Our society has taken labels to the extreme. Many labels are overly simplified and have very flexible interpretations.

This brings us to the "sluts" of the world.

What even is a slut? Someone who wears short shorts? Someone who wears red lipstick? Someone who struts the street in black stilettos? Someone who uses her sexuality for a paycheck? Someone who sleeps with a certain number of people? Within a certain amount of time? Someone who lost their virginity at a certain age? Had their first kiss? Held another's hand for the first time in an intimate setting? Had a naughty thought? Masturbated? Tied a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue? Or just writes naughty articles, wink wink. I could go on and on about how one comes face to face with social suicide.

Every individual has their own views on sex and sexuality, so, at the end of the day, what's a slut?

15 college girls tell their stories of being called sluts:

A wannabe slut

"In 8th grade, one of my friends called me a 'wannabe slut.' Any time it ever comes to mind, I always think it's insane... It was the first time I was called a slut, and it was such a weird scenario because I had never even kissed a boy yet. Why is 'slut' such a common word for women to throw around at each other? How can the number of people you've slept with (or lack thereof) even be an insult? I've been called both a prude and a slut many times since that day in 8th grade. It's weirdly stings because I think I've always been insecure about that: trying to be comfortable with my own sexuality. Embracing and being confident with my body and my choices." – age 21

Stereotypical frat boys

"I was walking back to my dorm (in the middle of the day) and some frat dude (he was wearing a frat hat) rolled down the window and said, 'You looking for Frat Row? I know plenty of guys who'd love to fuck you, whore.'" – age 18

The abusive boyfriend

"I was 12 when I was first called a slut. I was called a slut by my first boyfriend, who was also 12. He created many rules for me to follow during my time dating him. I couldn't wear revealing clothes, had to wear a jacket zipped up every day. I had to always text him and, most importantly, I could not talk to guys (even mutual) friends unless given permission. Back then I didn't think about it, but I realized later that this was not a normal relationship. Well, I made the mistake to talk to a mutual guy friend about a class on our way back from art class. My boyfriend saw and cut us off, he called me a slut and accused me of doing things with him and cheating. I was in shock and my first instinct was to apologize to him for it and told him that I wasn't. I didn't talk to that friend again for some time. After I broke up with him (we dated for a year and a half), he spread some rumors and called me more names. Luckily, they didn't stick too well. I don't know how I would have handled it if the rumors did stick. I was mentally broken and exhausted after dating him, if they stuck I'm not sure if I would have still been here." – age 22

Dating has now become "slutty"

"I was 17 and called a slut for having a partner." – age 19

Rumor city

"A guy started telling people things I had let him do to me—all of which were false." – age 17

The not-nice word

"13 wasn't the youngest age, but the only time that was purposeful, at least as I could see. A girl called me a slut because her boyfriend told her that I was prettier/he wanted to date me instead. The first time, though, I was about 10, but I don't think anyone really used it for its meaning, just because they knew it was not a nice word." – anonymous

Spiteful and horny

"Back in high school, I rejected a guy's advances. Weeks later, when he passed me in the hallway, he called me a slut under his breath." – age 20

The new kid at school

"I had just moved and I was starting at a new school. Everyone had their own groups and it was hard to make friends because I didn't fit in or I wasn't a native Spanish speaker. After the first few months, the popular kid asked me to be his girlfriend and when I said no, he called me a slut and spread false rumors about me. I was bullied and harassed for four years after that. I've learned to look past that today, but I am very self-conscious and some things still haunt me up to this day." – anonymous

The bitter, but sorry boyfriend


"I was in 7th grade and I broke up with my little boyfriend at the time. After that, he continuously called me names, including slut and whore in front of all my classmates making a few actually believe it. One day he called me a slut while class was going on, and I remember crying in front of everyone and walking out. He then came up to me after school and apologized. I obviously didn't want to forgive him, but he kept going for about a year trying to get me to talk to him. I finally accepted his apology, not becoming friends, but acting civil around each other. Now we are both in different colleges, all grown-up, but still keep in touch. He turned out to be a great guy now that he's older (obviously). I remind him at times about him name calling back in middle school, and he still, till this day, apologizes sincerely! I'm proud of him, and I know that he has mentally grown into an awesome guy and correctly knows how to talk to and treat a woman." – age 20

People like to butt in where they don't belong

"Many people seem to think I'm a slut for having a few relationships in the past few years and that I like to 'bounce around' from guy to guy. The reality is that the relationships I was in were unhealthy and sadly just didn't work out. I'd never plan to find another guy just because I didn't want to be alone and needed to have sex or anything like that. A new boyfriend would just come along and I'd fall in love and follow my heart. Having multiple boyfriends in life doesn't make you a slut, it means you have lots of different people to learn from." – age 18

Love a good middle aged lady

"When I was 18, my sister and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and as we were leaving, there apparently was another couple behind us. I didn't see them so I didn't hold the door open for them. The lady, who was probably around 50, called me a 'rude little slut' I was wearing a winter coat, jeans, and had never even had my first kiss." – age 21

Because wanting personal space has a direct correlation to being a slut

"I was 13-years-old and this one guy was a little too close to me as we were talking and I blatantly told him to move. Then his friend (also 13) came over and said, 'who would want to touch you? You whore.' Funny thing is he has a little sister, would he be okay if someone called her a whore?... SMH men are trash." – age 20

They are just jealous

"In high school, people found out that I was sexually active before they were and slut-shamed the hell out of me. Until they became sexually active years later and realized they were wrong." – age 20

The strong, beautiful Lara Croft

"Freshman year of high school. Cosplay day for an after-school club, I was dressed as Lara Croft in shorts and a tank top with boots. I was called a slut as I walked down the hallway out of my last class to get to my locker." – age 20

Your sexual business is yours, no one else's! Have fun and stay safe

"I was sleeping with six dudes at once and then got called a slut." – age 23

We can't get rid of labels entirely, however, we can stop using adverse, ignorant classifications by replacing them with more positive, motivating, and uplifting ones: "I respect you and your private decisions." Remember that just because you won't do something, doesn't mean you have the right to criticize another who would.

These responses have been lightly edited for length or clarity.