I really appreciate Stacey May Fowler’s post from yesterday. It gives me pause, though, and a push into excavating my own truth. When I dig through each layer of my past twelve years of slut-identified existence, I can’t pretend that I am only sifting smoothly to find shiny pro-sex artifacts constructed from my own autonomous decisions about who, when, and how. My tools get bent and my work difficult when I hit upon that version of myself that actually was almost unconditionally “up for it.”
The seventeen…eighteen… nineteen year old who almost never considered turning someone down for sex because available meant useful. I could understand myself as being valuable in a way that other girls weren’t when at every other turn I only could conceive of myself as empty, insignificant, unreal. I proudly called myself easy, a slut and a whore as a challenge to my friend’s boyfriends who joked about my promiscuity and as a way to give a big f*** you to my conservative, conformist, hetero-normative environment. I laughed a lot at my own lack of standards. “Undiscerning,” I called myself. “Mutual using” was how a described my first sexual relationship.
In the end, I may have actually said yes to every single one of those boys whose dicks I sucked and then let cry on my shoulder about the other girl who recently broke their heart. Doesn’t saying yes meet the definition of consent? Isn’t that the only real criteria for indicating harm or not?
I don’t mean to describe my slut pride as a façade. It wasn’t, but this is where language and logic begin to fail me. I was driven by my own physical pleasure, to some degree. Something was better than nothing. How can I honor that girl who took hold of the resources she had to begin to dig herself out of a hole of passive acceptance of a predetermined straight, Christian, consumer-driven future and at the same time not internalize or project blame for the pain that comes from keeping your Self closed to the possibility of being loved and your body open for using?
I am outraged at the assumption that women who talk openly about sex and pleasure are assumed to be open for sex with anyone at time. Personally, though, I’ve found a radical, queer, kink and sex positive communities where women like me are not an anomaly. When I do encounter those bogus assumptions or advances from a person I am not attracted to/not interested in/ not in the mood for, outrage or rejection are not automatically my responses, though. As someone who has only recently had an experience of consistently believing in my own inherent and specific worths, it takes a conscious effort to hold myself to standards of who I bed based on genuine respect and my own desire. It keeps getting easier.