Calgary Stampede, 100 Years, and the Slut

 

To any of my readers out there who are do not know me personally I am a born and raised Calgarian.  For 10 days every July since 1912 this city has celebrated the Calgary Stampede Exhibition and Rodeo, and during this time our quiet city transforms into a cowgirl and cowboy party town.  Corporations often will throw Stampede events in lieu of Christmas parties as an opportunity to network, socialize and often most important is the opportunity to wear jeans and a cowboy hat to the workplace.  The city parties, and parties well for these 10 days and with the liquor flowing, and the good times to be had the slut has a perfect playground in which to showcase her true colours. 
 
As a small child I was dressed up in denim skirts with plaid shirts and a straw hat with a piercingly high pitched whistle.  I learned how to shout “yee haw” while being spun around in circles on the Monster ride at the midway.   I also learned how to walk for an entire day in the scorching sunshine, often reaching highs of the mid 30’s, in heeled cowboy boots or ropers.  When I became a teenager my view of this childhood playground evolved into embracing the time when dressing slutty became acceptable.  For many, the inner slut gets to play on Halloween, but in this fair city we have the stampede to play as well.  For example when I was 16 years old, my best friend and I saw absolutely nothing wrong with wearing tight jeans, and a bandanna wrapped around our boobs for tops.  Since that time I have worn miniskirts, booty shorts, halter jumpers, corset tops, see through white t’s and for this year I sported a pair of pink leather chaps with bikini bottoms underneath.  Why?  Because this fair city expects the inner slut to come out, and damn it is fun to be a proud one and prance in your western finest. 
 
When I say that the entire city parties I mean just that, but not without a few side effects.  Many couples have a no cheat rule with the exception of Stampede.  During this time the statistics of couples breaking up or divorcing are three times as high as at any other point during the year.  As well sexual health clinics are absolutely bogged down with additional testing and prescriptions being handed out.  Liquor, slutty dressed men and women certainly gets the libido flowing.  And yet the smell of mini doughnuts and bbq’d meat on a stick makes every fond memory of the years prior come flooding back.  The memory of two stepping with some amazingly talented firemen, the great live bands and nightly firework shows are a few of the PG memories. 
 
Stampede for many is a western festival with which to celebrate our slutiness, male and female alike.  A massive place where inebriation aids in blurring the lines of our inhibitions.  There is comfort in numbers and the stats play to the advantage of the slut, where you have 10 days with which to gain some confidence and approach an appealing partner unlike Halloween where you have only one night to accomplish that sometimes difficult feat.  Proudly I am a Calgarian who tries to safely show off my inner slut for a few days out of these 10 with some amazing company.  Thanks to all who make this the best city to live in, love or hate the Stampede it is a place of tight jeans and even shorter skirts and I would not have it any other way.

 

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Society Frowns on the Single Girl

I read an interesting chapter in the Ethical Slut the other day in regards to being single as a relationship status.  Interestingly it exposed the idea that for whatever reason society views singledom as a transitional state and not as an acceptable permanent status.  People who are single may or may not be in that position because of their own doing, but the bottom line is that our society treats this status as a place of limbo.  Especially when it comes to being a female.
Men again have a scapegoat, and that is the term bachelor.  If a male chooses to be a bachelor then society is OK with that, we even sometime revere this man who has chosen his bachelorhood.  There are exceptions of course whereby if a man is a lifetime bachelor due to circumstances rather than choice we will criticize or feel sorry for him, but if he embraced this term he may be deemed the most interesting man in the world. 
Now for the flip side, the bachelorette, who is not allowed to be a lifetime member of this club.  No, the term is only deemed acceptable during pre wedding celebrations where after a night of partying and celebrating the bachelorette title gets replaced with wife.  What term is reserved for females who choose a lifetime in the single category?  Well my dears, we have spinster, and the new fangled phrase which is cat lady.  I cannot put a positive spin on either of these, so I will not even try.  There is no big breasted, foxy lady meme with the term spinster attached.  Women are just not accepted if they want to embrace a single lifelong sluthood of sorts.  There is shame and scorn for these women, even from a historical stance Mary Queen of Scots was only held in her single esteem because she was celibate.  Had she been a royal slut I guarantee she would have been married off or even been assassinated. 
Woman are taught from a very young age the societal ideal of finding a partner to make us whole and balanced.  We are not given the tools with which to be solitary creatures.  Even the parents who teach their daughters to be strong and independent are at best subliminally told this is to attract a man of equal or better standing.  Creating a relationship with two strong and self-sufficient individuals is the new status to strive toward.  Very few little girls have much support when they say that they want to become a CEO or president of a mult-million dollar company and live happily in solitude.  There is always something or someone who encourages these strong willed little girls to really and truly want to share all this wealth and success with a partner.
When all is said and done though, I personally do not strive to be single forever.  It is not one of my life goals, especially considering that I do want to have children in the future.  I would like a partner, or perhaps a few partners to raise my children with.  The important part I feel is to break down the judgement towards people of both sexes who are enjoying themselves.  If they are happy and it works for the here and now great, and if that party wants to be single for the remainder of their lives that should be acceptable too.  I strongly believe that we are not designed to be solitary creatures, with that said there are billions of us and it would ridiculous to assume that every single human out there craved a lifelong partner.  I question the judgement that I incur from time to time for being single, and although I put a brave face and am quite optimistic there are moments and situations where it would be amazing if singlehood was a legitimate place to be for something more than a fleeting moment.

