A few weeks ago, it was revealed that a freshman at Duke had an unconventional side job: she's a porn star. I thought it was an interesting story when I first heard about it, but I honestly didn't think twice: to me, that doesn't seem like that big of a deal. Duke is an expensive school, so do what you've got to to get that first class education. Unfortunately, a lot of other people disagree, and decided to take to the internet to call this girl a slut and a whore.
This is indicative of a much bigger problem: as a society, we need to change the way we talk about sex. By censoring sexuality we're making kids think there's something inherently unnatural or dirty about sex. This breeds young adults who feel that it's within their rights to label a woman a slut for making personal choices in regard to her own sex life. Why should there be a negative connotation to a consenting adult who has sex with who they want to have sex with, for reasons all their own?
Porn might be an extreme example, but I think if you asked a group of young women if they've ever been called a slut or a whore or something to an equal effect, most would respond in the affirmative. I certainly have, and I hear men and women alike throw the phrase around constantly. I'm not sure what it is about sexual proclivities or frequency that people deem connected to a person's worth, but it happens all the time. Man or woman, two sexual partners or 20, we do not have the right to judge another person's value by the number of people they have sex with. Sex is natural, sex is fun, and whether you have it on the first date or wait for marriage? None of that has to do with your worth as a human being. Having sex does not somehow devalue you, and enjoying sex is a good thing.
I sincerely hope that if I have kids one day, the word "slut" isn't in their vocabulary. By calling women who make sexual decisions we wouldn't make bad names, we are taking away their personal agency and right to make their own decisions. I want young adults growing up to know that sex is normal, and a good thing as long as it's done safely. We shouldn't be embarrassed to talk about it. Masturbation is acceptable, sex toys are acceptable, watching porn is acceptable. What's not acceptable is shaming others for what they decide to do with their bodies.