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A Collegiette's Guide to Life
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    Friends with benefits (FWB) has morphed into a taboo subject for many collegiettes. When you’re home on holiday break or just talking to your mom on the phone, potential significant others always seem to sneak their way into the conversation. That hot guy or girl from all the Facebook photos? Out of embarrassment or another cringe-worthy emotion, you’re forced to tell a fib. “We’re just friends.” Yes, that much is true, but there’s added advantages that come with being friends with the hot guy or girl from all the Facebook photos. Despite the small details you’ll probably have to keep from the family (unless you’re super close), FWB can be more than just regular hookups. The non-sexual benefits can help you learn about yourself and improve your day-to-day life, given the relationship’s relaxed nature.

    1. Gain experience without the emotional complications

    We all come into college with different levels of sexual experience. Some of us lost our virginity in high school, while some of us still dream of our first kiss with a Liam Hemsworth or Gigi Hadid look-alike. Whatever your sexual experience is, FWB offers a unique solution to those of you who’d like to learn a thing or two without the emotional baggage. Erica*, a freshman at Temple University, believes that “FWB is a good first-hand experience to know what different things feel like. You can watch a sex scene in a movie or read about in a book, but if you’ve never had sex, it’s hard to fully understand your friends when they talk about it.”

    If your younger sister had sex before you, or your friends all talk about sex and you stay silent, it’s only natural that your inexperience will weigh heavier on your shoulders. As long as you’re okay with no-strings-attached sex, FWB can act as a learning experience. Especially if your partner is older or simply more experienced, they can teach you a thing or two before you get involved in a real relationship. You’ll feel more confident when the big time comes. If you’re a virgin and trying FWB for the first time, please be aware that you might become emotionally invested. Sometimes your brain and heart don’t agree.  

    2. Work around busy schedules

    It’s possible you haven’t had a full eight hours of sleep in a while. Writing essays, finishing problem sets, and last-minute cramming have become ingrained in everyday life. Even though you’re not stuck in high school for seven hours straight anymore, it seems like learning to function in college takes twice as much effort and energy. If you’re one of the many who doesn’t have time for a full-time relationship, FWB might be the perfect solution. Rachel Petty, a graduate of James Madison University, says, “Sometimes having a FWB can be a lot of fun! You get the perks of a hookup without any commitment. If you’re okay with it not turning into something more, there’s no reason not to. Just make sure you’re both on the same page!” To avoid any miscommunication or unrealistic expectations, listen to Rachel’s advice and make sure you and your FWB understand one another. If they're not around and you want to meet up multiple times a week, some problems may arise.

    3. Fill the physical affection void

    No matter how hot your cardboard cutout of your favorite movie star may be, he or she isn’t going to be very comfortable to cuddle with at night. College is a strange place for physical affection. Sometimes you can go for weeks at a time without a hug (especially in the beginning) or you can become a permanent chair for your bestie. It all depends on how touchy feely you are and how close you are with the people around you. Even if you’re the type of person who needs a constant five-foot radius of personal space, there’s always a night when you crave intimacy of some sort. Anna*, a sophomore at Stanford University, says, “From first hand experience, I know that being single can be tough if you’re having a particularly stressful day. Yes, a hug from a friend can help or a phone call home, but there’s something about having a FWB on speed dial that’s exhilarating and comforting at the same time.” Instead of ordering a pizza, order a steamy session with your FWB.

    Related: 5 Signs Your Friends-With-Benefits Relationship Isn’t Working

    4. Learn about sexual likes and dislikes

    Although FWB can be a way for inexperienced collegiettes to get the gist of all things sexual, it can also be a way to experiment. If you want to go Fifty Shades of Grey-style, find someone who’d fulfill that fantasy! There’s no limit to what you can try out. In past relationships, your partner may have set sexual boundaries, while you wanted to go further. Use FWB as a means of expanding your skillset, like discovering how to have fantastic oral sex. Scarlett*, a freshman at Georgia Tech, explains, “FWB is a good way to figure out what you want in a non-serious setting. It’s an easygoing environment through which you can really experiment with things and find what you’re comfortable with, what you like, and what’s definitely off the table.” Remember, your sexual pleasure and health are the most important. It’s totally okay to be selfish in this situation—just make sure you have consent first.

    5. Strengthen a previously platonic friendship

    Even though FWB is typically known to mess up or make friendships awkward, it can also have the adverse effect. Think about it—if both of you are clear with one another, mutual understanding is at an all time high. Paige*, a junior at Stanford University, says, “It’s funny because my FWB and I started out just talking to one another. We both had very similar interests and one night I was feeling particularly stressed while doing homework in his room. He offered to lay with me and it soon turned steamy. We both agreed before having sex that it was just sex, nothing more. The trust between us has definitely gotten stronger because we promised to let each other know when we’re interested romantically in someone else.” For the relationship to work smoothly, a certain level of maturity has to be present.

    If you’ve watched a number of Hollywood blockbusters depicting the crash-and-burn reputation of FWB, we’re suggesting you keep an open mind. It’s true that FWB isn’t for everyone and sometimes friendships end up ruined, but it’s a chance to explore another type of relationship. Whether you’re the the president of every club and don’t have time for a commitment or you’re a virgin and want to know what sex is all about, FWB offers the flexibility and versatility you might want. You'll never know if it’s a good option if you don’t give it a chance.

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    In relationships, you can always expect a few bumps in the road. From disagreements about where to eat to bigger issues like cheating, unexpected fights happen all the time. At the end of the day, you make up with bae and move on. But what happens with the big fights that bother you even after you’ve kissed and made up? Even though you tell your SO that you accepted their apology and have forgiven them for what they’ve done to you, sometimes you could be lying to yourself.

