Skip to content

My Sluthood, Myself

July 26, 2010

Last summer, I suffered the breakup of a relationship that I had thought would be permanent. Now, I’ve been through my share of break-ups, even of quite serious relationships, but nothing ever broke me like this one.

Since then, I’ve had sexual interactions of the orgasmic kind with 9 different people, none of which I was at any time in a committed relationship with.

I’m not telling you this to shock (though I am specifying the number because we all need to get over the whole “OMG! Be ashamed of your NUMBER! It’s either too big or too small!” thing). I’m telling you this because of something else that’s also true about me: I’d really like to be in a long-term, probably monogamous relationship. That’s right, folks, I’m a slut who craves a stable, loving, committed relationship. File me under “Lookin’ fer luv: ur doin it wrong.”

That’s the story we get sold, right? That women who sleep around are destroying their chances at True Love. Something to do with bonding hormones getting all used up? Or is it that we have so little self-esteem that no one could love us? Or maybe it’s that we’re all used candy wrappers or dirty masking tape. I can never remember.

Thing is: I’ve done it the other way. Until my mid-30s, I was largely a serial monogamist. Not for any grand ethical or philosophical reasons – it was just what felt comfortable to me. That’s not to say that I didn’t have some wild adventures in college, or never went to bed with someone on a first date – I did on occasion. It’s just that when I did, I’d often wake up the next day in a relationship. Let me tell you: not the best recipe for partnership bliss.

I’m thinking of one particular instance in which I had what was for me a very painful dry spell: a year and a half in which I barely got to kiss anyone, and didn’t get to do anything other than that at all, sexually speaking, with anyone. It… yeah. Didn’t feel too good. Made me feel like I would never be touched or loved again. Made me feel, in a word, desperate. You know what’s not a great emotional state for making important life decisions? Desperation.

To wit: after this year and a half of nothing, I went to bed with a woman I barely knew on our first date. Nothing wrong with that, we had a great time, and seriously, did I mention a year and a half? The problem came the next morning, when it became obvious that she was much more into me emotionally than I was at that point. Did I tell her that? And potentially get exiled back to my affectionless desert? I bet you know the answer. What followed was a two-year relationship in which we were unhappy for about the last year and a half.

Fast forward through a few more relationships to last fall. As I crawled out of the acute grief stage of my breakup and into the Land of Reboundia, I launched myself somewhat full-throttle into dating. It was comforting to me to find that there were other people I found appealing who felt similarly about me. But each person I’d meet, if there was any kind of a click at all, I’d throw myself at them whole-hog, wanting so badly for them to be The One that proved I wouldn’t have to do die alone with a shriveled-up vagina and no cats. (I’m allergic.) And then (sing this with me if you know the tune), when something would inevitably go wrong, however silly or minor, however nascent the connection was, it would feel overwhelming. Like I was dying. Like I was broken all over again.

And then a miracle occurred. Via the unlikeliest source of miracles ever: Craigslist Casual Encounters.

I had never thought of my self as a Casual Encounters kind of girl. I’d read them on occasion, sure, out of fascination, horror, horniness. I’d even, once in a long while, in lonely desperate moments, posted an ad, not with the intention of actually meeting anyone, but because sometimes knowing you have a bunch of bad options that you’re rejecting feels better than feeling like you have no options at all. And it was that exact state I found myself in one Friday night last fall, after having been blown apart yet again by some minor rejection that felt so huge it sent me to my bed. I hadn’t showered or shaved or left the house in days. And so, glass of wine in hand, wearing a robe and dirty sweatpants, I posted an ad just so I could watch the replies come in and feel like I had some kind of choice in the world. That somebody wanted me, even if they were gross and I’d never want them back.

And then B. responded. He was smart and charming. His picture looked cute. He seemed like a grown-up, and not like a psycho. He knew how to banter. He made a funny joke about punctuation. And, after a few emails were exchanged, he wanted to know if I’d like to meet him for a drink. That night. Then. And, to my great shock and terror and excitement, I found that I did. (What writer can resist a good punctuation joke?)

The next hour was a blur of furious grooming, during which I kept up the following internal monologue: I’m going to get axe murdered. I’m going to get axe murdered. You don’t have to do this, you can call it off. No, I want to. I can handle myself, I have good instincts and great training. Oh, god, I’m going to get axe murdered…

I’m telling you this because sluthood is scary. Because we’ve been taught to fear it all our lives, and that training doesn’t just go away because we understand the agenda behind it. And because there are real risks involved. Society likes to punish slutty women. And so do a lot of individual men, some of whom frequent Craigslist Casual Encounters.

