Thoughts On Slut Shaming: Respect, Infidelity, Logic, Gender Equality, and So Much More!

thoughtfulNow that my fear of slut shaming has been covered, I’d like to tiptoe a little deeper into the topic and share some thoughts I’ve had about slut shaming since I discovered the term.

My current theory: the slut shaming of women is related to the old “wife as property” idea of marriage. If a man is married and sleeps with someone other than his wife, well, what can she do? She’s his property – she has no real say. He has a mistress; that’s the way it goes sometimes, even if it’s not very admirable. In some cultures, men even take on additional wives.

But, if a married woman (the property) sleeps with another man…well, it’s a bit different. One man’s property is being used by another man, without any kind of compensation. I don’t even know of a word for the male equivalent of “mistress.” There is nothing but shame for the husband who has been “duped;” he’s a cuckold.  In Puerto Rico, it’s a common insult to call a man a “cabron”: a man who’s woman sleeps with other men. Are there equivalent words for women whose husbands cheat on them?

As a woman, if you have extramarital sex, you shame your husband, and you shame yourself, because you are his property. Perhaps this is part of the reason why slut shaming women is so much more popular than slut shaming men.

Or is it?

sad man

Slut shaming today does not only target women. I once began seeing a guy and was “warned” by a concerned friend that he slept around a lot. Because of that, this concerned friend thought that he wouldn’t be “relationship material.”

I was annoyed, not just because this friend assumed I was looking for a relationship, and not just because they assumed they knew what “relationship material” meant to me, but because this person was making a judgment of someone based on irrelevant information. The guy’s promiscuity should be viewed as just that: promiscuity. It should not be viewed as an indication of any other aspect of his character. It should not be assumed that it affects his relationship material-ness, which is vastly different for different people.

The definition and example of slut shaming posted on Urban Dictionary suggests that it is only bad because it means people will have less sex. It’s more than that, though. It’s an attack on character. For some reason, people associate what someone does with their sex life as relevant to the kind of person they are in other aspects of their life. It’s a cheap logical fallacy which is unfortunately used by educated people all the time. Be better than educated, people; be intelligent.

I think that one of the reasons why some may think slut shaming is only ever aimed at women is because it is more widely and vehemently done so. I haven’t conducted any studies or anything, but I feel that while there are probably plenty of well-intentioned people out there slut shaming men, telling them that they’re missing out on experiencing “true love,” informing/warning potential lovers away from them, and encouraging them to “be more respectful of women,” those people are labeled “cock-blocks” by popular culture. On the other hand, it’s much more acceptable for icons like Taylor Swift and even one of my favorite artists, Pink, to insist that self-respecting women certainly know better than to have sex. Apparently, being respectful of women, and women respecting themselves, means leaving their vaginas alone. What…err…cunt-bunters? Twat swatters?

People just need to respect people, regardless of gender identity, and regardless of how frequently they have sex. Part of ethical nonmonogamy and sluttery is that people are supposed to be considerate of one another’s feelings. Manipulating a person’s emotions to get them to have sex with you, or purposefully hurting their feelings afterward, is still unethical and disrespectful. Making it clear that you have no intention of being monogamous, being honest about who you are and what you feel or don’t feel, and finding someone who wants to sleep with you with that knowledge, is not disrespectful or wrong. It’s beautiful. Even if it happens 10 times in one week.

Slut shaming shouldn’t be perpetuated against anyone, but maybe it’s the way we interpret it and the way it is supported/unsupported depending on who it is aimed at that contributes to the sense of inequality we notice when it comes to slut shaming.

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9 Comments

  1. Amazing Article!

    Reply
  2. Shannon, you write beautifully and your reasoning (experience?) is well beyond your age. I’m very impressed and proud to be a part of your/our lifestyle. Bravo! I have an apropos quote you may be familiar with. It describes my perfect and highly sought-after women:

    “A lady in the parlor…a harlot in the bedroom[s].” — Winston Churchill

    In all honesty, most everyone that has a healthy libido desires a sexual partner of remarkable skills, mystery & expertise. Absurdly, and selfishly, they don’t want them to gain it all while with them! HAH! 😉

    Reply
  3. eric

     /  October 6, 2013

    The way you talk, walk, listen, shake hands, etc. can give a hint of the type of person you may be, how you may think, what may be your taste in life, music, career, etc. so with what logic people’s sex life according to you isn’t relevant to the type of person they are?

    Reply
    • All of the things you list can give, as you say, a “hint” as to the type of person someone is. Sure, a person’s sexual preferences “can give” a hint as well, but just as with these other things you’ve listed, it’s far from comprehensive or even regularly reliable. A strong handshake, for some, may signal that someone is confident and trustworthy – but it may be that the person has practiced giving strong handshakes to convince people of that when it’s not true. Or, they’re simply physically strong, and that’s how they shake hands.

      A person’s sex life, as with everything else you list and much, much more, is but one small part of who they are, but not indicative of the person’s entire personality or morality, and certainly not of their worth as a human being, as slut shamers would have you think.

      Reply
  4. Michael

     /  June 22, 2014

    Thank you so much for this. It was helpful to a friend of mine who was treated very badly by a friend of hers because she decided that we would enjoy sex with each other every now and then. I’m in an open relationship and very out about it. Most people are cool about it, but there are some who…well…you know… Very very well written.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the compliment, and I’m happy to hear that it helped someone. It’s unfortunate that people don’t understand, but maybe the more we talk about it, the more people will.

      Reply
  1. “Relationship Material” « Love Times Infinity

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