Labels. We all hate them. Yet we all use them. Even those of us who hate them intensely. But I want to talk specifically about the label of “whore.” Often interchangeable with slut, hussy, loose, immoral or scarlet woman. To which I say, I've always looked good in red. :)
When I was a young girl, I heard about “these” women. But I must say, in movies and tv shows, they were the very most interesting women. I was intrigued by them early on. They seemed to possess a confidence that other women didn’t. Still, you certainly didn’t want the stigma of being called a slut or a whore when you were in school. If you were smart, you could even be promiscuous (and by that I do not necessarily refer to sex, because you can obtain those labels even by kissing too many boys) as long as you were careful about who knew about it. However, at the very least, two people knew about it… you and him! And let’s face it; discretion isn’t exactly a developed character trait in young people. So, unless you were very prim and proper, you probably stumbled into the label on one level or another.
My first sexual experience (and by that I do mean sex) was when I was 18 years old. That might sound young to some, but in the culture I was in, I was a little behind my female comrades. My boyfriend and I had been dating for a year and a half. He was RELENTLESS in his attempts to get me into the fucking position. I wish I’d had the nerve to smack him upside the head. But, I was determined to wait until I felt comfortable and ready. And then the day came when I told him, “I’m ready.” Sex was good. Nothing sensational, just good. I did enjoy it but I soon discovered he had another “girlfriend” in another city. She and I happened to run into one another at a mutual friend’s house. It was really quite uncanny. We hit it off right away and started chatting. She was great, actually! And then…………. She mentioned her boyfriend. And told me his name. And I said, “um… that’s my boyfriend tooooooo.”
Funny. So, we sat together and compared a few notes and then, he showed up. Surprised as hell to find us there together. So that was the end of that. In the end, I certainly wound up liking her better than I liked him. Hee.
After that, I did a fair amount of experimenting with my sexuality. I never did wander too far there. Didn’t really have a desire to try out same sex or multiple partners. But I did enjoy the physical pleasures that men had to offer. There was never a concern in my mind that it was wrong or sinful, as I didn’t really have that sort of background. Our society (and especially the society in Utah where I was living) definitely tries to impress that idea upon everyone, but I had never really grabbed hold of it. And it never really grabbed hold of me. My family background provided me with what I feel is a large level of self worth and no religious hang-ups.
I had fun. Unabashedly. One night stands, trysts with married men, trysts with younger and older men. Sex with two or three different men on the same day. Fun stuff. Loving every minute of it. But, as is wont to happen to a young woman, some young man comes along and wants you to themselves. Well this is okay. I don’t have a hard time being a one man woman. It’s quite natural for me, as long as he’s taking care of me… if ya know what I mean. *wink wink*
It’s okay if this story is boring you and you feel the need to depart before having to swallow any more of it. (hee, I said swallow) In fact, it’s kind of boring me. But I’m going to keep rambling anyway.
So along comes this man (and yes, let’s go ahead and use the term “man” loosely) who wants me as his one and only. After we’d been together a little while, he decides that he needs to know how many men I’ve been with. I think this is none of his business. But, being young and naïve, I don’t really have the nerve to say that. So I quickly deduce how many men I’ve been with that really counted. Like, not including one night stands. I say “Three.” The guy looks at me with shock and disgust. He can’t believe it. He says something like, “Oh… my… God… you are SUCH A whore.” And then goes on to tell me that he may as well go fuck a hole in the back yard as fuck someone like me. I was fairly devastated. I did not at all think that I was a whore. I just thought I was comfortable with my sexuality and enjoying my body. Never once did I think of my behavior as being wrong. We won’t go into the moral burdens he procured from his Baptist background but suffice it to say, he was the one with the problem. Not me. BUT I fancied myself in love with him. He got over it and apologized. But I’m not sure you can really fully apologize for saying something so deeply and intentionally hurtful. If we must, though, we can zip on ahead to the not too distant future and see that I married this man. And on we went into happily ever after, right? It took me 18 years to finally tell him that it’s wrong to talk to people that way and that he wouldn’t be allowed to do it to me anymore because I was leaving. Yes, he had continued to do so in many other ways, shapes and forms, attacking my self esteem as if it were his highest goal in life to make me feel inferior.
Ah, fresh air. Breathing. The light of the moon reviving me. I touched everything I could because I could once again feel things purely and unadulterated (pun intended…hehehe). I was able to enjoy my own sexuality again. During the years I was married, I was made to feel as if sex were my job. I resisted this idea at first. This made me never want to have sex. But eventually I realized that the only time my husband touched me or showed me any affection was during sex. So I kind of grew hungry for it. Starved, even. This created a sort of faux intimacy. It made it seem like our relationship was fine because we were sexually active. Sex should be the expression of the intimacy that a couple enjoys, but we were just trying to create intimacy. And so went the ups and downs of married life. (Too punny??)
But now I was free to enjoy sex again. Just as I am. No pretending. No sin. Just sex. The enjoyment of the bodies of two people entangled. And it was great. A friend of mine at the time asked, “Doesn’t it make you feel like a whore sleeping around like that?” I said, “No. I felt like a whore when I was married.”
So, cut to today. Labels. Am I a whore or not? Of course I’m not. And of course I am. I playfully refer to myself as a whore. And I gladly say it out loud to those puritans who have an absolute need to call me something. Hey, if it makes them feel better, who am I to stand in the way of their happiness?
What did I learn from this ridiculously long lesson? That it’s cool with me if a man calls me a whore right up front. That way, I won’t have to worry about him trying to beat me with his own emotional chains that he so desperately loves. Because a man who has problems with whores, is a man who doesn’t really need to be in my life.
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