Someone recommended Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston to me. It's erotica FYI--not really sure if this is the place for questions about that, but I thought I would try anyway. The main character has this obsession with the words slut and whore, and I'm starting to find it annoying

She glanced over at the clock on her night table. She still had a couple of hours before she had to be into work, but she just couldn’t face Zach when he woke up. He would, naturally, think her a big ol’ slut. Probably want to pass her around to his friends. And she couldn’t really blame him. She hadn’t merely thrown herself at the guy. She’d practically tackled him. The thought made her cheeks burn.


Finally she loosened her grip on him. But, to his surprise, she wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned her forehead against his chest. “When, exactly, did I become such a fucking whore?”

Now Zach was completely confused. “What are you talking about?”

“Me. I’m a whore.” Zach wasn’t sure if she wanted him to start calling her that during sex or if she was serious. Instead of potentially sending her spiraling into depression, he decided to go with her possibly being serious.

“Do you do this sort of thing with everybody in town?”

“No!” She looked up at him, completely insulted.

“Then you’re not a whore. Psychotic? Absolutely. Whore? No.

The main character appears to use the words "slut" and "whore" on every single page.

The Goodreads reviews are a mixed bag: some people seem to like the book and some people don't. The reviews that don't like the book all seem to mention the main character's use of the words "slut" and "whore". The reviews that are positive don't seem to mention it at all. I'm trying to understand the perspective of people who don't find this annoying.

Why does the main character use these words so frequently?


I am answering from work, so the research I can do to "prove" this is fairly limited, nor can I provide any specific anecdotal evidence to back this up. So, take both of those statements into consideration when reading my answer.

A major thematic element within BDSM erotica (and I assume, reality) is the use/appeal(?) of humiliation.The person in the dominant role may use humiliation to make the person in the submissive role feel "small" or feel as if s/he relies on the dominant person to make them feel valued.*

In addition, people who practice BDSM sometimes call it "power exchange". This reflects the fact that the submissive person is giving up control of his/her sexual experience to the dominant partner, giving the dominant person all of the power within the sexual relationship. The submissive person actually experiences pleasure from feeling as if s/he has no control over his/her sexual experience.

Both the words "slut" and "whore" evoke a similar lack of sexual control on the part of the to whom the word is directed. A "slut" could be defined as someone who enjoys sex so much, or whose libido is so strong that s/he has a difficult time saying no to sexual experiences. A whore might be defined as someone who is willing to do whatever their customer pays for. In either case, these two specific words suggest a person who has limited power over their own sexual encounters.

Although I have not read "Pack Challenge," I imagine that readers who respond positively to BDSM and/or sexual humiliation would probably have minor or positive reactions to the use of these words within the book. But those readers who do not find those things sexually appealing probably perceive the words as simply insulting, negative and unappealing.

*In hopes of avoiding negative comments before they occur, let me point out that BDSM frequently relies on roleplaying, and as such may have very little in common with how the participants treat or feel about each other in non-sexual situations. In other words, a sexually submissive person might get incredible pleasure from feeling as if their wants, needs and value is completely dependent on the desires of their dominant partner. Outside of sexual situations, that submissive person could easily be completely self-confident, assertive and emotionally secure, regardless of how s/he is treated by the dominant person.

  • 1
    I've not read the book, but this interpretation doesn't seem to sit well with the passages quoted in the question. The character gives more of an impression of surprising herself with her behaviour than feeling unworthy.
    – Spagirl
    Oct 13 '17 at 9:10

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