May 19, 2017

Q & A: How Many Partners Can I Have Before I’m A “Slut”?

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Photograph from first Slut Walk protest in Toronto in 2011, displaying protesters holding signs.

Photograph from first Slut Walk protest in Toronto in 2011, displaying protesters holding signs.

Q:   I’m 25 and I’ve slept with 15 people. I started having sex at age 15 but my most amount of partners were during my first year of University. Am I a “slut”?

A:   “Slut” is a socially constructed term that implies stigma, shame and has a negative connotation. This label has been reclaimed by some people to counteract the sexual double standard that often penalizes women for their sexual activity (including having multiple partners) while praising men for similar behavior. By reclaiming the term “slut,” some women feel empowered to live the sexual lives they want.

Ain’t Nobody’s Business

The number of sex partners a person has is a personal choice and is no one’s business but their own. The most important thing to remember is that sex between people should be consensual and pleasurable. When determining “what is your number” reflect on the importance of this number and the meaning behind it. You may find that it is meaningless upon further inspection. However, for some people communicating with a sexual partner about past sexual history is important; it can draw you closer to one another and can provide valuable information if and when considering risk for a sexually transmitted infection.

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