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  • Lona

Reclaiming Slut and Normal Sexual Response


From my early teen years, I knew this word to describe what I did: I unapologetically had sex with boys. Had I been having sex with only girls, I doubt I would've gotten this title. Guys would've probably high fived me in the high school hallways. But for some reason, the fact that I only had sex with boys back then (not by choice but by supply and demand) made people use this word about me. SLUT. Early on, I embraced this word and thought of it as a compliment when people would use it. Yes, indeed I was getting some! Thank you, sir, or ma'am for noticing! But it most certainly wasn't meant as the compliment I took it as. They were using it to hurt me or to make them feel better about themselves.


And yet, there were plenty of boys doing the same thing as me. I mean, I never found it hard to find a boy to have sex with. It takes two to tango, as they say. Boys were just as easy, if not easier than me, yet I consistently found that I would be the one getting shamed. They would not. In fact, some boys would even call me a slut after having sex with me! Bro... we both did the exact same thing. I had a strong facade, but deep down I knew it hurt. And it wasn't even just the word slut. I remember after a party one morning I had proudly announced that I fucked a new guy I had just met. One girl asked why, and when I declared because I wanted to, she said "gross". My female sexual desire was "gross".


I didn't know back then, but I was doing all this as a survival response to my own trauma that I didn't even understand at the time. I was hypersexualized. People called me names because I was trying to survive my own trauma in the only way I knew how. But even now, as I've worked through so much of that trauma and am well down the path of healing, I am still very into sex. I am MUCH safer than I used to be, which is also a product of healing. Now, I choose who and when and how I have sex and I make sure that it's not a response to trauma, but something I actually want. And in a new book I'm reading about the science of sex (called "Come as you are" by Emily Nagoski), now I've learned why I'm like this even today.


You see, we learn our sexual responses. None of them come preprogrammed, but we learn our own programming based on our experience. Each of our brains has a Sexual Excitement (SE) response, and a Sexual Inhibitor (SI) response. SE is like an accelerator for sex, these are the things that make us turned on. SI is like a brake system for sex, these are the things that turn us off. The majority of people have average SE and SI systems, but some people are on the extremes of the spectrum. I'm on the extreme of both spectrums. I have a sensitive excitement response, as in I'm easily turned on. And I have a very insensitive brake system, I don't easily turn off. But this is also a totally normal response. No response system is abnormal, because it is all just learned. That's why they call it a learned response. Everyone is normal, because learning is normal. We were just given different experiences to learn from.


So, by learning that I am different, but that is also normal has given me new fodder in the fight to reclaim Slut. Because I was different, it sparked a fear response in others. It's not their fault, they just learned that different meant unsafe. This is also why boys were not shamed the same way, because it's not "different" for boys to want sex a lot. That's just boys being boys so there is no fear created. Different equaled unsafe, so they wanted to level the playing field by trying to make me like them through shame. Unfortunately, shame often does not change behavior. At best, it just makes people hide it from you. People only change when they choose to change.


So, if my normal response is under scrutiny, then let's turn the whole system on it's head. Let's reclaim the word Slut like we have reclaimed the word queer (which I also identify as). If people throw it as an insult, then understand that they are afraid. This has NOTHING to do with you or your own sexual response system. Comfort them by telling them that we can't all be the same, and you celebrate your differences from others. Tell them that when everyone is the same, it's boring. And tell them Lona said that slut is a compliment, so thank you!


INSPIRED ACTION: Journal prompt! This is a helpful one to journal about. Write the word slut. Slut, sLut, slUt, sluT, SLUT. How does it make you feel? What responses do you have to it? Does it make you feel fear? Anger? Shame? Disgust? Journal about why you learned this response to the word. It is just a word. By allowing this word to have power over you, you are allowing others to have power over you. Figure out WHY you have this response, so that you can transcend this learned reaction. Then make a promise to yourself that you will not allow this to have that power anymore.



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