Ethical Slut vs. Confused Slut

image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

The following is an excerpt from my first full-length foray into fiction: 99 Erics: a Kat Cataclysm faux novel. The book is a humorous account of a bisexual female absurdist short fiction writer who dates ninety-nine different people named Eric for literature’s sake. This chapter takes place just after Kat recounts the period of her life when she identified as lesbian, before eventually coming out as bisexual (a video of me reading that preceding chapter can be found here).

So then you go back to the world of dating men. Which superficially sounds way easier than dating women, if for no other reason than your dating pool becomes significantly larger. But the problem is, you are no longer the same person that you used to be way back when you were last actively dating members of the male persuasion. Because now you have a lesbian history — or “herstory,” I suppose, if you’re going to be a stickler about it. And that doesn’t simply go away just because you identify as bisexual now. And you’ve learned so much from your previous immersion in queer culture — far more than the superficial signifiers of queerness that everybody else thinks are so important, but you and Saussure beg to differ.

For starters, by now you have read books by queer theorists who argue that gender is merely a social construct (much unlike ice cream). In other words, it’s just a bunch of arbitrary rules and conventions that we all follow. But we don’t have to. We can bend these rules. Or break them. Bend and/or break them. And you have also read books by sex-positive feminists who taught you to not be ashamed of your sexual body and desires, and that all forms of sexuality can be beautiful, provided that they are consensual.

To you, all of these ideas now seem like basic common sense. And when you date people of the female persuasion, they are generally queer, or at least queer-ish, and therefore likely already familiar with these concepts. So it will not be at all unusual if, over dessert on your first date, the two of you discuss sexual preferences, boundaries, kinks, and enthusiastic consent, before you’ve even shared your first kiss.

But the men you date, by and large, have not had a lesbian herstory like you have. In fact, many them haven’t even been exposed to the aforementioned feminist and queer concepts that you now take for granted. And for this reason, they will often behave in ways that seem utterly illogical to you.

Take for instance, Eric #29. I immediately had reservations about our date when he showed up wearing a backwards baseball cap, polo shirt, and cargo shorts. He struck me as the type of guy who, a decade or two ago, would have never in a million years considered moving to San Francisco. But nowadays, these sorts of ex-fraternity business-major types flock here in droves due to all the tech company jobs and money to be made.

Eric #29 and I had very little in common, but since he was seemingly into sports, I brought up the subject of baseball. I knew there was going to be trouble when he asked: Wow, how did you learn so much about baseball?

Me: I don’t know that much. I’m not an expert or anything.

Eric: Well, you sure do know a lot for a girl. So who taught you then?

Me: Um, no one. I just follow it. You know, I watch games. I read articles.

Eric: So who is your favorite player?

Me: Let’s see. I like Bryce Harper . . .

Eric: That guy is a total cocksucker.

Me: Oh, so you like him then?

Eric: What? No! I’m just saying that that guy can go suck my dick.

Me: Which is a good thing, right?

Eric: God no!

Me: Oh, so you don’t enjoy receiving oral sex then? Are you stone?

Eric: No, of course I like oral sex.

Me: Then why would you use “cocksucker” in a derogatory fashion? I mean, who’s going to want to suck your dick if you make it sound like such a horrible thing? It seems like such a disincentive.

Eric: I was just saying that Bryce Harper is a pussy, is all.

Me: And that’s a bad thing?

Eric: Yeah.

Me: Oh, so you must be gay then. Funny, I thought your online profile listed you as heterosexual.

Eric: I’m not fucking gay! I’m totally straight.

Me: But if you are attracted to women’s bodies, and if women’s genitals excite you in a pleasurable way, shouldn’t “pussy” be one of the highest compliments you could pay someone? Like, when your favorite football team scores a touchdown, shouldn’t you be joyously shouting out “vagina!” at the TV?

Eric: What are you, some kind of feminist?

Me: Do you have a problem with feminists?

Eric: Yeah, of course I do. They’re a bunch of man-haters.

Me: Sure, there are a few Valerie Solanas-types out there. But the majority of women who call themselves feminists actually partner and have sex with men. In other words, most of us are literally man-lovers, not man-haters. In fact, you could make the case that men like yourself — straight guys who wouldn’t be caught dead making love to another man — are the real man-haters.

Eric: You call yourself a man-lover, but what you really mean is that you’re a slut.

Me: Yes, I am a slut. An ethical one. And you are a confused slut.

Eric: What do you mean by that?

Me: I’ll show you: Do you want to go back to my place and have sex?

Eric: Seriously?

Me: Seriously.

Eric: Sure.

Me: Okay, so a moment ago, when you called me a slut, you made it sound like this awful thing, like you were condemning me and all other women who enjoy having lots of sex. But then you jumped at the chance to have sex with me, which means that you secretly wish there were more women like me who were open to the possibility of having casual sex. You seem oblivious to the obvious fact that far more women would be open to having casual sex with men if it weren’t for people like yourself going around slut-shaming us all the time!

Or, to put it a different way: You are a man who seemingly wants to have lots of sex on the one hand, but who simultaneously harbors highly negative attitudes toward genitals, sexual acts, and people who openly express their sexuality. Ergo, you are a confused slut.

Eric: So does this mean that we’re not going to have sex then?

Me: “You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!”

You can learn more about 99 Erics via that link. And you can read excerpts from two other chapters — Posers and Banana Slug of a Different Color— right here on Medium!

writes about gender, sexuality, social justice, & science. author of Whipping Girl, Excluded, Outspoken, & the unusually queer novel 99 Erics. juliaserano.com

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