why i love being a slut


by ali dominguez


CW: explicit language

I will never forget when I was fifteen years old and my mother cried when she found out I lost my virginity. “Every single one of my friends who lost their virginity that young regret it now and you probably will too.” I am now on the cusp of the ripe old age of twenty-three and so far, I regret nothing.

"Three years ago, if I heard the word slut, my skin would crawl. Now, however, I embrace it, as I attempt to reclaim its definition."

To be quite honest, the reason I waited until I was fifteen was due to societal pressure telling me that in order to have sex (socially acceptable sex as in you won’t be judged for being a slut) I had to be in a relationship. So I bought into the concept of virginity and awaited my knight in shining armor– well he was more of a self-absorbed ‘lax bruh’ (UK equivalent is probably a lad) but close enough when you are fifteen, right?

Now, in order to understand this story, we will need to define certain words. Let’s start with the most important: slut. What is a slut? Three years ago, if I heard the word slut, my skin would crawl. Now, however, I embrace it, as I attempt to reclaim its definition. Oxford Dictionary defines the word as, “a woman who has many casual sexual partners.” Doesn’t sound too bad, right? It is 2019. It is almost uncommon these days to not be the Oxford Dictionary definition of a ‘slut’. So, if it is so common to be a slut, why does it have such a bad connotation? Well, the next ‘dictionary’ I looked to was Urban Dictionary–which I really recommend if you want to have a laugh or just feel really badly about humanity. Here is my favourite definition, “Someone who provides a very needed service for the community and sleeps with everyone, even the guy that has no shot at getting laid and everyone knows it. She will give him a sympathy fuck either because someone asked her to, or she just has to fuck everyone she knows. These are great people, and without them sex crimes would definitely increase. Thank you slut, wherever you are.” Honestly– who comes up with this? Now that we’ve established that while being a ‘slut’ shouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, the connotation is derogatory and its general intention is to bring shame onto the accused, particularly women. What is even more interesting, or maybe not interesting at all, is the double standard in society when it comes to gender and sex. It is not news that if you are a guy and you ‘get with’ multiple girls, you get ‘bragging rights’ or are referred to as a ‘lad’. However, if you are a girl, you are ‘slut-shamed’.

In my twenty-two years as a woman, I personally cannot count how many times I have been slut-shamed. And, it is not just by the kids in my class.  And, it is not always as forward as being called a slut. When I was eighteen years old, in my last year of high school, I had just broken up with my boyfriend of two and a half years. Of course being in a small school and recently single, you are going to start getting attention from other guys. It wasn’t long before I started seeing a younger guy– two years younger in fact. So let’s get the facts straight. I was eighteen years old and in senior year of high school (for the non-Americans high school is four years, freshman, sophomore, junior and senior). He was sixteen years old and a sophomore in high school (an obvious two year difference). Now, remember the lax bruh I dated when I was fifteen? Well he was seventeen years old and a junior while I was fifteen years old and a freshman. No one cared that I was dating an older guy; in fact it was seen as ‘cool’. However, when I started seeing someone younger, I was not met with the same reactions. People seemed concerned that I would corrupt this boy and weren’t shy to voice those concerns. They were also perplexed by the concept of a age difference once the gender had been reversed. Had any of my fellow male students been questioned when they showed interest in the younger girls? No. Only I was called out due to my gender. Now, I have never cared much what people thought of me, as long as I was happy with my actions, and I wasn’t about to start now. Every passing comment I shrugged off, until I got called into the vice principal’s office. Yes, you heard that correctly, the vice principals office. I vividly remember my vice principal, someone who I had greatly respected and always seen eye-to-eye with, speaking to me about my personal love life. “Be careful with him, Ali.” Be careful with him? What? I’m sorry. What does that even mean? If anyone had the physical ability to harm the other, it was not going to be me at 49kgs vs him at 72kgs. No, the only reason she had anything to say about my relationship was because of the stigma of dating younger men when you are a woman. I only had one question for my vice-principal:  Have you asked all the senior boys who are dating sophomore girls to be careful with them? No, you have not called them into your office to chastise them about something so incredibly inappropriate and frankly, sexist. The entire reason we accept the age gaps when older men date younger women and not the reverse is due to decades worth of the media sexualising and glamourising youth in women. Society prioritises younger, more ‘beautiful’ women, as seen on the runway of fashion shows or the lack of representation when it comes to older female actresses. It is almost as if society just wants older women to ‘go away’. This fetishzation of youth, coupled with the obsession of men as power figures within society creates unrealistic norms when it comes to age gaps within relationships.

Now, you may be asking why are we reading about one particular rant about one particular incident? Well, before this casual relationship, I had been a sweet and committed girlfriend, the high school version of a well-behaved housewife. Yeah, sure there were reasons to talk because I was probably one of the only people in school having sex at the time. But, I was also in a monogamous relationship, which for some reason gave me a pass and pardoned me for engaging in sex as a young woman. Then, suddenly, I had made the decision to start seeing someone casually, and suddenly I was labeled a slut. I guess I never really felt like a slut, until I was standing in the vice principal’s office being reprimanded for my sex life. I felt like a kid that had broken a vase and blamed it on her sibling and was now being told off for it. She might as well have slapped me on the wrist. Something in my mind changed that day. That was the beginning of my new sexual mentality. That’s when I realised people were going to call me a slut no matter who they were or what I did, so I might as well do what was going to make me happy.

"I guess I never really felt like a slut, until I was standing in the vice principal’s office being reprimanded for my sex life."

I consider myself to be a feminist. You may be asking yourself how can someone love being a slut while also being a feminist? A lot of people believe these are mutually exclusive. For me, feminism is about women’s empowerment. I believe that some women find empowerment in modesty, while some find empowerment in sexual liberation. Having the power to decide what you want to do with your body and when you want to do it is empowering. This is a topic that my mother and I have disagreed on time and time again. “I just don’t understand how you sleeping around with boys makes you feel empowered.” While I understand that this may be a difficult concept to grasp as a mother, it really doesn’t have anything to do with ‘sleeping around with boys’. It is about making decisions about your body and not thinking about the patriarchal pressure to adhere to gender stereotypes. I don’t believe that women should be considered virginal flowers. I don’t believe that a woman’s worth is in how many sexual partners she’s had, or has not. If taking control of my own body gives me that power then, sorry mom, that is why I love being a slut.

Edit: Since writing this piece over a year ago, I have reflected and now reject the concept of virginity as a whole. I don’t want to live in a universe where a woman is defined by penetration of a phallus. Virginity is a social construct created to control women. It is designed to shame women. It is archaic and completely out of touch with current social norms. Virginity is not important. How many people you’ve slept with is not important. What is important is ensuring we eradicate sexual violence against people of any gender. What is important is we create a healthy environment for people to talk about sex. What is important is safe sex, consensual sex, empowering sex and sex full of respect and wellbeing.

I am now in a long-term relationship with an incredibly respectful and amazing man, and guess what? I will always be a slut.