Dating a Slut

by Randall S. Frederick

I.

News broke this week that Joshua Harris, a leading voice in Evangelical purity culture and the author of Christian dating guides I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship, was getting a divorce. My first response was relief for his wife. After all, this was the man who discussed the “shame” and “betrayal” he felt when she confessed she had premarital sex years before she ever met Joshua.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to marry someone like that? Who felt shame because of you, betrayal from you, and – secondarily – anger towards God because he felt he deserved a virgin? Being married to someone who continued to shame you by publicly discussing this with thousands of teenagers and then millions more when he published the story in his book?

I remember reading Harris’ first two books as a teenager and laughing (out loud) at how ridiculously inexperienced he sounded. Granted, I was a virgin myself but this guy was something else.

His premise with the first book was that Christian teenagers should be intentional about who they spend their time with. It was fine to hang out with friends, but they shouldn’t rush into a relationship. After all, he argued, teenage relationships didn’t usually lead to emotional stability and security. No reason to rush things or use someone just to get experience.

Okay, not a terrible idea, right? Don’t rush your life. Don’t abuse people for your own sense of identity. On board so far. But then he kept going.

Harris – who was only 17 years old when he began touring churches with the first book – was woefully inexperienced and it showed. Caught up in the hype that surrounded him and the braggadocio of fame from virgins just like him, his second book, Boy Meets Girl went further. It wasn’t enough to refrain from going out and meeting people, or at he succinctly put it: dating. A “pure” person would intentionally court their partner, focusing first on a love for God and pursuit of holiness, then focusing on developing the essentials for marriage. Does it seem like Harris skipped a step? Sure. Take dating out of the equation, baptize your relationship as “courting” to make it sound holy, then – let’s get real here – rush to the altar so you can finally have sex. After all, that was the goal all along. Make a good show, sound holy, but get that nut. Oh, and if you were able to build a lifelong commitment based on the 18 steps provided by an inexperienced virgin, mazel tov.

You can probably surmise how all of this contributed to Harris and his wife announcing their divorce. They are trying to keep the details out of the only tabloid that would care, Christianity Today, and announced the termination of their marriage in the most Christian way possible: mutual Instagram posts affirming love and respect for one another together with a commitment to continue raising the kids together. Former minister Bruce Gerencser shares his opinions on the purity culture that Harris perpetuated with his books.

[W]hat happens when church teenagers and young adults ignore the moral standard or, in a moment of understandable passion, give way to sexual desire and fulfillment? Most of the time, as long as the keepers of the chastity belts do not find out, these fornicators and pleasurers will continue to engage in behaviors that — according to their parents, churches, and pastors — will land them in hell. As one aged preacher tried to impress on us young preachers: a stiff prick has no conscience. Once aroused, sexual desire usually wins the battle. On those Sundays when pastors rage against immorality, frothing at the mouth and pounding the pulpit as they wage war against normal, healthy sexual behavior, those who have given into their desires will be drowned in seas of guilt, shame, and fear. Sometimes these fornicators will make their way down to the front of the church, and kneeling at an old-fashioned altar, they will promise God that they will never, ever spank the monkey or engage in any behavior remotely considered sexual. If need be, they will pluck out their eyes. Yet, come Saturday night they will be tempted to break their vow. While some will hold out, most will engage in the very “sins” they confessed the week before. Why? Not because they are in any way morally inferior or weak. Much like drinking and eating, desiring sexual fulfillment is every bit a part of what makes us human. It is these preachers of abnormality who are the problem. Instead of teaching sexually aware young adults how to handle their sexuality and how to engage in thoughtful, satisfying sex, these deniers of human nature do everything possible to shame and guilt people into obedience.

A few years ago, Harris publicly apologized for writing his first two books and requested that his publishers remove them from future printing. Having laughed at his work years ago, I applaud the man for being mature and admitting he was wrong. He was. And he owned it. He disavowed the very thing that made him famous, admitted his ignorance, and asked for forgiveness for the cultural impact he had. Many Christian celebrities don’t do that. You’ve got to respect someone who admits they are wrong.

