310-299-2040
Select Page

Stop Slut Shaming Yourself with Raquel Savage

Jan 29, 2023

 

Slut shaming is a phenomenon that many people, predominantly women and girls, deal with at one point in their life. There are various forms of slut shaming that take place online, in real life, and even internally via the way people think about themselves. No matter where the source of slut shaming is coming from, it can have a real impact on one’s sense of self, identity, confidence, mental health, and relationship with sex.

 

In this episode of the Modern Intimacy podcast, Dr. Kate Balestrieri and Raquel Savage highlight the ways that experiencing internalized slut shaming and seeing others be publicly slut shamed can result in mental health, sexual health, and relationship challenges.

 

What is Slut Shaming?

 

The term slut shaming refers to judgement people and society place on a person or group of people who engage in various sexual behaviors. An important consideration is sometimes, behaviors that are not inherently sexual can be deemed “slutty” due to the rigid and sex-negative ways some people think about sex (i.e. what clothes you wear).

 

The word slut is one that, for many, comes with a lot of baggage. In many cases, the word is used pejoratively to shame (usually) women and girls for expressing themselves sexually or for being sexually liberated, in whatever way that means for them. Many societies and cultures at large tend to brand sexually expressive women as sluts, but do not have the same shame-based attitudes towards men who express themselves sexually. This is a common double standard that exists amongst genders, where typically men are admired and respected for their sexual activity and women are shamed and dehumanized for being sexual.

 

Slut shaming impacts people of all ages. For instance, there is a growing prevalence of slut shaming happening in high school environments. Many have likely heard or experienced first-hand the way that high school age girls are slut shamed by being made to uphold strict dress codes and blamed for distracting boys around them by wearing certain clothes (i.e. form fitting, spaghetti straps, shorts/skirt length).

 

Another example of slut shaming often occurs in conversations about casual sex. Society tends to not think too much about men having multiple sexual partners, however, women are usually much more likely to be shamed for “sleeping around” and accused of having a high “body count.” People of any gender should feel free to have as much or as little sex as they want with as many or as few partners for their individual sex life.

 

A final, more culturally relevant example can be seen in the way that many people talk about Kim Kardashian. Since Kim’s rise to fame, you can barely have a conversation with anyone without someone mentioning that she is only famous due to a sex tape she was featured in that was leaked to the public. Opinions of Kim are often dripping with slut shaming and accusations that she uses her sexy image to make money. While everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, it can be a helpful exercise in self-reflection to ask yourself why Kim capitalizing off her sexuality triggers a strong, judgmental reaction. What is problematic about the way she or any woman capitalizes (socially or financially) from their sexuality and what feelings, fears, and beliefs does this bringing up for you?

 

How We Tend to Slut Shame Ourselves

 

Many people have been slut shamed by others whether it’s from a romantic partner, a parent, friends, people on the street, or strangers on social media. The insidious part of slut shaming is that it has the ability to mentally internalize and become a belief that you have about yourself.

 

A poignant example of this is the way people often talk about sexual assault. Slut shaming is prevalent oftentimes in these conversations when people make statements such as, “she shouldn’t have been walking alone at that time,” or “Why was she wearing that? She was asking for it.” It’s sadly not uncommon for survivors of sexual assault to be victim blamed and made to feel they played some part in the violation that was inflicted upon them. If you hear sex shaming comments leveraged at survivors and you, yourself, have been sexually assault, you might see how that can become a way you learn to view what happened to you and place unnecessary blame on yourself.

 

Additionally, due to external slut shaming, it might lead to a disconnected or compartmentalized relationship with sex due to the negative ways you might be viewing yourself as a sexual being. This can be harmful because if people start shaming themselves for liking or wanting sex in whatever context that means for them, they likely will start to repress and deny themselves the authentic relationship they would like to have with sexuality.

 

How We Dismantle Slut Shaming

 

First and foremost, sluttiness is not real. It’s a societal construct rooted in misogyny and its sole utility is to police women’s sexuality. There are people who believe that women should be sexually pure or at the very least, hide the part of themselves that are deemed sexual. These people often are the one’s that push back on concepts like women’s sexual empowerment and reproductive rights and oftentimes it’s because they have not started doing the work around breaking down schemas they have about sex.

 

The work must begin somewhere so if you are at the very beginning of unpacking patriarchy and misogyny, that’s okay! It can be challenging internal work to do as you’re likely untangling a lot of negative messaging from childhood from your authentic beliefs. As you start to do this work, you will still have previously ingrained thoughts surface; this doesn’t mean you’re regressing, just that these beliefs are deep rooted and take time, patience, and self-compassion to dig out of the places they’ve been buried.

 

We also dismantle slut shaming and sex-negativity by holding people around us accountable when they say something that is sexually shaming. This can be incredibly uncomfortable at times, especially if you are someone who prefers to avoid confrontation. While you can’t force people to change their minds, you have the ability to offer a different perspective that could get someone thinking about why they think the way they do.

 

Dismantling slut shaming and misogyny is not a one-person job. It’s a collective effort to create a world in which people can be their authentic selves, in every aspect of their identity. Sex is a part of who we are and people should not be made to feel they need to hide or cut off that part of themselves to make others more comfortable.

 

 

Raquel Savage is a Black, queer, therapist, educator, and sex worker. She facilitates trauma therapy through Zepp Wellness Center, a non-profit organization she founded in 2019 that centers on the mental health needs of Black queer folk and sex workers.

She does the majority of her education online via Savage University (where she has an archive of educational videos, #ThoughtProvokingThirstTraps, live streams, and more) and through Kink Media Group, a production company she started in 2020, where she posts her #SexxxEd series, a hands-on, informative and real-life version of sex ed that fills the gaps for adults who missed out on early, ethical and affirming examples of sex education.

Through Kink Media Group, Savage also executive produces different projects for QTPOC and sex workers, including CVNT Productions, a porn production company that shoots exclusively Black, queer & trans, fat, and disabled performers.

Savage is also building out the Equitable Care Certification, a certification for therapists around clinical competency for working with sex workers, and frequently leads workshops and lectures about mental health and sex work for undergrad, graduate, Ph.D. students, and organizations. Savage is also working on a workbook for Black women around healing trauma. She’s been a sex worker for a decade, including 6 years of full-service work, and, currently creates adult content online.

Dr. Kate and Raquel talk about the social implications of slut shaming and external and internal blaming. They talk about how to stop slut shaming yourself and the right to safety and well-being for every person.

Social Media:

IG: RaquelSavage

Twitter: Raquel_Savage

Website: raquelsavage.com

Website: www.modernintimacy.com

Dr. Kate Balestrieri 

Modern Intimacy

This is the cover for the Modern Intimacy with Dr. Kate Balestrieri podcast.
Dr. Kate Balestrieri, host of Modern Intimacy, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, helps people live more fulfilled lives by shattering stigma and erasing shame. Dr. Kate invites you to join her as she investigates the relationship between sex, mental health, relationships and modern society.

SUBSCRIBE

Contact Modern Intimacy For Podcast Topics and Ideas

Have a question, idea, story or guest request for a podcast episode? Tell us about it here!

Submitting a question, idea or story is not a substitute for therapy, and does not constitute a therapeutic or professional relationship with Dr. Balestrieri or any of the clinicians at Modern Intimacy.

This submission is not confidential, as a member of the Modern Intimacy production team may read your submission, before it gets to Dr. Kate. Let us know if you’d like us to disguise your name on air.  

7 + 13 =