I’ve had a casual, friends with benefits type relationship with W for coming up to two months now. He goes through occasional phases of saying that we should stop having sex because it’ll be bad for our friendship ‘long term’. That is, until he wants to fuck again.
When we first started fooling around and having sex in public places, I didn’t feel like it was particularly slutty. Grimey? A little. But slutty? No. Because I knew him, and it was always with him – not multiple random people.
During one of said phases, when he had decided that we should ‘just be friends’, he came out with the following:
W – Now that we’re friends, I can tell you that you shouldn’t be doing stuff like that in toilets..
Me – You did it too..
W – But if I tell people, I get ‘lad points’; if you tell people, they’ll think you’re a slut
Me – It’s not like you’re a stranger though. I know you.
W – Can you not see why it’s bad?
Although he later backtracked when he inevitably decided we should continue to bang and insisted he just meant I shouldn’t do it with randoms – which I wouldn’t anyway – the issue of the double standard in attitudes to men and women’s sexuality has been on my mind since.
Even in 2013, sexual double standards are constantly perpetuated throughout modern society. Women are still not given free reign of their bodies and their sexuality without being perceived as ‘sluts’, ‘whores’, ‘dirty’, and ‘easy’. Men, on the other hand, are considered ‘lads’, ‘studs’, ‘players’, and even ‘gods’. This is maintained by both genders, with women playing a prominent role in calling each other out on being promiscuous, regardless of their own sexual history; otherwise known as ‘slut shaming’.
The most recent example of this in popular culture would be Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance with Robin Thicke. Her ‘twerking’ and grinding up on a man who is over 15 years her senior earned her the title of a slut. She was called out for being overtly provocative and sexual whilst no one blinked an eye at Thicke, a married middle-aged man, for singing, ‘I know you want it,’ to a 20 year old girl. Whilst I, personally, did not like the performance – the bears creeped me out – I would not call Miley a slut. Sure, she was wearing minimal clothing and dancing provocatively on stage, but don’t the majority of female artists? Is Rihanna a slut? Is Beyonce? No. So why has Miley been singled out for being comfortable with her body and sexuality, and owning it?
We are of a generation where girls are told that they can do what they want, they can be what they want, that the world is theirs for the taking. In reality, however, empowered women are not valued in the way that they should be. Whether it be women who are at the top of their career or women who are open and comfortable with their sexuality, attributes that are lauded when found in men are faults when found in women. This ‘slut shaming’ culture, which is nothing new, only serves to perpetuate it. Bold, fierce, and proud women should be praised. They should not have to fear being judged by society for being who they want to be and doing what they want to do. How many women do you think haven’t gone home with someone because they think it makes them a slut? It’s not just other people who ‘slut shame’, we do it to ourselves, cowering behind society’s expectations instead of defying them.
Ultimately, people have different values and different variations of what they think is appropriate behaviour. But it’s not their place to force those values on other people. If you only want to have sex with someone you’re in a relationship with, in the missionary position, once a week, then that’s cool. But don’t look at the girl who’s banging three people and loving her life and call her a slut. You do you. She has other people to do her.