Still, no one “earns” someone else’s sexuality. Harris committed to print the attitudes that a lot of us carry around with us today, no matter our religious background or lack thereof. I laughed at his views those many years ago because, even as a virgin myself at that time, I didn’t feel entitled to someone else’s virginity. Harris was angry and felt betrayed because, he said, he had done everything right. He was a good Christian boy. He went to church. He even wrote a book and discouraged other teenagers from having sex! He deserved a virgin! He had earned a virgin! All of this felt very entitled and misguided, as though someone else’s life experiences defined his own. And, in a very real way, it was Harris’ book tours and attendance and youth rallies in America that helped reinforce the narrative that we are “entitled” or can “earn” a good (pure) partner, that our relationships will be secure, that we have to “forgive” our partner for things they did before they ever met us. Like we’re that fucking special.

Let’s name the root of this problem: control. We want to control people. We want to control the ways that people intersect with our sense of identity. If need be, will will guilt and shame the people we love the most to achieve our sense of self. And a partner’s “number” is an obvious target for shame in our selfish pursuit of control. It’s manipulative. It’s toxic. And it will destroy a relationship. It doesn’t just bring shame into the relationship, it embeds it. It creates the very clear message that we have to be perfect, or we don’t deserve to be loved by another human being.

In the years that followed, I haven’t been especially interested in “the numbers” of my partners. Outside of sexual health concerns or sexual activities they would like to revisit, I’m still not interested in knowing about their sexual history. Women often shy away from telling their number to potential partners because there is a stigma around being seen as a slut. If a woman has too many sexual partners, she is a slut. If she has too few, she’s a frigid bitch. It’s a lose/lose situation and so many of my female friends have said over the years that they lie – and feel like they have to maintain that lie to support their partner’s ego, to support their sense of identity. “No baby, your penis is sooo big. I’ve never been with a man bigger than four inches! I don’t think I could handle it…”

I’m the opposite of that, I think. When a previous partner told me that she had been with 15 guys, I gave her a high five. Encouraged, she upped her number. Another high five. She upped it a third time – “Are you sure that’s all?” – and there I was, giving her another congratulatory high five. I assured her that it didn’t matter to me how many people she had slept with. What mattered was that she was in my bed, with me, that night and that we were able to spend time together.

II.

Fear of sexual partners stepping out on us is not limited to men, and it’s not inherently irrational. It’s a valid concern. Cypridophobia is the phobia or fear of sexually transmitted diseases and, like most phobias, can affect any age, gender, or ethnic background. Exposure or threat of exposure to an inciting incident can cause great physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nervousness, shortness of breath, changes in blood pressure and other symptoms commonly seen with anxiety disorders. The psychological symptoms can include feelings of impending doom, panic, and general emotional distress.

At a primal level, I would offer, we are afraid of our partner cheating for the same reasons that we recoil from most dangers. Whether a learned of inherent response, again, the concern is valid. And, at that primal level, we can detect (or at least suspect) all kinds of dangers to our physical, emotional, or mental health. There have been many times over the years when I have sensed a change from someone and disengaged from a conversation. Only later would I come to realize the threat I had found myself in days, weeks, or months prior. So I certainly want to validate and legitimize concerns and encourage the pursuit of health and healthy choices.

My challenge to someone experiencing distress at a relational or sexual partnership with someone they perceive to be a “slut” resides elsewhere. It resides with the label itself. The word originally meant a dirty, slovenly, or messy woman. From its origin, the word was inherently gendered and discriminatory even though the first recorded use of the word in print referenced a man in Geoffrey Chaucer‘s The Canterbury Tales. There Chaucer uses the word to describe a man’s untidy appearance, sluttish (c. 1386). Later uses appear almost exclusively associated with women. Students of literary history and word usage put forward that the usage in Canterbury Tales is a result of Medieval concerns – namely, that the greatest praise toward a woman was that she was “mannish” and the greatest insult to a man was that he would be “effeminate.”

