To Be A Slut 2.0

At 5, my mother asked me if I knew how to play the piano. I said “Yes, of course.” I had never touched a piano before in my young, naive life, yet remained boldly confident that my brain and hands would figure it out because where else would this information come from?

I also believed I could fly, speak several languages and that my younger sister was my personal stepping stool.

It’s possible this big-thinkin’ could’ve turned me into the child prodigy I never was if just maybe my parents had a little more faith that, DUH, of course I could play the piano without any training whatsoever.

(Also: flying? I have that shit FIGURED out so hard in my dreams that I can literally [*what meaning does ‘literally’ have within a dream context?] just START FLYING whenever I want. I can physically feel what it muscles need to move and now it’s like riding a bike. Gravity is much more flexible in my subconscious…).

I have no clue where this innate insistence on being all-knowing came from… A combination of having stubborn-as-fuck parents and the privileges I gained from being raised in a middle-class, white family, I’m sure. Anyway, I can’t play the piano and I do not know how to speak any other languages.

I did, however, carry this absurdly brazzen confidence into my teen years and early twenties. With a very small amount of information, I nixed my University education and delved forth into proclaiming myself a “Sex Educator”.

Now, this probably had about 20% more merit to it than telling people I am pianist… I had boldly bared my naked, non-sexualized bod to be eternalized on the internet, I had read maybe two or three books about porn and non-monogamy, I was having a rampant amount of sex (that I now recognized as confused and vaguely problematic) and I had a pile of self-assurance sitting atop my self-constructed pedestal.

Thus the birth of this blog. And ya know, it hasn’t been for naught and sometimes you just gotta start somewhere. But after 5 years of navigating this world I man-spreaded myself into, I can very accurately tell you I was usually not totally right, often mis-spoke and was poorly informed despite my best intentions.

At some point around 2 or 3 years ago, I recognized the immense amount of information I did not know and how irrelevant my voice was and that there were SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE that were doing a better job than I was and whose voices I valued more than my own on the topics at hand… And I kind of just shut up. Not totally… I still had the absurd amount of stubborn confidence to start a porn company and run queer events (neither of which I had had any training in), but my blog has kind of withered into a ghost of what it was: slightly relevant, humorous (at times), wrought with poor grammar and largely misinformed.

During the past few years, I feel it’s safe to say that I’m putting in the research and reading and learning to actually refer to myself as a “Sex Educator” – if I stand on my toes I can just touch it. And I do largely believe I MAY have something to add to the discourses happening and reach at least SOME people who don’t have access to listening to the same voices I do. But where is all of your ~educating~ happening, Caitlin? It’s a nice title and all, but how exactly do you think you’re informing anyone? Just hoping that the thoughts in your head permeate into the minds of those around the world? Yeah, neat. 

Thus, I will have to begin to write again instead of just sharing articles on Facebook and debating with people I know too well. And 19-year-old Caitlin is jumping in her seat because that tattoo of a quill on my back promising to ‘always be a writer’ might not just be a pretty design anymore.

To start, things I have begun to understand that I have not talked about in the past three years (amongst other things):

  • My own queerness and my own fluid gender expression
  • My preferred lovestyle and how to navigate authentically through that
  • Speaking up for myself in moments I have been taught not to – to hold space where I have often been ignored or undervalued
  • Intersectional feminism and how to actively be anti-oppressive to those who don’t hold the same privileges I do
  • My privilege & I are now very well-acquainted
  • What consent is. Slapped in the face with it and figured out how to be an active participant with it.
  • A deeper appreciation for bodies and minds that are different than mine and that I cannot be a spokesperson for anyone except myself.
  • My kinks

So, with this, here is my official “I’m back for To Be A Slut 2.0” and I’m going to be less wrong about more things. Hopefully.

Beauty of Brotherhood

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In December 2013, Deej and I bused up to Peterborough to do a weekend of Body Pride as per a request of my younger sister.

Peterborough’s Trent University community is incredibly unique in a numerous amount of ways – the students buy most of their groceries at the farmers market held every Saturday, transporting local produce and cheese by bike even in the dead of winter, they cook ferociously and love to share with anyone around, doors are always open, and hugs are always plentiful. It is an ideal I know many of us only dream about, and these young people have put it into action.

