‘Nobody buys flowers for the porn-pile girl’

Rhonda Perky goes under the covers to discover what it means to be a Modern ‘Slut’.

‘Men want women to be sluts and now they’re buying in,’ — Professor Gail Dines, quoted in the Brisbane Times.

Until a few years ago, my sexual experience was about as vanilla as you can get (you might remember my previous post on Married Sex – A fairytale in three parts). My first ‘real’ partner was the man I met at university and later married, a monogamous relationship that lasted almost ten years. Don’t get me wrong, I was a horny-as-hell teenager, but ‘sex’, actual intercourse, was something I felt very strongly should be tied to love and commitment, that engaging in casual or even kinky sex, was something I would be judged for, and for which I would judge myself.

How things change.

‘Where are you and why aren’t you on my cock?’ was a typical text message from my most recent ex. We dated for over a year, during which time he called me a ‘cock-craving bitch’ and boasted to his friends that I was ‘up for anything’ and ‘always wet’. He even kept a tally of the number of times we shagged versus the number of times his coupled-up friends did. ‘Do you realise we’ve f—ed more times this weekend than X and his fiancé this entire month?’

I mentioned this to a girl-friend once. ‘Doesn’t that make you feel degraded?’ she asked.

I remember I had to stop and think, because at the time it didn’t. I felt empowered. A divorced woman in her dirty 30s, embracing her sexuality, eager for as much sex as was on offer, anywhere, anytime: ‘up for anything’, indeed.

I had begun to actively seek out and initiate sex. I enjoyed being objectified in the bedroom, responded eagerly to booty calls, and issued booty calls of my own. I began to masturbate outside of the bedroom, to explore pornography and embrace raunch culture.

I refused to be judged, and I didn’t judge myself.

Yet I found myself wanting to qualify my position, to point out that for that year and a bit I was in love and remained faithful to my lover, that I was enjoying exploring sex within the confines and safety of monogamy, so clearly I was more judgemental than I liked to believe.

Jump forward in time some more.

Picture a single woman, happily shagging multiple partners, men and women, sometimes even on the same day. A woman who openly discusses (and writes about) masturbation, sex and pornography. In each engagement there is respect, for the partner and for the single woman: me.

There are no feelings of shame or regret on my part. I haven’t lied or cheated, and out of respect I have avoided shoving in a lover’s face that he or she is not my only lover. The rules of our engagements are the rules that we define between us, explicitly or implicitly. There is as much ‘friendship’ or ‘relationship’ as we establish. I haven’t tended to have one night stands, not because I think there is anything wrong with them, but because they don’t meet my present needs. If this changes and I start exploring one-off encounters, I certainly won’t think any less of myself.

What judgement is to be had here?

According to Dines, ‘Young women today have two choices… to be f—able or invisible.’

I’d like to say I’m choosing neither.

I am embracing my sexual freedom – something my mother and her mother were never able to do – reclaiming the old labels and declaring with pride that this is my Year of Living Tartily, but while no one is actively calling me a slut, or openly passing judgement, they’re also not inviting me home to meet their mothers.

Mostly I can overlook it. After all, I don’t particularly want to meet their mothers, but every now and then it bothers me. It’s not that I feel disrespected; it’s because there is no room for much beyond sex in this scenario. No romance, no partnership, and only limited friendship. It seems to me that the girl who craves sex is the girl who is overlooked as anything more. F—able AND invisible.

Slut‘ may no longer be a dirty word, but it seems old prejudices are very much alive – they just wear a more euphemistic face.

More and more my female friends complain of men describing them as ‘too forward’ or ‘too sexual’, while male friends relate stories about women they have dumped for being ‘demanding’ or wanting ‘too much sex’.

Other women suffer from the reverse, describing text messages that only come late at night, including to one friend who received a message demanding she wear ‘pigtails and a g-banger’. ‘He only ever contacts me when he wants to get off,’ she told me. ‘I feel like his wank sock.’

It’s not the scenario Dines describes, but an old dichotomy just the same: Virgin versus Whore, and it’s kicking me and my girlfriends in the guts.

If we’re not supposed to judge ourselves or be judged, how should we respond? Should we shrivel into our repressed and Virginal selves, shy away from ever asking, ever demanding the sex that we crave? Or do we reciprocate and act out the Whore, objectifying men as they objectify us, only make contact when we want to shag, and if a man feels threatened or can’t provide it, well, we’ll just find it somewhere else?

Because the me today knows that if someone is going to put me on the porn pile, I am going to write and direct that porn myself, and damned if I’ll think any less of myself for doing so. Maybe this makes me a Modern Slut, not a Virgin and not a so-called Whore, just Visible being Me.

–RP (Modern Slut)

About Rhonda Perky

Sexology student who explores sex, sexuality, relationships and little bits of life. Kinky, quirky and a little bit perky. Facebook: facebook.com/perKsmagazine Tubmlr: rhondaperky.tumblr.com/ Twitter: @rhondaperky
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8 Responses to ‘Nobody buys flowers for the porn-pile girl’

  1. Eric says:

    If the rules that define any of your current casual relationships state that it is one of mutual sexual satisfaction, then it wouldn't be odd that any potentially deeper romantic emotions be left unsaid. After all, that would be coloring outside the lines, and presumably your partners are mature, open-minded folks who respect the mutual boundaries. Would it not be jarring and suddenly complicate the situation to have a partner declare that she/he wanted a deeper involvement with you?I'm not saying that you're wrong about female sexuality still being viewed as a binary, with Virgin and Whore as the only potential states. There is very clearly a sizable group of people who still see female sexuality in this way. Your bed/shed/bushes behind the house-mates may not be in that group.Of course, they could just be having a naked, good time, and that deeper dichotomy doesn't enter their thoughts whatsoever.

  2. Dear Eric,In the case of a casual relationship where rules and boundaries have been established based on mutual sexual satisfaction, I agree, it would be odd. However it's not always that simple. Say those rules were established around a mutual emotional unavailability. What should happen if that position were to change for one (or both) parties? It seems that, like any relationship, the rules of an ongoing casual relationship will necessarily evolve as the relationship between those two people evolves.That aside, the 'porn pile' dichotomy is hitting women I know where there is no established relationship, casual or otherwise. Women are finding themselves continually 'sex-zoned' for no apparent reason other than that they are an openly sexual person. If men can be sexual and not be judged or tossed onto the 'porn pile', why should it be any different for women? –RP

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