    1. It hurts when mutual friends are hanging out with them and not you

    When you’re in a relationship, sometimes your friends become their friends and vice versa. When fights happen and you’re at home dwelling on what you could have said and your boo is out with your mutual friends, it can make you feel like your friends picked him over you.

    Ciara Clemons, a sophomore at the College of Charleston, says, “For me, the idea of him hanging out with people that you're both friends with hurts you. It’s super trivial but I think it’s definitely a sign that you’re still hurt and almost a bit betrayed that your friends would pick him over you.”

    If they’re good friends to the both of you, they will make time for the both of you, but sometimes friendships get confusing when relationship fights are involved. But, if you’re jealous of him for hanging out with your friends or feel like he’s doing it to spite you, it may be a discussion for the whole group to have.

    2. Seeing them in person is awkward, to say the least

    We’ve all had those awkward encounters with ex-friends and ex-significant others, but what about the person you’re in a relationship with?  Those fun hangout sessions, dates or just running into each other on the street can be awkward post-fight or argument. If you feel yourself getting tense, not talking or find yourself way more interested in your phone than normal, maybe forgiveness hasn’t happened yet.

    “I'm the type of person who only sees the good in people, so when I'm blindsided by a guy, I physically don't want to see him,” says Emily Schmidt, a freshman at Stanford University. “If I see him walking down the street and he looks my direction, I'll stare straight ahead. The day I can wave and smile at him is the day I know I've forgiven him.”

    No matter how he has wronged you, try to work past the awkwardness and have fun. Forgiveness is a process and focusing on moving on through hanging out and having normal conversations can help, in some cases.

    Related: 27 Things Guys Do That Really Annoy Us

    3. You still get upset when you hear about them and what they’re doing

    With social media and mutual friends, it can be impossible to not hear about what everyone is doing at all times. If you made peace with your SO or simply just don’t care about what they’re doing, then seeing them on your friend’s Snapchat or hearing a story about him won’t bother you.

    Ashley Drayton, a graduate of Georgia State University, says, “I try to stay my distance, but if I'm constantly checking social media, or getting upset if I hear anything about him then I know whatever happened is still bothering me.”

    Your SO needs to get over the argument and have their space just as much as you do. If they’re on social media having a blast with their pals and you’re at wine night obsessing over what he’s doing, then you’re not enjoying your time apart. When shit hits the fan, going your separate ways for a night or two can help you both reflect on what happened and make peace with one another.

    4. You boycott the places they’re going to be

    If you get food poisoning at the sushi place or if you know that your ex-friend will be at that one party everyone’s going to, you probably boycott those places. It happens to everyone: sometimes there’s those places you just will not go under any circumstance. Even a fight with your SO can result in your boycotting, but it’s not always the best way to “get over” a fight.

    “I was talking to a boy in a fraternity, but he ended up being a jerk, so I've been refusing to go to socials that my sorority and his fraternity have, and things of that nature,” says Camila Mota, a sophomore at New Mexico State University. “I also refuse to go to any pool parties at the apartment complex he lives in.”

    Boycotting him can help create space between the two of you, but it can also keep you from having fun with your friends. When it comes to parties, socials and other big events, there'll be so many people there that you two may not even cross paths. Save the boycotting for bad hookups and ghosters, and use the tool of conversation for your bae.

    Whether it’s a fight with your current SO, a hookup gone bad or an ex, forgiveness takes time. You may think you’re over a situation or a fight, but at the end of the day, you could be holding onto the resentment. If time has passed and forgiveness doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards, you may have to go back to the root of the problem or fight and see if you will actually be able to work on it in order to have a healthy, successful relationship.

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    When you find yourself falling for someone you’ve been dating and the feelings seem mutual, you typically get excited to share your emotions with your SO. You want them to know you care about them, you enjoy their company and ultimately hope they feel the same way. But what do you do when you realize you’re with someone you don’t see a future with? Or maybe you simply aren’t looking for a relationship with anyone at the time. It’s never easy to tell someone you’re not invested in the same way they are, so we’re here to share some advice on how to make that conversation a little easier.

    Be honest

    Honesty goes a long way, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Navigating your own feelings can be difficult, but it’s not fair to drag someone along your emotional roller coaster. Juliet Goulet, a graduating senior at Bishop’s University, agrees that honesty is important no matter what the situation is. “Trying to make excuses or lie your way out of the conversation won’t help anyone. You’ll get mixed up and messed around and probably end up feeling guilty in the end,” she says. Being honest with your partner also means you’re being honest with yourself, which is all around an emotionally healthy way to live.

    Every partnership varies, which is why you should be upfront with your intentions once you figure them out. “It’s important to understand that single and taken aren’t binaries,” Juliet says. “There is so much in-between, and every situation is different. Just because you don’t want a relationship doesn’t mean that you don’t want something. The ‘I’m not looking for a relationship’ talk isn’t always necessarily a ‘let’s stop seeing each other’ talk.” You could truly enjoy your SO as a person and value your time together, but if the idea of being with them long-term just doesn’t seem to fit, you have to let them know. Who knows, maybe they’ll even be on the same page as you and you can continue to date without future expectations.

    Related: 7 Signs You Dodged a Bullet With Someone

    Help them understand your perspective

    If things seem to be going wonderfully and both partners are into one another, it can be difficult to explain that you’re simply not interested in a relationship. Today’s culture has normalized the casual dating/hookup culture, but that doesn’t always make letting someone down any easier. Megan Malaby, a recent graduate of Emmanuel College, shares how she handles these situations. “I always ask my partner to look at our relationship with me rationally and objectively,” she says. “In the situations I have been in, emotions are so high and we both feel especially impassioned and aren't able to think clearly. Once we both analyze our current positions considering us as two random people rather than ‘us,’ it's generally easier to make a clean break because we are able to identify the issues that are (generally) mutually felt.”

