There is undeniably a growing trend, in which men and boys also can be labeled “sluts” which is often cited as proof that the term “slut” is not gendered, therefore not sexist. However, when examined within the framework of cultural context and the sexual double standard, it is clear that the usage of the term when applied to men is different than when it is applied to women.
First and foremost, the term “slut” was originally term that applied exclusively to women and only later was the definition encompassed to allow for the inclusion of men. Because of that, “slut” without any qualifiers or context implies a woman or girl. Indeed, in order to specify that it is a man (not a woman) who is being referenced, “male” will often be appended for clarity.
Also worthy of not are the differing definitions of a “slut” (note: the vast majority of the definitions on Urban Dictionary specify female) versus a “male slut”, which according to Urban Dictionary, “is one who prowls a regular bar to lure coyote-ugly women home for selfish reasons.”
However, even in instances where the person in question takes care to use “slut” in a gender neutral way ands apply it evenly across genders, the culture and social weight behind the word means that its impact is not, and cannot, be equivalent:
“The problem is that when we use the word “slut” to describe men, even if we’re using it as a term meaning they’re not appropriately careful with who they do the deed with, we’re still not using it consistently with how the word is used in regards to women.
When we “reclaim”1 the word slut to use it against men, it tends to get used to criticise a habit. But when we use the word slut to describe a woman, it’s almost always understood as a dismissal of what she’s saying, what she’s doing, or even of her worth to the speaker as a person. There is no such undertone for men- if men have “bad” sexual habits, that’s mostly viewed as some private failing. (Unless you’re a politician and you get caught at it).”
For reasons such as those given above, the application of “slut” to men does not negate the sexual double standard, nor does it take away the ability of the term to slut-shame, and therefore harm women.