I left my roommate a note telling her what I’d done and where I was going and to call me at 11 and if I didn’t answer to call the police. (What they were going to do about the fact that her 30-something roommate had gone on a CE date and wasn’t home after two hours I mercifully didn’t wonder at the time.) And then I went down to the local bar and met him.

You’ve probably already guessed that I didn’t get axe murdered. Instead, we spent a lovely hour chatting over a couple of glasses of wine, he used the phrase “male hegemony” critically in a sentence (entirely unprompted by me), and then he asked me if I wanted to go back to his place, which was nearby. And once again, to my shock and terror and excitement, I found that I did. Though not before asking him for his address, calling my roommate with it in front of him, and letting him know I had extensive self-defense training.

Reader, I fucked him. Three rounds worth that night. And it was awesome.

Driving home late that night, I was overcome with an uneasy feeling. What had I just done? What did it mean? What would my friends think? Was this who I wanted to be? I sat in my parked car, paralyzed, for ten minutes that felt like an hour. And then I climbed upstairs, slid into bed, and fell into a troubled sleep.

So much of what changes us in life is accidental. The split-second decision. The whim indulged or squelched. I woke up the next morning feeling unmoored. Like something inside me had been knocked loose, but I didn’t yet know if it was a part I needed, or something that had been in the way. At brunch with friends that day, I nervously let slip about my little adventure, and exhaled as they cheered and pumped me for details. Emboldened by their lack of judgment, I told a few more friends, found more wicked delight.

I’m telling you this because sluthood requires support. Because any woman who indulges these urges carries with her a lifetime of censure and threat. That’s a loud chorus to overcome. A slut needs a posse who finds her exploits almost as delicious as she finds them herself, who cares about her safety and her stories and her happiness but not one whit about her virtue. A slut alone is a slut in difficulty, possibly in danger.

Slowly, I realized. A picture came in to focus. I had the fierce love of my friends. I now knew how to find a lover. And knowing those, I admitted what everyone around me already knew: I wasn’t ready for a new relationship. I couldn’t handle the vulnerability required. It was hurting me too much, too often. But suddenly, it was OK. Suddenly I saw that I didn’t have to keep trying. There were other options.

Of course, things are never as simple as you want them to be. I went back to the CL well trying to find more men like B. with little success. He was, perhaps, a needle in a haystack that I never thought would contain a needle in the first place. There were bushels of disgusting replies, some other flirty email exchanges, a few dates that didn’t make it past the first cocktail, and a scant handful of sexual encounters, only one of which, aside from B., was worth repeating. And even that one fizzled out after a while.

But it didn’t really matter. Because sluthood isn’t an action, it’s a state of mind.

I’m telling you this because sluthood saved me. Sluthood gave me the time and space to nurse a shattered heart. It gave me a place where I could exist in pieces, some of me craving touch, some of me still too tender to even expose to the light. Sluthood healed the part of me that felt my body and my desires were grotesque after two years in a libido-mismatched partnership. Now I felt hot, wanted, powerful. My desire and enthusiasm was an asset, not an unintended weapon. Even now, with more time passed, now, when I am actually ready for and wanting a more emotional connection, sluthood keeps me centered. It keeps me from confusing desire and affection with something deeper. It means I have another choice besides celibacy and settling. It means I won’t enter another committed relationship just to satisfy my basic need for sex and affection. It gives me more choices, it makes room for relationships to evolve organically, to take the shape they will before anyone defines them.

I’m telling you this because, as scary and dangerous as my sluthood is, it’s built on privilege. My paid work will never be in jeopardy because my sluthood is exposed. My work also means I have a lot of practice with direct sexual communication. I’m old enough to be fluent in my own desires and limits, and also old enough that no one expects me to be virginal anyhow, so the risk of stigma is less. I’m cisgender and able-bodied and relatively mentally heathly for now, which makes these assignations a lot easier to mange on multiple levels, I would imagine. I have extensive self-defense training, which assures me I can stay in control of my own safety even in most situations. As a survivor of sexual violence, I’ve been privileged to have access to good long-term therapy and other resources that helped me heal at a deep level. I’m also white, which means that no one expects my behavior to represent my entire race.