    You can genuinely care about your partner even if you don’t want to advance the relationship, which may feel like a lie to them at the time. It’s not your responsibility to lay out every single thought going on in your mind, but giving them reasoning allows for some peace of mind. If you’ve ever been let down by an SO, you can understand why elaborating is a kind thing to do.

    Define the relationship upfront

    Most collegiettes have been on both sides of heartbreak. Whether you’re the one getting your heart broken or letting someone else down, it’s never an enjoyable situation to part ways with someone you care about. If you’re entering a new partnership, however, and you already know you’re not in the long-term commitment state of mind, it’s smart to have this conversation fairly early on. Chelsea Jackson, a junior at Iowa State University, describes herself as “not-the-relationship type.” “If I'm the one to bring up that I'm not looking for a relationship shortly after meeting someone, then usually the other person ends up nagging me with tons of questions about why I don't like relationships or that I just haven't met the right person yet,” she says. “All of these questions are super annoying, so I've found that after I've gotten to know the person a little bit, it becomes simpler for me to ease them into the reality that I'm not looking for a relationship and that it's best to just keep things casual.” Sometimes having to explain yourself is frustrating, so rephrasing your thoughts can be beneficial. Relationships aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but being upfront can save some crushed hearts down the line.

    Don’t be ashamed of your decision

    Relationships take time, effort and constant commitment. Sometimes we aren’t ready for that big of a step in our lives, especially if we have a lot going on with ourselves. Chances are when you meet the right person, nothing will stop the two of you from being together. But until then, there’s nothing wrong with putting your needs first. “While you should be as honest as you can with your partner in terms of what you want, you don’t need to justify why you don’t want to be in a relationship,” Juliet says. “Sometimes it’s just a feeling or an attitude that you may have instead of any reason in specific and, while that could be hard for your partner to wrap their head around, it’s a personal choice that doesn’t need someone’s approval.”

    Your heart knows what it wants; it’s just a matter of listening to it. When you have the conversation about not wanting a relationship, it leaves your partner with many questions. You can answer and explain as you please, but it’s important to keep your sanity in mind, too. No good can come from prolonging a partnership that clearly has two different expectations for the near future.

    Dating can be tricky, messy and wonderful all at the same time. It’s okay to explore and get to know yourself in various ways through dates and partners. It’s expected at this age, honestly. Caring for another person means keeping their feelings in mind. If you aren’t looking for something serious but feel that they are, that’s a conversation you need to initiate. It’s never fun to feel like you’re letting somebody down, but in the long run it will save them more pain than they may be able to recognize right now. Be honest with yourself, and the rest will fall into place as it should.

    Follow Autumn K. Dube on Instagram.

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    An erection happens when blood rushes to the penis, making it firmer and enlarged. Think of it as a boner’s way of saying “hey” and giving you a thumbs up. They happen for a number of reasons, and there are a lot of factors that affect the ~quality~. Whether you’re a virgin or you’ve seen your fair share of erect penises, these are a few surprising things we think everyone should know about boners, so you can become somewhat of an expert yourself.

    1. They’re more spontaneous than you think

    Sorry collegiettes, but getting a boner doesn’t always mean that a guy is totally into you. Sometimes they just happen without conscious control.

    Dr. William Schiff, a urologist from Fresno, California, specializes in men’s health and erectile dysfunction. He informs us that there are actually three different types of erections. “Arousal from physical contact is called a reflexogenic erection. If the erection spurs from audiovisual stimulation it’s called psychogenic. The last are nocturnal erections which happen when someone is asleep.”

    Eric, a junior at the University of California, Irvine, puts this in easy-to-understand terms. “Foreplay and making out obviously gives me a boner, but sometimes nothing gives me a boner,” he explains. “I’ll be sitting in class and the room will be really cold, or I’ll remember I forgot to turn in a homework assignment, and then it just happens. I get them a lot from things that are the most non-sexual.”

    What does this new penis fact mean for women? What he’s packing can be just as much a surprise for him as it is for you. If you wake up in the morning to some unwelcome morning wood or see a bump in his jeans start to rise while you’re talking, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s coming on to you. Understanding what stimulates erections is important. Most guys have 11 erections a day, and we can bet that most of those don’t have anything to do with sexy-time.

    Related: 5 Sex Taboos You Should Be Over By Now

    2. Certain habits have negative side effects

    Your body isn’t going to be in great shape if you eat poorly and don’t exercise, and those same rules apply to boner quality. An unhealthy lifestyle can make arousal a lot harder than you would expect.

    Getting intimate with a guy who does a lot of smoking and drinking also doesn’t bode well for the bedroom. It’s been confirmed that these habits play seriously into erectile dysfunction in younger men. Smoking inhibits proper blood flow, which means the penis isn’t getting the blood it needs when your guy is aroused. In turn, alcohol acts as a depressant, so even if he wants to get hard and show sexual desire, it may not happen. If his erectile dysfunction becomes a problem where he can’t get it up every time after having a couple drinks, don’t be afraid to talk it out and maybe pursue a healthier daily lifestyle to achieve a healthier sex life.

    3. Anxiety is so real

    Having performance anxiety or even a serious psychological issue like stress, anxiety or depression will definitely make it a struggle for him to get hard. Mental health actually has so much to do with erections. Whether he’s nervous about sex or even anxious about things happening at school or in his personal life, that tense feeling is going to affect the way his penis operates.