Although the ultimate origin of the word slut as a spoken insult is unknown, it first appeared in Middle English in 1402 as slutte, meaning “a dirty, untidy, or slovenly woman.” The modern sense of “a sexually promiscuous woman” dates to at least 1450 when the word became common in late Middle English language. It was then used to describe a woman as dirty or refer to her as a prostitute, harlot, or immoral woman, uniting the idea that a sexually permissive woman was “dirty.” The word slut also took a similar form around the same era in the Norwegian language as “slutr” sleet, also known as an impure liquor.

It is worth nothing that another early meaning was “kitchen maid or drudge” (c. 1450), a meaning retained as late as the 18th century, when hard knots of dough found in bread were referred to as “slut’s pennies.” A notable example of this use is Samuel Pepys‘s diary description of his servant girl as “an admirable slut” who “pleases us mightily, doing more service than both the others and deserves wages better” (February 1664), but given the pervasively derogatory use of the word, “slut” and “slutishness” occurring in Shakespeare‘s comedy As You Like It  (1599 or 1600), we can be certain where the definition began to move. By the nineteenth century, the word was used as a euphemism in place of “bitch” in the sense of a female dog, further securing and uniting both the sexual and derogatory connotations of the word. Today, the term slut is almost exclusively used to describe women in popular culture; an exact male equivalent of the term does not exist.

While colloquial terms such as male slut or man whore are used in popular culture, it is usually used in a joking manner. There are, however, other terms that can be used to criticize men for their sexuality. For example, a man’s masculinity can be undermined by using terms such as weaksissypussy, or whipped.

The word slut is commonly interchanged with the words trampwhorehoenympho, and hooker. All of these words have a very negative connotation. Additional meanings and connotations of the term are negative and identify a slut as being a slovenly and ugly person, for example, as in these quotations from OED2:

Hearne, 1715: “Nor was she a Woman of any Beauty, but was a nasty Slut.”
Shenstone, 1765: “She’s ugly, she’s old, … And a slut, and a scold.”

The attack on the character of the person is perhaps best brought together by the highly suggestive and related compound word, slut’s-hole, meaning a place or receptacle for rubbish; the associated quote provides a sense of this original meaning:

Saturday Review (London), 1862: “There are a good many slut-holes in London to rake out.”

“Slut” can also be used as verb to denote behavior characterized as that of a slut. For example, in the 1972 play, That Championship Season, by Jason Miller, contains the following exchange:

COACH: I don’t care what that hot pantsed bitch said. Go home and kick her ass all over the kitchen. All that slutting around…

GEORGE. She’s not a slut…

COACH. She was punished for slutting, wasn’t she? She was punished and so were you.

Slut, then, takes on a very fixed meaning for centuries after Shakespeare as a nasty woman who transgresses her role as a goodly woman of virtue.

Sex researcher, author, and therapist specializing in relationship issues Dr. Sarah Hunter-Murray points out that women’s sexual desire varies greatly. Some women describe having very high levels of sexual interest, some minimal interest bordering on the asexual, while others sexual fixate on a very small number of potential partners over a lifetime. Some women find that their sexual interests mature with age while others decline; some identify as bisexual and shift interest between men and women based on seasonal or even monthly hormonal cycles. Writing for Psychology Today, Dr. Hunter-Murray highlights a 2002 Journal of Sex study of women between the ages of 20-82 years old who self-identified as being highly sexual about their experiences.

The women in the study described their sexuality as a core part of who they were and something that had a strong influence on the way they lived their lives. Specifically, women indicated that their feelings of sexual desire and sexual excitement were intense urges that could not be ignored. Women described how their motivation to seek out sexual stimuli and sexual satisfaction (i.e., through finding sexual partners, masturbating, etc.) made up a considerable portion of how they organized their time and energy.

Despite women’s strong desire to seek out sexual stimulation, women in the study also indicated that they felt society holds a negative view of highly sexual women. As such, women reported experiencing struggles and challenges in most area of their lives because of their sexuality. This included sometimes doubting how they felt about themselves, worrying about how their sexual urges might impact their relationships with partners, and feeling concerned that they might be judged by their female friends and acquaintances.

