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Columbia Spectator Staff

A few weeks ago I arrived home to find one of my roommates involved in an orgy. I merely glanced at the placement and positions of the gyrating flesh in the room and knew exactly what was going on.

I could have been angry that she brought home a gaggle of strangers and drank with them until inhibitions took to holiday, leaving participants to get naked and begin fondling each other's naughty bits (insert negative connotation here). I could have been livid that I came home to see intoxicated boys and girls frothing and bubbling with sexual animation in MY apartment.

But no-I wasn't. I couldn't be. She explained that her guests were not strangers and that she had kept most of the "heavy" activities restricted to her bedroom. Her guests had obeyed all the household rules. How could I chastise her for several honest rolls in the hay if she had not done any wrong regarding our rooming agreement?

Before I consciously agreed to try a monogamous relationship, I used to joke with my roommates that we would be doing our apartment justice by installing a sexual turnstile at our front door. For several years my roommates and I enjoyed an epicurean lifestyle, with our apartment often acting as the sexual stage for an interesting cast of rotating characters. We enjoyed expressing ourselves psychosexually and weren't afraid to confront it. We identified as sluts.

Yeah, I know. Who wants to be called a "slut" these days? Pshawww. But to me, a slut is someone, ANYONE, who has the strength to live according to the idea that sex is a healthy and necessary part of life and that pleasure is good for you. Sluts believe that any sexual experience, when consciously chosen and sensibly followed, can be a positive influence on individuals and their communities.

Of course (as I have stated before), cultural attitudes toward human sexuality have tainted the representation and acceptance of the slut, often using scripture, sin, and "moral wrongness" as poison. Today, sluts often are viewed as sexual deviants, addicted to sex, and assumed to be lacking some sort of psychosocial need. Today's slut faces a whirlwind of pathologizing setbacks, struggling to find support in a society that is critical even of normative sexualities. Nonetheless, echoing the words of Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt (The Ethical Slut) I would like to give voice, academic support, and credibility to this being who is rapidly nearing extinction. Here are some common myths and stereotypes:

#1-Long-term Monogamous Relationships Are the Only SOLID and HEALTHY Relationships: Monogamy as an idea is a relatively new concept in human history and makes us distinctive among primates. There is nothing that can be achieved through monogamy that cannot be achieved without (e.g., relationships, romantic attachment, parenting, etc.). History has shown that the "twosome" isn't always the healthiest ideal and a ring around the finger does not cause a nerve block to the genitalia.

#2-Sexual Desire Is a Destructive Force: This is a no-brainer. Remember the Garden of Eden? Men are hopelessly sexually promiscuous and women bear the burden of controlling them by being pure, un-alluring, and asexual. The sexually savvy and active woman destroys family which, in turn, destroys civilization. However, I wager to bet that many more families have been torn apart due to adultery-related divorces than have been affected by consensual non-monogamy.

#3-Loving Someone Makes It OKAY to Control His/Her "Hoo-Hoo Dilly" or "Cha-Cha": Territorial nonsense like this (and no, I'm not speaking of the ridiculously sex-negative euphemisms) probably has its roots in making someone feel secure, but I believe that NO ONE has the right or obligation to control others' sexual behavior. There's nothing cute about being jealous, and I find it infuriating that our culture condones psychotic and immature behavior related to sexual jealousy. What sorts of messages are we conveying about relationships? If sexual experiences are the ONLY thing that you don't share with others outside of your relationship, does that mean that the relationship is based and built upon sex? Jealousy is a natural and valid emotion, but we should learn to control it and channel it in a healthy way.

#4-Everyone Should Be "Swept Away by Love": Our culture tells us that if you're really in love with someone, you never argue, disagree, negotiate, or do any other kind of work. In other words, love should come easily and naturally. Unfortunately, many who believe this myth may find themselves feeling that their love has failed them every time they get into a fight, need to have a discussion, or fail to achieve sexual climax during intercourse. They may also view non-normative sex (toys, fantasies, and even sex outside of the relationship) as an indication of a lacking quality of love. This just isn't true.

And so I offer this: if you're hoping to share your sexual self a bit more this year, let this be a start and a source of support. Seldom can we find true sexual happiness within ourselves. By sharing our sexual experiences with others, only then can we begin to understand what pleasure physically and emotionally assertive sexuality provides.

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