    Dr. Schiff elaborates on the correlation between stress and penis function. “Performance anxiety is equally common in men and women; just as clinical disorders are equally common,” he says. “It’s extremely debilitating when you feel like you can’t fulfill an expected role. Reminding your partner that sex doesn’t need to be goal oriented is a good place to start. When you struggle with anxiety you have no idea how your body is going to react in certain situations, so making sure to have supportive sexual dialogue and understanding is key.”

    If the tables were turned, basically treat him the way you want to be treated if you were the one feeling anxious about not being able to get wet. Acting annoyed or upset is going to be the opposite of helpful. Let him know that getting hard isn’t an issue right now, and there are so many other ways you can be intimate without trying to meet an end goal. It’s great to make mental health and anxiety a safe thing to talk about in the bedroom, and will hopefully lead to more pleasure for both of you in the long run.

    4. The better a guy sleeps, the better his erection will be

    Pretty much everything feels better after getting a full night’s rest, and the same goes for boners too. “A poor night’s sleep negatively affects men’s testosterone levels which in turn impacts the erection,” says Dr. Schiff.

    Plus, remember how we mentioned that guys get nocturnal boners? Well, when he doesn’t get enough sleep his nighttime erections get interrupted, and that also can damage his overall penile health. Needless to say, let the boy get his sleep! Boners are low-key so much more complex than we expected.

    Related: So THIS Is Why Guys Send Dick Pics

    5. Masturbation plays a role

    If your guy hasn’t played with himself for a few days, he’s likely to get a more intense erection later. While everyone has their personal masturbation choices both in and out of relationships, being greeted with a bigger and firmer erection now and then might be nice.

    Real live college guy, Eric, better explains what this feels like so those of us without the anatomy can understand. “I can for sure tell a difference in how good my erection is depending on if I masturbated,” he says. “If I haven’t masturbated or done anything for a week, my boner is going to be that much better when I am having sex. Everything is way more sensitive.”

    Try asking your guy to go a few days without any sexual stimulation, and then see what happens. When he does get an erection, it’s going to be way more intense for both of you *wink wink*.

    Honestly, we are so here for all the sex facts. We hope you learned something new about boners today, collegiettes!

    Follow Gina Escandon on Twitter.

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    I'm pretty sure Jewish girls are a species all their own. Some of the stuff that we do would not be considered normal in "the real world," aka around non-Jews. If you're gonna date one of us, there are some things that you will definitely have to get used to.  

    1. What's a Jewish girl's favorite thing to make for dinner? 

    A reservation! I make the best matzo ball soup ever, but I'm not trying to cook for other people. 

    2. We use a lot of words you won't understand

    Schlep: a long trip. Schvitz: sweat. Goy: you.

    3. We're always down for sushi

    Jewish girls LOVE sushi. We're not gonna eat anything with shellfish, but we LOVE sushi. 

    4. If you meet her Camp Friends, you'll be totally lost

    They have years and years of inside jokes that they can convey with just a look. They won't catch you up. Make sure your phone is charged. You just wouldn't get it. 

    5. Her and her Camp Friends have all dated each other (or hooked up)

    But you have nothing to worry about. It was probably just a result of camp goggles. 

    6. Her family's food is the best, no matter what

    #ShitJewishGirlsSay: "My mom's matzo ball soup is way better than this." 

    7. The first question her family will ask when they find out she has a new SO is, "Are they Jewish?"

    We're not getting married, so does it really matter? 

    8. We love to complain

    The weather, our hair, our new Canada Goose jacket getting dirty… we love to complain. 

    9. We're always hungry

    And if you come to one of our family meals, you better come hungry and wear pants with a stretchy waistband. 

    10. We all wear the same opal hamsa necklace

    Most of us have them in the classic turquoise, and we all got them in Israel. Same goes for our Hadaya rings. 

    11. We've been on a program to Israel

    And it was the best summer/semester/year/10 days of our life!

    12. We are amazing at Jewish geography

    My cousin probably knows your sister's best friend. Did she do USY, or did she go to Ramah? 

    13. Friday nights are not date night

    Unless you want to have a second dinner at like 10 p.m.? 

    14. Our flat iron is probably our best friend

    For some reason, our hair seems to be a lot frizzier than everyone else's. We are not strangers to every type of chemical straightening on the planet. Also, if we leave our hair natural and you say it looks "frizzy" when it's actually just curly (there is a difference!), then we will hate you forever. 

    15. We probably call our parents multiple times a day, in addition to having a "Fam Jam" group chat

    We just like to chat with them.

    16. We know what celebrities are Jewish, and we probably have at least one mutual friend with them 

    Abbi and Ilana are Jewess princesses. 

    17. We'll say L'chaim for literally anything 

    Taking a shot at the bar? L'chaim!

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    If you find yourself dealing with frequent urinary tract infections, know you’re not alone.

    UTIs are the second most common infection, according to Everyday Health, and account for millions of doctor visits annually. If you find yourself dealing with multiple UTIs—specifically, more than twice in a span of six months—this is considered a recurrent UTI. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates that one in five women have a recurring UTI. So, how are you supposed to deal with what seem like non-stop infections? We’re here to help.

    First of all, what is a UTI?

    Essentially, a UTI is when bacteria enters the urinary tract, resulting in frequent trips to the bathroom or burning feeling when you pee.

    "A UTI is an infection of the bladder or kidneys," says Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine. "When healthy, neither of these have bacteria in them, so an infection occurs when bacteria gets into the urethra, which connects the outside of the body to the bladder, and proceeds up the body into the bladder or kidney. UTIs are more common in the bladder, and more common in women."

