I was at drinks last night when someone said, “You know, sex positive seems like a term made up by men.” We’d been discussing dating, sex, and Raya profiles, as New York City women are wont to do, and yet—I took a gulp of my Old Fashioned and shook my head no. Actually, it’s the result of ’80s feminism, I said, when prominent thinkers argued that a woman’s social freedom is aligned with her sexual freedom.
These days we can thank Amy Schumer and others for hilariously, smartly putting to shame the practice of slut-shaming, but we need only to look back to, say, The Scarlet Letter to know that society has historically been prejudiced against a sexually liberated woman, the woman who has never waited around for the guy to make the first move, the woman who, in their words, “looks” like she’s “asking” for it.
It’s the type of repression that has long threatened to detach women from desire and pleasure—which is why the sight of Vogue.com Breathless columnist Karley Sciortino, fully renouncing slut-shaming and embracing sex positivity in her O-Mighty “Do Whatever You Want” T-shirt, is so refreshing and liberating. As Karley told me recently, “In my late 20s, I thought I had to dress more conservatively in order to be seen as serious, sophisticated. Now that I’ve turned 30, I’m like, ‘Fuck it! Do whatever you want.’ Now I spend my evenings searching things like ‘leopard-print PVC dress’ on eBay.”
Even if Sciortino’s tee is too brash for you, you can certainly take cues from its free, forward-thinking spirit and make a strong, stylish statement. For a night out of flirting (and maybe much more), why not throw on High Heels Suicide’s “Property of No One” embroidered men’s jacket? There’s no better or chicer way of asserting your sexual freedom. Rosie Assoulin’s scarlet “She’s Come Undone” button-down wide-leg trousers are as bold as your advances. Or, should you prefer, simply slip into something a bit more comfortable with Love Stories’s Reggipetto elegant dotted tulle bralette, peeking out from under a Missoni striped cardigan. Either way, the message is clear: You’re in control of your own fun.
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