What differentiates women who identify as highly sexual from women who have lower levels of desire? A 2009 study published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality holds some answers.

Researchers recruited 932 heterosexual women to answer questions about a number of factors they hypothesized might be related to women’s experiences of sexual desire. Then they looked to see what separated the most sexual women in the data set from the women who reported lower desire and created a profile to describe women who were highly sexual.

The authors, not surprisingly, found that highly sexual women reported having higher sex drives. But they also reported engaging in more sexual communication, having more sexual thoughts and fantasies, and they considered themselves to be more sexually adventurous. Highly sexual women also reported having higher levels of sexual self-esteem and better body image. Further, women in this group described holding more positive attitudes of the following: engaging in casual sex, watching sexually explicit material (i.e., pornography), masturbating, and wearing “sexy” clothing.

Dr. Hunter-Murray concludes by noting

Highly sexual women have received little attention in the research to date. It may be because women who identify as highly sexual go against the grain of what many of us typically think of when it comes to women’s sexual desire being lower or less intense. However, not only are all women’s sexual experiences varied and worthy of exploration, understanding the experiences of women with higher sex drives may help give women who are looking to increase their sexual desire some ideas of what to try. Based on the research, women who want to increase their sexual desire might consider practicing increased mental presence during sex (a.k.a., mindfulness), increasing their sexual communication, and embracing their sexual thoughts and fantasies.

The most obvious takeaway from both the 2002 and 2009 studies was the support highly sexual women received from partners. Women who self-identified as “highly sexual” were encouraged to feel and embody their sexuality by things that were partner related (i.e., women with higher desire reported having partners who made them feel sexually desirable and engaged in effective sexual initiation) or were relational (i.e., women with higher desire reported being in relationships with more sexual communication and higher emotional intimacy). Women who self-identified with a low or even moderate level of sexual interest either lacked support from their partners or were discouraged, shamed, and marginalized for discussing their desires by their partners.

Hypo-active sexual desire disorder (or HSDD) was listed in the DSM-4, and relates to persistently deficient (or absent) sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity, which causes marked distress and relationship problems. In late June, the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved Vyleesi (known scientifically as bremelanotide), the second drug of its kind targeting hypoactive sexual desire disorder for ongoing low sexual desire. Vyleesi will soon be available on the market, and women will now have two drugs to choose from, the other being flibanserin (sold under the name Addyi), which comes in pill form. Caroline Zielinski notes that “many experts are highly skeptical of medication being marketed as treatment for HSDD, and also of the scientific constructs underpinning the research into the condition.”

“The problem is, it is very hard to describe what this medical condition actually is, because its construction is too entangled with the marketing of the drugs to treat it,” says Bond University academic Dr Ray Moynihan, a former investigate journalist, now researcher.

His 2003 paper, and book, The making of a disease: female sexual dysfunction,  evaluates the methods used by pharmaceutical companies in the US to pathologize sexuality in women, focusing on the marketing campaign of Sprout Pharmaceuticals’ drug flibanserin, an antidepressant eventually approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for women experiencing sexual difficulties.

“This campaign, called Even the Score, was happening in real time as I was working as an investigative journalist and author. I got to see and document the way in which the very science underpinning this construct called FSD – or a disorder of low desire – was being constructed with money from the companies which would directly benefit from those constructs.”

The campaign was heavily criticised, mainly for co-opting  language of rights, choice and sex equality to pressure the FDA to approve a controversial female “Viagra” drug. During his research, Moynihan says he found “blatant connections between the researchers who were constructing the science, and the companies who would benefit from this science”.

“There is no such thing as ‘normal’ sexual function in women,” says Jayne Lucke, Professor at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. “Sexual function and desire changes across the lifespan, and is influenced by factors such as different partners, life experiences, having children, going through menopause.” Lucke has studied women’s health and public health policy for years, and believes our need to understand female sexuality and its triggers has created a rush to medicalise a condition which may not even exist. “Using the word ‘normal’ is very powerful, because it puts pressure on women about our idea of what is a ‘normal’ woman,” she says.