    According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, symptoms of a UTI include:

    • Frequent urgency to pee

    • Burning sensation when you go

    • Pee that is tinted or has a strange odor

    Why do you keep getting recurring UTIs?

    1. You don’t pee when you should

    A key factor in preventing a UTI is peeing. Basically, peeing is part of your body’s self-cleaning process (another reason why you shouldn’t be using hygiene products besides simple soap and water). It’s meant to flush out your urinary tract and get rid of harmful bacteria, like the kind that causes a UTI. Trying to hold it when you really have to go can result in a UTI.

    2. You don’t drink enough water

    Dehydration means infrequent trips to the bathroom, and then your body can’t execute its self-cleaning process. Drinking enough water everyday will keep harmful bacteria from infecting your urinary tract by keeping your peeing cycle regulated.

    "Staying hydrated is always a good idea," says Gillespie. 

    3. You don’t pee after sex

    Again, peeing is a cleansing process!

    "One of the easiest ways to prevent UTIs is to always urinate shortly after intercourse," says Gillespie. "Since UTIs happen when bacteria travels up the urethra and into the bladder (and the bacteria can be introduced with intercourse), think of this as a way to 'flush out the bacteria' before it has a chance to settle and create an infection."

    Related: 5 Myths You Probably Still Believe About Your Vagina

    4. You use scented feminine hygiene products

    Since your body has its own self-cleaning plan, douches and deodorants are unnecessary. If you do use those products and they are scented, they can actually do your body more harm than good because they can mess with the balance of healthy and harmful bacteria. Plus, the fragrances can cause irritation.  

    5. You wipe from back to front

    This can transfer harmful bacteria towards your urinary tract instead of cleaning things up—so make sure you wipe from front to back.

    6. You wear the wrong kind of underwear

    Cotton underwear can help prevent recurring UTIs because it's a more lightweight and breathable material, so it isn’t super sweaty and gross down there.

    7. You use the wrong kind of birth control

    Sometimes the pill can be preferable to other forms of contraception. "Consider a new method of birth control if you use spermicide, particularly if you also use a diaphragm, as that may increase your risk of recurrent infection," Gillespie advises.

    Treating a UTI

    As soon as you experience any symptoms, head to your doctor to get tested so you can be prescribed an antibiotic.

    "One thing I see is that women mistake another infection (such as a yeast infection or other condition) for a UTI, since they may have similar symptoms," Gillespie says. "However, they have very different treatments! So, especially if you have not had a UTI before, it's important to see your doctor to get tested, so you can get treated appropriately."

    Recurrent UTIs can occur when the first one isn’t treated soon enough. Your usual family doctor or healthcare provider can treat a UTI. Do NOT wait to go to the doctor—UTIs can quickly progress into bladder infections. Regardless of what the internet tells you, cranberry juice will not cure your UTI! 

    Preventing a UTI

    Essentially, drink lots of fluids throughout the day to keep your urine flow consistent and flush out your urinary tract, so when you gotta go, go. Keep things clean down there with soap and water—nothing scented. Taking a probiotic can help regulate the balance between good and bad bacteria by boosting healthy bacteria that can then kill off any harmful bacteria. According to Women’s Health Specialists of California, eating acidic foods such as berries, citrus, and apples can also help prevent an infection.

    And that urban myth that cranberry juice can prevent or treat a UTI? Not so much.

    "When it comes to cranberry juice and cranberry products, there is not strong evidence that they help," Gillespie says.

    UTIs may be uncomfortable to talk about, but they are even more uncomfortable (and even painful) to deal with. Taking precautions to keep your urinary tract healthy now will save you in more ways than one. If you're frequently dealing with UTIs, try the preventative measures suggested and try to determine the cause. Gillespie advises talking with your doctor if you continue to deal with a recurring UTI, as it may actually be something more serious, or you may be put on a preventative antibiotic.

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    Today’s society is one of many norms and expectations. Although this applies to every part of daily life, it seems to be the most present in the world of relationships and dating. Women in a heterosexual relationship may expect the guy to pick up the tab every date or open her car door every time, and although these are classic forms of chivalry, it’s time for women to take control sometimes. In a world of growing feminism and a fight for gender equality, some of these dating rules are totally okay to break. Here are some of those rules that college women believe are acceptable to forget.

    1. Waiting hours (or days) to text them back

    It’s normal to be nervous about texting a new fling, or even SO, back right away. No one wants to seem desperate, and many women want to play “hard to get,” but according to Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth College, “There's this idea that you should always wait a certain number of hours to text your SO back—some people even extend this to days! If you're interested in the other person, I would just reply to them immediately (or when you have time). Playing ‘hard to get’ isn't always a good idea.” Playing hard to get could easily make someone you’re interested in think that you’re not, causing them to move on or look elsewhere. It’s okay to be straight forward with your feelings; it can make the relationship a lot less confusing and avoid "situationships."

    2. Not having sex on the first date

    This one tends to be controversial because of the clear double standard in today’s society regarding the sex lives of women versus men. Many women believe having sex on the first date may ruin their chances for a long-term relationship with that person or make them appear “easy.” Chelsea Jackson, a junior at Iowa State University, believes that, "If you and the other person are feeling each other and both consent, there isn't a reason to try to talk yourself out of having safe sex on the first date. The unspoken rule that you shouldn't have sex on a first date is severely outdated. If someone wants to judge you it, let them because they aren't worth your time." No woman should feel ashamed for sleeping with someone after the first date. If the chemistry is there and the sparks are flying, it’s okay to break this outdated rule.