I’ve also had some obstacles to overcome. Fat girls don’t have the same pick of partners that smaller women seem to, though I’ve been pleasantly surprised and moved that there are more people out there who are attracted to me than I’d thought. Being a woman who’s “pushing 40” doesn’t exactly expand the pool either. My trauma history means I still have triggers to manage, so I’m a stickler for people who respond respectfully and immediately to direct communication – that rules out many more people than I wish it did, and my instincts on that front are quite good, but not perfect.

In other ways, too, sluthood isn’t always pretty, and I’m not always good at it. Whether from years of habit or something more intrinsic to my personality, my heart seems to want to attach, and after a couple months of playing together casually, and having long, rangey talks naked in bed together between rolls in the hay, it started to with B. Neither of us handled it particularly well. There were tears; there were accusations. But even that was an education: somehow, the conflict that erupted demonstrated so clearly the ways we wouldn’t work together in a more serious arrangement, leaving us free to pick up where we’d left off as lovers. A thread in a needle in a haystack, I suppose.

Meanwhile, via CL and other sources, I’ve had emails and dates and crushes and flings, and one thing that looked like it might get serious and then quite abruptly disappeared. I’ve explored some sexual experiences I’d only fantasized about, and learned which ones are better as fantasies and which ones I want to explore even more. I’ve remembered how much I like pleasure, and how much of it there is in the world. I’ve had to learn how to reject people nicely but clearly, and learn how to appreciate a generous rejection when it’s aimed at me. I’m building my emotional muscles again, and I’m starting to think I could eventually wind up stronger than ever. At the moment, I’ve got another connection simmering over a low flame; not sure yet what it’ll boil down to.

And yes, I still want love. Make that Love. The brass ring. The whole enchilada. A partner in crime, a permanent teammate. A mutual admiration society of two. Someone who feels like home, and who feels the same about me. Someone to catalogue my wrinkles as they form. Whatever you want to call it. When I think about it, it involves monogamy, but who knows. Maybe I’ll find it with someone. Maybe I won’t. I can’t pretend I don’t care. But most days, sluthood helps me be patient. It keeps desperation at bay. It reminds me to enjoy the life I have now, instead of waiting for someone to come start it. It helps me know my heart better, and my libido. It makes me better at communicating about both of them, and much less likely to confuse the two. To my mind, far from ruining me for real love, sluthood is preparing me for it.

I’m not telling you because I think I’ve discovered something new – countless women have certainly known this before me. I’m telling you this because so many people still don’t seem to understand. I’m not telling you this because I think you’re a slut, or should be a slut. I don’t know you. I don’t know what you need, or what you have access to. I’m surely not telling you this out of a desire to expose my private life to the internet. Writing this here means facing the judgment of some members of my family, some colleagues, and other people whose opinion of me matters. It means my ex will probably read this. It means I’ve left this out here for people to find in the future, possibly hurting my life in ways I can’t predict. Surely some of you reading this now will mock me, or criticize me, or give me uninvited advice because you feel like you now know me, or take this as an invitation to hit on me. (Hint: IT’S NOT.)

I’m telling you this because juries still think women who even look like they might possibly be sluts are “asking for it.” I’m telling you this because some people still think it’s OK to drive a teenage girl to suicide because she was probably a slut. I’m telling you this because our policymakers would rather girls get sometimes-fatal diseases than be perceived as condoning sluthood. I’m telling you this because it’s important for everyone to understand: Sluthood isn’t a disease, or a wrong path, or a trend that’s ruining our youth. It isn’t just for detached, unemotional women who “fuck like men,” (as if that actually meant something), consequences be damned. It isn’t ever inevitable that sluthood should inspire violence or shame. Sluthood isn’t just a choice we should let women make because women should be free to make even “bad” choices. It’s a choice we should all have access to because it has the potential to be liberating. Healing. Soul-fulfilling. I’m telling you this because sluthood saved me, in a small but life-altering way, and I want it to be available to you if you ever think it could save you, too. Or if you want it for any other reason at all. And because even if you don’t ever want sluthood for yourself, you’re going to be called upon to support a slut. I’m telling you this because when that happens, I want you to say yes.

(Cross-posted at Feministe.)

64 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2010 1:06 pm

    I love this post. I’ve been a slut for a very long time and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I think it’s so important to acknowledge what different kinds of sex and different kinds of relationships can give us, instead of just focusing on marriage as the one and only worthwhile institution. I would have missed out on so much growth if I hadn’t let myself explore so widely, and I’m glad you’re acknowledging those possibilities. Thank you for being brave and exercising your privilege to speak out about this. Yay!

