Truth be Told, the Whore Scares Me.

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Mary Magdalene

During the season of celebrating the virgin birth, I am attracted to her opposite—the whore.

I’ve written about virginity and the virgin-whore split and was eager to explore their integration—the sacred prostitute.

However, the reason I hadn’t gotten there yet was because I kept missing a step. I had written and honored the virgin, but not the whore.

Truth be told, the whore scares me.

That part of myself feels hidden, dirty and therefore disowned. Like many of us I associate sexuality with something that is wrong. So, I do my best to hide it.

I feel my inner whore bubbling up inside me, wanting expression and integration.

She urges me to dress more provocatively (I even wore a crop top to work) and feel turned on when the attractive guy on the bus brushes my shoulder.

Truth be told, I do a good job with virgin and good girl—whore is more difficult for me. I care too much what people think, I want too much to be liked, and I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.

So I hide my sexuality to be “safe” and to be the type of woman someone wants to date instead of just f*ck.

Instead, I hear my dad telling me I looked like a slut when I wore a mini skirt out on a Saturday night. I hear my grandfather tell my parents to teach me to sit more lady-like with my legs closed.

I feel my skin crawl with every cat call.

A confusion between wanting to be a sexual being and scared of the societal baggage that comes with it.  Culture doesn’t just shun the whore, it keeps her and shames her, with words and reprimands.

The whore must, instead, be kept safe and in a tidy, pretty box.

Female sexuality is scary for many men and women. We fear the energy and power, myself included.

The great thing about being a whore is taking what you want, unapologetically. That kind of power is scary, for everyone involved. (I don’t have time to dive into the societal dynamics and wounds around sexuality.)

I can only speak to my own experience of the whore and my fear that even though men say they want a woman who is turned on—when they look closer, they are actually afraid. They (and I) are afraid of woman with the power to know what she wants in world where our desires are suppressed.

I’m ashamed to admit that in college I called one of my sorority sisters a slut. She slept with a bunch of guys from a fraternity and I didn’t want the “good name” of our house to be ruined. Thinking about it now I feel ill, but at the time I was young and jealous of her ability to express herself sexually.

I hadn’t owned my own inner whore and instead had to project onto someone else and then judge it.

I know now that my archetypal whore’s always there, she is safely hidden behind “niceness” and not wanting to scare men (or women).

Lately, I feel her simmering with desire and full of uncontainable secrets. Secrets and stories she keeps buried afraid of judgment from those unable to own their desire the way she is wants. Secrets about sex and her lust. Stories about dating married men even though she claims she didn’t know he was married (she knew). Fantasies she shares with no one and hopes will go away.

Though many of us may have difficulty relating to the whore, mythologically and archetypally the whore shows up everywhere.

Our society currently has two versions of the whore:

1. A woman who enjoys sex, dresses provocatively, or has had many sexual partners.

This is the modern-day woman who wears her sexuality on her sleeve and whose eyes gleam with desire. She may or may not be sexually empowered but is never-the-less degraded by slut-shaming. She is the one I’m afraid to own, for fear of what others think. She appears to be the more powerful of the two examples and why she is obviously more intimidating.

This stereotyping is what feeds the victim blaming and a woman “asking for it.”  A great example is Samantha from Sex and the City (though recently real-life Mr. Bigg slut-shamed Carrie) or the ancient mythology of Lilith who refused to be on the bottom during sex who was then was exiled and demonized.

2. The prostitute, who is the property of a man and exists to serve a sexual need. In this way she is lesser than and is the woman on the corner who may or may not be there out of her own will. As Nancy Qualls-Corbett explains in her book, The Sacred Prostitute, this archetype is alive when a man “expects sexual gratification on demand…consciously or unconsciously.”

This stereotyping feeds the victim blaming mentality of our society and the still accepted excuse that a woman rape victim was “asking for it.” This version of the archetype illustrates the negotiation of one’s spirit or body for survival—something prostitutes must deal with daily.

Both versions, while slightly different in terms of how they present, offer deep lessons about sexuality for everyone. For people the whore offers the opportunity to notice fear or suppression of sexuality, and for people to examine not only their relationship to their own sexuality, but their expectations of women as well.

In appreciating this archetype for myself I found it useful to look at its etymology as a way of looking a word’s evolution and how our understanding has changed.

The word whore has a very interesting etymology as it comes from Proto-Germanic word khoraz, meaning “one who desires.” Khoraz evolved from kama meaning “love” and named after the Hindu god of love. (This is where the Kama Sutra came from.)

The word whore came from the Sanskrit word for love and yet we use it now for a woman who seems to love too much or indiscriminately. Even more is a woman who is open in her love, she doesn’t reserve it for just one man and isn’t afraid of being close to many.

A few weeks ago I attended a OneTaste event and one of the women was sitting with her legs wide open in a skirt. I felt judgmental and distracted and then after the energy moved through me I felt in awe of her. Her courage to not care, her sense of security within herself were much more powerful than the opinions of others. I fell a bit in love with her that day (as did my inner little girl who was told to sit more lady-like).

My own desire may still be scary for me, but I no longer consider slut or whore an insult (nor would I insult someone else using those terms). It would feel unnatural for me to lead with my sexuality all the time; however, I do want it around more often–taking what my inner whore wants whether that is being sexually satisfied or something else. So, after many years attempting to hide my whore, I feel ready to own her for myself (she says with her legs wide open in a mini skirt).
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Author: Rebecca Farrar

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr

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Rebecca Farrar

Rebecca Farrar is a self-proclaimed creative type, stargazer, and lover of life. She currently lives in San Francisco (or Man Franpsycho as she likes to call it) and works as a freelance communications professional. When not cuddling her kitty Freyja, she can be found at the archery range, wandering Ocean Beach, or taking photos of sidewalk art. She believes unicorns and mermaids are real and sometimes writes about them on her blog. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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anonymous Jan 4, 2015 12:12am

What a beautiful inquiry.

I am in full support of your journey. While as a man I do feel some fear of the sacred whore, I recognize that fear comes from a deep yearning for her presence in my life. It is seeing her and believing she would not turn her insatiable sexuality towards me that scared me most.

I hope that by supporting space for more of her in the world that it can aid in the growth of my masculine counterpart…. The sacred stud or whatever 🙂

anonymous Dec 13, 2014 1:40am

Your passage was safe. We as women are powerful, beautiful, strong and can be as fickled as environments reflect. I would never stand for my formothers, myself and future ladies to ever stoop to a feeling of being needed, or justifying why a whore is a mixed lingo