April 23, 2008
What Makes A “Promiscuous” Girl?

Jezebel’s profile of Kerry Cohen — author of not one, but two, “I was a slut”-themed memoirs — asks an interesting question that has got us thinking: how many lays must a lady have under her belt before she’s officially a tramp?

Is it a matter of total fucks over a lifetime, or should a woman’s age be factored in? For example: if you’ve banged thirty bros (or girls), are you automatically a ho for life? Or is thirty at thirty a different story than thirty at eighteen? Where does oral sex factor in?

We tend to subscribe to the theory that a slut is someone who’s having more sex than you are (thanks, Kinsey!) — but that definition kinda makes it hard for someone to be a self-defined slut.

Maybe promiscuity is just a state of mind?

[Photo by ME]

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  • Rex says :


  • Lux Alptraum says :

    Are you saying a girl’s a ho if she’s slept with one person, or are you celebrating your status as first commenter on this post?

  • Isil says :

    I think it should promptly be based on boink mileage.

    Equation would be a secuencial addition of:

    -Size of pennis and/or objects inserted.

    multiplied by the total number of thrusts/inserctions

    elevated to the total number of orgasms that lady had

    divided by (age – 13)

    Here goes a link to the partial developed thingie.

    Some experts believe there should be different modifiers on the thrusts.cocksize based on anal, deep throating, dildoed, drugs involved etc etc. but lets just keep it simple for now

    Once youve got your boinkmileage calculated it should be fairly obvious whos a slut and whos not.

  • Rachel Kramer Bussel says :

    I commented on Jezebel too – I feel like there can never be an absolute. It’s something we all have to define for ourselves. Like someone’s “high number” might be someone else’s low number. I think the point with Kerry Cohen is that she was doing self-destructive things she didn’t ultimately want to be doing. And I don’t think she calls herself a slut, though maybe “promiscuous” and “slut” boil down to the same thing in our society.

    I think it has to be about the state of mind you’re in, whether it’s sex you want to be having or sex you have for some reason that maybe later makes you feel like shit (okay, who hasn’t been there the next day thinking, “wtf did I do last night?”)

    And her first book, Easy, is actually a YA novel but largely based on her life. They cover similar territory but they are not both memoirs.

  • Lux Alptraum says :


    Thanks for the correction!

    Personally, I think it’s all relative. If you’ve been raised in a sexually conservative environment where there’s pressure to wait until marriage and only have sex with one person throughout your entire life, sleeping with five people might seem like the height of promiscuity — and if it makes you feel that way, for all intents and purposes, it is, regardless of whether or not I think that five partners is a high number.

  • The Girl says :

    I’ve read Kerry’s book Loose Girl – and hated it. I volunteer this only because I fear this dreadfully emotionally damaged woman (something she admits to in the book) gives us REAL SLUTS* a bad name. Cause, like, there’s nothing wrong with fucking; there’s certainly nothing wrong with liking fucking; and, fuck me, there is nothing fucking wrong with liking fucking a number of people. And books like this – with the basic premise that if you’re a woman who likes fucking, there must be something wrong with you – add fuel to the fire that negatively labels all sexually active and/or promiscuous women as sluts.*

    *Oh, the irony. I hereby assert my right to reclaim this term in a sex postive way.

  • Isil says :

    The girl,

    Sometimes liking fucking with many people is just that, sometimes liking fucking with many people is extremely associated with deep psy/emotional issues.

    Generalization hurts both ways. It labels those who like fucking and are “sane” as slutty/wrong, and on the opposite side it prevents troublies from realizing there might be something else hidden beneath the bukkake.

  • The Girl says :

    @Isil, I’m not suggesting that some people who have casual sex don’t have deeper emotional issues, because the likelihood is that some will. Just as probable though, is the likelihood that that bloke in the supermarket has deeper emotional issues; or the young woman on the bike in the park; or the elderly professor at a school. What I’m saying is that to conflate casual sex with emotional damage is to give weight to something that does not necessarily reflect any causality; that this book does this is what I take issue with, and I think it’s irresponsible for those of us who are sex-positive not to highlight this.

  • Rachel Kramer Bussel says :

    I guess I can see where you (The Girl) and others get that reading from Loose Girl, but I still don’t see it as condemning all casual sex or all girls who have casual sex as sluts. I think it’s possible to regret one’s own forays into casual sex while still respecting people who are proud sluts. At least, I hope so, and I think for her there was a connection between the emotional issues she went through with her family and her promiscuity which in and of itself wouldn’t be an issue except that for her, it was impeding her goals in life. If it hadn’t been, I don’t think she’d have written the book.

    Yes, she is coming from the perspective of someone who feels happiest in a relationship, but I don’t see her as projecting that onto every woman.

