Slut: Decoding The Social Pressure Women Endure


The Social Reasoning For and Problems Made By The Use of the Word “Slut”

I was in one of my Talk Sessions with a client recently when she told me about how she always felt a need for a healthy and high-quality sex life, but those ideals were met with the world, and later her ex, attacking her for it. While deciding if she wanted to work with me, she wondered if her dreams were well-founded or if the culture was right in condemning female sexual expression.

She decided that she would have a more advanced understanding of how to give the best of sex to her new man as well as herself. She ran up against the diametrically-opposed cultural expectations most of us encounter at some point. The two sets of expectations around us are:

1.) Both women and men are hit with negativity toward sexual enjoyment. From secular as well as non-secular sources.

2.) Once in a relationship, she (or he) gets a completely different message that now it’s suddenly time to be good at sex, enjoy sex, and want to have lots of it with your partner/man.

Obviously, women suffer the most from the first cultural expectation. They may need to defend against accusations like “slut,” which can imply a woman who will have sex with anyone she wants. However, men are given permission to do just that.

Fundamentalist Non-secular groups make their position on known, but the use of the word slut and others like it has a “practical” side, one could say. It strikes fear into the hearts of developing teenage girls, promising social attack and shame if they begin their sex lives too early. It’s every parent’s fear and many will understandably do whatever it takes to protect their daughters from teenage pregnancy. Another “practical” use is steering women toward stable and socially respectable partnerings. Before DNA testing, people had a harder time distinguishing paternity in children, which determined inheritances. There are definitely better and more heartfelt ways to keep teen girls making responsible decisions than throwing around the S word.

In a nutshell, a woman gets the message to be wary or stay away from solo or partnered sex. Once in a relationship, sometimes a more conservative version of the negativity appears at this point where your choice of sex acts is reduced down to one or two forms at most. But the ultimate kicker here is now you have to adopt sex into your life suddenly after it’s been a subject of negativity and mystery for so long. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

Draconian solutions to real-world issues aside, my advice to people is to under-use the S word and related terms. It may help in one regard, but it sticks with women long-term. When it’s time to start her sex life, the remnants of the pain that overuse (or poignant single use) will cause her to pull away from forms of sexual expression that she wants. She may feel pressured to be good in bed when there has been little in the way of guidance and often have another reason to resent men for how they don’t have to put up with the same treatment.

People wonder why their sex lives are rocky and anxiety-ridden. This is one of the reasons for many people out there. It’s true that another portion of women navigate the S-word over-usage and settle into what they want in their sex lives. They can envision it and most often privately do so, then set their decision-making underway to make those dreams realities. They know what they want in a stable, hot, orgasmic, healthy sex life. That’s one of the things that all of my clients, women or men, have in common: knowing what they want and staying focused on developing the pieces for oasis-like amazing sex.

A footnote to this: I watched the movie Silver Linings Playbook and there’s a part about thirty minutes in where Bradley Cooper’s character calls Jennifer Lawrence’s a slut for coming on to him. During her retort she said words to the effect of, “Sometimes I like it dirty and rough and messy, but I’ve accepted that about myself. Can you say the same?” Jennifer’s character focused on the slut comment as an attack on her belief in a favorite form of sexual enjoyment. Then without using the word, called Bradly’s a hypocrite because we all know damn well what men would love to do with women, or characters, who look like Jennifer Lawrence. We also know what men wish women would do and feel back. We have to put an end to throwing around “slut”. It’s not helping either gender when the time comes for them both to have the sex they dream of.

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