Personal, Popular Culture

MY PROMISCUITY IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

In September 2016 I wrote about my experiences at university and why I dropped out. Unfortunately, I received this message from a fake facebook account soon after:

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This was pretty shocking to read as it’s been years since this sort of comment has been made directly to me. It shows how after an honest blog post, a youtube video and, well, time, people are determined to believe a slut-shaming, rumouring-spreading man over a victim, even when the evidence is right there. Slut-shaming and the ideas behind it shouldn’t be a ‘thing’ in the 21st century. It shouldn’t be an insult to call someone a slut. It shouldn’t be used to devalue someone or make them feel bad. Because, you know what? Someone else’s sex life is not anyone’s business. It doesn’t matter how many people someone has slept with. It doesn’t affect anyone else’s life. It doesn’t make them a bad person, ‘easy’, more likely to cheat, or not ‘pure’, which is a whole other argument that I won’t get into. So, why does it matter? And why can men get away with being players or bachelors, but women get blasted for being slags and whores?


The rumours that surrounded me were that I had slept with half of Cheltenham (including people on my course) and apparently that I was a prostitute. This was the most socially harmful thing for me that my bullies could think of, which goes to show how women who have multiple partners are seen. But why did they believe that making everyone think I was a ‘slut’ was so hurtful?

Past and Present

Obviously this sort of thinking stems from ‘back in the day’ when women were little more than slaves and were expected to be virgins until their wedding night. But this isn’t a history lesson, it’s a discussion about the modern-day issue.

In this day and age, when multiple partners in a lifetime is the norm (especially at university where settling down with one person is seem as a little out-of-the-ordinary), it baffles me why slut-shaming is still occurring to women every single day. Comments from others like “isn’t that dress a little slutty?” can seem innocent but only reinforce the negative connotations of sleeping around. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard a man ask his friend if his t-shirt makes him look like a player… in a negative way, anyway. There’s a huge double-standard there. In fact, in a study of North American English, there were 220 words for a sexually promiscuous woman but only 20 for a sexually promiscuous man [Sandra McKay and Nancy H. Hornberger (Cambridge University Press, 1995)]. 

Googling “why is slut-shaming still around?” showed me hundreds of results saying that slut-shaming is a good thing and just encourages women to not be promiscuous. There were thousands of people saying that girls shouldn’t be encouraged to sleep around. But NOT slut-shaming doesn’t encourage them to have multiple partners, it just doesn’t shame them for the choice to do so. And in this cruel world, we should be being a bit nicer to each other.

Why Does It Happen?

Slutshaming could be a way of making yourself feel better about your decisions. If sleeping around is seen as a negative thing, bashing someone who has done that could make you feel better about yourself (“Well, at least I’m not a slut!”). Part of keeping oppressed groups oppressed is making the oppressed fight with each other, which explains why women slut-shame each other instead of supporting our sisters’ choices and freedom. We’re taught to fight for male attention and judge others for their decisions, rather than just letting people be who they want to be and not caring about anyone except ourselves and our loved ones. It doesn’t help that there are so many myths that get passed around school, like vaginas get loose if its owner has lots of sex (yet another way of making women feel inadequate). Um, a vagina can push out a baby and spring back. Because it’s a muscle.

Of course, slut-shaming can affect women more than just harming their reputation. Rapes happen daily but aren’t believed or are considered ‘deserved’ because the victim was a promiscuous before it happened, or was drunk, or was wearing a short skirt. I don’t need to say anything more about this. It should be obvious.

In this time of high divorce rates and most people building a career before they’re ready to settle down with a monogamous partner, multiple partners should be seen as normal for both genders. But it’s not. And that’s upsetting. Where’s the equality? Women sleep around as much as men and if all parties involved are consenting and safe then it shouldn’t be anyone’s business. So, why is promiscuity a bad thing? Answer: it’s not. Society just believes it is.


