Being sexually liberated in a post-sexual revolution world does not make you special. You don’t get an award for immortalizing some sexual revolutionary maverick on a shiny button fastened to your distressed jean jacket; nobody will throw you a ceremonial bra-burning bonfire on the eve of your moon cycle. You can’t, in other words, be considered a pioneer of empowerment, no matter how newfound yours happens to be. If anything, you’re late to the game. Women have been walking around for years with unapologetic smirks on their faces and the satisfaction that they’ve reclaimed whatever is left of their still-sanctioned bodies.

For the modern women—or at least for me—finding a term to articulate our “single and ready to mingle” status can be difficult. Many women have reclaimed the word slut, though it continues to carry the sting of its stigmatized past; and it’s hard not to hear the irksome echoes of Nelly Furtado when looking for a label to pacify those persistently inquiring about my relationship status. And while proudly identifying as a slut might (or might not) prevent people from probing around in your personal business, the term is not punchy enough. “Slut” slips out of the mouth like a slur with none of the bold bark of “bitch.” There’s no bite; it fails to encompass the extent of my sexual liberation, one in which love and validation come from within and where men are the objects of desire, not promising suitors that I would take home to the folks—or even mention to my friends. Slut doesn’t resonate with me, fuckgirl does.

To fully understand the fuckgirl, we must acknowledge the fuckboy, a category of man similar though not identical to its female counterpart, and commonly identified in mainstream media today “as a young man who sleeps with women without any intention of having a relationship with them or perhaps even walking them to the door post-sex. He’s a womanizer, an especially callous one, as well as kind of a loser.” This definition and countless others like it are a fair analysis of the fuckboy/fuckgirl culture—when you take into account that it’s probably coming from the perspective of a despondent fling making a mild attempt at shaming. But what it fails to consider is that no one—not the person whose drinks you paid for all night or who flirted with you for the past week—owes you anything. Not even a text or a snap the morning after. It’s not personal; it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me.

“Fuckgirl” resonated with me at the start of 2016 with the unsettling realization that I might, in fact, be one. I had just gotten out of a serious relationship and realized that I had grown exasperated with the idea of exclusivity, and the notion that my worth was determined based on whether or not I was loved and desired by men. It does something to your psyche when your personal success is measured by how close you are to exchanging vows with your future bread-winning husband and spawning offspring, especially when you’re the ride-or-die type who consistently gets stranded when things gets rough. So I did the only thing I knew how to do, I said fuck it and focused on doing what was best for me, which meant taking the road less traveled. Or maybe it’s a well-traveled road, and I just took the side street that led straight to hooking up. And this was no post-breakup revenge, but was rather me taking control of my own sexuality, and using that extra time and love that I had been so quick to give others, on myself.

At its core, being a fuckgirl is about being selfish when it comes to your sexual needs, yes, but also just your needs in general, your needs as a woman. This is an essential part of the whole thing. It’s for this reason that a woman taking pride in her sexuality and owning her body without an ounce of remorse is something that could be considered revolutionary, particularly during a time when our rights are threatened by conservative forces. After all, why waste time worrying about loving other people when we never had the chance to learn how to truly love ourselves.

 

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