A guest post from Tara.
I’ve always been a very sexual person. In high school, when all of my friends were worried about what people would think when they finally lost their virginities, I was bragging publicly about my latest conquest. My thought process was hey, if the guys can boast about the girls they have bedded, and they do, so can I. Thus began my love affair with making people feel uncomfortable with a female being so open with her sexuality.
Losing my virginity was average. I was 16 years old with my then boyfriend, it was quick and painful but I was proud. I was proud to cross over the threshold from girlhood to womanhood. I was proud to share this milestone with anyone (besides my parents) who would listen, and so was he. However, I quickly leaned that sex turns teenage girls in to sluts and teenage boys into men. I grappled with this idea for a few weeks. How can sex be a positive masculine activity while simultaneously silencing feminine voices? What was my place? How something be so dominant in our society but I, not my boyfriend, couldn’t even talk about it? I was perplexed to say the least.
I was supposed to be ashamed, I was suppose to keep quiet, I was suppose to keep my legs closed. Contrary to cultural criticism, I fell in love with the notion of being slut. I fell in love with the control I had over my sexuality and my sex life, the control over my body. When I broke up with the guy I lost my virginity to I began sleeping around, I was often the topic of conversation. When people would ask me how many people I’ve slept with to try to embarrass me, I’d just reply with more than zero, less that 100 (which is still my standard answer). My classmates tried to make my sexuality define who I was, I just chalked it up to cultural naïveté.
Today it bothers me that slut is a bad word not only because of the general negativity towards women, but because men are hardly ever labeled as sluts. Pleasure isn’t a man’s game nor is it a breeder’s game. The juxtaposition between the our sex obsessed society, the accessibility of pornography and all that is great with the world and the sexual repression of women is embarrassing to say the least. Women can be half naked on billboards to sell a car but a woman breastfeeding in an airport is repulsive? When I watch the news with my parents all too often I see commercials for Viagra so old men can keep having sex, but the moment I mention that birth control should be free I’m in the wrong? If I even mention that I’ve had to take emergency contraception because of a broken condom people automatically judge me but don’t even care about the man I was with.
Even in college people attempt vilify me as a slut, but honestly, what’s wrong with my actions? I’m safe, responsible, and I know what I’m doing. I should be the least of your worries. Stop waging a culture war against me.
Tara is a 20-year-old college student living in Westchester, NY. She’s majoring in calling out the flaws within society and changing the world.