  2. Taylor permalink
    July 26, 2010 3:13 pm

    This! Thisthisthis!! I’ve just recently discovered the joys of sluthood. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship per se, but I have had my heart broken before. I used to have an (I think) unhealthy drive to be in a committed relationship – being raised conservative Christian, I really wanted to get married. I think I probably still will, but now that I can enjoy my sexuality – and sex and affection – outside of a committed relationship with no guilt, I’ve found that my drive to get hitched has dramatically decreased.

    I’ve discovered that I really didn’t want to be in a monogamous relationship so much as I just wanted to get laid. And now that that’s happening on a regular basis, I feel so much more well-balanced. It gave me enough time to realized that I’m queer and possibly polyamorous. I think if I had have lived the way so many of the young women that I know (getting married at a very young age) I would have ended up settling, and then realizing my queerness later on, and being really unhappy. And I agree – I feel my sluthood hasn’t ruined me – on the contrary, it’s made me much more well-equipped for a committed relationship when the right person (or people?) happens along. And now I have way more emotional energy to put into my own personal development, my education, and causes that I feel strongly about (feminism! anti-racism! queer rights! w00t!) than I would have if I was as consumed with finding someone to settle down with as I have been in the past.

    Sluts represent!

    And I also have the privilege to have a whole whack of people to support me and my slutitude, and of being white and able-bodied, and of never having been sexually abused or exploited. I’m so lucky, and I hope never, ever to take that for granted.

    (PS, sorry for the novel 😛 This post really resonated!)

  3. July 26, 2010 3:38 pm

    Yep, me too: it’s really, really tough and scary, but so worth it when I can make it actually work.

  4. July 26, 2010 7:28 pm

    I love this. I cannot add anything more. I just love this.

  5. July 26, 2010 9:11 pm

    Amen sister! After being in a relationship for five years I had a few one night stands with men. None of them were that interesting or even good for that matter. However I have been very lucky in meeting a handsome and sweet man that I get the pleasure of fucking on a weekly basis. We talk about world events, art, sex toys, and leave all of our emotional hang ups at the door. It’s exhilarating!

  6. Suzanne permalink
    July 27, 2010 11:00 am

    Well done.

  7. Kaija permalink
    July 27, 2010 8:59 pm

    Wonderfully written and deeply honest post…gave me the chills. I think this is something that needs to be talked about more, shamed less, and accepted as a part of learning about yourself and your desires. I had a similar revelation after a breakup thanks to a lovely “friends with benefits” who was just wrong enough for me that a relationship was never on the table (we were incompatible outside of sex and awesome pillow talk) but turned out to be a lifelong friend and fellow thinker of big thoughts with whom I continue the great chats. Having good sex with a safe and enthusiastic partner after a bad relationship/bad sex brought me back to life and gave me a sense of confidence in myself and know what I require that has been a foundation of the successful relationship that I am in now!

  8. maggie permalink
    July 28, 2010 2:46 pm

    Thumbs up. I’m a slut — I finally, finally ended my marriage a year and a half ago. He was the first guy I’d been with, so at 26 I finally found myself able to pursue the inner slut I always knew I had.

    In the space of a year my number went from 1 to 14, and I learned to trust my instincts (after a few fairly stupid encounters). I also actually met the guy that I’m now sharing my life with, after wooing him on OkCupid and getting his pants off a few hours after meeting him.

    I know that I can separate love and sex quite well. And I’m not monogamous again, I’ve slowed down and have only added a few more to my total for a while now.

    I’m a happy, healthy slut.

  9. Sam permalink
    July 29, 2010 11:12 am

    Great post. I’ve come into sluthood over the past year as well. My friends affectionately refer to me as a slore (slut-whore), which I supposed could be damaging or demeaning, but we (the slores in my circle) sort of consider it a badge of honor.

    Anyway, I’m a gay male, so obviously working with a different set of privilege, but I still felt that your post spoke to me.


  10. July 29, 2010 4:33 pm

    So fabulous.

    Several years ago, I had a boyfriend who dumped me for my “number”. Since then, I’ve done my best to avoid it (even to the point of brainwashing myself into forgetting it).

    I rely on sluthood to help mend broken hearts, too. Thanks for writing this with an eloquence on the subject that I could never muster.

  11. July 29, 2010 9:16 pm

    Great piece! My number is between 4 and 5 (sex is complicated, no?) but I fully embrace sluttiness! The stipulation is that the sex has to be good. When it comes to great sex, my attitude is more is better. For me, the dry spells seem long, and supply usually fails to meet demand.

