embrace slut teaser
embrace slut teaser

I Embrace the Word ‘Slut,’ and Here’s Why You Should, Too

I have four pieces of jewelry I wear daily: My tragus ring, my (very gauged) nipple ring, a black tiger’s eye stud I received as a bar mitzvah gift over a decade ago and, last but not least, a necklace that reads SLUT in capital letters.

Almost daily, I get complimented on my necklace. Usually by gay men and women.

Among many other labels, I identify as a proud slut. Akin to words like “queer” and “dyke,” I feel as if I’ve reclaimed this word. What differs about slut as opposed to “queer,” “dyke” and even “faggot” (which is in the midst of being reclaimed by many gay men), is that slut isn’t inherently a homophobic word but rather a misogynistic one. It’s typically used to police women’s bodies and behaviors. Straight men aren’t “sluts” but rather “players.” They’re praised for sleeping around as opposed to punished. This double-standard has existed for what seems like forever.

Some gay men get called sluts as well, though, and from what I’ve gathered, it seems like it’s typically bottoms who are deemed slutty rather than tops. That’s almost surely because bottoms are deemed as taking on the ‘woman’s role’ during sex, as they are the ones being penetrated.

Needless to say, women can be tops and take a more dominant role during sex, just like men. Nevertheless, gender roles often extend into the bedroom (especially for straight individuals).

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are 5 reasons why I’ve reclaimed the word slut.

 

1. The word “slut” is sex-positive.

This reason is the most obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. Despite the fact that we’ve come a long way, we live in a sex-negative society rooted in Puritan values. Promiscuity, kinks, BDSM and non-monogamous relationships are still deemed ethically immoral by many.

Reclaiming the word “slut” and identifying as one illustrates there’s nothing wrong with being sexual. Moreover, there’s nothing wrong with speaking openly about sex. It’s not something that needs to be discussed behind closed doors. It’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s something to love and embrace.

 

2. The word “slut” reveals my honesty.

I don’t take my necklace off for anyone — first dates included. Almost every time my date will comment on my necklace. It’s something I want them to see, as it lets them know where I stand sexually. It gives them an idea of my past sexual behavior and what I want my sexual behavior to be going forward (at least at this point in my life). If they’re not on board with it, they should jump ship now.

Often sluts hide their sexual activity or downplay it, fearing judgement and rejection from others. This can lead to lying about sexual activity, which is actually unethical and can be a matter of physical safety. Because while there’s nothing wrong with sleeping around, there is something wrong with lying about your sexual behavior and putting someone else’s health at risk.

 

3. The word “slut” reveals my personality.

I think there’s something playful in reclaiming the word “slut.” It shows that I don’t take the world — or myself, for that matter — too seriously. That’s not to say I don’t respect myself or anything like that. Of course I do. I think it has to do more with the fact that I’m a fun person. I’m open-minded. I’m down to explore new things, both sexually and otherwise. I think it speaks volumes to who I am.

 

4. The word “slut” undermines gender roles.

I spoke to this earlier, but I believe identifying as a word typically used to shame and police women undermines gender roles. It not only reveals that, yes, men can also be sluts, but that being “slutty” isn’t a bad thing. It’s not immoral or unnatural. It’s simply a double-standard that men have used to control women. I think this is why women compliment me on my necklace significantly more often than straight men.

 

5. The word “slut” takes power away from haters.

I always hated the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This old adage has got to be one of the stupidest ones there is. Words may never physically hurt, but of course they hurt. And while a broken bone eventually heals, the wounds we receive from being called certain things may never go away. They stick with us forever, like a black cloud looming over us.

So instead of making the claim that words don’t hurt, I think a better thing to do is reclaim those words — to change the connotation of the word so it no longer is packed with venom, shame and bigotry. This is something many folks have done with words like “fat” and “fag.” If you no longer believe the word to be a bad or hurtful, the word no longer holds power to hurt you.

 

So, yeah, I’m a big old proud slut. I’m honest about it. I’m open about it. I’m safe about it. I love sex, and everything about it. (Well, not the STIs.) The word “slut” speaks volumes to who I am as a person. It doesn’t mean I sleep with everyone, because I still have standards and attractions. It also doesn’t mean I like being touched without consent. It just means I’ve embraced the sexual component of my identity, and I’m not willing to let others’ judgements alter my behavior.