Slutty heroines

September 10, 2006 | Karin's Blog | 18 comments

Boy am I going to get spammed for that one!

I posted this same post over at a blog I share at RED HOT ROMANCE. I found it so intriguing I broguht it over here to share.

Okay so call me old fashioned but my heroines are not slutty.
Ok, let me back up here. What exactly is a slut? I’m going to go look it up and comeback with the official Merriam Webster definition. Stand by.
Okay, here we go:

1 chiefly British : a slovenly woman
2 a : a promiscuous woman; especially : PROSTITUTE b : a saucy girl : MINX

Love the minx reference. See, my idea of a minx is not a slut. LOL, I guess Kelly Pickler should be insulted that Simon called her a ‘saucy little minx’ during one of the AI shows this past season.

I digress. Slut: A promiscuous woman, a slovenly woman. PROSTITUTE.

I’ll bite. While my heroines don’t come to the hero intact, they haven’t been around the block too many times to count either. My heroines for the most part don’t have sex for the sake of having sex. In other words there is no sport fucking going on. Per se. Idunno. Knitting brows here. My girls aren’t frigid, far from it, but they consider sex more than just a physical act. There has to be some form of emotional investment. Even though instant attraction/lust is a strong impetus, there has to be some other type of connection. Something that tells her this could be the one even though he’s a bad bad boy. I’m thinking of my heroine Frankie in SKIN. She is pretty open-minded. But even so she doesn’t just jump in bed for the sake of sex. Until Reese comes along, and she goes into heat pretty quick. But she uses sex to gain control of her subject, Reese. He uses sex to get information. What they both don’t realize is going on, is there are much stronger forces at work beneath the surface than either realizes.

Anyway, the reason for this subject today is there has been conversation on a few blogs lately about slutty heroines, and I wanted to first of all define what a slut was, in general, and second to find out as readers, are you okay with the heroines bed hopping, either before they meet the hero or while engaging him? Is this a generational thing? Or is it just me?

Here’s more food for thought. Can a woman be in lust and have an emotional tie to two men, and live happily ever after together? A good friend of mine, Maya Banks, has written some really sexy, emotional stuff involving trios and more!
As a writer how do you feel about putting your heroines in bed with multiple males either on the page or off?

Is it socially acceptable for heroines to be slutty (per Merriam Webster’s definition?)
What is your definition of a slut? What is slutty behavior?
Okay, enough sluttiness for me today. I’d love to hear from you on any or all of the questions posed, or just a musing.
Write on,



  1. Cece

    OMG you and Raine simul-blogged! I think it’s really all in the execution (I can hear Allison! 🙂 ).

    It really depends, for me, on how it’s done–as a reader. As a writer, I do what works. I’ve written some heroines I didn’t think were slutty but other people did. I’ve written one heroine that I know is a slut (in KINK) but I liked her and I think I gave her good reason for being the way she was. 😉

  2. Karin

    🙂 did Raine blog about the same thing? What is her blog site addy?

  3. LaDonna

    Cool blog, Karin. Okay, I’m with you on this one. I don’t want my characters bed-hopping either. lol. I want the emotional committment. I love serious heat, just not multiple partners. And I feel old-fashioned on this one. I don’t want to read about groupies, either. Maybe because one man is enough for me? I have written a border-line slut before. But, she’s dead in the prologue, and grows from the experience. Slutty behaviour, I guess, would be someone who goes out to “use someone” without a care for his feelings, or others involved. A hooker would be nasty too. lol.

  4. Karin

    I jumped over to Raines’ blog, and she made a comment re: the word slut is outdated. I think it may be. I mean in todays society girls are throwing theselves at men. My sons are a perfect example. The beat girls awawy with a stick! (most of the time) I’m shocked by the casualness of sex amongst them. For young adults today it seems like just something you do to pass the time. The term ‘friends with benefits’ still amazes me. But to be in tune with the market as writers, do we go with the flow? Or for those of us who keep the girls in only one bed, will we eventualy lose readers? I understand the majority of readers are baby boomers, but one day that tide will change. I’m wondering how much I’ll change with it.

  5. Theresa

    Slutty heroines are a complete and total turn off to me.

    I think it’s because the sex becomes meaningless. Nothing more substantial than a game of bowling or a game of baseball. Once you’ve removed the emotion, you’ve removed the romance as well. Love scene/sex scenes should carry a great deal of vulerability–because the characters are opening themselves to a certain extent. But only if their emotions are involved.

    If you give me a heroine that sleeps with anything that catches her interest, I don’t trust that her feelings are geniune for the hero. I don’t trust that she is feeling anything more for the hero than she felt for the dozens of other guys she has sleep with. Nor do I trust that if she does have feeling, that they will last.

    For me, the simple act of choosing to have sex with someone means that they are special. That there is something that sets them apart. I guess its why I like discriminating heroines.

  6. LaDonna

    Karin, I don’t envy you with all the gals hanging around your sons! It’s bad enough thinking of my two grandsons in years to come! I’ll be watching the gals like a hawk! lol And the market, maybe that’s why some authors write under two names? Your faithful readers will continue to read your stories. If you cross-over, they can choose to follow you there. Regardless, you’d still have them. Could you write those stories if your heart wasn’t in it? It’s hard enough writing a novel when your heart is. I’m sure some authors can do this. Something to think about, I guess.

