A study found girls lose friends after having sex, but boys are congratulated for it. And I should know – it was my reality.
I was in year nine when my friends started bullying me into having sex. We’d be sitting around a table and they’d ridicule me for ‘still’ being a virgin, like it was a shameful thing for me to still have my virginity in tact at the ripe old age of 14.
There’s a double standard when it comes to sex that somehow still exists in the 21st century. While boys – yes, they’re just boys – are hailed as heroes if they have sex at a young age, girls are treated to comments like ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ for engaging in a consensual act with someone the same age.
A study coming out of Pennsylvania State University found that girls who have sex ‘too young’ are bullied by friends and acquaintances, while sexually active boys actually gained friends.
It sounds stupid, and it is. Sex is an act that involves the organs of two people. The idea that one gender is treated differently because of this is outdated and offensive. But it was my reality.
When I turned 15, I had had enough of the bullying, the inadvertent comments from ‘friends’. I had waited long enough, the girls I thought were my friends were constantly asking me when I was going to have sex, I was sick of being a punchline in a joke I didn’t understand. Why was I being bullied into losing my virginity? I didn’t particularly want to lose it – and all these years later, I still regret my decision a little bit.
I knew a boy – barely – and we had planned to have sex one night at his house. There was no foreplay, no removal of clothing, I don’t even remember kissing him. After it ended, he laughed and I left. I remember running into him the next day and seeing him high five his friends as he talked about bad it was.
I was humiliated.
That was it. The year-long lead up of relentless bullying had led to me being fucked by a stranger who couldn’t give a shit about me or my feelings. He was hailed as a hero, I was left feeling dirty.
Still, I had accomplished what I set out to do. I went back to school and couldn’t wait to tell the group. Finally, I’d be accepted by them. Finally, they’d respect me.
The opposite happened. Instead of embracing me, they lashed out. I was a slut, I was told, for losing my virginity with some random. For not waiting until I met someone that I really liked, even loved. For doing exactly what they had wanted me to do.
First it was the sniggering. Then the name-calling. Then the rumours and the social media shaming. That was the worst part of it, I think. The fact that the people I thought were my friends had decided to publicly slut-shame me for making a decision about my body that they had essentially forced me into, while the guy I slept with got off with a high-five from his mates and one more notch on his already-quite-full belt.
My first time was bad, sure. But I don’t blame my friends for that. I was a consenting individual – at least, as consenting as a 15-year-old can be – so if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine. And while I look back on the night I lost my virginity with sadness, regret and slight disgust, the way I was treated afterwards – and the way many other women are treated who do the same – taught me the most valuable lesson of all.
Don’t let anyone dictate the way you feel about yourself, your choices and your body. It’s only yours, not theirs.
*Editors note: The author of this post is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous.
Were you bullied in school?