I am so late to this. In May, a study was released by Cornell asserting that women, even promiscuous women, don’t like being friends with other promiscuous women. Upon first read, it’s so easy to scoff at these hypocrites and feel so superior because, thank Beysus, I’m so much more enlightened than that. But really, we’ve all got contradictory tendencies, and there are actual reasons why sluts may decide to engage in slut shaming.
The obvious reason is because the shaming of sluts is so deeply entrenched in our culture. Pretty much every woman receives the message that having “too much” sex is wrong, disgusting, immoral, and/or totally unladylike. Our sexuality isn’t really celebrated, encouraged or normalized, unlike men’s sexuality. That message of women being promiscuous = vile is coded into popular media and religion, and can be distributed via friends, family and teachers (raise your hand if your “sex ed” consisted of an STD slideshow!). Obviously, slut shaming doesn’t completely wreak havoc on our libidos, otherwise college hookup culture wouldn’t even be a thing, but there’s still an arbitrary line of what’s appropriate and what isn’t at play. I’ve witnessed a lot of ladies execute so many mental gymnastics trying to reduce their “number” in order to make themselves feel better about their choices. So even somewhat sexually liberated women can’t totally disentangle from oppressive sexual norms.
Also, it’s a lot easier for people to rationalize their own behavior than it is to rationalize someone else’s. We can make all kinds of excuses for ourselves because we’re super cognizant of our flawed existences. We don’t always give other people the same courtesy. It’s easy to dehumanize someone and write them off as not having values or being gross or whatever. It’s easy to completely neglect to acknowledge the fact that they are navigating the same bumpy landscape known as life that we are. Maybe that “slut” finds it genuinely exciting to experiment with tons of different partners. Maybe when she gets drunk, she gets horny, and she’s comfortable enough to find someone to scratch that itch for her. Maybe she was a late bloomer and she’s relishing feeling sexually viable. It’s a lot harder to write someone off as a “slut”, with all the negative connotations that entails when you actually think about someone’s motives. “Slut” indicates a one-dimensional caricature of a complex human being.
A less sympathetic reason women may hate other super-experienced women is pure jealousy. This is so lame and I hate to even bring it up because I don’t want to feed into that whole “bitches be crazy and jealous” trope, but I mean, jealousy is pretty natural. If being sexually attractive is kind of life-affirming for you, it’s normal to feel superior to in some sense, and if you’re someone who prides yourself on being desirable, it can be way too humbling to be friends with someone who gets even more play than you. It may not be the most mature, but it’s totally human.
I wish that we could just stop judging and valuing people based on the amount of sex they are or aren’t having. You can’t discern whether or not someone is smart, funny, interesting, rude, selfish, or whatever just based on their sexual activity. It’s really depressing how deeply entrenched slut shaming is, to the point where we’re even eschewing potentially great friends because of it.