Saying No Can Be Difficult as a Woman

Woman are socialized to be the nice ones, the ever pleasing, never confrontational, rude or overly aggressive.  There are hundreds of cases where woman are brave enough to break that mould, I however am still stumbling and struggling with this one.  I feel guilty when I put a male in his place, and it goes even deeper than that.  Often it does not even occur to me as an option.  Where does this conditioned behaviour come from?  Why are woman not mentally trained as our male counterparts to voice our opinions and stand up for what we want or don’t want?
Here is the most recent story I have regarding this very thing.  I have been chatting to this one guy off and on for about a month from a dating site.  Finally we agreed to meet and because of that I gave him my number to make it a little easier to get together and work out very busy schedules.  So the texts started off pleasantly enough with the usual how was your day sort of thing.  Then suddenly out of nowhere he asks how my sex life was these days.  Here is the part where it did not even occur to me to slam this conversation right down and say that I do not discuss sex with someone I have not even met.  No, instead I played coy and subtly tried to change the subject.  When that did not work, I jokingly said that he sure talks about sex a lot.  He apologized for this, and I could slap my head, but I laughed and said at least he is honest.  The very next thing he wrote to me was this “I have a sexy girl who wants to do a threesome with me and another girl but need a third if you’re interested”.  Seriously yes this happened.  But the point of all this is how I answered.  I replied with “bold for not even meeting me”. 
This was a real problematic response for so many ways, I then had some annoying conversations to deal with and some fancy talking to end these texts.  When I told this story to E, he said the simplest text I could have sent to put him in his place.  I could have just said “boy I really enjoy threesomes but you have pushed things too far too fast and just screwed yourself out of a good thing”.  Something along this line would have absolutely crushed the guy who had just been so rude presuming that I would just agree to a sexy time without meeting anyone involved.  But again, it did not even occur to me to be rude right back to the guy who had crossed such a thick line with me. 

Sometimes it is easier not to put up a fight and continue the path of least resistance rather than standing up for what you believe in or more so what you deserve.  Culturally men have the ideas and opinions whereas women are the heart and peacemakers of relationships.  Prior to a relationship though I need practice in standing up for myself.  If I cannot find a way to put a person I do not even know in his place, how am I to have a voice in a relationship?  I posted about not being a doormat, and yes I will work on that, but I also need to trust that I can say what I mean and mean what I say.  No is perfectly permissible, and if a guy does not accept that then he is not the guy for me. 

Sex Positive Me – Slut Shaming

In my previous post I used the term Slut Shaming, and I would like to give this concept a little more light.  Here is the link as per Urban Dictionary Definition, basically summed up as putting women down for being sexually active.  I have written about my tale of being slut shamed in University for kissing guys and the negative impact that had on me.  I basically went into my shell and decided to prove all these guys wrong and became completely monogamous.  It is a very effective tool for men to use in order to get woman to settle down and leave the dating pool, especially in my case.  After writing my last post I received this comment, “you’re right about the stigma about enjoying sex, you don’t hear anyone criticize other physical activities like sports do you? Lol”.  And it is very true, at least it is now.  40 years ago, if a female really enjoyed a sport, let’s say hockey, then she must be a lesbian.  Woman breaking gender roles always seems to cause a negative reaction from men on a societal level. 
Woman fought to get a vote, followed by fighting to break free of the home and earn equal wages.  Now the battle is to have sexual expression and freedom without stigma?  I have fallen hard and fast into this very trap.  In my open relationship I once asked E if him sleeping around would have a negative effect on me from his friends point of view.  Would his friends judge me for putting up with his behaviour I wondered and would my value therefore decrease with his peers?  These are the flip sides of slut shaming that one in a sheltered and monogamous world does not have to think about.  If he was sexing it up, would it then get mentioned that I was sexing it up too?  And if that was true then of course I am a slut and he is just being a man.
But as my friend aptly implied above, the next generation may very well forget out current struggles to have sexual equality and perhaps this will cease to be an issue if we are open an honest about the sexuality of woman.  When articles are written about sexuality from 2001 pretty much onwards there seems to be a common disclaimer made, which states that studying female sexuality is a recent occurrence and that there is no previous data with which to make conclusions.  Men’s sexuality on the other hand has been explored for decades, for a multitude of reasons very few of which include increasing a females sexual pleasure (sorry of for the low blow, and yes Viagra I would argue is more for the male in many circumstances).  Woman dismissively in the sexual realm are looked upon as too complex to really study with any depth.  And thus we are left with the old adage of we always fear what we don’t understand, and with fear comes the inevitable shame.

