I was talking recently, with a couple of pre-teen girls. (Not in a creepy way. It was a dinner of several families, including one of the girls’ parents.) They taught us grownups the word “thirsty.” Apparently, it means “wanting to have sex.” In a vaguely derogatory way.

They have a friend, a boy, whose standards are low. He is, they said, thirsty.

One can be thirsty for things other than sex, apparently (videogames, clothes), but the default object of thirst is sex.

I like this word.

It is distinct from “horny,” which also means “wanting to have sex,” in that it includes the connotation of somewhat relaxed standards, and seems to capture “slutty” without quite the judge-y edge. It’s not that “thirsty” isn’t judgmental – it is. It’s just that the judgment is devoid of explicit moral content, and is to be more about aesthetics.

Someone who is thirsty might allow her or his thirst to be quenched by someone not quite up to the group’s standards. It’s not that s/he is morally lax. It’s that s/he allows her or his sexual hunger (or, I guess, thirst) to win out over the standards the group imagines s/he should have.

Said differently, a slut has sex with too many people. Someone who’s thirsty simply has sex with the wrong people.

I’m not sure, but I think this is a (half) step in a good direction.

Now, we just need to get rid of judgment altogether, and say that when we have sex with people our friends might not choose for us, we are “lucky.”

That’s how I see it.


  1. Also : PREteens talking about a friend of theirs being thirsty, in a sexual way? Wow!! Hope he’s quite older than they are!

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