If you haven't heard, there's only one possible result when you're a "slut"—particularly if you have the audacity to do it without shame and—clutch your pearls, ladies—talk about it in a public forum. NO RING FOR YOU! Who would want the cow when he can have the milk for free, we're told (because, like cows, we women apparently have no intrinsic value—we're just about what we can provide for others). No man would want a pre-used vagina forever when he can till that earth himself for the first time without wondering if someone else had a bigger plow or a surer hand. "Sluts" (you know, women who have sex) are either incapable of love, or incapable of being loved—or both, really. Sluts are insecure women who constantly seek self-esteem through multiple dickings when everyone knows that real self-esteem comes from keeping your legs closed. And if you had the audacity to sleep with someone else's boyfriend or someone else's husband, of course you're a tempting slut that he just couldn't resist and it's all your fault and karma will getcha and slut slut slut slut slut.
Think all of that is bullshit? Slut.
The question none of the myriad slut-shamers and finger-pointers and moralizers ask is: what slut (or, ahem, person) would want a dude who thinks that sex is equivalent to milk from a cow, or who wants us not to know whether we're getting good sex, or who thinks us incapable or unworthy or love based on our sexual history, or who would prefer that we "hold out" for the sake of making someone love us? Because the answer is—and should always be—fuck those people (but not literally). It is not worth it to be in a relationship with someone who isn't interested in you as a person or who places so much emphasis on who else you slept with that he can't notice the person he's sleeping with—or that the person you are currently choosing to sleep with is him.
And yet, every time a woman with a public history of unabashedly fulfilling her sexual needs get married—my former colleague Tracie at Jezebel and Jessica Cutler of Washingtonienne infamy come to mind—the slut-shamers come out of the closet to cluck their tongues and insist that women "like that" can never be and don't deserve to be happy. Because, you know, sluts. When someone like Jaclyn writes that she enjoys —you know, because only sluts enjoy sex with someone other than their long-term relationship partner—having sex outside of a relationship, they'll shout that she'll never be happy because, you know, slut. And sadly, disgustingly, a lot of those people clutching their pearls and pointing their fingers and gearing up to (metaphorically) burn the witch are women.
Look, there are lots of unhappily coupled people, lots of unhappily chaste people, and lots of unhappy people who played by the supposed rules of keeping their knees together and still ended up single. It's a fucking crapshoot. If there's any kind of goal in dating, it is (or should be) to find someone that you like, who likes you and with whom you can have a relationship that works for both of you. It's not a goddamned rollerderby contest with a bunch of hardened sluts elbowing you out of the way to get to the limited supply of cock. Cock is not an endangered species, nor are all women out to get it. And there's not one type of dude that all women like, or one type of woman that all dudes will like. People are individuals. Needs are individual. Relationships are unique. And no one has a crystal ball, and there's no higher power waiting to mete out punishment to sluts for enjoying themselves.
Besides which, the healthiest thing you can possibly do for yourself is to never judge your relationship (or lack thereof) based on other people's. Someone you don't like can be happy and it likely has nothing to do with you. Someone with different values than you can well find happiness with someone who has similar values to them. But unless you want to be that other person in a relationship with their partner, you're just allowing yourself to focus on the wrong things—and missing out on what else is around you.
[Image via vernhart on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]