There was one outstanding habit that they have acquired that I am in constant awe of – the ease of touching and communication between men.

It is not unusual to see piles of girls cuddling in social situations. We chatter about our feelings and wants and desires and often cry into the armpits of our friends. This would be a rare moment to catch between men, yet these Peterborough boys have perfected it. They hug at will and talk deeply upon need. The picture above is one of many that was shot at this particular workshop, and it continues to overjoy me.  To see so much love shared between humans without the filters of stereotypical masculinity. To embrace the feminine and masculine sides of us all and stop associating it with physical gender.

Face Plaster and Other Strange Goop Bought From Drugstores

I have a curious relationship with makeup.

I was looking in the mirror just now when I had a very factual realization that I have not ever had before (and bear with me, because this might sound weird coming from the chick who has naked workshops about embracing ones body as it is):  I like the way I look without makeup.

For some of you, this might be a normal day-to-day occurrence, but I started wearing makeup when I was 14 and realized that my eyebrows were not only asymmetrical, but very sparse and lightly-colored. I had died my hair black at this point because I was hardcore and cool, and the only logical thought I had was that my eyebrows needed to match my hair. So, logically, I started filling in the brows (although, at this point, not well).
This. This is how they found their way onto my face.
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No… This is not actually true, but this is the only picture I could find of myself at this age with fake eyebrows. Below is a picture in the same time frame of me without eyebrows.
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Pretty sexy, eh? Oh to be 14 again.

Anyhow. The point here is that I was born with genetically sparse eyebrows, and no where in the vast space that is the media did I see someone who was rocking sparse eyebrows. Apart from this one point of focus, I also realized I had bags under my eyes, red skin blemishes, short eyelashes, eyes that were too close together, and a lack of cheekbone definition… Seriously… This is what went through my mind when I was 14. For some stupid, stupid reason, the day and age we are growing up in is tampering with our brains to get us to be as self-critical as possible as young as possible.

If someone had told me at 14 that one day I would eventually alter my appearance enough to resemble all those blonde, seductive movie stars I cut out of magazines, I would’ve thought they were cray-cray. Regardless, it is my particular belief that we are all beautiful despite and with our altered appearances. At this point in my life, when I dye or cut my hair, change my wardrobe or apply heavy makeup – it is because I am intrinsically enjoying the variations of self that I can have. At 14, I wanted to do it because I thought my natural self wasn’t good-looking enough.

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I think this is partially why I started running the Body Pride workshops. Because while Jessica Simpson is very beautiful, she is just one specimen of the human race. It’s an infuriating process to start to deconstruct the social constructs that have been building up in our minds since we gained access to magazines, the internet, TV and books. It is also a very slow process because they tend to only come one at a time.

For about 8 years I could not leave the house unless I had my eyebrows on. Which is a very silly thing to think, especially because no one but myself made this rule up. In tangent with this eyebrow rule, there existed a large period of time that I wore a considerable amount of heavy of makeup: primer, concealor, cover-up, bronzer, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, highlighter eyeshadow, eyebrow dust, mascara. You name it. Except lipstick. Lipstick and I never became friends.

Not only was this expensive and time-consuming, but also annoying. In my head, I had to apply all of this gunk to my face before going anywhere or allowing anyone to see me. And I mean anyone – my own family went months without seeing my natural face. It got to a point where, upon sleeping at a partners house, I left the bed in the morning to go apply all of this makeup again, fearful they would turn to stone if they saw me without my eyebrows on, god forbid.

It didn’t help that my first boyfriend had told one of our mutual friends that I looked like a bulldog. And we met at camp where makeup didn’t exist. That was nice to hear at 16.

I owe huge thanks to one partner who finally just told me to “Relax a little”. I took a few deep breathes, thought about it, and started to believe that not caring what you looked like when you woke up in the morning, was by far sexier than darting to the bathroom to apply a thick layer of foundation.

So, my life lessons thus far go along the lines of ‘if you are experiencing it, someone else definitely is’. Which is why I have made a post about this. For something that should not be a big deal, it has taken me years, a lot of confirmation (from a husband who seems to have a PhD in flattery), a lot of self-validation (confirming that people don’t actually cover their eyes and hiss when they see me bare-faced) and a puppy (you don’t have a chance to put yo’ eyebrows on when the pup has gots ta pee) in order for me to happily say, I like the way I look without makeup.