All of which suggests the following:

  • If a woman is a slut, she’s a slut.
  • If a woman is not a slut, something is wrong with her.
  • If a woman wants sex more frequently than a male partner, she’s a slut.
  • If a woman wants sex less than a male partner, something is wrong with her.
  • If a woman wants to have sex, she’s a slut.
  • If a woman does not want to have sex, something is wrong with her.
  • If a woman orgasms, she’s a slut.
  • If a woman does not orgasm, she needs to be fixed.
  • If a woman is a woman, she’s a slut.

Quite the double bind here. A woman is either a slut or she has something wrong with her, perpetuating her disinterest in an activity where she would be seen as flawed.

III.

I really enjoy Karley Sciortino’s articles and the experience she brings to questions from readers. Earlier this year, a woman wrote Karley to say that she was in a relationship with a guy who was low-key slut shaming her. Karley responded as follows:

[I]t’s impossible for you to conceal or downplay your true slutty identity for the rest of your life. So really, you just have to own it. And the key to owning something is being confident about it, and accepting it, rather than dismissing it as “just some slutty phase I had when I was younger.” It’s harder to shame someone for something that they are confident about. And if he can’t accept that part of you, then he’s not the right person for you. And also, he needs to grow up probs.

I would suggest, before you intro your boyfriend into more wild and kinky stuff, that you might want to have an “incubation period” where you build trust, don’t fuck other people, and basically just get really close to each other. Because once you build trust, it becomes way easier to be like “Hey, maybe we should have a kinky threesome,” because it will feel like something you are doing together, rather than something his slut girlfriend needs because his vanilla dick it’s enough for her, ya know? I have this other friend who’s been married to his wife for seven years, and only in recent years did they start going to sex parties, and then they went full-on open, and they are closer than ever. And I think they are a great example of how relationships can evolve, and that you don’t necessarily need to start off every relationship with an S&M anal threesome in order to eventually have the progressive sexual dynamic that you’re after.

I’ve quietly been talking to my girl friends for a while now, asking what makes someone a slut. The current season of The Bachelorette has been a really great way to open the conversation about labels and shaming. Here are a few of the conversations that have come up.

Q: Where did you first hear this word – school? A guy?

A: Lizzie (31, from Philadelphia) – Oh, no. No, it was definitely from other girls. I was in the 8th grade and was going to an all girls school at that time, but I think girls use it to… control? police? one another. Far more than guys. Guys don’t care about that kind of thing, if other guys are sluts. Girls do. I think girls do it, or at least I did it, because we care about one another even if we don’t like each other. We don’t want to see someone, you know, get an STD or something. Or have people talk about them for that. Guys call girls sluts because they get their feelings hurt. It was probably that same year or maybe the next that a guy called me a slut because I had kissed two boys in the same week and he liked me. I didn’t know it, but I had kissed a friend of his and it hurt his feelings because he liked me. It was just that simple. I was a slut.

But, I think once I was on my late twenties or so, I had a friend who I would have thought of as a slut because she was dating two guys and sleeping with one or both of them every night of the week. I don’t know where that kind of judgement came from – maybe the girls school or maybe growing up in church? I’m not sure anymore. I used to be a very judgmental person. Judgmental about what people wore. How they lived their lives. Some of that I probably learned in church and confused with “sin” or whatever, but now I don’t think I even know what sin or being good means so I don’t judge people.

Q: You’re a therapist specializing in sex addiction. What is the difference between a sex addict and a highly sexual woman?