  12. Teresa permalink
    July 31, 2010 12:40 pm

    This post is awesome and I can really relate to it.

    I am a slut as well. I find lots of pleasure and power in this. I started having sex about a year and a half ago (I’m 20) and I have had 12 partners, only 2 of which lead to committed relationships. Most of them I never communicate with anymore, some of them are my best friends, I have intense hatred for a couple of them and I forgot one of their names. And I’m fine with that.

    What brings me down is that other people try to compare me to other sluts by saying, “You’re not as bad as her because you are prettier/thinner/smarter/nicer/sleeping with less people.” Or they say try to make me feel better by claiming I’m “not really a slut.” I am a slut though. I am the same as those other sluts. Being a slut is not a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with any of us.

    I have more non-judgmental friends than ones who judge. I get high-fives instead of having people wag their fingers at me. They like to see me having a good time being a slut and it’s amazing.
    Basically, being a slut rules.

  13. August 2, 2010 5:05 am

    Hi, awesome post. I’m curious as to how you perceive the word ‘slut’, because it seems derogatory to me, and indeed, I wouldn’t call someone who slept around a lot a slut at all. I feel like the word is intrinsically a value judgement, which is exactly what I don’t want to do – it’s her choice and not my place to label someone. Or, do you find that identifying with the word can be an empowering reclamation? (my apologies if you have posted your thoughts on this elsewhere, this is the first post on your blog that I have read *goes to explore more*)

  14. August 2, 2010 1:26 pm

    My pattern with sex and relationships has always been similar. Only one long-term (year+) relationship out of four has started off as a friendship. The other three were one-night-stands that turned into something. And the miscellaneous hook-ups I’ve had in-between were almost always with “strangers” (fellow students, guys at clubs or bars, etc.) I’ve only had two “repeat hookups”. And I loved it, and was happy with it.



    A man I trusted, and loved, for over a year, hooked up with someone while I was away. And he caught herpes. And he gave it to me.

    And that was kinda the end of the whole “fucking strangers” thing. Because even tho I’m all but a-symptomatic, and practice safe sex, the possibility of transmission is there. And I refuse to infect someone the way I was infected: unknowingly.

    It was not the end of my happy fucking career. I’ve fucked several guys since then and I’m now in a semi-committed open relationship. But nothing is as much of a buzz-kill as having to tell someone “I have herpes” when he asks if I wanna go someplace. And the auto-rejects I’ve gotten hurt. Because there’s nothing I can do. I salve my pride by telling myself better an honest slut than a lying disease spreader, right? But it still hurts.

  15. Ayla permalink
    August 3, 2010 6:34 pm

    So does “slut” just mean having casual sex now? That’s it? I have no problem with casual sex but have never understood the need to use this word about women who engage in it. “Human” seems more accurate.

  16. August 3, 2010 10:43 pm

    Thank you. I loved reading every word. Your writing is beautiful, emotional and free flowing. The topic was exactly what I needed to read tonight. I have not been worried about the judgement of others but rather the judgement I oppose on myself. Reading how well you embrace your sluttiness and the others who have posted that as well…. it is extremely empowering.

    Thank you.

  17. Kat permalink
    August 6, 2010 5:43 am

    I am bawling my eyes out reading this. I was sexually abused by a number of peers between the ages of 12 and 18. I was raped when I was 20, by an acquaintance.

    But from 19 to 23, I had about 20 sexual partners (“about”, cos I didn’t actually keep count). Some of these were friends or boyfriends, and some of them were just randoms. I enjoyed myself. I hurt no-one.

    The friends who have know my ‘number’ are wonderful people who could not care less. The friends who had issues with my ‘number’ obviously weren’t friends at all – who I slept with should have had no power to upset them. Why couldn’t they be happy in my happiness?

    That said, my partner of 2 1/2 years has no idea of my number, or my history of sexual abuse. As far as I’m concerned, my number is not relevant, but I guess I’m also hiding from any potential negative perceptions. My history is more relevant, and one day I hope to be able to talk about it so that I can educate him, and try to reduce the negative perceptions about women who have been abused.

  18. Jacob Weiss permalink
    August 14, 2010 9:56 pm

    A very, very well-written piece which not only cuts to the heart of the matter but which said a lot of things I was only thinking in the very back of my mind for a very long time.

    If only women got handed the “‘casual sex’ bad, marriage good” nonsense, that would be bad enough by itself. But you may count me among the too many men of my generation (I’m in my early fifties) who got handed that horseshit. Whoever promulgated this destructive but prevalent and unquestioningly-accepted myth certainly has a lot to answer for.

