For the Record, I Think Slut Shaming Is Bad

the word "bad" painted on in yellow letters with a thick black outline on a shiny red surface
Image by Damian Gadal / CC BY

Slut Shaming Is Bad, I Am Sex Positive

I recently wrote a post in which I delved into a possible explanation for why some people slut shame others, drawing from the work of social psychological researchers who have delved into why female sexuality, in particular, is so often suppressed. Discouraged. Stigmatized. And yes, slut shamed.

Interestingly, this really offended a number of readers. I found this mystifying. Why would looking at potential causes for a problem that affects so many polyamorous folks in a negative way (myself included, as I have certainly been targeted by slut shaming) raise so much ire?

As I read through the messages, a point emerged: They had read the post and walked away with the impression that I was pro-slut shaming. One such message, as an example:

“I have no idea what the point of this blog [post] is besides slut shaming.”

The Point of that Piece

To be clear: I think slut shaming is bad. I’m very sex-positive. I love me some sexing. And I do lots of milk-giving-away-for-free.

I just encountered this research in the process of reading rando things (as I’m wont to do), and I made the connection in tone between slut-shamers and the slackers at my first job.

When people do bad things, I often ask myself why they are doing the bad thing. Not to excuse their behavior, but to gain perspective on where they might be coming from. Understanding this helps me to be better able to cope with their behavior and to find better ways to respond than “well, fuck you, too, buddy!”

And reading through the findings, I’m not taking any of the (peer-reviewed) research personally — because I’ve found that sort of reaction invariably leads me away from the truth. And a large part of how I’ve become the person I am is by staying curious and endeavoring not to take things personally, even if they make me uncomfortable.

The premise of that research isn’t that people should feel that way, or view sex as transactional — just that some do.

People have some pretty jacked up viewpoints sometimes.

Sex Is Not a Chore

That said, I did personally find one troubling vein to my original piece when I wrote it. Something I found distasteful in my own article.

In the piece, I draw parallels between work and sex, thereby implying that sex is some kind of a chore. This is something I don’t believe to be true.

Interestingly though, no one has yet objected to that premise, which to me would be the first one to raise.

However, I think drawing the parallel between sex and work ethic actually makes a weird sort of sense, at least in this case, because while I view both hard work and sex in a very positive light (they are two of the things that I enjoy most in my life), other people conversely may very well view both hard work and sex negatively, feeling that they’re both chores. And something they go through in order to be compensated in some other manner.

I’m not saying it’s right for them to do that. Only that some people seem to feel that way. And yes, the research supports some folks viewing sex in that way.

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