It became clear to me that, like many other women, I was raised to trade sexuality for survival, or some advantage (i.e., a good husband or boyfriend). As a result of the combination of slut stigma, training to trade sex for security or survival and fear of rape (the likelihood of which supposedly increased if one was promiscuous), women were often in a state of paralysis. Women could not acknowledge this “state of prostitution” in which they lived because one cannot admit one is a whore. It seemed impossible to break out of this bind without acknowledging that we were all part of some form of prostitution—the “good women” (the girlfriends and wives) and “bad women” (the whores and dykes)—alike. My priorities became aligned with the goal of ending those divisions between women based on the contracts we make with men for the purposes of our survival.

Carol Leigh, aka Scarlot Harlot, from Whores and Other Feminists