    And for whatever it’s worth, my first long-term girlfriend had had over 16 partners prior to meeting me. I simply did not care. I reassured my girlfriend that the number of prior experiences she’d had had no bearing on what I thought of her, save to wish along with her that she could have avoided some of the more painful ones. Also for whatever it’s worth, I myself am a survivor of sexual abuse.

    It took a lot of guts for you to write a blog posting like this. Let’s hear it for women who say and go for what they want and don’t care what ignorant and small-minded people think about that!

  19. August 18, 2010 6:51 pm

    Excellent essay. Came here by way of a recomendation from Emily McKay over at The Green Light District. Thank you.

  20. August 20, 2010 12:17 am

    I really applaud and appreciate this post—thank you, Jaclyn, for so freely, openly, and conscientiously sharing. Additionally, I found the comments beautiful and downright inspiring too. Many thanks and appreciation all around!

  21. Jennifer permalink
    August 24, 2010 4:16 pm

    First, I must say thank you. I stumbled upon your blog today at work and I have not been able to tear myself away. I can not wait to pick up a copy of your book as soon as the clock hits 5:30. This post in particular made me feel oh so much better about my early twenties. I was an active member of SlutTown back then and as much as I was made to feel guilty and dirty about my decisions, I knew deep down that what I was doing was right for me. The experiences, good and bad, readied me for the relationship I now have with my husband. Thank you for putting such honest, open, and inspiring words out there for those who choose to read them! It can be a tough battle, but I see a win on the horizon for all of us “sluts” out there.

  22. August 27, 2010 11:48 am

    Story full of liberating, thought-provoking and relieving ideas. I salute your courage, openness and your efforts to try to discover who you are and what are your needs in and honest and clear fashion. As a 27 year old male, even I felt like I might draw some lessons from this story (not that I had a particularly adventurous sexual past. As a man you grow under different pressures than women, besides, I live in a more conservative society than the US).
    Thank you for reminding us of the existence of people who can get to know themselves better and ignore the short-sighted influences of the society in which they live.

    Congratulations from Istanbul, Turkey…

  23. noblecaboose permalink
    September 6, 2010 8:05 am

    I went through my CL CE phase of sluthood about six years ago and survived to tell the tale.
    With my partner count around 50, I’m now married with a baby.
    Having found love with someone who loves me for my sluthood, not in spite of it, I’ve finally found intimacy I never thought possible. With an open marriage, I don’t have to give up my sluthood, but my priorities have changed. I have to consider my safety for the sake of my family, and I’m also more interested in intimacy rather than simple sexual pleasure (not that I wouldn’t turn down a one night stand with a super-hot scientist, which is how I met my husband, incidentally).

    Back in my more active slutty days, I used to say S.L.U.T. was an acronym for Sexually Liberated Unwed Teen/Twentysomething/Thirtysomething (I guess women over 39 who are still sluts are just awesome and don’t need an acronym).

  24. Sarah permalink
    September 9, 2010 1:09 pm

    Thank you for the post.

    I’m one of those weird people whose number is 1, and I’m pretty happy with it that way (and I’ve been romantically rejected for that fact), but just because it’s my way, doesn’t mean it has to be anyone else’s.

    Thanks for telling me about your way. I always like to learn other perspectives.

    • Morganism permalink
      September 10, 2010 4:15 pm

      Kinda refreshing to see the unapologetic power of feminism lift her head, and shake her hips !

      Stay strong, and i don’t think you need to be titled/take “slut” to own your own sexuality. I always thought it was just adulthood.

      Still run across all these gals that think they are still in high school tho……..sigh.

      Smile, and I am one of the guy’s that is giving the gal a high five too!

  25. Lizza Protas permalink
    September 21, 2010 6:20 am

    Dear Jaclyn,

    I want to thank you for writing such a personal, passionate account. It takes guts to say these things in public, and I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your courage to speak.

  26. basil papademos permalink
    October 2, 2010 11:30 am

    Wow. Pretty sad all this has to be articulated. And to think it all goes back to that fateful day when the first guy realized that his sperm, him – had something to do with the creature that came out of a woman’s body several months later. You can imagine the revelation. “Hey…. wait a minute!”
    Since then, well, it’s all been “Hey, that belongs to ME – it’s inside you, yeah okay, but it’s MINE and nobody else gets in there, capeche?”