    Related: 7 Signs You Should Just Make the First Move Already, As Told by Moms

    3. Having him pick up the tab every time

    It’s a long-lived rule that the man in a heterosexual relationship should pick up the check every time. However, this doesn’t have to be a norm for everyone’s relationship. It’s totally okay for the woman to pick up the tab sometimes. In fact, it shows equality in the relationship. Kayla Düngee, a junior at Georgia State University, says, “I'm all for breaking the rule that guys should pay for everything. It plays into traditional gender roles that are outdated. I will gladly foot the bill not even just once in a while. As long as my SO puts in obvious effort and doesn't become dependent on my checks, I think it's perfectly fine.” This doesn’t mean the woman should pay every time, but splitting the check 50/50 or taking turns paying for meals can create a healthy, balanced relationship.

    4. Every conflict must be resolved

    It’s instinctive to want every single argument to end happily with both parties in complete understanding of one another, but that just isn’t the reality in most relationships. There will be situations and topics of which partners may never see eye-to-eye, and that’s okay. In a relationship, it’s important to pick and choose your battles. Not every single conflict will be resolved as you see on TV or in the movies. No relationship is perfect, and there are no rules when it comes to how people should work through their problems. What's important is that you know how to communicate with your date or SO in a mature way.

    5. They should make the first move

    Forget waiting for them to make the first move. There’s nothing wrong with you going for what you want. As Autumn Dube, a recent graduate of Emmanuel College, puts it, “There's always the idea that guys should make the first move. This isn't the case anymore. If you're into someone, ask them out! If you're attracted to them, let them know. There's no shame in going after what you want and from our experience, people find confidence attractive. Be honest with yourself about what you want and then go from there.” Most of the time, the other person is too shy to make the first move or unsure if you're interested, so by making the first move, this insecurity can easily be resolved.

    Many social rules and norms are being replaced or forgotten as time goes on, and dating rules are no different. You should no longer feel restricted; it’s okay to take charge in a relationship when it comes to money, sex or communication. It’s okay to stray from the classic norms and make your own decisions. Every relationship is different, so there should be no set rules for the world of dating.

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    Breakups suck for the obvious reasons, but sometimes the more subtle reasons can still be bothersome. Imagine your friends and family loving your significant other more than you did. And now you’ve ended it. If it sounds pretty uncomfortable, it’s because it is. Not only are you probably a little shaken up, perhaps even upset, but now you have to relive the ending of your relationship as you tell all your friends how and why the special person in your life is gone. Not only are your dreams about the future of you two gone, but their projected dreams are gone too. Here's how you can make that process a little bit easier.

    1. Come to terms with why you should break up

    Depending on the intensity of their relationship with your ex, there could be a variety of reactions. For example, your mom that was expecting a proposal in the near future would probably be flabbergasted and perhaps a little disappointed. If you haven’t actually broken up with this person yet only because you’re afraid of the reaction from others, that’s a pretty good indicator that you should go ahead with the breakup. If the only thing holding you two lovebirds together is the opinion of your mom, dad, sister, best friend, whoever, then this relationship is not strong enough to begin with. Truly dig deep on why you may or may not be happy, without the influx of everyone else’s thoughts on the subject. You’re dating this person, not them.

    Related: 5 Signs Your Love is Being Taken for Granted

    2. Ask your loved ones for support

    After the actual breakup, it's a good idea to approach your friends and family and tell them about why you've been unhappy and unsatisfied in your relationship. This could be for a number of reasons and circumstances, but it's up to you to explain why you believe this decision was the best for you. Of course, you don't owe anyone an explanation, but because your loved ones may be invested in your relationship, they might expect to hear your side of the story. This is your opportunity to open up.

    3. If they're unhappy, state reasons why you're better off

    Maybe your now-ex was manipulative, or overpossessive. Perhaps they did not support your career choice, or you simply couldn't see spending the rest of your life with someone you didn't truly love. Whatever the reasons, it might be a good idea to start detailing them to give more context to your choice of ending it. Chances are, their unhappiness about the breakup will be redirected and they'll realize you are essentially happier without that SO.

    4. Reassure them that this is for the best

    You might want to say that you know there will be other loves in your life, or that you know you don't need anyone to take care of you. Remind them that you are currently better off alone than you are with that person, and if they truly cared about you, they would support you and your choice.

    Theresa Sansone, a sophomore from the College of New Jersey, says, "Your friends and family may love your significant other, but at the end of the day you, and only you, are the person that's dating him or her. If you stay in a relationship just because you want to make everyone else happy, you will ultimately be the unhappy one and that's not fair to you or your significant other. I feel like if you are true and honest with yourself and your relationship, your friends and family will support your decision and will understand that it has nothing to do with them personally." Theresa hit the point right on the head.

    In fact, if your loved ones truly cared about you and your wellbeing, they should be worried about your unhappiness. If they truly had your best interests in mind, they should want the best for you, even if that means letting go of someone they may have liked. Trust yourself and how you’re feeling before you begin getting advice from all sorts of people. Those people may have seen a glimpse of your SO, while you actually have spent a genuine good chunk of time with this person to decide if this is the person for you.

    Honestly, at the end of the day, it was your relationship. Not theirs. They are allowed to feel remorse, as they may have been close to that person as well, but they ultimately should know their boundaries because this is your life. And you’re allowed to date or break up with whomever, because once again, in case this didn’t click, it’s your life.

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    Take a second to dream of this: a dazzling utopia where the orgasms are bountiful, women aren’t marginalized, and the government is finally off its bullshit. *comedic record scratch sound effect* But hey, we’re living in 2018 where somehow it’s still being communicated to women that pleasure should be a hidden or off-limits topic. Nice.

