Slut vs. Prude -- Is There Any Middle Ground?

I haven't been a slut my entire life.

In fact, my high school years very pretty tame when I stuck with a specific set of "morals" (i.e. no sex unless we were in love and loved each other) - it's more recently that I've opened my mind a bit and, inherently, my legs.

Last summer, I took a stab at my first experience at casual sex. And it was incredibly hot. Since then, there have been a significant number of partners and it took a while, but eventually I was OK with racking up the numbers between the sheets.

But from time to time, I stop and look to see that stigma trailing me - Is this liberating, really? Or have I turned into someone that's easy? It makes me second-guess my actions.

I mean, I have never needed to have sex and I've certainly never done the deed to gain power or to get someone to like me - I just liked experimenting and trying new things and giving and receiving pleasure.

I just find it funny that there seems to be no middle-ground, unless I'm mistaken, between being a slut and a prude. Case in point - I dated this guy for a short while who was all gung-ho about me being sexually open-minded, but when (gasp!) crotch acne surfaced, all of a sudden I found all sorts of finger-pointing directed at me. "You gave me an STD!"

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

In a different situation, other former partners would approach me when their present girlfriends weren't enough, and ask to have a quick fling. "I really love her, but I want to be inside you for 15 mins." I honesty don't get it - since when does being GGG (good, giving, game) mean a loss of respect? And I know it's a dated question, but role-reversal. Guys would ultimately be considered studs if this were the case.

It makes me wonder if there is any way for a woman to feel like it's 100 per cent OK to be sexually-free with little consequences -- as an equal, at least (STDs and emotional baggage are different issues).

During the Feminist Porn Awards at the Gladstone last Friday, I spoke with Simone Valentino, an up-and-comer porn star, who tells me that she often has to deal with preconceived notions from others about her job.

"It's so hard for a woman get that happy medium especially when it comes to actual relationships or marriages," she says. "They start off as a slut and then their significant others expect them to be a prude of that. I don't think it exists yet, but hopefully women can own up to both categories."

So among the sea of liberated porn directors and stars, perhaps I was searching for an answer, some sort of hope that one can have sex freely as a woman and still be treated equally. But I didn't find it there -- in fact, many of the pornographers couldn't even define "feminist" porn. One director said that it was all about things she was into. I took that as as a cue that maybe women should like what they like and not have to worry about whether or not they're doing the "right thing."

Don't get me wrong, this doesn't stop me from living my life the way I choose. It's just interesting and somewhat alarming that even the coolest guys can still wind up being, pardon the expression, douchebags when it comes to issues around sluttiness. Even some of my girlfriends, I can tell, they look at me like I'm Samantha Jones from Sex and City. Even though I haven't blown the Fed-Ex guy (and don't intend to,) but good for the women who are into that.

Thoughts from any ladies in a similar frameset out there?

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