    Before that, guys were told women got knocked up due to a certain insect or the north wind or whatever claptrap she thought up at the moment. Imagine the inside jokes…

  27. MBob permalink
    October 3, 2010 8:00 pm

    I love this. I feel your words. And I needed it, so thanks!

  28. October 5, 2010 1:38 pm

    I’m late to this party but just wanted to put out there that this is awesome. Thanks for writing it!

  29. engagedpaganism permalink
    October 20, 2010 4:15 pm

    Hi! Even newer to the party. Great post though! As some one who comes from a rather conservative background and who also considers themself a die-hard romantic, I find that I really struggle with squaring my romanticism and my inner slut. I always worry that really romantic guys wouldn’t want a girl who’s had more casual sex (which I haven’t but often fantasize about). So it’s great to hear that there are partners out there who don’t subscribe to the old “good girl/bad girl” binary. And it’s also really helpful and inspiring to hear about all you who’ve managed to have hook-ups safely! Because the other thing that holds me back, apart from conflicts with internalized value-judgements, is fear, both of getting into unsafe situations and of being judged (rejected) for my unorthodox body-type (hirsuit with a couple of disabilities). Anyway, all this to say keep up the awesome work! Girls like me out there really need to hear this shit! It’s so much more helpful than the mainstream media!

  30. feisty_jenn permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:52 pm

    i can’t thank you enough for this. My 10 year relationship (7 year marriage) unexpectedly ended in August 2010, and i was devastated. as a fat womyn, as a womyn in her 40s, as someone with a track record of poor success in relationships i felt initially as though it was time to tuck sexuality away somewhere and forget about it. but i haven’t done so — instead, first through a couple of encounters with friends and then through a craigslist CE ad of my own, i’m taking this time to rebuild myself, to discover a confidence, a sexuality and an exuberance i never knew i could have. And this article has been my touchstone throughout that process….the piece that reminds me that what i’m doing is my choice, that i’m loved and supported by my friends, and that there is nothing wrong with these choices. This article was truly life-changing for me…

  31. Chuck permalink
    February 1, 2011 6:52 pm

    Right on! This actually spoke to me, too. Regardless of the stereotype, some men aren’t comfortable being sluts, either. But this article make me think that it might be just what I need to keep desperation at bay and learn how to have a healthier attitude about sex. Thanks!

  32. Kaliane Moloch permalink
    March 6, 2011 7:56 pm

    Here’s a post from my blog I’d like to share:

  33. Allie permalink
    March 22, 2011 3:05 am

    Thank you so much for this! I consider myself a member of the Ethical Sluthood, and I am happily there with two partners, and though it’s not always easy for my family to understand, I am glad to know there are others like me in the world.

    Keep up the sexy work! ^_^

  34. Sabra permalink
    May 7, 2011 2:41 am

    This made me laugh out loud!

    “[Sluthood] isn’t just for detached, unemotional women who “fuck like men,” (as if that actually meant something) […]”

    Thank you for articulating what, until now, has been beyond words for me.

  35. Kev Harrison permalink
    May 8, 2011 5:34 pm

    As a man, I found this article really interesting. I think it applies to both genders and I really do feel that people (myself absolutely 100% included) end up chasing commitment to fulfil those 2 really fundamental needs of affection and sexual gratification. I’ve wasted years at a time in relationships that ought never to have been.
    Recently I’ve broken away from it and embraced Sluthood and in terms of happiness and mental/emotional health, it’s by far outshone the short relationships I’ve had since my last “real relationship” ended.
    Thank you.

    • July 14, 2014 10:33 pm

      You can embrace “Sluthood” if you are a man, because this word (slur) is specifically directed at women to shame them for their sexuality. I’m sorry.

      • July 14, 2014 10:33 pm


  36. scyllacat permalink
    May 11, 2011 9:38 pm

    Thank you. This is a lot of clarity. I broke the restrictive sexual boundaries of my folks at 17, 18, 19… eroding, I guess. And then spent years feeling guilty about my slut-hood. I came through the other side, but I have never put it into such good words…. But when my boyfriend and I had trouble/a temporary breakup three years ago, my knowledge of sluthood stood me in good stead while I navigated my needs and figured out what I _really_ wanted. So another YES here.

  37. Tracy Bailey permalink
    July 14, 2011 8:45 am

    All I can say is “WOW”. Thank you for sharing this. I’m certainly not a writer and find it difficult to put my feelings/emotions into words. But, for the situation I am experiencing right now, you have given me inspiration. I just wanted to say “thank you” for sharing your story, your thoughts, your heart. And, for allowing me to realizing that I am not alone on the emotional roller coaster ride of life.

