I have always been slutty.
I lost my virginity at sixteen and before I had entered college I’d already had sex with eight people and fooled around with countless others. It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly where this penchant for promiscuity came from, aside from the fact that I just really enjoy sex. I was fully aware that this behavior was considered abnormal, even deviant, and it was likely that if I had told a counselor about my exploits they would’ve attributed it to some sort of personal inadequacy on my part. I’ll concede that it’s possible I was too young to have developed sexual agency, but even at the time I knew that I wasn’t having lots of sex because I was pressured, or because of a negative self-image, or due to some kind of childhood/psychological trauma. I’ll also concede that not all of my early sexual experiences were entirely positive. There were times I felt used and times I didn’t fully consent to everything that was happening. Sadly, I imagine that no matter the age, this is probably the experience most women have early on in their sexual life. None of this irrevocably fucked me up though, and now that I’m in my mid-twenties, I’ve used all of those encounters to make myself a more aware, compassionate, and empowered lover.
It’s been quite a while since high school, but I can say with some amount of certainty that the reason I was slutty back then, is the same reason I continue to sleep around unapologetically today. I’ve always been a feminist, and sexism and double standards bothered me deeply from adolescence on. At a time when my politics were still developing, being slutty offered me the opportunity to disrupt the player/slut dichotomy. But female promiscuity is about so much more than reversing binaries, or saying a big FUCK YOU to double standards. Moreover, it’s not about modeling male sexual behavior, and the goal is definitely NOT gender or sexual equality. As a radical feminist, I have little to no interest in being granted equality under the current patriarchal system. What I do hope my promiscuity can accomplish is creating power, rather than re-appropriating it, and using that power to help women gain control of their bodies, sexuality, and desires.
We Don’t Want to Fuck Like Men
The untrained heterosexual male makes for a lousy lover. They can be careless, self-centered, and obsessed with their own sexual inadequacies. A lifetime in the patriarchy has given them a sense of entitlement that sadly still defines contemporary “hook-up culture”, even in the most radical communities.
Why is it that so many of my feminist girlfriends were/are repulsed by blowjobs? It’s because we got sick to our stomachs when we heard about girls in our high schools and college dorms giving them out no strings attached. Surely these men receiving unbridled fellatio were not our friends or *gasp* our future lovers or political allies! How devastated we were to learn that nearly all sexually active young men around us engaged without thought or question in these behaviors. Did it fuck us up? Yes. Did it fuck men up? Oh hell yes. It made them even more narcissistic and consumed with their performance. Sex ceased being about two people, and became solely about the man and how he perceived himself. His ability to get it up, keep it up, and ejaculate at the appropriate time were the most anxiety causing elements of sex. Secondarily was the woman’s pleasure. Even as I’ve encountered plenty of grown men who were indeed concerned with whether or not I have an orgasm, it was mostly to foster their own sense of accomplishment.
Sexual experiences within this framework have left women unfulfilled, physically and emotionally. So many women in my life speak about a “waiting”- waiting for an orgasm, waiting for a call back, waiting to be made someone’s boyfriend. But really, MEN HAVE NOTHING THAT WE WANT, so what are we waiting for? We don’t want their petty insecurities, baggage, or fucked up concepts of relationships. We have enough of our own shit to deal with, thank you very much. We also don’t want any of their social or political power, which is pointless and completely illegitimate. We’ll ride your cock, but we reject your phallus.
Reclaim the Sheets
I had little to no support in navigating the sexual landscape while trying to keep myself safe and happy. I just knew that I didn’t want to continue letting men call all the shots both in and out of the bedroom. I wanted to dictate when, how, and with whom I had sex with, and how I felt about. Unfortunately, ways to create a space for straight women to be sexually liberated were not fully addressed by the Second Wave or the so called Sexual Revolution. This is why decades later we’re still sexually frustrated and heartbroken over men who all too often aren’t worth our time.
I think there are several key elements that need to be present in order for women to take full control of their bodies, desires, and emotions . The first of these being something that you often here from proponents of polyamory, although a polyamorous lifestyle is not necessarily something I’m advocating for here. This being that we should not rely on a single man for everything we need physically and psychologically. This seems obvious enough, but when you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to remember that each lover can provide you with something unique from the others, and each encounter will allow you to gain something different from the previous one. It’s awesome to fuck someone just because the sex is great, and you shouldn’t be made to feel like something is wrong with you just because that may be all you want from them. What is messed up about this scenario is failing to show the person respect outside of the bedroom, which is something that often happens when men fuck purely for pleasure. It’s also awesome to fuck someone because you want meaningful physical intimacy or a strong emotional/intellectual connection. Just remember that the men who give you great sex will often not be the men who hold onto you fiercely afterward, or the ones you can have an amazing political conversations with until 5am, or the ones you can count on to be unconditional feminist allies. AND THAT’S OKAY because not everyone you sleep with is the end all be all at that moment in time.
In the same vein, it’s essential to always do it for the right reasons. Great reasons to sleep around are for sexual fulfillment, money, love, and physically affection. Terrible reasons to sleep around are pressure, external validation, or because you think sex will solidify someone’s feelings for you. These reasons are all terrible because they’re beyond our control and are interpersonal manifestations of patriarchy. Fucking someone because we feel pressured won’t solve the fact that men feel they have a right to our bodies- it will only reinforce it. Fucking someone for validation won’t change the fact that our social structure is designed to NEVER make women feel good enough. And fucking someone so they’ll like you more is just pointless and counterrevolutionary. We must be sexual on our own terms, not just when we think we should be or when men want us to be.
Lastly, sexual subversion through promiscuity can only be accomplished through a strong female/feminist support system. We best empower ourselves and others by creating communities of female allies to offer non-judgmental support and advice around our relationships with men. When surrounded by great women who always have your back, you can fuck men more confidently and freely. Because revolution is a personal process, not just an ideology, it can be vulgar and messy. Thankfully it is possible for us to fuck, love, and resist the patriarchy in the most productive and pleasurable ways possible.