On sluts, whores, and lesbians

Dear Coquette,

What is the difference between sluts and whores?

Sluts openly enjoy their sexuality. Whores put a price on their integrity.

Please note that a whore is not the same thing as a prostitute. A prostitute can certainly be a whore, but so can a politician or a CEO. Being a whore is not industry-specific.

Also please note that there is nothing inherently wrong with being a slut. The word itself is often used as a pejorative, but sluts like me are doing our best to re-appropriate the term.

I occasionally indulge in being objectified (i.e., at the gym or when out to drinks with friends), although deep down, I know that I value respect. What’s up with that?

I’m willing to bet that all you’re doing is enjoying some sexualized attention, and that isn’t the same thing as being objectified.

Objectification requires a certain level of dehumanization. Are you letting people treat you as merely an object of sexual pleasure? It’s the merely part that matters here, and unless after a few drinks with friends you start entering thong contests or flashing your boobs, the answer is probably not.

Even if you are engaging in a little “Girls Gone Wild” self-objectifying behavior, so what? It’s trashy as hell, but hey, do what you like. It doesn’t mean you forfeit your right to value respect.

I’m a lesbian, but I’m in the closet and make fun of gays in public. I know that’s spineless. OK … So the real problem is that I think my best friend is also a lesbian and I’m in love with her. Should I tell her that I’m lesbian and that I like her or just wait until I found out for sure?

Um, no. The real problem is that you’re in the closet and make fun of gays in public. Stop it.

Don’t do anything to, with, or about your best friend until both of you have come to terms with your own sexuality. A little experimenting is one thing, but if you’ve fallen in love with her, then there can’t be any confusion about either of your sexual orientations.

Falling in love with a friend is messy under the best of circumstances. Even if you both turn out to be lesbian, it doesn’t mean that your relationship can survive a transition from platonic to romantic.

Be careful and be sure, because if the two of you get romantic and then have a falling-out, the odds that your friendship will survive are quite low.


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