  38. karinacinerina permalink
    August 29, 2011 4:21 pm

    I recognize and value so much in this post – thank you for writing it and verbalizing so much of what I was unable to. I had the double whammy of two seriously mismatched libido relationships leave me a smoking pile of fat, insecure rubble. My march into OKCupid and a sort of unintentional sluthood (including meeting and learning a lot about myself and jealousy and other things from polyamorous folk) was enlightening, empowering, fun, and put me in a good place to find the relationship I am currently marveling at having found.
    Thank you for this post and I support all the ethical sluts!

  39. Jeff permalink
    October 7, 2011 11:34 am

    Unfortunately this does not apply to men. Men who are sexually repressed, but not attractive, must either resort to self pleasure, prostitution or going without. Sluthood is not an option, even for those men who are married but sexually repressed, because they simply cannot go out and pick up women who are willing to screw you without complexities.

  40. Ash permalink
    July 1, 2012 3:35 pm

    Thank you for helping to reclaim our right to any sex life we want, without apology.

  41. July 13, 2012 3:31 pm

    Jeff–it is true that availability of sex is much harder for men who are not very attractive. I won’t blow sunshine up your butt. I’m sorry?

    I always find these kinds of confessions interesting. I don’t know my number exactly any more. I had a hard drive crash I think seven years ago and I’ve never tried to recreate the whole list. I’m somewhere between 120 and 130. I think. I could be off by as much as fifteen in either way. Some of the time periods are a bit fuzzy.

    It’s always interesting to me how people think of numbers like 16 as being gasp-worthy. I just smile. I had sex with more than twenty people before I was eighteen. I just seem to work on a different scale.

    I suppose my only defense is that my father started raping me as a toddler. It sounds like a joke or like I am a troll. I have had a complicated life.

    Which is just to say, OP, when you feel like nine people in a couple of years just know that there are women in the world who do that in a month. Promiscuity is a spectrum. I don’t see why there is anything wrong with what you are doing.

    Uhm, I’m married and monogamous at this point. Oh, and I’m thirty. Numbers are funny. Life experience accrues at uneven rates. I’m very good at first date sex. I’m having a time learning more about long-term sex.

    Uhh, I’ll stop babbling. I liked your post. You made me think about a lot of things. Thank you. 🙂

  42. October 5, 2012 4:03 pm

    being the slut i am im a better smarter person because of this im getting freakier/kinkier and loving myself more take this advise please youll see for your self

  43. Jen permalink
    January 29, 2013 8:29 am


  44. keyless permalink
    July 2, 2013 12:02 pm

    Your sexuality belongs to you, and you alone. This is a wonderful, inspiring post for those of us who have often wondered whether or not we have the strength to be who we want to be, and to not spend the rest of our lives apologizing for it. Thank you.

  45. Amanda permalink
    December 3, 2013 8:48 pm

    This was linked to from a post over on Captain Awkward, and I just want to say THANKYOU I LOVE YOUR EXPLANATION x 1000. It makes things more understandable.

  46. January 14, 2014 4:39 am

    Reblogged this on Beautiful Cocoon.

  47. Jae permalink
    May 13, 2014 8:58 am

    Oh wow! I love this entry. It could have been me. (Well, except for not being bi and not allergic to cats). I did the same after 15 years of serial monogamy and it was LIBERATING! And I still found the love of my life later and that’s ok, too. Both phases of my life were and are great, and I’m glad I didn’t miss one of them.


  1. Anti-feminist, anti-sex bloggers do not speak for me or my generation | Not a Dirty Word
  2. sammylif
  3. “Hookup culture” and judging women | ethecofem
  4. The Complexities of Casual Sex | Charlie Glickman
  5. Shameful behaviour « This Wicked Day
  6. ‘Hookup culture’ and judging women « April Streich
  7. Reader Question #16: The Golden Retriever/Kwisatz Haderach of Love «
  8. Dear Prudence + Bygones + Fun with Stats «
  9. A Needle in a Haystack Without Needles | Map of the Problematic
  10. #256: Not feeling the whole dating thing right now. «
  11. Hump Day Hero: Jaclyn Friedman
  12. #464: My mom died and my dad started having sex with men. A LOT of men. Should I talk to him about it? |
  13. Pavlov’s Black Gloves | Disrupting Dinner Parties
  14. #603: “I can’t stop cheating on my perfect boyfriend.” | Captain Awkward

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: