Say no to slut-shaming

November 8, 2012, 11:19 am Nikki Goldstein Yahoo!7

Women should be supportive of each other, writes sexologist Nikki Goldstein, who wants to put an end to slut-shaming.

Say no to slut-shaming
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Women in London take back the word 'slut' at the 2012 Slutwalk protest


Read more from Dr Nikki Goldstein's blog

Sabotage, it’s the one thing women do the best. We do it to ourselves; we do it to our friends and to women we don’t really know. I am very familiar with the term self-sabotage but consider myself lucky that my friends and even other women in Sydney don’t seem to attack or stab me in the back. (Well maybe they do but I’m not aware of it). I had been in LA less than 24 hours and already I experienced what sabotage is all about and instead of getting angry I was sad. It was simply a case of jealousy, but it is one thing to be jealous and it is another to go out of your way to attempt to sabotage someone else. At least the malicious comments made were not taken on board, but it did get me thinking about women and how we treat each other.

Isn’t life hard enough? As women who are trying to make it in this world aren’t there already enough challenges? We are still fighting in the work place for equal pay, fighting to have a family and a career and have our sexuality accepted and celebrated instead of shamed. So why then do we still call each other names like slut? Even worse, why do we talk behind another person's back in the hope to get in their way or bring them down. I’m sure there are enough men out there that who use that term about women, shouldn’t we be standing up for each other instead of jumping on that bandwagon too?

I was called a slut and I hate that term. I have a healthy sexual appetite and I don’t even like joining the notion of taking the world slut as a positive because it was not meant in that way when that word was said about me. I get called a slut sometimes because of my job and people think as a sexologist that's what I am. That doesn’t hurt me, I see it rather as ignorance and a lack of knowledge about my profession. For those out there who hold this belief, please know that I take my job seriously and enjoy that I can help people with my advice, opinions and comments (and without touching them).

But there are times when discussing in a group of friends and acquaintances my personal sex life, my thoughts, views and opinions on sex, when being called a slut hurts. I don’t regret any sexual decision I have made in my life and all sexual encounters I have engaged in have been consensual, but why does that word then still get to me?

We have been brought up with the beliefs seeping in whether from family or wider society that a girl who sleeps with multiple men (multiple men being more than one sometimes) is considered a slut; ruined, and immoral, and shame and guilt are attached to her. It is however a way to control women and their sexuality. When you think about it, is a woman who is being safe and is consensual with her sexual encounters ever really a 'slut'? Is there any harm or negative consequences to her sleeping with more than one man? Is she really ruined or is she a confident women exploring her natural sexual urges that occur through her body and her mind? This is one of the beliefs in society that I hope to help change. Negative slut shaming is just not on in my books! Maybe being called a slut did tap into a slight insecurity that has been leftover from my past and what I was told as a younger girl, but in no way will I let this control me nor feel guilty for my actions and opinions. I will not feel ashamed for my sexual past and the people I have been with and nor should you.

What I ask of all women out there is to think before you sabotage, call someone a name or shame another woman for being strong enough to be open with who she is. Words can be so powerful. I am lucky that I am strong enough to very quickly recover from something like this but not everyone is the same and it affect me enough to write this article. Life is hard sometimes and being women is hard enough, so let's give each other a break and the best chance at success we can. I’m not sure if there is a word for women that is equal to the “bro code” or “bro-mance” but maybe it’s about time we found one.

Last week: It's not always easy being a sexologist

Visit www.drnikkig.com.au or Dr Nikki Goldstein's Facebook page for more expert relationship advice and sex tips.

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