A: Hannah (33, from Baton Rouge) – Women, at least in traditional, southern, or Christian cultures, tend to attribute non exclusive sexual activity as promiscuous and inappropriate. The same male partner gets a high five when naming his hookups from the week while the female partner sits in shame and embarrassment for her behavior. The difference? Culture. Societal norms. Expectations. Men are allowed to live their lives with reckless abandon while women are expected to remain chaste, pure, gentle, guarded, and pristine for their husband.
“Slut” is the word most women use when describing themselves when they have been sleeping with men while not being in an exclusive relationship. “I slept with Tom on Monday and then with Eric on Wednesday. I can’t believe I did that. I’m such a slut.” These “sluts” are women that we degrade publicly but privately admire because of their ability to freely express themselves and act on impulse seemingly without consequence.
In marriage counseling, I have spent countless hours with young couples trying to navigate their sexual relationship. The wife was expected to abstain from every form of sexual impurity until her wedding day. No touching. No fondling. Clothes on. No sex. No heavy making out. But then, on the wedding night, she is expected to be a slut. To be open to every form of sexual exploration with her husband after a certificate was signed and some vows declared. It’s no wonder these couples are in my office only a few months later with significant sexual intimacy struggles!
In my work with sex addiction, I’ve heard the term “slut” referred to often by the partners of sex addicts. The sex addict acts out sexually with an affair partner. The sex addict’s current partner rarely speaks kindly of the affair partner. “I can’t believe he was with that slut.” But truthfully, more often than not, the racing questions became those of insecurity, “What was it about her that he liked more than me? What did she give him that I couldn’t? Is she prettier than me?” Which then begs the question, “Do I need to be more of a slut to satisfy my partner?”
Q: You’ve been accused of being a slut, and I know there was a point where you really wanted to own that label. It’s been a few years, do you still feel that way?
A:  Milena (27, from Los Angeles) – I was just thinking about what your friend Hannah said about traditional cultures and, for me, I grew up Armenian, which is a very traditional culture where the families are very protective of girls. My father wouldn’t allow me to date until I was 20.
Okay, so two things. One, I know a few years ago, when we originally met, you had given a lecture at Azusa Pacific about different subcultures in America and showed an episode of Gypsy Brides or something (sidenote: It was My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, still in syndication with TLC) where these girls aren’t allowed to date and they run away and get married at like 14 or 15 because that’s just what you do. Being Armenian isn’t that far apart. Like, it wasn’t strange to me, you know? [Having seen other episodes], I think what everyone is so shocked by is how the girls dress. They’re so stupid or naive and innocent but they dress like sluts and dance that way! It’s shocking! Like, how is this legal?! And being Armenian, there is this repressed kind of sexuality, does that make sense? In private, girls dress provocatively and are expected to be sluts with their spouses. So, it’s like, if you have sex before you’re married, I feel that you expose that secret so they shame you. You can’t show how sexual we really are, and when you do, you’re a slut – you, not us! 
And two, one of the books I remember you sharing with me was Sex and the Citadel (by Shereen El Feki) about Arab culture and how repressed the women are. Women are dying for good dick! We’re climbing the walls here, I’m saying! But we’re not allowed to talk about it except with each other.
I think both of these really speak to what other articles online and other new books are trying to bring up, which is that women are just as sexual as men. We want sex just as much as a man. And that is threatening to men because they aren’t able to keep up. Like, okay, yes, the refractory period where you can’t get it up, but also women want sex so much more than men. It’s not even a comparison. And we’re built for that, right? But some women, for whatever reason, don’t want to have sex with their primary partner or are exploring once they are allowed to. Does that make sense? Like, once a woman does the thing that her culture says she has to do – for me that means getting married to a man and giving him a child, going to church, so on – she is finally allowed to explore herself and her sexuality, so it’s not like she’s disinterested. It’s more like she’s finally getting in touch with herself and what she wants, but now she has – and I know this will piss people off – but she has this baggage with a husband and a child that slows her down. The desire doesn’t go away. And she’s finally allowed to explore. Once you open that box, you don’t want to go back, you know? So she’s a slut. And maybe she’s, I don’t know, protected(?) from that because she is married and can do some of that with her husband…
I guess what I’m saying is that you can’t really put a lid on that once you start. Once a woman gives herself an orgasm, that’s it. She’s gone. And that’s probably why tribes in Africa cut off a girl’s clit when she’s young, right? I know this sounds awful, but at least Africa is honest about it. In America, we shame and have all these labels – she’s a whore, she’s a slut, she’s dirty, she’s nasty, she’s shameful – and we do the same thing. We’re trying to cut a woman’s clit off. Just because we do it with words doesn’t make it any different.
So I think, for me, I went through that stage where I was like, call me whatever the hell you want. I don’t care. Because I knew it was such bullshit and I wasn’t any of those things. It’s like you were calling me a woman. I’m a woman. So what. You call me a slut, but it’s all the same, so call me a woman or call me a slut, I don’t care, just don’t fucking lie about who you are and how repressed you are. In that sense, yes. I am a slut and always will be because I was born a woman and I’ll die a woman. I was born a slut and I’ll die a slut because I’m a woman and let’s not play semantics here – men think all women are sluts because they’re afraid of that, an unrestrained woman that they don’t have complete control over.
IV.

