The Frisky has a piece up where the author complains about slutshaming herself titled: I Lied To My Gynecologist About My Number Of Sexual Partners.
I didn’t think I was ashamed of the number of sexual partners I’ve had in the 20 years I’ve been getting it on until I found myself filling in a number half the true total at a recent gynecologist appointment.
Since she is proud of her sexual liberation, the discomfort she felt at the actual number is baffling to her:
Even if I never had to say it out loud and its size was simply one more piece of data for her to use in evaluating me, something about it made me erase what I’d typed in the online form and halve it…
The incident shook me up,; I consider myself an advocate for sexual freedom and would never want to judge anyone for their number of partners, yet I did it to myself.
Her hamster runs throughout the piece trying to rationalize why she isn’t ashamed of her sexual past when she remembers it but the number itself is something she is uncomfortable with.
When I actually recall the collected sexual experiences and lovers I’ve had, I’m not actually ashamed…
Still, there’s something about my number that feels off to me, like a dress that once fit perfectly that now I can’t squeeze into no matter how much contorting I do.
She ends the piece declaring that she now is fully comfortable with her number, and just to show how comfortable she is with it she takes the bold step of not disclosing it:
I deliberately haven’t listed my number here, not because I’m ashamed, but because it’s not the point. My number could be two and I could feel bad about it, or 2,000 and I could be proud of it; it’s all a matter of perspective.
Yet her number is exactly the point, or else there wouldn’t be an article. The reason for this is the mental game she is playing with the word slut. This is the same mental game the women of the slutwalks are playing. They have “owned” the aspect of the word which connotes “sexually available”, and with a bit of expert hamsterizing “sexy”. But this isn’t the full meaning of the term. Slut doesn’t just connote a sexually available woman, it connotes a broken woman, a woman who can’t bond. This is why she can fondly recall her sexual past but the number itself is so jarring.
When she was young she faced what seemed like an ocean of romantic prospects. Now her number represents a mountain of romantic failures. Because of this she makes it a point to assure us and herself that she is capable of remaining with one man, even while she is careful not to suggest that hopping from man to man is a bad thing (this is still the Frisky, after all):
The number represents who I used to be, but is at odds with my current staid life. For the past year, the only person I’ve slept with is my boyfriend, and even before that, I was much more considered and careful than I’d been in my twenties and early thirties. I’d come to a place where I wanted sex to be about more than just sexual pleasure. Please note that I’m not saying sex for pleasure’s sake is wrong in any way—it’s wonderful! What I mean is that I didn’t want to have even the most mindblowing, earth-shattering sex with someone who’d lock me out of their life the next day. That tradeoff was no longer worth it.
As I mentioned in This won’t end well jumping from man to man feels empowering for a young woman, but when she is older it takes on a very different feeling. Instead of proof of sexual power, it becomes proof of sexual powerlessness. As irrational as it is, the fantasy for promiscuous women is that all of their tramping around will ultimately lead to hitting the relationship jackpot. This is why Sex and the City had to end with Carrie marrying Mr. Big, why Single in the Suburbs had to end with a proposal from a secret multimillionaire hunky handyman, and why the sequel to Eat Pray Love had to be Committed.
The problem for sluts on a path to marital bliss is empowerment turns to brokenness far more quickly than they could ever imagine. Having her pick of men very quickly turns into “she can’t keep a man”, even by the most open minded. Back in December the Stir came to Taylor Swift’s defense after someone tweeted:
Dear @taylorswift13, please stop whoring around with every guy you see. We all know you’re only doing it so you can make another album.
The article indignantly reminded women that they need to show slutty solidarity, but the readers couldn’t get past the obvious. The very first comment by “kelticmom” laid it out:
As much as I like her…..if the shoe fits……how many men has she been with???? I can name 8 off the top of my head. The girl just can’t be single.
Even though this is a slut friendly site, several other readers quickly weighed in with agreement:
Also agree with keltic. I’m definitely starting to think that SHE is the problem in her relationships, not the guys.
I don’t know if its all publicity or what, but she does have a lot of boyfriends…all the time. Girl needs to slow down a little bit. Can’t really fault people for saying that she dates too much.
Toronto slutwalk photo licensed as creative commons by Anton Bielousov