The same can be held true for bi-sexuality for another example of fearing what has been unexplored and what we don’t always understand.  Society has long implied that you are straight or gay, middle ground is often ignored.  In 2011 a study came out that finally confirmed that bisexuality is real sexual category, Article.  How baffling though that this study only came out less than a year ago. Why did it take this long to prove something that feels so basic and simplistic?  Because admittedly when I was in Junior High I know that I thought you could only be gay or straight, and I know the words, “if he says he bi he is just being selfish by not picking a team”.  Yes I will ashamedly admit I have said that in my early teenage years.  But my knowledge and awareness of sexuality about all things was skewed as a teenager.  We believed that sharks could sense menstrual blood and that blue balls were some mythical and horrible disease that we should never ask questions about.  But as Dan Savage points out, bi-sexuality has been around for centuries and it may lie to the bisexual themselves to start being more open about it.  Pride parades threw in the straight people’s face that they were here and queer and to get used to it.  Bisexuality is no different, and similarly women need to start standing up for their sexual rights as well.

I love sex, and I love a little variety from time to time.  There shouldn’t be shame in saying that and honestly the more I write about this topic the easier it gets to write it without nerves or re-editing.  It is a step in the direction of ending slut shaming.  A step in bringing more focus towards healthy sexual expression for all genders bringing about healthier relationships for all of us.

Sex Positive Me – The Struggles

My last blog touched upon how fortunate I felt growing up in an environment where sex and sexuality was not a taboo.  Questions could always be asked and more importantly were answered in a concise and direct manor.  Sex was not a word that was feared, and I knew when I was ready to become sexually active that I would be safe and responsible in whatever I decided to partake in.  But then something happened.  Something I cannot quite explain or outline where it came from other than fear of being too sexually open if that makes any sense. 
I  also wrote about my sexuality during those confusing teenage years, Teenage Sexuality, but I think there may be more to it.  I was honestly afraid of the stigma of being a slut.  So terrified in fact that I did the only I could think of when my hormones started running amuck in my life, I created something to be fearful of.  I tricked my brain into being so incredibly terrified of germs and STI’s that it would be impossible for me to slut it up so to speak.  I forced myself to be choosy, and I was so successful in that endeavor that in losing my virginity I stayed with the same man for over 8 years.  I know this may sound repetitive to my regular readers but there is an element that I am working to realize now.  The fact is, I am no longer fearful of my sexuality or of enjoying sex.  I am not fearful of living my life in such a manner that my main goal is to avoid being known as a slut. 
I think this fear of being slutty in nature also played a large role in how I viewed relationships too.  I am sure many of you have heard something similar to the statement  that a girl being a fun party girl cannot be the same girl that a man takes home to meet his mother.  I continuously fall into this painful trap that society has created.  I am fun and outgoing, but then something clicks and I think that this part needs to turn off so that I can be the girl that can be taken to meet the family.  I have taken for granted that my playful dating nature will be enough of a memory  to sustain itself in a long term dating scenario.  I honestly will say that although I have not had a relationship yet where the sex life went away or even diminished, I can see why some may.  How can a man think of having a family and children with a woman who has just given him a blow job, and then proceeds to help his mother with dinner?  There is something almost impermissible on the grand scale of things from this behaviour.  Or is that exactly the type of woman who a man wants long term.  A female to keep him guessing and be sex positive, children or not?  Has the stigma of a good man not being able to marry a sexually compatible and adventurous female a myth created by society to keep woman in line?  Is this stigma part of the reason why thousands upon thousands of men and women alike end up cheating on their partners?
It is a tough pill to swallow, being that woman must play an almost goddess type role.  That fantasy of the bedroom and the saint outside of it can be a lot of pressure.  When you mix in that fearful slut shaming that goes on and prevents everyday woman from sharing their stories of sexual triumph and conquest, well, it’s just one cycle that I am breaking for myself one day at a time.  I most likely will not share my sexual adventures in any great detail.  But I will share how being more sexually free and positive will hypothetically improve my relationships with those around me.  Maybe society is right and I will end up alone or that Blanche Dubois character who is always on the prowl and never settles down, but I rather doubt it.  I will settle down in my own little way, seeking adventure whenever I want it.  I have felt incredibly alive and happy these past few months, there is a formula in this that I am slowly discovering for myself and I think sexual freedom has a pretty significant role in all of this.