“Oh my God, you are such a slut.”
Has someone ever said that to you? And what were you doing when they did? I’ve heard it plenty of times, and usually for no valid reason.
“Slut” is one of those words that are continuously overused, like “diva” or “extreme;” the actual definition gets lost in the perception.
So I guess the real question here is: What constitutes sluttiness? Is it how you act, or is it what people think of how you acted? And where do we draw the line between what is and isn’t slutty?
In the dictionary, a slut is defined as a slovenly or promiscuous woman. I hate to break it to you, but I know a lot of well-dressed, fantastic people who are pretty damn slutty, and not all of them are women.
I figure since the term is supposed to apply to women, then gay men can definitely be sluts, because I hear them call each other “girrrrrl” every five minutes. And since these test subjects are where most of my research lies, I guess that’s the realm we’ll stay in. But that doesn’t exclude the rest of you who are out there sleeping around. You know who you are.
It’s a slippery slide to slutdom, and it usually begins at the dawn of your sexuality. You realize what you want and what kind of general package it comes in, but when you venture out into the world, that’s when you discover that there are a lot of flavors out there. And just like at Baskin-Robbins, you can dip your spoon into them and taste every single one. And why not? You need to explore your options now that you own your bright and shiny new sex life.
When I was a young gay pup in the ancient dark times before the Internet, it was, quite honestly, a bit of a chore: No online profiles to let me know exactly what a guy was into without a little trial and error – okay, a lot of trial and error.
Sure, it was a mystery what lay beneath the white-hot smile or the surfer’s body, but there wasn’t that much difference between then and now, when you have to unravel the mystery of why the guy you met online has totally misrepresented himself. The difference back then was that he was already standing in front of you, so at least you knew what he really looked like.
So here you are, a teenager or a twenty-something, experimenting with your sexuality as you stumble and fumble in the dark towards adulthood. Now, is that considered slutty? I wouldn’t say so, but if the argument is about the constant quest for the one who’s right for you or the certain type that gets you off, where is the cutoff date?
Aren’t we all experimenting throughout our lives until we find that mythical one who will prevent us from chasing after every piece of ass that passes us by?
For many people, the definition of slutty is the number of people you’ve been with. Now, as I was saying a moment ago, how does that apply to all of us searching, searching, searching for love or something like it, trying to connect with someone tangled in our sheets or kissing us across the console? We believe in our hearts, or whatever facsimile that holds our base emotions, that there is someone out there for all of us.
Whether or not we admit it, even the most jaded soul has fleeting moments of wonder: Is this it? Is this the one? Sometimes our hearts trick us by allowing us to believe that the V-shaped lifeguard we just met who is giving us a raging hard-on is the person we were meant to meet. But that’s not always your heart talking, kids.
As a man, I can say that more often than not, my dick is doing the driving. Wait – that was a poor choice of words. What I mean is, that sometimes my dick trumps my brain when it comes to making decisions. But the more I think about it, it seems that maybe they are working hand-in-hand. The animal part of our psyche tells us to hunt, to pounce, to seal the deal with someone we are drawn to before they escape.
Maybe it’s because our brain might decide at the last minute to bolt for the underbrush and the prey will disappear along with the opportunity to connect with someone physically and maybe, just maybe, emotionally. And even though it seems like the signals are coming from behind your button fly, the truth of the matter is, it’s still the brain that’s giving the orders, just like the Wizard hiding behind the curtain.
Let’s look at another touchstone that is often considered slutty: having sex with someone on the first date. Is that slutty? Or is it the norm? Because quite honestly, I can’t decide.
Maybe it’s the timing – they say it’s everything, you know. There’s sex on the first date, and then there’s doing it in the alley behind the bar a half hour after your first introductions. So I guess this could also apply to the location for your behavior. Some people say making out in a club is slutty. Some people say getting a blowjob in the bathroom at a club is slutty. So which is it? All of it? There has to be a line somewhere, and it seems to me that it’s pretty amorphous.
I have a feeling that it depends on who you ask. The answer I get from Johnny Skandros is going to be different from the one I get from Mike Huckabee. At least, I think it would be different. Your actions might make you seem slutty, but what about how you dress? Or what you do?
I have logged quite a few hours on a stripper pole, so believe me when I tell you I know whether or not it’s slutty to be shaking your jock in people’s faces. The truth is, the answer is “yes” and “no.” Because, just like certain people who condemn certain actions as slutty, certain people can elevate what I considered to be just another job to a full-blown, sky-high slut-o-rama.
Perception is not always reality. After all, it’s just using what you’ve got to make a living. Some people use their brains or their talent, and some people use their face or their body. You get what you get, so you might as well make it work in your favor.
On an equally superficial level, it goes without saying that how you dress doesn’t necessarily make you a slut either. Have we learned nothing from “The Accused?” I mean, besides the fact that Jodie Foster doesn’t have a lick of rhythm? People can be equally attracted to skintight t-shirts or shirts and ties, so transforming clothes into a barometer of someone’s promiscuity is ridiculous.
There is also the stigma of being labeled as a slut when it’s merely a rumor. These rumors are usually spread for a few different reasons. More often than not this scarlet letter is applied by people who want to keep the masses away from someone they can’t have or someone they have lost, and they figure if they tell the world how skanky this person is, then no one will go near them.
Unfortunately, this can backfire. We are always curious about the people of ill repute, aren’t we? And sometimes it just draws more people to this person, because everybody loves a sure thing, whether or not it’s the truth.
So, how do we decide what makes someone a slut? Is it going that extra mile? What I mean by that is, maybe it’s not how many partners you have, but how many you’ve had at one time? And how many is too many? Maybe it’s not who you are sleeping with but the selectiveness in which you do it.
Maybe it’s not remembering who you slept with in the first place. With enough whiskey it is possible to not be too rational in your decision-making process, but when the alcohol wears off, it might be more than a hangover you wake up to.
Could it be where you are when your dick does the talking? Having sex in the bedroom of someone on your first date is different than having sex in the Nordstrom fitting room, right?
When I started writing this, I thought surely I would come to a decision on what is or isn’t the mark of someone who acts like the proverbial slut. Now I realize that just like beauty, it’s truly in the eye of the beholder.
One of my favorite quotes from that crazy queen Oscar Wilde says: “Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.” Now if that isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is.
Don’t we all secretly long to be wanton, unfettered beasts prowling in the night, searching for the narcotic contact of skin on skin? Sure, the dream is to have someone to come home to and someone to grow old with, but just like the animals we share this planet with, some of us are built to mate for life and some of us are not. Does that make you a slut? Or merely a wild animal?
And when and if you do meet that special someone, can you look past the people – no matter how many – that are in their past? And will they be able to return the favor?
I think that we should redefine what it means to be a slut, especially since no one seems to be able to decide on the rules. We all take different roads to get where we think we should be, whether that means you do the old school I-can’t-sleep-with-you-until-we’re-in-love route, or you sleep with every person you date until you find the right one, the journey is your own.
Every person that you encounter, sexually or otherwise, will teach you something about yourself, whether you realize it or not. As long as you are being safe, what’s the difference? It doesn’t mean someone that has a lot of sexual partners or engages in wild, erotic adventures with no remorse is a slut.
When it comes down to it, a slut is merely someone who is having more sex than you.
Article republished with permission from The Gay Word.