There’s no getting around being called a slut. If you’re a female with a vagina, chances are you’ve been called a slut at some point, particularly in Lebanon. In fact, the mere notion that you might have pleasurable physical relationships is THE most disgraceful thing a woman in our country could endure because society dictates that our self-worth is somehow directly linked to our (untouched) hymens.

And so there is a very strict image we have to perpetuate to be considered “good” Lebanese girls: polished, innocent, virginal. If you happen to be a sexually liberal female, comfortable with your sexuality and your pleasure, living in Lebanon will be perplexing. Society will demonize and disgrace you for any behavior they believe deviates from conventional gender expectations, which is total bullshit.

This judgment will not only come at you from the puritanical elements of society, you can expect it from the very men who are more than happy to plow you a few times a week, too. I've heard this firsthand from many of my male friends. They will gladly have a sexual relationship with a woman they’re attracted to, but still talk shit behind her back for being willing to have casual sex. They can’t wrap their stunted brains around the fact that a woman is capable of engaging in sex for pleasure, just as they are.

The setup for sex in Lebanon is brimming with slut-shaming. We all know how it works: for most of us, there are no spaces for real privacy, so if you want to have sex with your boyfriend you need to do it at a hotel. That hotel has to be far away from your house so that you won’t run into anybody you may know, which is still always a haunting possibility in a small country like ours.

The perplexing thing about the word “slut” is that it's difficult to define, yet still so ubiquitously used. Men are programmed to want a "lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets" or whatever ridiculousness is being perpetuated by the garbage “bro” sites out there. They want a woman who is horny and slutty, but only for them. A woman is expected to feel embarrassment if she enjoys sex, and women who have sex – whether with their steady boyfriends or with one-night-stands – are expected to hide that part of them away because it's considered disgraceful.

I know a girl who is terrified of breaking up with her boyfriend because she's afraid he's going to tell people they’ve had sex. The idea of people knowing she's no longer a virgin is more terrifying than staying with someone she despises.

This isn’t just on men, women are guilty of this; too; they fault other women for their sexual behavior; blind to their internalized misogyny. Historically, women have been trophies for victorious males, and so we've been sort of bred to compete with one another for the attention of males.

But it's not exactly hardwired into our DNA. The first cave paintings didn't feature a topless girl with the caption, “Hannah is an anal whore.”

Going into the bathroom at AUB’s Jafet library, you can read all kinds of sexual confessions scribbled on the doors; from women admitting that oral sex is enjoyable or just sharing the fact that their boyfriend’s cock is, and I quote, “the best dick in the world.” These messages are an attempt at putting an idea out there: that sex is okay, that we’re all doing it, and that we all love it. When Lebanon learns to regard female sexuality as healthy and normal, we’ll have a shot at gender equality.

I already anticipate comments on this article saying that there is a line between having sex and being a slut, and that we shouldn’t “defend” sluts. These very comments are the problem: deeming some sex as acceptable, and other sex as slutty and shameful; because really, what makes someone a slut? It’s probably any and all of us. It's anyone who has chosen to step outside of the very narrow lane that good girls are expected to stay within.

Comments See All

Avatar 1
Post to facebook
Avatar 2

I can see the frustration in this post and I can agree in most of the points mentioned even though its been 3 years since my last visit to lebanon (hoping to pass by this summer). I have way too many things to say yet I fear I will not be able to discuss all of it nor mention them. I just wanted to add some things that I believe are crucial and worth mentioning.First, psychologically speaking, sex is a need for humans due to their hormones (either men or women) it releases off pressure and keeps people mentally healthy and there is nothing wrong with it as long as its a healthy and stable relation.2nd point, the difference between a slut and a normal woman is the fact that a simple slut will do it randomly with anyone. 3rd point ,which I consider the sad part, is that most men will keep saying slut to women and abuse her is necessary. I would love to share an example of my own life but its too long. Even in here in Spain, there are some men like that though perhaps they would be mostly teens and late teens. 4th and last point, education and awereness are the keys to flip that coin. And feel free to inbox me if you disagree on anything ive stated so far.

Ahmad Berry Trapero on Apr 19, 2015 via mobile web
Avatar 2

I think it is money that decides if you are a slut or not. If you take money or 'gifts' for it - you are considered a slut, however if you accept these things from your regular 'boyfriend' its OK cos you are in a 'decent' relationship - talk about double standards

Sylvia Elkawa on Apr 8, 2015 via web
Avatar 2

Oh this article is great. While visiting Lebanon from the USA I was dumbfounded to learnt that is completely and totally socially acceptable for men to have sex with anyone who would be willing to, but for a woman having sex before marriage deems her a slut. The double standard is ridiculous. I only hope more people read this article and open their minds!

Maya Sam Meheidli on Apr 8, 2015 via web