Study Guide

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Sex

By Stephen Chbosky


Part 1, Chapter 2

Over the summer, [Susan] got a little taller and prettier and grew breasts. Now, she acts a lot dumber in the hallways, especially when boys are around. (1.2.2)

Sound familiar? We all know someone like this. We here at Shmoop having nothing against puberty, but come on, Susan—be classy.

Part 1, Chapter 4
Mary Elizabeth

"You pervert." (1.4.18) (1.10.25)

Charlie's sister says this to him twice: once when he inadvertently witnesses a date rape, and another time when he accidentally walks in on her having sex with her boyfriend. Neither of these events were his fault, but she still calls him a pervert. What gives?

Part 1, Chapter 8

Masturbation is when you rub your genitals together until you have an orgasm. Wow! (1.8.2)

So that's what that Divinyls song means… Thanks for the clarification there, Charlie.

I told Sam that I dreamt that she and I were naked on the sofa, and I started crying because I felt bad. (1.8.5)

Relationship advice: don't tell someone you just met that you had a sex dream about her. You might cry, too. Because you've been slapped. With a restraining order.

Part 2, Chapter 13

My aunt Helen was molested. I hate that word. (2.13.8)

Charlie gets exposed to pretty much all the negative sides of sex. Aunt Helen's molestation in particular leads to a very traumatic situation for Charlie.

Part 3, Chapter 5

The erection made me feel guilty in hindsight though, but I guess it couldn't be helped. (3.5.26)

Charlie is having a completely normal physiological reaction to getting a compliment from someone who is attracted to him. But his past experience turns something that should be a little pleasurable into a source of guilt.

Part 3, Chapter 8

Each [cover] had a smiling face, and every time it was a woman on the cover, she was showing her cleavage. (3.8.3)

Even in the '90s, sex was everywhere. It's not just Charlie's family and friends who expose him to sexuality—just walking past a newsstand can do it, too.

Part 4, Chapter 5

After a while, the whole [hooking-up] thing just wasn't interesting to [Patrick] anymore, and he ran out of things to keep himself numb. (4.5.24)

Patrick uses sex with strangers as an escape in the same way that he uses drugs and alcohol. This kid never heard the phrase "safety first."

Part 4, Chapter 14

It was like everything made sense. Until she moved her hand under my pants, and she touched me. [...] It felt good actually. [But] I didn't know what was wrong. (4.14.51-54)

This should be a wonderful, pleasurable moment for Charlie, something that he's been secretly wanting since the moment he met Sam. But because of his history, it causes a lot of repressed memories to come gushing to the surface.


I kind of figured out that everything I dreamt about my aunt Helen was true. (Epilogue.4)

Charlie had repressed memories of his molestation so strongly that he had no idea it even happened. This revelation explains a lot of Charlie's unorthodox attitudes toward sex.

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