Male and female sluts: Shifts and stabilities in the regulation of sexual relations among young heterosexual men
Contemporary sexual relations are marked by a powerful double standard, in which women’s but not men’s sexual behaviour is policed and disciplined. There is some evidence, however, that constructions of sexual reputation are shifting. Qualitative research among young heterosexual men in Australia finds that some express concern about being perceived as a ‘male slut’ because of excessive or inappropriate sexual activity. This signals a slight weakening of the sexual double standard. At the same time, this and other negative constructions of male sexual reputation are policed only by women, and they sit alongside men’s ongoing support for divisions of women into ‘nice girls’ and ‘sluts’.