 

18 thoughts on “MY PROMISCUITY IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

  1. Very well said. As someone who has been guilty of slutshaming in the past – if I’m being entirely honest, starting soon after I was sexually abused myself – I can say that the point you made about “why” people do it was, for me at least, completely correct. I had been robbed of what should have been my formative years, and my brain was stuck in “Well, at least nobody knows what happened” – mistakenly believing, like so many do, that I was at fault for what happened. It was a deeply-guarded secret because I knew how it would sound. A teenage girl, who had just recently come out of the closet, hooks up with a slightly-older, conventionally attractive man, and then wants to run back into the “safety” of calling myself a lesbian. I struggled with that one for years, actually, and I adamantly rejected the sexual feelings I had at the time. (With a few exceptions, but they really were far between.) I told myself, “At least nobody knows what I did before. At least no one knows I’m a liar.”

    It actually wasn’t until after a (now ex-)girlfriend accused me of lying about being a lesbian, because I had “been with guys before” (referring to my platonic boyfriends before I came out of the closet, as well as “the incident” previously mentioned). Never mind the fact that invalidating someone’s sexual identity is a separate battle, all in itself… That was when I finally started to understand that it really didn’t matter what happened in the past. The only person who “needs” to know about your sex life is the person/people involved in it, and only during the times that they are/were involved. The past doesn’t matter, grand scheme, as long as we’ve learned from it — and sometimes, all that needs to be learned is that your body is your business.

      1. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons I decided to embrace the sex-positive movement (in the sense that clients kept asking for sex-positive content). So often, my “main topics” (LGBT life, mental health) interact with other topics (like sex positivity, feminism, etc.) in wonderful new ways. I’ll admit that I’ve learned a lot more even just in the year that I’ve been writing professionally. And I don’t think I’ve ever felt more comfortable and confident with who I am (although this dreaded anxiety can go away any time now 😉 )

  2. Hear hear darling. My mother used to say “until I drag I my bed to the market place anyone who’s not in it with me should have nothing to say about what goes on in it” and it’s so true. As long as it’s two consenting adults that get together and no one is hurt, whatever happens in my bed is my business and no one should have anything to say about it.
    Katja xxx
    http://www.katnapped.com

  3. While I agree that there should be equality in this situation and I definitely agree that someone sex life isn’t anybody else’s business. I do have to say that culture plays a very large part in your beliefs. While I do believe your (or anybody else’s for that matter) promiscuity isn’t any of my business. I dont believe it is the norm for everyone and everywhere. For example, I do believe promiscuity is a bad thing. My husband has been the one and only for me and the same for him. My parents and both sets of grandparents all married the first serious relationship they had, like my husband and I and his parents and grand parents

    I guess I’m unusual at least in your eyes. But this was the norm for my city and where I grew up. I

    I definitely agree their should be equality and Im going hold my son and my daughter to the exact same standards. But I hope they follow our footsteps.

    1. I think some places are a lot more old-fashioned and more reserved, or religious. I hope that they ‘update’ soon because if someone does sleep with more than one person they’re shamed and shunned. I know of someone who kept all her relationships from her religious parents and it was so sad to see her not be able to talk to her parents about it especially because she was doing nothing wrong. It’s fine that you/others only want to be with one person but to say promiscuity is bad is the whole reason I wrote this post.

  4. Hit the nail right on the head. I’ve never understood why if a woman sleeps with multiple partners across her lifetime she’s considered a slut but if a man does he’s a stud or “the man”. I do believe culture and religion play a massive part in the issue. Same can be said for LGBTQ rights and other social issues. Where you grew up and how you grew up will largely affect your mentality towards the issue. I grew up in a very conservative area in the US and since moving to Australia, I’ve found a lot of things that were considered taboo in the US are more widely acceptable here in Australia (like living with the opposite sex). Absolute shit that this happened to you and that some people still think it’s even remotely acceptable to bring it up.

  5. Absolutely! Your life is your life and not others.. it’s often the people that make shocking comments are the ones completely unhappy or unfulfilled with their lives so they comment on others to make themselves feel better. It’s crazy! ♥️

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