  7. Karin

    Theresa, you nailed it. Sex without emotion. For me personaly and in my books there is no point to the sex.
    LaDonna, I do watch my sons, but I can’t be there all of the time. Knocking on wood they will be responsible. And in answer to your question, no, I coulnd’t write certain stories if my heart wasn’t in it.
    But, I think I could write a very sexy menage relationship story. That would be about as far as I could go. Right now.
    I’m a traditionalist in both my reading and wrting of romance.
    ‘Fuck buddies’, that’s another term I’ve heard, Raine. I need to add that one to my list, I forgot about it. And,no, I don’t believe a woman should deprive herself of sex if it’s just the act she wants. Thou, I can’t relate to that personaly, but I do believe in the old saying, ‘If it feels good do it.’ I mean if you have two consenting adults, and no one is going to be hurt why not? I just know for me, it’s not something I have ever been interested in.
    I must be getting better with age, because, and I am sorry and very embarrassed to admit this, there was a time I would have thought less of a woman for it, but not now.
    My dad has a saying, and it’s one we’ve all heard, ‘Until you’ve walked a mile in a person’s shoes you are not qualified to make a judgement on them.’
    But you brought up a great point in your blog. I do believe the word slut is antiquated.

  8. raine

    Great idea for a blog, Karin! (lmao!!).

    There are a lotta layers to this. I’ve known ladies who have “f*ck buddies” (or ‘friends with benefits’ as you call them) simply because they want to enjoy sex, but don’t have or haven’t met a man who involves them emotionally. Both parties are consenting adults. Should they deprive themselves of sex just because they haven’t met the right guy?
    Most of my heroines are also experienced…but they’re more than ready to settle in once “the one” comes along. That’s the romantic in me.
    But maybe purely erotic stories that lay no claim to being ‘romances’ can be different.
    And I’m not sure where the line lies between being “sexually liberated” and “sluttish”.

  9. May

    I do think that it’s antiquated.

    The way I see it, if nobody gets hurt (emotionally), then why not?

  10. Cece

    Oops Karin I guess you found Raine’s blog–sorry! LOL

    To me, a slut is indiscriminate. And I’ll admit, I’m as old-fashioned as Karin is. However *blush* I prefer to write sexually confident women, this means they’re comfortable with themselves sexually. I still think you can write a sexually adventurous heroine and have her not be a slut. I think the key is for the writer to ask themself “what does this sex scene accomplish?”

  11. Kristi

    I, too, think Theresa nailed it. Sex without emotion kills my interest in a book. None of my heroines are virginal, they know what to do and how to do it and they aren’t ashamed of that…but they do draw the line..none of them has f&@k buds, nor would they want them. For them, sex is more than the act. Now do they think every guy they’re in lust with is The One? Nope. Do they only hop into bed once a guy has proposed? Not hardly. They enjoy sex, want sex and with The One, the relationship outgrows the hot monkey luvin’.

    The characters that really drive me nutso, though, are the “good girls” who think becoming that becoming a “slut” is the only way to reinforce her individuality/strength. Yeesh!

  12. Karin

    Mai let’s get a petition to do away with the word.
    Cece,indiscriminate is another good term in the description.
    Kristi, all good points. Especially the ‘hot monkey luvin”one.

  13. Amanda

    This is a hard concept to wrap my brain around. My only advice as a young woman was, “You wait until you get married, then you act like you like it.” It has been really hard to write experienced, liberated women in my stories with that echoing in the back of my head. LOL

  14. Cece

    Amanda my mom’s advice was Don’t. But she forgot to tell me what to Don’t 😉

  15. Edie Ramer

    LOL, Cece. My mother never mentioned sex at all. Interesting post and comments. I agree there has to be emotional involvement, even in a threesome. One of my protags in my wip brings home a guy she just met, and it’s clear that she’s done this before. But it never gets into a sex scene and that’s the last time she does something like that in the book. She’s unemotional when the book starts, and when she gets in touch with her emotions, she stops the casual sex.

  16. Karin

    Amanda, you’ve come a long way baby, drown out those echoes!
    Cece, –so you–didn’t?
    Edie, my mom was very open about sex. I asked her what the word fuck meant when I was in the 4th grade. She told me, showed me pics too, from a medical book. Explained it all. I was okay with all of that until she told me that sometimes people who loved each other did it for fun. My 8 year old brain couldn’t wrap around that. What was worse was, me not making the connection between her and my father ‘doing it’. lol, I finaly asked her, “But I understand how everyone else has babies, but how did *you and dad* have me?”
    She said, “We made love.” I ran screaming from the room and couldn’t look at my father for months.

  17. Cece

    *snicker* it was very short and to the point and “lets not talk about this again” which would make another interesting blog topic 😉

  18. Karin

    How funny. Sometimes we parents can be so uptight.
    When our youngest asked what ‘reproduction’ meant I panicked. Hubby calmly replied, “It’s when you make more of the same thing.” My son smiled, nodded and went on his merry way. And here I was ready to give ‘the speech.’

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