Sex & Bullying
Who of you were bullied as a teen? I certainly was, despite being pretty “popular”. My bully came in the form of a “best friend”. She bullied me to my face and by spreading malicious rumours behind my back which extended far beyond my school (though this is understandable as my hometown is full of boring gossips, even now).
The scars of this experience haven’t been particularly prevalent in my life at all, since I permanently left my hometown at such a young age. Really they haven’t plagued me in the slightest and I hardly think of them. The only reason I have been pondering my high school days recently is because I’m currently totally hooked on the show Sex Education (I’m binge-watching it now in advance of Jemima Kirke’s introduction to season three).
All of this televised immersion in the world of teenage sexuality has had me reflect on my own experiences. When I was in my early teens, this “best friend” character started to tell people that I’d had sex, when I hadn’t. She then started elaborating on this, telling more and more people more and more rubbish. Another “friend” got in on it too. This friend thought it was funny, saying “people think you’ve slept with so and so, haha.” She even wrote this all over my notebook during a maths class, only to have my mother find said notebook later that evening and berate me for it. Again, I hadn’t even had sex.
Feeling rather hard done by that Gillian Anderson isn't my Mum. Image from Pinterest.
Because of this behaviour I fell out with the “best friend” character, my bully. Instead I started befriending older girls, weirder girls (in other words cooler girls) and girls who didn’t go to my school - these particular girls seemingly more mature due to their public, co-ed education. This only enhanced the rumours that came from my bully’s mouth. Because I was befriending girls who were sexually active it meant I was on a sexual rampage, right? Wrong! I was just innocently sitting on the sidelines, smoking cigarettes!
My bully cyber-bullied me too, in the days of Bebo (imagine that!). My only protector being the daughter of a rather famous actor from my hometown (remember my school was posh). My protector was an odd girl, much more mature and worldly than any of us, living on the edge. With famous parents in a town like Christchurch she was a gossip target too, much more than me in fact (bit of googling and I’m sure you can figure who her father is).
Sex and teenhood do and don’t go hand in hand. Personally I didn’t feel I’d come into my sexual own until my early-mid twenties - this being a result of intense body insecurity in my younger years, and a lack of experience as I didn’t really have a proper relationship until age 23. Which is all totally fine. But as anyone who’s been a teen knows, the obsession with sex, virginity, rumours and bodies is sooo prevalent during those formative years. Even reflecting on it now is anxiety-inducing.
Don’t get me wrong either, I love shagging! Like, I LOVE it. Call me a slag and I’ll call you vanilla right back, darling. I am aware that I have an exceptionally high sex drive and a drawer full of Agent Provocateur. I am more than happy for this to be a part of my identity because it’s genuinely a part of who I am. Plus, now that I’m newly single, I can’t wait to get back on it (as soon as I’ve had my second Pfizer shot, that is). On a covid-safe walk recently I even asked a friend if her middle-aged, retired punk, fabulous husband had a friend who might fancy bonking me after lockdown - she replied with a side eye! I would also never judge a person for their sexual preferences, as long as consent is at the core of their practise. Just think of me as the voluptuous version of Gillian Anderson.
My name is Charlotte, I have a drawer full of Agent Provocateur and I love shagging! Image by Tigz Rice.
I’m also not saying I’m a saint. I was mean too, at times. I was especially mean to my younger sisters (partly due to certain aspects of the parenting I received but I WONT go there now). I was mean to some of my friends, during certain moments. All of it. Teenage girls are bitches sometimes, just as grown ups can be. And I did come of age during the time of dreadful celebrity gossip and movies like Mean Girls being the epicentre of pop culture - telling impressionable and often unhappy youths like myself that mean equaled cool.
However none of the above is reason to spread falsities about a person. The irony of the nasty rumours my bully spread about me was I really didn’t start having proper, regular, any-bit-sordid sex until I was about 19 - well past high school. Up until then I only had sex a handful of times, basically with my clothes on, worlds away from the raunchy woman I’ve become. I certainly wasn’t sexually active at age 14, when she started to spread those stories about me (not that there’s anything wrong with having consensual, safe sex when you’re 14). Booze, 100% yes, drugs, sometimes, cigarettes, all the time, illegal tattoo, unfortunately yes (that I completely regret), but sex, nope!
I look at the girl who bullied me now and can see she’s always been, and always will be, a deeply unhappy individual. She wanted to bring people down with her - why should anyone else be happy when she clearly wasn’t? Though this fact is sort of sad, I’m completely of the belief that happiness is a choice, and more than that cruelty is a choice. She’s blocked on all social media accounts of mine still. I forgive her in one sense but can’t help but want to protect my teenage self, and therefore I still harbour some resentments. I also know for a fact that I’m far from her only victim.
I just hope that the next generation surpass this kind of gutter behaviour. It’s just plain cruel, end of. And when the people who suffered at the hands of a teenage bully grow older they might end up watching a Netflix show about teenagers and have their scars flood back out of nowhere. Gen Z inspire me daily with their inclusivity online, I do just hope it’s genuine. Nobody really feels all that comfortable in themselves as a teenager. That’s totally natural, normal and OK - I mean your hormones are off the fucking charts! But it’s all the more reason to go easy on your peers when you’re young.
So be nice, block the bitches, and happy shagging (or wanking if you’re STILL in lockdown like me). xx