  • figleaf says :

    Hey Lux,

    I thought Moe’s point was well taken that “Well, Jesus Christ. Fortysomething. Memory repress a few off that list and you’ve got something approaching 37, which would be your age, Kerry”

    An average of one new partner a year just doesn’t seem like a very compelling metric for slut-hood. It *does* however, nicely match *my* definition of “slut” which is entirely situational: a slut agrees to sex when he or she doesn’t really want to, that he or she doesn’t enjoy, that he or she doesn’t feel in control of. (I’m not talking about assault or date rape, I mean more like inner or external peer pressure.) Anyway, for that reason you could be a slut if you didn’t feel ready for your first partner on your wedding night(!) or if on a porn set you go ahead with partner 150 when you were done and wanted to stop at 149.

    By that criteria, by the way, and by the way she discusses her sexual history I don’t think Kerry Cohen is a slut *at all!* Instead I think she’s a prude, where I define prude as the opposite of a slut: someone who — under pressure — has *less* sex than they otherwise wish they might. Again it could be from peer pressure, upbringing, or concern for being branded a “slut.” Once again this is situational so it could be anyone from someone who’s drunk the abstinence-only kool-aid to a sex-club anchor who’s just uncomfortable admitting he’d like to spend time with men.

    So anyway, in my book that’s sluts and prudes. Do I have a word for everyone else? The people who don’t feel particularly conflicted about their sex and/or love lives? That would be (gasp!) “normal.” Also “healthy.” And, sort of by definition, “happy.”

    Anyway, I totally acknowledge that my naming scheme bugs some people but I really think that works better than trying to cook up arbitrary “numbers” that work for everyone. And also because, rhetorically anyway, I think it’s a lot more powerful for someone to be able to say “I’ve got a perfectly normal sex life.” Even though in a generally sex-negative environment bragging that one is a slut has a bit of edgy/defiant appeal.


  • Desiree says :

    I think that the number of partners is irrelevant. I always thought of a slut as a woman who was unsure of her motivations for sex or a woman who used sex to work through insecurity or self esteem issues. As opposed to a whore who owns her sexuality and isn’t the slightest bit fuzzy about what she wants.

    That said, I think all women go through a “slut phase” at some point in their lives.

  • nandyol says :

    I don’t think slut is a word we should use in any civilized discussion. Saying slut or making up the definition of slut is humiliating, it’s like making up a definition for who is an asshole or who isn’t.

    Is it really so that some of you think of a woman who is insecure about her sexuality or has self esteem or control issues as a slut? As someone who deserves to be mentioned with a cursing word?

    I think you should have antoher think.

  • Welcome To Slutsville. Po&hellip says :

    […] 1 — stolenpony @ 8:58 am Tags: boinkology, dating, nipple orgasm, promiscuity, sex, slut This is an interesting discussion on what makes a woman a slut. According to some, apparently, I could be labeled easily the S word. […]

  • Lux Alptraum says :

    Nandyol: You and I have very different feelings about the word slut. I don’t consider it to be an insult, particularly — and I do think it’s interesting to discuss how our sexual behavior is perceived by others (especially in the case of women, who do tend to get judged a lot more harshly for it).

  • brookebomber says :

    i have (at soon-to-be 23) never gone through a slut phase (in my opinion). what i have done, however is thoroughly enjoyed fucking a lot in most of the relationships that i’ve ever had (my number is still in the single digits). i’ve probably done more fucking, on average, than most sluts, but i don’t feel like a slut. i do, however, consider myself extremely sexual.. i wouldn’t think anything of being referred to as a slut. i think it’s all in how you view yourself. if you think being a slut is a good thing, and sleeping around with whoever is awesome, then of course you aren’t going to be offended with the title. really it isn’t about the word slut, and how degrading, or empowering it can be… it’s about how much you value yourself. if people lived day to day caring less about how other people view them, then there would be no reason to even be concerned in how to calculate ones degree of slutty-ness.

    personally, i only use the term “slut” to describe someone who i believe is doing something in hopes that it will impress someone/some people. a girl (or guy) who fucks because they want someone to fall in love with them after one passionate evening. like a girl who sleeps with every dude in a band in one night.. that would equal slut to me. not fucking someone when you don’t feel like it.. that’s called being married.

  • baserinstincts » Li&hellip says :

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  • Felix says :

    “Maybe promiscuity is just a state of mind”

    Yeah, totally.
    Since slut is a derogatory term, we shouldn’t just apply it to anyone who’s having a lot of sex – that makes sex a bad thing.

    I think a good definition is someone who doesn’t care about the negative sides of having sex, especially the social ones. Most of us know that there are times and places where running off for sex might not be cool with your friends; at a wedding, or a backpacking holiday for instance. Sluts don’t.

