of creepy men assigning labels to anyone, especially using “slut” (a super politically charged word) without the receiver’s consent.
[bctt tweet=”I took back the power over my sexuality, refusing to be shamed for my hypersexuality.” username=”wearethetempest”]
But the reality is that some folks who wear chokers or leather collars may identify as sluts or like being called a slut in certain contexts. And while it’s unfair for male oppressors to use words meant to disempower against others, it’s important to keep in mind that “slut” doesn’t disempower everybody.
Let’s free the word from its patriarchal shackles and stop attaching shame and negativity to it.
Misusing the word “slut” boils down to creating shame around the active sexuality of women and feminine people, something I try my best to dismantle in my everyday life. But part of that dismantling is acknowledging that being a “slut,” or being someone who’s promiscuous, kinky or a sex worker, is A-Okay.
[bctt tweet=”Let’s free the word from its patriarchal shackles and stop attaching shame to it.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I’m proud of my sexuality, and I’m tired of apologizing for it: to men, to slut-shamers, and to people who think my “slut” identity is offensive or irrelevant. If I want to be a slut in a leather choker, I can be. Negative connotations of the word can’t touch me.