What’s so bad about dating a slut? Not a thing. At least, not with her. Born out by the 2002 and 2009 studies, men need to change the way they think about women – whether they are currently in a relationship with a woman or not.

Women’s Bodies Are Not Your Property

In 2018, Brazilian advertising company Ogilvy conducted a study. They got three women to wear a touch-sensitive dress on a night out to see how many times they were non-consensually touched. According to the data collected by the dress, the volunteers were touched 157 times over a four hour period. That’s 40 times per hour a woman was touched without her consent. Visuals showed they were touched around the waist, shoulders and arms, as well as on their buttocks and thighs.

According to statistics cited by the advertising agency, 86 per cent of Brazilian women have been harassed in clubs, with wolf-whistling being the most common (77 per cent) followed by staring (74 per cent), sexual comments (57 per cent) and swearing (39 per cent).

Sexual harassment is not just a problem for women in Brazil. Two-thirds of British girls have been harassed at the age of 12 or younger, research by charity Plan International U.K. recently found. A June 2018 study revealed “Most appallingly of all, girls as young as 11 are having to deal with sexual harassment out in public places,” according to Maria Miller, a member of the British parliament and the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee. “We need to have a clearer strategy to tackle this because it is completely unacceptable.”

“All the gains that were made in the 1970s and the 1980s by feminism are just being eroded,” Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, told The Independent. “The focus and attention in many schools has gone on to the academic curriculum, and schools not being given the opportunity and the space to do the real thinking of what sort of people do we want the current pupils to grow up into.”

In the U.S., a Stop Street Harassment survey published in February saw 81 percent of women surveyed report sexual harassment or assault, causing some parents to take matters into their own hands. “I’m not allowed to go out in my uniform anymore,” a student named Nyasha, 14, told researchers. “My mum says I look older than I am.” Natasha, a 25-year-old woman, told researchers that it made her “feel sick” when a man whistled at her 10-year-old sister, who was wearing a uniform. “How can you not see they’re children?” she asked.

Reform Your Views of “Slut”

Attractive women are often considered sluts. That’s a sad reality. It’s why women dress down when they want to remain inconscpicuous. Attractive people attract attention, and if your partner is being noticed by other people regularly, hey. That means she’s attractive, not that she’s whoring herself out.

Do you see the distinction?

Being attractive doesn’t mean you’re sleeping around.

Sleeping around doesn’t mean you’re attractive.

The two are mutually exclusive.

Attractive men and women understand that they are attractive and will naturally have sex with other people. It’s just what attractive people do. It doesn’t make you a cuckold to notice that other people find your partner attractive, so don’t ruin a good thing by confusing attractiveness with a higher degree of sexuality.

Reframe How You View Relationships

The good news is that relationships are about the bond and quality intimate time spent together. She may have had a thousand penises and orgasmed on every one of them in every hole she has, but as long as she has deep feelings for you and is willing to share her body with you, chill out.

It’s not her first time at the rodeo and she’s choosing to be in the moment with you, to build something with you.