  • Old Grandad says :

    The number of fuckings/time is not relevant to the slut factor, as it can be the result of legitimate relationships. The number of partners/time most certainly is. The slut factor has more to do with the degree of “relationship” a woman requires before fucking him. It implies a lack of the sexual standards that is considered normal in a given population. At the base of it, guy or girl, slutting basically means that your sexual life is pretty much the same as that of an animal – you look, you smell, you like, you fuck, you move on to the next one. For those who feel that there is no real difference between humans and animals, “slut” is a meaningless term. For the rest of us, that’s pretty much what it comes down to.

  • What makes a “promi&hellip says :

    […] lays must a lady have under her belt before she’s officially a tramp?” An answer at Boinkology Topics: Fundamentals, Prostitutes | Leave a Comment […]

  • Slutdom says :

    As a guy, my definition of a slut is ever changing, but I definitely try to have slut radar (in college, that was to exploit it, post-college, to avoid them). If a girl I am dating or looking to date says she’s been with 30 people and she’s 20-26, that is a lot to go hmmm to. You sort of get bombarded with images, questions, and most of all, you doubt whether that person can be monogamous in a serious relationship even if she says she can. Moreover, any separations, traveling, rumors, et al is going to cause pause later on. It’s best just to avoid getting serious with such a gal, unless you feel a certain amount of genuine trust early on.

    One thing that hasn’t been brought up is the drunken sex/one night stand ratio with past partners. Everyone has drunken casual sex, but the girl who does a line, boozes it up and screws guys consistently is a prototypical slut and not a catch by any means. Yes, in Brooklyn too. 😉 Also, with threesomes, I’d say once is borderline okay, but having 2-10 threesomes while you’re 20-25 is effing gross to me. Not sure about anyone else. And it’s best just to not say a word about it to your partner early on.

    A girl who dates a guy for over four months and then randomly fucks another guy behind is back is bordering on slutdom. Dump a guy before you cheat if you got the urge. If this has happened in every serious relationship she’s had, she’s a Queen Slut and irredeemable. And unfortunately, I def agree that girls who get used and abused sexually over and over are usually sluts. Terrible relationship material, which is prob a key characteristic of the modern day slut.

    Other slutdom trends: Playboy logos on person, tramp stamps, puts condom in purse every time she goes out, sex in restroom more than once a year, hooking up with guy’s friends behind his back, blowjobs for coke, forgets to take pink furry handcuffs off bed when you come over, her roommates give you quizzical smile that says “you know she’s a slut, right?” and if she prominently displays a Sex in the City boxset in her apartment, not only is she prolly a slut, but also, blech.

  • JX says :

    Enjoying sex is fine, enjoying sex with multiple people is fine. I think where slutdom comes into play is the situations in which you have it.

    If you go out somewhere with a friend, and do it in a bathroom or closet somewhere or other random place thats fine a bit of excitement never hurts. If a girl goes to a bar and finds a random guy and has sex without 20-30 minutes of conversation and/or activity like dancing or something before you so the deed is sluttish. Now I’m not saying one night stands are bad or that you need a ltr, but you should both know by experience that you have more than a 20 word vocabulary, and if not intoxicated remember the persons name in the morning.

    Certainly this can be abused however. If you do this more than 5 times in a month you are a slut, variety is fine, but unless vacationing why just random unknown people? If you like it that much you need to find a really active guy who likes it a lot too and meet up for a few hours every night or find 2-3 guys you can swap out.

    As SLUTDOM above me mentions threesomes are a tricky manner, I’m not as condemning though. If you took the solution from my previous paragraph I see no reason you can’t get 2 of them together and just explain that you want to have them both over one night (you probably want to host or suggest splitting for a hotel, asking to bring one to the others house might be too much, as sleeping in a bed nightly after knowing another guy has done it there is a little creepy). Also finding a couple guys who are friends at a bar or party I could excuse maybe 1 time a year, but either doing that often, or somehow convincing two random people to is a bit too much. Meet with a few men, get to know them and work something out. A FWB I had almost a year ago was amazing, we tried everything, she had a roommate that would join us, mainly for some foreplay before stepping out but a couple times stayed the whole time. We also did it with a guy she knew a couple times, it was awkward and uncoordinated but exciting all the same and I thought no less of her for wanting it.

    Here are a couple taboos that I point to being slutty. If you have been in a real relationship for a little while do not sleep with anyone but him unless he explicitly says it is fine. If he doesn’t give it enough tell him you want more. If he just can’t, ask about fulfilling your needs. One way would be to suggest having another female join you a night. Afterwards suggest bringing a guy, if he doesn’t like it just bring up you let another woman in your bed and say you’d do him on the side. Another thing is if you have steady sex with a guy and you meet his friends don’t start lining up his friends behind his back. Your partners becoming friends through you is good but picking a guy from a group and going down the line without any telling them is creepy.

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