    Especially in a year where technology is at the forefront of society, you’d think that conversations and ways to approach previously taboo subjects would be improving (if not solely because of the anonymity that social media offers to talk about sexual experience, but also because it gives a platform to those ladies who do want to build on a brand on sexual liberation), but it feels like we’re still falling short in an essential area of women’s basic sexual satisfaction.

    Luckily, a few queer women and one Lioness vibrator are working to make technology do its part. And in celebration of Pride Month, they told Her Campus about all the ways they’re improving the lives of women and pioneering inclusivity – specifically, using a robot with a flexible clitoral nub.

    Founded with the purpose of giving women a platform to understand their own bodies and sexuality, Lioness is obviously a trailblazer. To fight outdated stigma surrounding female sexuality, the founders and creators designed the Lioness vibe specifically for “personal-experimentation” which like, hell yeah to that.

    So, how does this magic little device work? Well, first ya gotta buy it here (totally worth the money, just a PSA). Once you get yours, sync with the corresponding app to see orgasm patterns, track experience, and overall learn what does and doesn’t work during ~you time~. It’s the first toy that helps you learn about your body’s sexual response – so you’re not only having a good time, you’re also embracing all the unique things about your downstairs and learning what you like, dislike, and would like but don't know yet. It’s honestly some sort of empowering-vibrator-tech-witchery, and it’s exactly what Pride 2018 desperately needs.

    In a time were sexuality isn’t concrete and acceptance is spreading, the queer women behind Lioness know that the time for change is now.

    For Lioness co-founder and CEO Liz Klinger, her identity as a queer woman is an integral part of who she is and an inspiration for innovation. At a young age, discovering her sexuality often overlapped with exploration of sexual pleasure, but living in a not so LGBTQ+-friendly area, she had to find another way to get answers to her burning questions.

    “I was pretty quiet about my questioning, instead [I turned] to the internet to learn more about what I was feeling and how to make sense of things” Klinger says.

    What she found expanded far beyond what talked about in sex ed or even with friends. Klinger discovered that there was a whole world of self-pleasure hidden from the conversation.

    She credits this widespread gap in knowledge and her desire to understand her own sexuality as two of the reasons for pioneering Lioness.

    “Growing up in the ‘90s with a conservative family from Wisconsin... I was made constantly aware that how I felt sexually was ‘wrong’ and something that I should be ashamed of. I don’t think I would have reflected on or thought as much about both my own sexuality and the topic of sexuality if it hadn’t been for that,” she says, and also notes that these experiences obviously carved a path to where she is today. “In some ways, I think if it wasn’t for me being a queer, nerdy, somewhat introverted girl, I wouldn’t have gone down this path and eventually started Lioness.”

    In college, Klinger’s job selling intimacy products only continued to spark her curiosity: “It’s what made me so aware of my own sexuality and from there how much need there was for both better products (in general) in the space, but also products that helped us overcome a lot of the knowledge gaps created by different societal norms and structures of how sexuality ‘should be.’ That’s why I wanted to create a product to let people self-experiment and help support them along the journey of sexual self-discovery.”  

    With Lioness rockin’ masturbation sessions everywhere, Klinger and co-founder Anna Lee are working towards the goal of expanding women’s understanding of self-pleasure, but because there’s still a huge gap in mainstream sex-tech markets – specifically for LGBTQ+ folks – there’s a lot of work left to do.

    The Lioness solution: make sure that you have people across different backgrounds and viewpoints contributing to the whole process.

    Klinger explains: “We have a lot of conversations that many companies with less diverse voices (LGBTQ+ being a big one) wouldn’t have, and all sorts of aspects of that comes out in our product.”

    One of these contributing voices is Maggle Stiggleman, a Lioness software engineer whose queer identity is an important part of her work as well. When she was young, Stiggleman notes she “mostly bought what [she] was sold about gender and sexuality,” meaning that, like Klinger, she was in the dark about the vast world of pleasure. It wasn’t until college that Stiggleman had her “sexuality crisis” and became passionate about preaching pleasure and masturbation.

    “I was studying Computer Science and Gender Studies in college, and had a particular interest in sexual health and female sexual pleasure. I was passionate about telling women masturbation is good,” she says.

    When she found out about Lioness after college, Stiggleman knew she had to join the team. “Really cool coding? Orgasm data?” She was all in.

    Stiggleman has a heavy hand in the creative process as a software engineer, so she has the chance to use her personal experiences to make product as inclusive as possible. “As a rule we do not use pronouns in the app, because of course we cannot assume the user’s gender. I relate it to how period-tracking apps have often made me feel alienated. It took me a few different apps before I found one I liked that didn’t assume I was straight and needed to track straight sex.”

    She continues: “I can’t imagine how someone who doesn’t identify as a woman feels on those same period-tracking apps. So, I do my absolute best to never assume the gender or sexuality of our users.”

    While remaining inclusive is a huge goal of Lioness, helping women to understand masturbation and sexuality is the intention that always guides the team. When research originally showed that only two types of orgasms existed, Lioness did their own research and quickly found a third orgasm type, proving that there was so much more to be discovered in the world of sexual response.

    “This was the first time it really hit me that the potential of studying female pleasure is huge” Stiggleman explains. “Just from expanding the circle to our group of testers we found something new, imagine what we’ll discover as we keep going.”

    As Lioness keeps discovering, they’ll continue to dissolve taboos surrounding masturbation – even if just through starting conversation. During a Pride Month where intolerable people are rampant in the U.S. and when women and LGBTQ+ folks alike could use a boost, this smart-vibrator is a beautifully nerdy moment, inspiring all of us to spend a little extra time loving ourselves and living our best lives (bountiful orgasms included).