There’s more to say here, but this is kind of a simple idea. She chose you. Do what needs to be done to make sure she continues to choose you instead of start questioning why she ever did in the first place. If all she is a sex hole and not a partner, then you don’t have a relationship – you’re using her and it’s time you got honest with yourself about the shitty person you just discovered yourself to be.

Be the Mr. Darcy We Need in the World

One of my favorite British authors is, of course, Jane Austen. For years, I thought Sense & Sensibility was her better work, but in the #MeToo Era, Pride & Prejudice began to take on new levels off meaning. I couldn’t quite explain why until a few days ago when I saw the following post on Instagram:

It isn’t the story of two people who hate each other getting married despite their hate. It’s a story about a rich, privileged getting called out on his privilege and toxic masculinity by the woman he admires and then actually listening to her, taking steps to correct his behavior, then using his wealth and privilege to rectify the “missing stair” problem he caused by allowing a predator to operate unchecked in his community. He specifically takes action, pays money, and does work without asking for credit or using it to point-score because he realizes that his joy as a privileged person is to protect vulnerable people, specifically women. And that is what causes Elizabeth to change her mind about him, because Darcy does the work and becomes a person she can respect, love, and be proud of. This is why Austen is still relevant today and why so many continue to appreciate Pride & Prejudice as a literary masterpiece.

Sometimes, we need to stop going along with the narratives we have inherited and challenge them to see if they serve our goals and our community. Darcy was wealthy, whether he moved beyond himself or not. His growth came not in the form of more power and the accumulation of meaningless expansion of wealth (because, in the end, whether one has $5 million or $6 million does not change their status as “a millionaire”). Instead, Darcy’s growth came in the form of recognizing the pain others were experiencing and finding a way to help.

If a man examines himself, the social narrative of slut shaming does… what exactly? And when it comes to seeing one’s partner as a slut (instead of, say, a real woman), a man has an opportunity for real growth and understanding. I’m not saying I have it figured out. I’m a terrible relationship partner for a grocery list of reasons, but one of the things previous partners have pointed out to me is that I don’t judge them. That wasn’t always the case – and I’m sure I hurt early partners with my sense of entitlement, like Joshua Harris. I recognize, however, that hearing the stories of the women around me has deeply enriched my life – not only as a collector of stories, but because life is meaningful if we can truly see and hear one another. In the current relationship I am in, I try to maintain that sense of trust because I do not feel threatened by my partner’s past. Rather, with each story, I am better able to understand how she became the person she is today and how that person sees and understand the world.

Women Really Enjoy Men Who Understand They Are Human Beings, Not Toys

A woman’s peak in physical attractiveness is in her early twenties. Of course she’s had more sex than you! Men, on the other hand, peak later in life, their 30’s and 40’s and beyond if finances, fitness and lifestyle are in order. In other words, women are able to squeeze in the sexual experience a man would accumulate over 20 years into a shorter period of time.

The facts are that women have access to a lot more penis than they ever did and men have access to a lot more vagina than they ever did, but men have also have more access to porn and that fucks your game up and makes you think every woman you see is either a slut or wants to be jackhammered in weird positions. Porn is nice and all but in high volumes, it warps your experience of the world and absolutely messes with how you see women. You will eventually lose access to great sex. The main reason why men are insecure is because they are having sex with their hands and are not having sex with enough women.

As self-described former porn addict Chris Haven writes,

When you have sex in abundance, you will not judge her. I don’t care whether you are married and insecure, dating and insecure, or single and insecure- when you have access to sex (unlocked by game, looks and lifestyle), your insecurity will decrease with experience.

Don’t buy into the bullshit that the only way is to first work on your self-esteem and then you’ll be secure. That is peddled by women, men with little sexual experience, and men who have already been with so many women that they have attained a certain level of self-realization. You should be working on all aspects of your life.

Improving yourself to the point where you have access to sex in abundance is a journey where you can have your cake and eat it. You will be shocked by the true nature of women, you will be hurt, you will be incredibly uncomfortable, but ultimately, you will grow to the point where you realize what work best for you. You wont need a blog or a book to guide you.

Further Reading

2 thoughts on “Dating a Slut

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