Ask Kayy

Dear Kayy,

There’s this guy I met through a mutual friend about three months ago who I really like. Unfortunately, I think I screwed things up really early. The first time we hooked up, we had sex. It was within knowing each other for barely a week, and it was before I had feelings for him and assumed it would just be a one-night thing. If I had realized it would become more, I probably would have waited. Nonetheless, I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal, until I wanted to get serious with him. Things just aren’t going my way. We still hook up, and even though he admits he likes me, he skirts the issue of anything more serious.

About a week ago a friend told me he was extremely inexperienced before me, which made me feel like if anything, he would want a relationship even more. However, she told me that he was “weirded out” that I was willing to have sex so fast, and that he likes me but it just isn’t going to be more than that.

Basically, I’m losing out on a great guy because people think I’m a slut. I tried explaining to him that that first night I really wasn’t myself, but it doesn’t seem to sink in.

I’m really pissed off and I don’t think it makes any sense and I’m just about to give up – but I figured I’d give it one last shot and ask you what you think.

Am I a Slut?

Dear Am I a Slut?

People tend to over-generalize, to paint things in black and white, because it fits better in their pretty little heads. People are comfortable with black and white, with opposites. Gay/straight, good/evil, man/woman, rich/poor . and slut/virgin.

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Reality who?

The reality is that binaries do not exist! Binaries are ideas like slut/virgin that tend to cast people into one of two check boxes, when in actuality, most things exist on a continuum. One of my favorite teachers once said that sex is like food – everybody has different tastes. “Some people eat to live, and some people live to eat” (insert “do it” in place of “eat” and you get my point). We’re not all anorexics or compulsive overeaters. Some people eat a lot, some people like variety and trying new exotic things, some people like to binge and some people like late-night snacks. These would generally be the people we call sluts.

When it comes to sexuality and most things in the real world, there is no strict positive and negative like on a battery, but thousands of little different things that people experience as human beings. To try and define somebody as either a sinner or a saint based on just a few things they’ve done is not only impractical, it’s unfair – which is why I can’t explain why we’ve been doing it for so long (to do so I would have to reteach a few gender studies and history classes in one page of The Signal).

I’ve already explained why it’s impractical. And why is it unfair? Because women have been persecuted for exercising sexual freedom forever. We’ve been buying into myths about sexuality, and more specifically women’s sexuality, since the beginning of modern times. It’s more than unfair; it’s dangerous.

For example, just to name a few women who were persecuted in the past and present: worshippers of Bacchus and goddess cults; victims of FGM (female genital mutilation); the so-called “witches” of Salem, Mass. and millions of others around the world; mid-wives who knew the “secrets” of childbirth; women who refused to marry, or did so and did not produce children; Edna Pontellier with her Awakening; women who wanted to leave the private sphere and become educated; Eve of Eden; women priests exiled by the Roman Catholic Church; women who are raped and then stoned to death; and Hester Prynne with her scarlet letter. These are all women who were branded, excommunicated, scorned or murdered for being different, for being progressive, for being human or for simply being themselves.

Women who don’t live up to maternal, virtuous standards of living that only Mother Theresa could abide by are a threat to the order of things and must be silenced or worse (and who would want to live up to that? Yawn). There is a myth out there that if women abstain completely from sexual contact, they are virgins, pure, holy. If women “indulge their desires” or “give into temptation,” they are sluts.

I’ll give you one guess what I think about all this: Yup, that’s right . bullshit.

You pose an interesting question. “Am I a Slut?” (I caught onto the “Sex and the City” reference, by the way). However, it is a loaded one. In order to answer your question, we would need a solid definition of the word “slut” which simply does not exist.

I looked up the word slut in Webster’s today: “a dirty, slovenly woman” or “an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.” Several things stand out to me about this – first of all is the fact that they use the word “woman.” Isn’t it funny how the word “man” is constantly used when referring to the whole friggin’ human race (“That’s one step for man, one giant leap for mankind”) yet in a definition about sexual impurity, the word woman is used? That makes me suspicious.

d too many books on this topic, but when I read stuff like that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry . especially when I take into account that whenever sexual activity is discussed by men or women of high, hyperheterosexual moral fiber, words like ‘dirty,’ ‘filthy’ and ‘unclean’ are used.

Women are often labeled as sluts for no reason at all. Being called a slut may have nothing to do with your sexual activity. You could simply have large breasts, hit puberty early, have been the victim of rumors or rape or you simply may be a minority or outsider in need of labeling. Often, slut fits the bill.

The solution? Unfortunately, there is none that I know of. I hope nobody only half-reads this article and goes around having sex with every person she meets, exclaiming “Kayy says it’s OK!” – that’s not my point. There are real dangers out there for people who have sex, especially when you have many partners and/or don’t practice safe sex. Sex may not be as sacred and boring as many overzealous religious types claim, but it certainly can be serious. I’m not suggesting everybody release all of their inhibitions about sex – they’re there for a reason.

All I’m asking is that people don’t give into the hype. If your friend kisses someone she just met, don’t call her a slut behind her back (especially since you’re only doing it because you’re jealous). Don’t reinforce the double standard. Guys who get around are no more righteous or entitled to do so than women. Some of us women would like to sow our wild oats too (whatever the hell that means).

As for you, “Am I a Slut,” stop beating yourself up. Want a better definition for slut than the one Webster gave me? It’s a person who is in control of their sexuality. It’s someone who engages in sex when and where she wants, and with whom she wants. A slut is someone who isn’t about to let uptight, unnecessary social taboos stifle her desires, whether it comes to sex or any other part of her life.

A slut is scary to an all-too-masculine male (ahem, your dude) – he’s supposed to be in control of the situation, and he’s supposed to decide what you want . or at least suggest it. I’m not going to totally dis him. There can be several reasons why he’s afraid to get serious. He’s inexperienced, so he’s probably freaked out that you know more than him (Gasp! The horror!). He could be shy. He could simply not be looking for a relationship right now, and because hookups without the hassles are attractive to many men and women, he might just really like the way things are now.

He obviously likes your bod and personality, or else he wouldn’t still be calling you. He obviously trusts you because he’s experienced a lot of “first” things with you. He obviously doesn’t think you’re dirty, or “slovenly” because who thinks that’s sexy? You may have moved fast with him, but whatever. People make mistakes. You’re not quite a prostitute because you got a little too excited. And don’t give me that “it wasn’t me” crap, because it was you (I’m hoping that you were sober)!

Either way, if he’s freaked out by your sexual prowess or simply not down to get attached, he’s not worth your time. You’ve tried to communicate with him and he’s either ignored you or denied you. That’s crap. By all means, let the emotionless hookups commence, but if it bothers you (which it seems to), you should cut him loose.

If what you want is a relationship, you can find it in someone else who likes all of you and is turned on by your experience and/or desire to frequently go at it. Trust me, you will find him (or her). I wouldn’t suggest getting busy too soon, because confusion, distress and other emotions may run high when you get physical without getting emotional. Remember – without discussing how you feel or where you want things to go, somebody will always end up disappointed. Do me a favor, and be careful with boys’ hearts – they’re just as fragile as your own.

Cheers to the slut in all of us,