And while I do enjoy the wonders that makeup brings (can’t lie about the fun), there is this giant weight that has been lifting by removing this strange goopy rule that I had inflicted so early on myself… So, once again, baring it all, gooplessy yours.

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JennaMarbles: Slut Edition

Dear Jenna,

My name is Caitlin Roberts, and I am a slut.

By your definition, I suppose I am a retired slut, but I still hold on dearly to the title.

There have been many enlightening responses to your latest video regarding your confusion about the choices sluts make. Laci Green and Haley G Hoover have put together very informative monologues (if you haven’t watched them, I recommend you do, they both still love you).

Alas, as I am letting it be known to the entire internet world through this blog, I am a slut. A very happy and contented slut. So it feels only appropriate that a slut respond to your curiosities.

I started my slut-hood at a young age, some would say. Which came with its own set of problems, much similar to the ones you mentioned in your videos. I had low self-esteem as a teenager in regards to my physical appearance and would often make imbalanced choices that seemed, at the time, like they may boost this problem (a problem that every single girl goes through unless you’ve come out of the womb as a mutant sexpot mix of Aphrodite and Marilyn Monroe).

Now, ideally, no young woman should gain her self confidence by having sex with various partners. But, unfortunately, there are no great systems available to those same young women informing them that they are indeed attractive and beautiful. Nor are there many that will just sit them down and tell them how friggin’ smart or intelligent they are.

And maybe it was not the best way to absorb this information, but after a week in Cuba at 18, my confidence meter was pretty arrogant.

And, although I did consume alcohol on that trip, I was sober every time I made the decision to sleep with someone. Actually, I was completing a crossword at 9pm while drinking coffee at a piano bar during one of those decision-making times. (Yeah… I was odd for an 18-year-old on a parentless trip to a hot island.)

For a few years after this revelation of my own personal awesomeness, I continued to have frequent casual sex. Either with people I was dating, or people I had met just for the night. I was very content and happy with my sexual lifestyle. I was introduced to non-monogamy very early and the concept appealed to me tenfold. Why? I wanted to have sex. I didn’t want to force myself to fall in love with someone I only maybe liked a little bit. But I definitely could have sex with that person, respect them, make them coffee in the morning and high five them on their way out the door for an epic evening of epicness.

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In my personal opinion, acknowledging a physical desire and making (responsible) choices to care for and cherish those desires built more integrity in my character than feigning love with someone who didn’t bother me too much.

Now, I am all too aware that this is not the lifestyle choice of everybody (my mother reminds me daily). And now that I am wrapped within the warm and fuzzy bounds of a monogamous relationship with someone I am head over heels in love with, it is a very long ways away that my mind could even contemplate enjoying a sexual encounter with someone other than my husband.

But yet, I still do not give up my slut title. Why, you might ask?

Because I am a firm believer that if I am making sexual choices that are informed (meaning I understand and recognize what the potential consequences may be) and I am happy and content with those choices, and this what being a slut is, than yes. I am STILL a slut.

I just wanted to let you know that I thought I was in the wrong. That although I was happy with my decisions, every time I woke up the next morning I was slapped in the face by what society was telling me: that I was unworthy because I was letting so many people close to my body, that because I wasn’t in love my sexuality was dirty, that giving into my desires was irregular and that I should have had more self-control.

But this was because nobody told me otherwise. I had nothing else to bank off except my mothers beliefs, the media, and what the school system was teaching me. I had to go looking for information. I very recently had a 16-year-old girl tell me that after reading my article about virginity, it was the first time in 2 years that she did not feel guilt or shame about losing her v-card.

My point here is that unless you had gone looking for information about slut-shaming or rape culture, you likely had no idea about the intricately woven story that is ‘promiscuous’ female sexuality. And although not ideal for someone speaking to so many young women, I can truly understand how you would have not been informed.

I guess we could say that my Christmas wish to you, dear Jenna, is that you, hopefully, may have gained an insight after this onslaught of people making you videos and writing you internet letters, and may be able to inform all the other girls out there who also don’t know this information exists, and perhaps relieve them of any fear or shame of their sexual choices and take the blame off of those that are victims of sexual assault.

I would be a very happy camper if this could come true.

Sincerely yours,

Caitlin the Slut.

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