“Slut” is not gender neutral. It is always used to describe a woman’s level of promiscuity. If we were in the 13th century, and someone hissed “harlot,” all it that would basically convey is, “Hey, there goes that horny kitchen maid.” The modern term, however, has more emotional gravity. “Slut” means a woman who really enjoys multiple sexual encounters, a prostitute, or someone with low standards of cleanliness. That’s probably why the word “dirty” often precedes the word.

Slut!” when spoken aloud has an impact. Just yell the word at the top of your lungs and see how it makes you feel. The word itself is harmless but when used in context to describe a person, it can hurt—badly. I barely remember my first kiss, first boyfriend, or first sexual encounter. However, I will never forget the first time the word “slut” was used to describe me.

The Girl that Dared

The teenage years are the time when one’s sexual identity typically forms, and one personal event heavily influenced my own sexual exploration, which led to how I like and enjoy sex. I was 15 years old when I became acquainted with what is now called “slut-shaming.” The shaming I am about to describe could have happened to any girl at my school but I was the chosen recipient. The story begins with a decorated and well-folded note that I wrote to an older boy I liked, Kevin. He was a cute-looking varsity jock with feathered hair and a muscle car—a 1978 black Pontiac Trans Am. At the smoking quad (smoking was allowed at school back then), my girlfriends gathered around me to examine his reply. We speculated about the note at length, trying to glean meaning from the cryptic phrase, “See you at Hugo’s skating rink Friday night.”

Little did our parents know what really went on at Hugo’s. Skating was only part of it; we knew it for its dark, shadowy corners where make-out sessions occurred. So I went to Hugos, and met Kevin there. We skated for a while and spent some time “sucking face” in a hideaway booth.  He then convinced me that it was time for us to move to the back seat of his Trans Am, that “panty melter” gleaming under the amber-toned lights of the skating rink parking lot. My besties were also at Hugo’s and wished me luck and gave me hugs just before I was about to have my first back-seat adventure. One of them added, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” My hormonal support group giggled and whispered. One girl even handed me a condom that looked like it had been sitting out in the hot sun too long.

I disappointed Kevin. Before I could emerge from the backseat, Kevin held me back and spat, “You’ll be sorry for this.” I thought, “Really! I gave you the best kissing, petting and dry humping session you’ll ever experience in your life, and just because I didn’t want to remove my overly tight designer Jordache jeans or touch a squishy weird penis doesn’t mean you have to be so surly.” I just wasn’t that kind of girl—yet!

The Shame Remains the Same

Teenagers can be a rough crowd, as I discovered the following Monday morning. I sensed that my backseat experience had become news as I glanced at the faces around me. I felt full of myself and was determined not to do the walk of shame. After all, I was not the only one making out this past weekend. Then the confidence started to wither after hearing the first hiss, “Sssslut!” barely audible under someone’s breath. Then I heard it again, and again, over and over. At first, I did not want to believe that they were talking about me. I realized that everyone thought Kevin and I did more than what really happened when I went out to the quad and saw spray-painted on the wall “Angela has a stinky pussy” in bright green letters.

Carrie in Stephen King’s novel of the same name had nothing on the emotions that were stirring in me. I could feel all of the hair rise on the back of my neck and heat rush from the top of my head to my toes:  it was my shame. More voices joined the chanting, “Slut! Slut! Slut!” Every word felt like a slug slamming into my gut. The scarlet letter of “S” for “slut” (or “shame”) burned into me.

The shaming continued as days turned into weeks, and then months. I missed a lot of school. When I thought everything had settled, I found condoms inside my locker and received late-night calls asking for the “dirty slut” that lived there. Every time the phone rang at night, I would feel a rising sense of panic. By the end of the school year, I had no more friends and was a sexual pariah, the unapproachable dirty girl.

Embracing the Inner Slut

Finally, there was a break, a reprieve from the teasing and the torment. It was called summer vacation. During my time in self-isolation, I decided to learn everything about sex and the horrible disease of slut-ism. I eventually found a book (that they did not have in the school library) called The Joy of Sex. For a, now, 16-year-old, who thought she knew it all, this book opened my eyes (among other things) to the truth about sex, and it did not include photographs of any back-seat car activities. Fascinated by its content, I devoured each page and was surprised to learn that a blow job did not mean actually blowing up someone’s dick. The book’s vivid illustrations conveyed passion, love and enjoyment. It was enlightening. I decided that if I was going to be teased about being a slut, well then I was going to know everything there was to know about sex. The more I learned, the better I felt.

What I discovered was that sex is about feeling good, not about being ashamed. None of the people in The Joy of Sex appeared ashamed. You did not see spray-painted walls, on the next page, about how stinky the woman was in the previous section. I was convinced that I had every right to say “No!” to Kevin. So what, let them call me a slut, because when they see me again, I’ll be shameless! And I was shameless until a fateful relationship brought back the torment of what had happened to me as a teenager.

To be continued…. See Shameless Love Part 2: Owning My Sex Archetype

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Angela LiebenAngela Lieben is a contributing writer to the Liberator Unzipped Blog. She lends her creative talents to the Liberator family as a Marketing and PR Manager. Her vast knowledge of sex toys, erotic art and the world of BDSM, along with her shameless humor, makes her a natural for promoting sexual wellness. A Pleasure Activist at heart, Angela loves sharing her passion with people and gets tremendous joy out from sparking intimacy and dialogue between couples. When she is not working hard producing engaging content for the Liberator website and the Liberator UnZipped blog, she spends time practicing the art of Shibari (rope bondage) on her willing husband.

 

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