3 min

The year of no

Regret is the archenemy of the contented slut

As any successful slut will tell you, being happily promiscuous isn’t all fun and games. Oh sure, there’s the freedom to sample a variety of pleasures from an assortment of people. There’s the thrill of making new connections, of getting to know new people in the biblical sense. But sometimes it really does seem like a lot of work.

I admit I’ve been a little disillusioned lately. I got dumped rather unceremoniously this winter after more than a year of what I’d thought had been a solid, loving relationship — a relationship outside of the one I have with my primary partner. After all the effort and soul-searching that had gone into making things work it was alarming how quickly it all fell apart.

But it’s not just me. A friend of mine and a rather prolific and well-respected slut broke things off after it became clear that, although they were quite compatible, said slut was somewhat overextended; she wasn’t really present for their dates together. Another friend confided that he’d gone monogamous after realizing that his highly managed multiple relationships were, for him, a way of preventing any one of them from becoming too intimate.

Think these sorts of things only happen to polyamorous people, those of us who mix pleasure and love in a pluralistic sense? Think again. Even the most carefree bathhouse-going bachelor has to know how to ask for the things he wants and sidestep the things he doesn’t in order to be true to his own desires.

On page 21 contributor Shaun Proulx looks at how to give and accept sexual rejection gracefully, important skills for any slut. What strikes me as interesting about the piece is that, for the men interviewed, it’s simply a question of how to say no and not whether or not to say no; they seem so confident in knowing what they want and what they don’t want.

I admit that personal boundaries are where I fall down in my slut skills. Like way too many women, I have a bad habit of putting other people’s desires ahead of my own. It’s all too easy for me to identify a need in someone and try to satisfy it. Not to get too self-analytical, but it’s always seemed easier to make other people happy than to make myself happy, sexually or otherwise. It’s the kind of thing that can get a person into a lot of trouble, and not just because it’s all too easy for people to take advantage.

Needless to say, fuzzy personal boundaries can seriously undermine the value of consent. That is to say if you’re not certain of what you want and you go along with something anyway because it’s what someone else wants from you, you very well may live to regret it and regret is the archenemy of the satisfied slut.

Not that I’m suggesting you start second-guessing your lovers’ ability to agree to sex; that’s their (or, in this case, my) issue to work out. But what’s interesting is the relatively few situations in which we as a society stop to question a person’s ability to consent to sexual activity: when a person is under the influence, when the person is under the age of consent and when the activities involved are kinky in nature, particularly when what’s being consented to could, under different circumstances, be termed physical or psychological abuse.

In the latter two cases, the reasoning seems to be that the individual in question either doesn’t understand what they’re getting into or doesn’t really know what they want. It would seem to me that, rather than trying to formulate laws to save us from ourselves, the solution would be to do a better job of instilling in kids a sense of control and ownership of their own bodies. Kids need to be taught that it’s okay to say no, even to adults. Case in point: I hate it when parents overrule their kids’ wishes not to be hugged, kissed and generally fawned over by relatives they don’t know.

Tonight is the first-ever Kinky Kitty, a Toronto Women’s Bathhouse event that is explicitly welcoming of pervy women and trans people. If you see me there please, go ahead and ask me for sex. I’ll do my best to decline.