17 Comments

  1. This article made me think about my own views in a deeper way than I had before. Have you addressed the idea that people have slut-xiety from parental influences, since parents instill the idea that promiscuity is a bad thing to prevent their daughter from getting an unwanted teenage pregnancy?

    • Great! I haven’t so much yet, I have talked about my own upbringing some, but that’s a good point. Parents are risk averse regarding their children, and people tend to devalue the future relative to the present. So it makes sense that a parent would sacrifice their daughter’s agency and sexual fulfillment later on to help her avoid pregnancy and STIs now.

  2. Thomas Aquinas

    “This view really doesn’t seem to have any rational basis, if only because assigning separate values to human beings is a weird thing to do in the first place. ”

    Read Aristotle

  3. Dante

    “It may be true that having many partners may inhibit some people’s ability to commit to one person. But it seems more likely that people with this problem probably have more contributing to their intimacy problems than prior sexual behavior.”

    Cathy, I think here you are glossing over the main thrust of the opposing argument. When sizing up a potential girl/boyfriend, many people use the number of past sexual partners as a proxy for fidelity–as a partner used to casual sex will be tempted by the “opportunity cost” of honest monogamy.

    Yes, it’s not a perfect proxy. Yes, there will be anecdotal exceptions. However, I think your dinner metaphor incorrectly downplays the significance of sex.

    There are some studies that show the more lifetime sexual partners a woman (and, presumably, a man) has, the more likely their marriage will end in divorce. http://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2010/09/sexual-partner-divorce-risk.html

    I would propose that both sexes generally don’t like potential SO’s having high numbers of sex partners. The difference in how we regard “female sluttiness” to “male sluttiness” is in the obvious imbalances in the sexual marketplace. The existence of slut walks, rape culture, and anti-street harassment groups just shows how much excess, pent up demand to have sex with women there is, and how easy access there is for women to have sex, relative to men. Because a lack of available options will not force the average woman from being sexually monogamous, men sometimes use a woman’s professed taste for casual sex to gauge how wary they should be when the call of the monogamous opportunity cost is too great.

    The flipside is also true, of course, and I’m sure plenty of people could give anecdotal examples. However, this is an overall trend–a slight pressure exerted across a large swath of the population will result in a tectonic shift of difference as a result. As is the case here.

    • Matt J Scroggins

      I think to say that slut walks and anti rape culture is proof of higher demand in the marketplace on the part of men for sexual relationships is pretty disgusting frankly. Their is wanting a mutual experience with another person where both individuals are consenting and then there is forcing oneself on someone else against their will. Their are A LOT of women that Ihave seen in passing that I would have wanted to have sex with but I didn’t rape them because I would personally find the degradation and transgression of someone’s person in that form to be abhorrent. Just because men are more easily sexually aroused based on sight doesn’t translate to rape. Rape is an act of violence against another person and the pleasure that the aggressor gets is of a sadistic manner and supersedes and influences sexuality. It’s not a base instinct for anyone and not being able to achieve sexual arousal with someone else apart from rape is a psychological disorder and not part of healthy functioning.

  4. Pervertically Virtuous

    it is true that people with more sex partners are more likely to cheat on their romantic partners – but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of love and commitment. That just mean they should probably be looking for non-monogamous romantic relationships. That way everyone is happy.

    I’m a proud, badge-carrying slut with more sex partners (past and present) than 99% of all women other than porn starts and prostitutes. And I have a loving husband who adores my sluttiness 🙂

    Pervertically Virtuous

    • Thanks for stopping by! It’s so important to remember that some people don’t value monogamy or prudishness at all, and in fact value sluttiness and openness. One isn’t necessarily objectively better than the other. I prefer a world in which people with different preferences could just find each other and not judge others with differing preferences.

      • Matt J Scroggins

        “I prefer a world in which people with different preferences could just
        find each other and not judge others with differing preferences.”

        Completely agree. Wish it was for all areas of life.

