This story has topics that not all readers might be comfortable with, specifically, sexual coercion or assault. I have sat on this interview for a long time because I was nervous about publishing something that showed the darker side of sex ed but the thing is, TJ is far from alone with her experience. A lot of kids learn about sex from abusive family members, neighbors or friends. If we want to talk about how our sexual education prepares us for our life as sexual adults, we can’t ignore this side just because it’s uncomfortable. This story doesn’t focus on that experience too much, but it is mentioned.
If you are in the mood for it, I encourage you to read this story and comment or email me about what you think. If you would rather sit this one out, come back in two weeks for more of our normal programming.
TJ from Australia
I used to spend a lot of time with my cousins when I was a kid. We would all get together at my grandma’s house and spend the night or the weekend there. When I was quite young, younger than ten for sure, I would hang out a lot with my female cousin. When we were at my grandmas, we would pull this life-sized Pink Panther stuffed animal out of the cupboard and play with it. I think it was from my mom and her siblings when they were kids. My grandma kept all of these old toys in this room with all sorts of other ridiculous things.
My cousin and I would sometimes put the Pink Panther’s tail between its legs and make it look like a cock. We just thought it was funny. At some point, we started to grind up against the Pink Panther and it’s weird tail penis. Afterwards, we would immediately put it back in the cupboard and pretend like it never happened.
At one point, we also tried grinding against each other. We knew if my grandma caught us, we would be in trouble so we were super careful and incredibly quiet.
When my cousin wasn’t there, I would put the Pink Panther in the bed with me like it was a person and make it spoon me. Thankfully, I never got caught with it. I was so embarrassed that as soon as I woke up, I would quickly put it back in the cupboard before anyone else woke up.
My parents got divorced when I was pretty young and one of the things that I know was a big part of why my parents didn’t work out was my dad was addicted to porn. He used to have this room with all of his computers. One computer the family could play on, one was for his video games and one was for his porn. My mom would always tell me not to go upstairs because my dad was up on the computer. She knew what was going on. Of course, there were still a lot of times I would accidentally walk in on him. This was also back when you had to pay for porn, so my mom got stuck paying off his subscriptions in order to get him out of her house.
After my parents got divorced, I lived with my mom and would spend weekends at my dads. The first woman my dad dated had a son that was one year younger than me. They were together for five years and while most of the time, especially at the beginning, this boy and I constantly fought, after a few years, we started fooling around. It started out with just flirting and then somehow, it started being grabby. We would hide under the bed at night and we would kiss and he would rub my breasts, even though I didn’t actually have breasts. I also remember I saw his penis and I was surprised because it didn’t look like I thought it would.
I think we maybe got the idea from watching a sex scene in a movie with my dad. We used to watch a lot of movies with sexy things going on, my dad would just say, “cover your eyes kids.” But we always saw what was going on.
I think our parents might have known because his mom was always weird towards me and I don’t think my dad ever really liked him either. Eventually, they broke up and I have no idea what happened to them.
As I said, I would spend a lot of time at my grandmas growing up and I had three cousins that would often be there with me, the girl and two boys. I was particularly close with the middle cousin, I always looked up to him. He was an amazing actor, doing all of this creative stuff that I thought was really interesting. The last time I went to my mom’s house, I found my old “spirituality journal” from when I was a kid and there was all of this stuff about how my cousin was my favorite person in the world.
Sometimes when we would stay at my grandmas, she would put up a tent in the back yard and put us all out there. She didn’t think anything of it because we were all so young. I was probably ten or eleven and my cousins were not too much older. I didn’t remember this until quite recently, but there was one night I was out in the tent with the two male cousins. The oldest one is gay and we all knew from really early on. He was asleep next to us and the middle cousin that I looked up to so much made me grab his penis and wank it. I remember him coming and thinking what in the hell is this hot stuff in my hand? Then I ran out of the tent.
I was at his baby’s baptism recently and I wondered if he remembered this or not. He and his wife have been strange towards me in the last years, but that might just be because they don’t like what I do for work. I have been working as a stripper and my family isn’t exactly supportive of it. I sort of want to speak to my cousin about it but I don’t know. It’s hard to know if he remembers too but there is always this strange way he looks at me.
My auntie is the only person in my family that I feel I could talk to about something like this. She is a sexual health guidance counselor at a high school. I thought about talking to her about it since maybe she could help, but it’s her son. It’s not like I want to talk to her about it because I am fucked up over it but just because I remembered it.
Also around the same time, when I was ten, I had my first pash at the church where my cousin’s baby was later baptized. A pash is what we call a kiss with tongue. Everyone would go to the church for their first pash and everyone would come to watch everyone else do their pash. It wasn’t a private thing; it was very public. A kind of tribal thing.
I had a crush on this weenie little guy named Tyler and we had our first pash outside of the church. He was my boyfriend and we would talk on the phone every night. I remember one time he asked me, what would you do if I walked in on you naked in the bathroom? I said I would probably get on the ground and roll into a ball and hide.
Later, I told my friend about this conversation and that Tyler told me that he got a bonie (US translation- boner) during the conversation. One of the girls yelled really loud out of nowhere, “what’s a bonie?” My friend’s mom snapped around and yelled, “you girls shouldn’t be talking about that!”
Sadly, Tyler and I broke up after our second kiss because I apparently bit his lip and made it bleed. I wanted to do it quickly because I was about to miss the bus so we had a quick kiss then I ran off. The next day, he wouldn’t talk to me. I was so excited, kissing my boyfriend in front of everyone but it still ended so badly.
After primary school, we separated into a Catholic boys and girls school. They were on the same street but still separate. The school was pretty conservative about uniforms and things like showing your knees. We even had a rule that if you bring carrots to school, they need to be cut up into sticks. They couldn’t be whole.
We did have sex ed, which is kind of surprising. It was a lot of fun actually because it was one of my best mates mom who taught it. She looked like Pamela Anderson, this hot thing with fake tits. She told us that getting an STI was way worse than getting pregnant because an STI is with you for life. I realized then that safer sex was really important but the emphasis on not getting pregnant was muted compared to the importance of not getting an STI.
I was one of the first girls in my school to have sex, so I had quite a reputation. One day, the boy I was dating from the boys’ school tried to fuck me in the ass without my consent and I broke up with him over it. Then, he lied and told everyone in his school that we had anal sex.
I was always safe about it but I was a horny girl. I didn’t try to masturbate but I did have vibrators. One day I threw a house party and two boys stole one of the vibrators and took it back to their school. After these two situations, I couldn’t date anyone from that school ever again. I decided not to have sex for another couple of years because of the bullying and shaming that I received.
Boys used to yell at me from across the school yard when I got out of my car, screaming “TJ, give us a BJ!” And they would do shit to my car, put foam on it and condoms and stuff; even if my family was home. I would wake up and there would be shit on my car. Everyone would just write it off as well, boys will be boys. Even when my first boyfriend cheated on me, my grandmother told me, “well that’s what boys do” and I was like what??! What kind of a message is that for young girls?
It’s hard in high school because as soon as you are sexual, you are a slut. There is no middle ground for girls.
I wish my parents had given me a better education regarding sex and relationships. We were always joking about sex but never had serious conversations about it and how I, as a young woman, should navigate that space.