Monday, May 4, 2009

Sluts and Studs

I've done several versions of this limited edition artist's book titled Sluts and Studs (and its companion, Tomcats and Trollops, which shows vintage photos of couples). I'm not the first artist/writer to explore the dichotomy between male/female sexual language, but it continues to fascinate. The images are from the 40s and 50s, and most of the language harks from an even earlier era. A sexually prolific man is a Stud, Romeo, Ladies' Man, or at worst, a Tomcat, Rake, and Womanizer. He is to be admired, or just a bit naughty.

Sexually active ladies are called, on the other hand, Slut, Tramp, Nymphomaniac, or variations on prostitute: Tart, Floozy, Strumpet. The dictionary definitions, which I've designed as part of the endpapers, only emphasize the contrast in language even more.

There still seems no term for a woman who is sexually active in a healthy sort of way, the female version of stud, perhaps. A recent movie (I Love You, Man) used the more recent word, Cougar, which I understand refers to a sexy older woman, but I'm not sure it has a positive connotation to it; there is a tinge of the predatory about it. If anyone knows of some recent sexual terminology along these lines, please let me know. It's a subject I'd like to continue to explore through my artwork.


Ursula said...

Tiger? Sex Goddess?

L.E. said...

I have a bit of hero-worship for you, Nava.
There are two terms I've heard recently (24 years old) 1 is a sex kitten, which I think is a bit annoying. Another is "Samantha"-- like from Sex in the City! Context: "she's fun to go out with and has a different guy every week but everything is very casual. She's the Samantha in the group."

Eileen Williams said...

I'd like to add my own hero-worship to the comment above. I am absolutely blown away by the range of creativity you express and the topics you choose to explore.
Of course, I've long been aware of the differences in how the genders are perceived. But your list of adjectives describing sexual references laid it out all too clearly. Then, if you add terms for women who are sexually reluctant or shy, you get " frigid, uncaring, icy, tease" and more. WOW! Do we still have a long way to go!