Slut Shaming – Giving Yourself Permission To Love

rosea-poseyImage © Rosea Posey

Guest post from Lady Jane

When my ex called me a “prostitute” and a “lying piece of shit,” I doubt his intention was to empower me, but he did.

You see, we had just broken up for the umpteenth time from an exhausting, unhealthy, three year relationship and it was finally clear to both parties that it was time to move on with our lives in separate directions and live on opposite coasts. Finally.

Now, I may indeed be a lying piece of shit. Actually, that part is true because I had spent much of our relationship convincing myself (and him) that I wanted to spend my life by his side. At the end of the day though, I was a liar and I had lied about many, many things. I can at least own up to that.

I’ve spent a lot of time struggling with the idea of what love is, who I “should” love, and how I could acquire the typical husband-and-wife-baby-picket-fence-Jewish-happy-household that my parents modeled for me as a kid. Preconceived notions like those in my head are tricky for any mortal, let alone, a self proclaimed “Slut.”

How could a slut and a monogamous, non kinky, vanilla homemaker exist in one tiny 115 pound, five foot tall person? (BTW, I just gave you my height and weight to make sure you were paying attention. I also have size D breasts and a 27 inch waist. Any takers?)

It’s tough, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t reprogram yourself, you can only listen with utmost sincerity, pay attention to detail, and “don’t do dumb” (as they say in the South). You also have the option, which I highly recommend, to embrace your feelings instead of fighting them.

Let me tell you, it’s not easy for sluts out there and it takes some serious reorganization of societal norms, self judgments, and embracing all of the avenues in which you do find love. My new mantra is, “I give myself permission to love _______.” (repeat it to yourself, try it)

Once you allow yourself to love everyone and everything in your life, you’ll find that love will come pouring in. In vast quantities, in huge, supportive, warm waves, pillars of love.

Angry name calling is normal when people are upset. People are emotional, rash, reptilian, and human (right?). But “prostitute?” “Whore?” “Slut?” “Cheating bitch?” Those words in particular have a way of stabbing a lady in the heart. It really made me think: “Where do the negative judgments of promiscuous women come from?” Why do people feel that they have the right and need to demean, belittle, judge, and destroy a mentality which I would consider normal? Are there really only good girls and bad girls and do I have to be labelled one or the other?

It would be wonderful if everyone understood that our ability to love is infinite and that no one has the power to tell you who you can and can’t love and how you choose to express that love. Instead of a witty comeback, a verbal slash of my ex’s brazen outburst, I stood there and took it. Full on just let him call me names. “Prostitute.” “Bitch.” “Easy.” “Sugarbaby.”

It’s this weird dichotomy of feeling like a puppy hit with a newspaper and feeling powerful, sexual, larger than The Man himself, Queen of the Universe, dominant and submissive, all at the same time.

I process this now: the hurt of slut shaming, name calling, and labelling comes from the fact that it’s not being done on my terms, that my ex’s intent was to be hurtful. He didn’t let me consent to being tied down and whipped on my own accord (I happen to like being tied down and whipped as long as I consent to it and give explicit permission). Instead, he labelled me, judged me, and then forced himself upon me verbally. I had no choice and no chance to say, “no,” “stop,” “that’s not ok.”

I’m sure other women can relate when people make inappropriate comments about the way they’re dressed, the way they like to fuck, or who they like to fuck. Just remember that no one gets to say what is right and wrong because when it comes to your sexual preferences, there is no right and wrong. There’s just you, your conscious, your feelings, your body, and your choices. It’s a huge responsibility. But it’s yours and it’s beautiful.

What set my ex off and caused his spew of expletives was a recent trip (and choice) I took (and made) in California to visit my other ex. My other ex and I had always had great sexual chemistry and it didn’t take long after my plane landed that pheromones and lust took over (plus emotions, love, empathy, warmth, longing, honesty, and desire). We acted accordingly (and nakedly) on the roof of an old victorian house on a hill in Oakland overlooking the Bay and watched Orion cross the night sky.

Come to think of it, it was such a beautiful night cuddled up warm under two down comforters, watching the fog roll in, that, given the opportunity, I bet all of you would have done the same as me and acted out of love for this gentle human being. This intelligent, perfect stranger that knows me so well, that when we press our foreheads together, it’s like I could climb right into his brain and see my wonderful self through his eyes. I totally would if I could.

I definitely love him and I’ve definitely spent two years convincing myself that I shouldn’t, couldn’t, and didn’t want to love him. (It’s about frickin’ time) “I give myself permission to love _______.”

But I also give myself permission to like the random guy I had pounding sex with Saturday night after the wine tasting in Napa. The one who brought me coffee in bed the next morning and who took me back to Oakland over the Golden Gate Bridge on his motorcycle (the life of sluts can be super exciting!).

I ask myself, are these acts of love wrong? Am I nothing more than a cheap whore who let some guy buy her dinner just so she and he could bang all night long? I’m gonna go with, absolutely not. *But, if you are a cheap whore who lets guys buy you dinner, just so you can bang all night long, that’s fine, too, and you are amazing (and loved).

No one gets to judge our acts of love, lust, survival, joy, or life.

If you’re thinking, I want to give in to my desires, listen to my body, mind, heart, and nerve endings, you may be a slut in training. Congratulations! You have to be really good at using your words, playing well with others, and listening to yourself. You will also make mistakes, so start practicing forgiveness, empathy, and tolerance.

My ex just didn’t get it. I am a slut. I like being a slut. I own up to being a slut. I like having sex when I meet the right person(s) and when I’m in the right moment. I would want any human being, being of sound mind and body, to live each intimate moment so fully that their toes curl and they breathe out in utter bliss. Let two (or more!) healthy, consenting adults enjoy each other in a most tingling fashion without regret, guilt, or shame and be in complete tune with themselves and the Universe.

Or not. Or spend Friday night alone on the couch in sweatpants reading trashy magazines. No one gets to shame, guilt trip, judge, or attack your lifestyle.

I get to own my actions, choices, and consequences. Own yours, too.

We need to stop telling women that they have to act a certain way or else they can’t have the picture-perfect-picket-fence life they fantasize about. I want the picture perfect life. I want marriage, I want children, and I also want to be a slut. I won’t change and my past won’t change either.

Is it bad? Am I wrong? I guess I would challenge you to think about where your thoughts about sex come from. Personal experience? Your parents? Societal standards? Television? I’m a woman and I like having sex. So what? My parents never told me anything about being a bad person simply because I had lots of sexual partners.

They did teach me that being happy is the most important thing of all and I have since learned that happy people attract other happy people. There are so many cliché Internet articles out there about surrounding yourself with positive people and blah blah blah simplify your life and blah blah blah eat chia seeds to live forever (that one, I’m not so sure about). If you like, you can spend all day on the internets reading to your heart’s content and/or you can get out into the world and start giving yourself permission to love.

Whatever. For all those sluts out there and sluts-to-be, I am here for you and I love you. The best way to combat slut shaming, name calling, and judging is to teach (and show) people how great we all are. How absolutely human we all are. Challenge people’s beliefs on sex and lifestyle, ask them where they learned the things they learned, be safe, be happy, and let the slutty conversations flow.

To my name-calling ex, go with grace, I forgive you and I, of course, will always love you, too.