    • I’ve read this same idea now a couple of times in this discussion. Can you or someone else be so kind as to point me in the direction of a non-christian study that backs up the statement, “it is true that people with more sex partners are more likely to cheat on their romantic partners”. tia

      I ask because I find this line of thought simply ridiculous. In fact, my personal belief is quite the opposite. My wife of 23 years and myself both had a decent number of partners before we were married and will, for lack of a better word, ENCOURAGE, BOTH my son AND my daughter to experiment before they get married. My reasoning? No matter HOW great the sex is with someone, if you’ve never had sex with anyone else, you’re ALWAYS going to wonder if that’s as good as it gets.

      IMO, outside of church influence, only an insecure or power tripping man demands their wives be pure.

      • Pervertically Virtuous

        Hi Ron,

        I’m as atheist as they come, so I don’t ever read or rely on any church studies 🙂 I’m a social scientist finishing my PhD at an Ivy League school. So the studies I’m referring to are social science studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals. On average, the higher the number of one’s past sexual partners, the greater their likelihood of cheating on a long-term partner. That does not mean that all people with many partners will cheat, or that no people with few partner will cheat. Those are just general trends in the population as a whole.

        here are a couple of studies.

        Bailey, J. M., Kirk, K. M., Zhu, G., Dunne, M. P. & Martin, N. G. (2000). Do individual differences in sociosexuality represent genetic or environmentally contingent strategies? Evidence from the Australian Twin Registry. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 537-545.

        Whisman, M. A., & Snyder, D. K. (2007). Sexual infidelity in a national survey of American women: Differences in prevalence and correlates as a function of method of assessment. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 147-154.

        It is great that you and your wife encourage your kids to explore sexually, wish all parents were like you. There’d be a lot less sexual dysfunction, frustration, and dissatisfaction if everyone did the same…

  5. Blanchot

    Unfortunately, for those of us who were raised in a Christian-minded, “promiscuity is bad”, “slut-xious” household, slutxiety isn’t so easy to let go of. I couldn’t agree more about the lack of rationale behind correlating sexual activity with devaluation, and that letting go of slutxiety allows for much less dissatisfaction in relationships, but it simply isn’t easy. As a ~20y/o guy I’ve had many sexual partners, several of whom have also had many sexual partners, but after years of abandoning the mindset that condemns female promiscuity I still find myself hopelessly cringing at the thought of my partners’ sexual histories.
    I think you should expand more on the opposing argument and its associated views. Many of those with “slut-xiety” aren’t heartless bigots, they just aren’t able to let go of something engrained in them.

    • That’s a really great point. Even for all the really hard work I’ve put into overcoming my irrational fears and anxieties around sex, they still creep up on me. While this is supposed to be funny, I do intend in this pretty new blog to delve deeper into the sources of our sexual anxieties and methods of shining light on them in the hopes of making them less powerful. Care to start us off with a guest post? 🙂

      • Blanchot

        What a thoughtful invite! In my experience, the most potent source of ill feelings towards others’ sexual histories can be a very selfish thing. For me, (foolishly, of course) I most hate the idea that at one point in my SO’s life, I wasn’t the primary object of her affection and attention with whom she couldn’t wait to hop in the sack with. The thought of that figure being another guy for her at any point in time is hugely demoralizing, even if it was some time ago. The most effective approach I’ve found to addressing this is simply to realize that we’ve ALL had multiple intimate fascinations with other people, no matter how long or how short, and my SO is just as entitled to those as I am. Also, if she’s all mine now, what is there really to get worked up about?

        • Matt J Scroggins

          I don’t mean to ask any embarrasing questions but this thread is interesting. Do you feel like you are maybe to some extents getting some of your self worth from another person if you are even fleetingly preoccupied with whether this other person thinks you are the greatest she’s ever had? Obviously as a guy we all want to be the best at whatever it is and compete to be dominant sot hat’s part of it as well. But my thought in these situations isn’t about the rightness of these thoughts but whether we are focusing on what is in front of us in these situations. Someone is with us so doesn’t that mean there is something good in us which is why they are involved. Just some thoughts.

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