“I am not my casualness”

My body started developing when I was nine, and I hated it. Men started looking at me differently, boys at school started making comments, and I began to learn what it means to be a woman in today’s world. I started to cover myself, afraid of the physical changes that I was going through. This persisted for about six years, and it was sometime during high school when I began to embrace myself.

I learned to love my body and started dressing differently, in a way that accentuated rather than hid my curves. As I became more confident with my body, I also started becoming more comfortable with my sexuality. Although I began to feel better about myself, the people in my small community reacted negatively to this change.

People started talking about me; calling me a “slut,” saying that I was “easy.” Boys at school transitioned quickly from indifferent to disrespectful, asking me for nude pictures or asking to “hook up” when some of them had never even spoken to me in their life. When I declined these requests, they would act surprised and say that i was a “slut” anyways, so why other boys but not them? As if I was some animal, sleeping with every breathing thing in my path. I would often complain about these unwanted advances, and people would often react by saying that I was “asking for it” and didn’t have a right to complain because of the way that I dress.

When I finally graduated high school, I thought that this would all go away, because people in college are more accepting and don’t care, right? Wrong. Now it’s a matter of respect. I “don’t respect myself” because I enjoy casual, consensual sex. I “don’t respect myself” because I sleep with people that “don’t care about me.” Well, who says I “care” about them? There is nothing wrong with a purely physical encounter, as long as it is consensual and pleasurable for both parties.

I am not a “slut” for enjoying sex. I am not “easy” because I have had multiple partners. And I certainly don’t lack respect for myself because of my sexual encounters. I am me, and my sex life doesn’t define me.