We’re just going to be over here finding ways to spin your insults into positives.
Throughout my life, people have used words to describe me that they meant as an insult. I’m not going to lie — at the time it felt like an insult in every way and seriously affected how I saw myself.
But now that my life has been taken over by chronic illness and I’m rapidly approaching 40, I just don’t care anymore.
When these comments come from trolls on the internet, I can only think it’s because they are pissed off that a woman dares to discuss sex, have a lot of sex, and not feel bad about it.
When these comments come from people who know me, it’s a reflection of their inability to understand and control me. Women you can’t control are scary as fuck.
Every woman who writes about sex receives shitty comments from basement-dwelling trolls who are too busy tormenting women behind their screens to build any semblance of real life.
Let’s look at a couple of choice phrases and start owning that shit, not hiding from it.
I am a slut
The first time I was called a slut, I was 11 years old. I had no idea what the word meant then. Later, in high school, when a boy spread a rumor around school that we’d slept together, it came up again. People use the word slut to shame women who refuse control.
This label is absolutely correct. I am a slut, but I’m also selective and smart. I fuck around, and I love sex. But, I don’t hook up with just anyone, even if I like them.
I don’t typically wear panties, so dropping them isn’t something I’m likely to do. But also, being slutty doesn’t mean being unrestrained. Sluttiness is embracing sexual agency. That means I get to fuck who I want and not fuck who I want. I can say yes; I can say no. Sexual agency means that it’s up to me.
When people call me a slut, it’s almost as if they think that my sex life is the most exciting part of who I am. Newsflash: slutty women are smart too. There’s a reason I don’t keep track of my body count; I don’t think the number of people I fuck is worth discussing at all. I write about sex in an effort to educate and normalize female sexuality.
Do you know what I find interesting? World history, political debates with people willing to look at things from different angles, female sexuality, how society molds people, and learning what makes human beings tick.
If you meet me in real life, you’re not likely to hear stories of my sexual escapades (unless you ask nicely).
I think that my sex life is far less interesting than my experiences parenting five kids, working in urban education for 15 years, and transitioning from full-time teacher to full-time writer.
Sluts can assess risk. Before I fuck someone, I do a ton of risk assessment; I evaluate the risk for myself, my spouse, and my potential partner. If there’s too much risk, I’m going to keep my panties on (if I’m wearing any ).
There seems to be this idea that a woman can’t be a slut and be anything else worthwhile. Fuck that shit. I am a slut; I am a mother, I am a researcher, I am an educator, I am a writer, and I am a badass bitch.
I am a free spirit
A free spirit is a term most of my family of origin used to describe me growing up, and they’d probably still say it today.
As a young person, when my family said that about me, they typically meant that I was wild, a bit out of control, and impossible to contain.
When I was little, being called a free spirit meant that my favorite thing to do sprint around outside barefoot and naked. (Hmmm, that still sounds like a good time to me.)
As I got into my teen years, my parents would roll their eyes and call me a free spirit when I spent the evening dancing in the bed of a pickup truck in the middle of a cornfield.
I can see how that would have been the correct term to use, still, it was meant as an insult and said with an eye roll. They thought I’d eventually calm down and be a “good girl.”
And then came the most significant evidence of my wild and free nature. At 19, I threw everything I owned in the back of my red hatchback and drove east until I hit the ocean. Make no mistake, moving 800 miles away from my family as a young adult was the best decision I ever made.
Sure after that, I made crappy decisions about who I married and things like that, but I could move on from that relationship and build a life I wanted because I lived 800 miles away from my family.
Fuck being a good girl. Moving away, and fighting to be free is why I am finally able to embrace my desire for women, my raging libido, and my desire to write about sex.
As I write this, I’m sitting on my lawn in a bohemian sundress, no bra, and no panties (because I didn’t want to bother today, it’s hot). I’ve masturbated four times today, my hair always looks like I just got fucked, and I’m barefoot (my feet are kind of dirty because I just played in the garden). Yep, I’m a free spirit; I like me this way.
I am every woman’s worst nightmare
If someone says that I am every woman’s worst nightmare, what they mean is that I inspire fear. Y’all I’m five foot two and take up less space than a Great Dane. I am not intimidating to look at, though I do have a big personality, I think that’s what they mean. I’ve had women tell me that they are afraid I’m going to steal their partners, even when I was a closeted, mousey woman fearful of my sexuality.
Sometimes I think that women say I’m the worst nightmare because I reflect a part of themselves that they have buried deep inside and are terrified to let out (but also kind of want to).
If you’re walking around thinking that your partner is going to leave you for every hot piece of ass that walks by, you’re going to live a life full of anxiety.
Rather than focus on what I’m doing, I urge these women to turn the mirror around themselves and realize that they are bad ass bitches.
Women are sex goddesses, and their partners want nothing more than to tear their clothes off and ravish their beautiful, flawed, imperfect bodies. Trust me; I’ve asked plenty of men. That’s all they want. (And no one gives a flying fuck about your stretch marks or cellulite).
If you’re concerned about your partner cheating (but you already know you are a badass bitch), I’d suggest having a real conversation with your partner about what constitutes infidelity in your relationship. The assumption of monogamy is what gets people in trouble because it keeps them from talking about boundaries.
I did a very scientific scroll through Reddit to figure out what people define as cheating. Maybe you think it’s cheating for your partner to talk to someone of the opposite sex (yes, this came up more than once in Reddit-land).
That’s a real problem if your partner’s opinion is it’s only cheating if his penis enters a vagina that isn’t yours. Have a conversation about that shit, and come to an agreement that you can both uphold.
I refuse to live my life with the assumption of scarcity. Love, sex, companionship, friendship, success, beauty, happiness, and other things that humans seek exist in abundance. Just because I’m sleeping with a handful of men and women doesn’t mean there is no one left for everyone else. There are lots of people out there looking, have you seen Tinder? Go out there and get yours, don’t complain about what other people have.
It took me 34 years to start admitting out loud to a man who loves the crap out of me that I am a far more sexual beast than I let on. Women learn from society that they’re not supposed to be sexual when nothing could be further from the truth. Women are the embodiment of sexual energy. Stop fearing your sexuality and own that shit!
I am reasonably sure that the trolls of the Internet and those that dare to exist in the light of day will continue to find creative ways to try to put powerful women down.
We’ve got a long way to go before women can live as sexual, intellectual, and emotionally mature creatures in the real world.
I’ve seen some of my favorite sex writers receive some terrible, slut-shaming, fat-shaming, and female shaming comments. That just proves that we are doing important work and need to stick around.
So, for now, my fellow sex writers and I will be using pen names so the trolls can’t find our homes. Say what you want about women who aren’t afraid to have sex, enjoy sex, and talk about sex. We aren’t going anywhere.