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    By Nicole Brinkley

    Asexuality —alongside agender and aromanticism — is one of the three identities represented by the letter "A" in LGBTQIA+. It's a revelation for many that it doesn't stand for "ally," which various pieces of queer merchandise would encourage you to believe. That's because many people haven't even heard of asexuality.

    Maybe you're one of those people. Or maybe you're somebody who's heard the word asexuality and suspects it applies to them in some way, even if you don't know much about it. Maybe you heard Bill Nye use the word in the first season of Bill Nye Saves The World and went, “Huh. That’s interesting.” And that's okay. We're not born knowing everything. We're born naked and screaming and covered in blood.

    Asexuality is a queer identity that is most often expressed as a lack of sexual attraction to other people. Like every queer identity, this comes on a spectrum—some people are gray-asexual, meaning they only experience sexual attraction sometimes; some people are demi-sexual, meaning they only experience sexual attraction after developing a romantic attraction. Asexual people can come in as many forms as there are flowers: as many different combinations as romantic attraction and gender expression there are, there are people who identify on the asexual spectrum that fit those molds. And each and every one of them deserves to feel welcome in LGBTQIA+ spaces.

    Y​et, somehow, t​he only social idea of an asexual person comes in the form of a frigid ice queen, like some evil Elsa, or a robot. There are some rad things I could do with cybernetic eyes or a Bucky Barnes arm. But being asexual doesn't mean being emotionless; it has nothing to do with your feelings or your romantic attraction. Likewise, it does mean that asexual people have a right to be at pride and live authentically as themselves. 

    Asexuality simply means you don't necessarily want to have sex with other people. 

    There are asexual people who have sex with partners they trust. There are asexual people who are comfortable with some sexual acts, but not others. There are people who fall under different branches of the asexual spectrum that enjoy sex under specific circumstances.

    In a plot twist that confuses both asexual people and partners, asexuality does not impact sexual drive—which can become infuriating when hormones kick in—and so asexual people can sometimes physically crave something that they emotionally and mentally do not want, much like craving a pickle on your period only to remember that you hate pickles so much.

    Like any other identity—and like any other person—asexuality is a nuanced and complicated thing.

    An Ace (And Ace-Lover's) Reading List

    Luckily for asexual people (or for those seeking to be good allies to asexual people), there are nonfiction books like The Invisible Orientation, which offers further scientific and cultural primers on asexuality; there are numerous articles online where people talk about their experiences, including this favorite of mine in the New York Times; and there are novels to read to see asexual experiences reflected within their pages. Favorites of mine include Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee and Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann.

    But the most important thing about asexuality is this: Asexuality is real. Asexuality is a queer identity.

    And asexual people are valid and important and loved. You are valid and important and loved.

     Nicole Brinkley is a plant-obsessed bookseller who loves dragons. The rest changes without notice.
     When she’s not running the book website YA Interrobang, where she advocates for a more inclusive publishing world, you can find her on Twitter (@nebrinkley) and   Instagram (@nebrinkley) or support her work on Patreon.

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    Alright, you’re crushing hard on someone and they haven’t started to ghost you just yet, so you’re ready to take the plunge and ask them on a date. However, you don’t want to make some elaborate display of affection just to ask them to share eat individual taco 12-packs with you. After all, who would want to make something more complicated than it needs to be?

    We get it, asking anyone can be nerve-wracking. But seriously, you should just take the initiative and ask your special someone out on a date. Someone has to make the first move. Even if you are a "lazy girl," you aren’t necessarily lazy or apathetic—you just implement resourceful hacks to get everything done in half the time. You’re essentially the lazy girl MacGyver.

    And if you’re a lazy gal looking to ask somebody on a date, you shouldn’t use that as an excuse not to ask them. After all, lazy girls ain’t got time for excuses. You’re too busy formulating the latest and greatest abbreviations for already short words, so you don’t have to spend more than a minute sending the perfect text. Seriously, if you’re a fellow lazy girl who’s interested in somebody cute, you need to get over the weird stigma that girls shouldn’t make the first move. It’s well past the dark ages and a lazy girl can ask out anyone they want to. Unless you want to ask your dog out on a date, which would actually be pretty awesome. You two could go on a long walk in the park and get some ice cream afterward. Plus, you wouldn’t have to worry about awkwardly bumping into any of your exes.

    This is why you need to eventually woman up and ask your potential new bae on a date, the lazy girl way. Whether you’re a professional lazy girl or you just adopt the lazy girl’s methodology from time to time, there are several ways that even the laziest of lazy girls can ask someone out on a date. After all, lazy girls like to go on dates too.

    Related: The 17 Best First Date Ideas

    Send them a GIF or meme

    Seriously, who doesn’t love a dank meme or a funny GIF? That’s right, everyone loves them, unless of course it’s some embarrassing GIF of you. In that case, it’s perfectly understandable why you have a hatred of GIFs.

    GIFs are a simple way for any lazy girl to flirt, because you can have an entire conversation without actually typing a single word to them. Want to know how your beau is doing? Send them a GIF of Joey Tribbiani asking literally anyone, “How you doin’?” Did your eye candy send you that same GIF before you got the chance to do the same thing? Beyond them being a total keeper, you can easily send them one of thousands of thumbs up GIFs. It’s literally that simple.

    Plus, sending a GIF takes virtually no time. Well, other than the time you’ve spent searching for the perfect GIF or meme. JK, you actually just went with the first relevant visual that says, “Date?” on Reddit. Unless of course you can’t find a GIF for your specific conversation and you must curate an entirely new GIF from scratch. But let’s face it, you aren’t about to do that—ever.

    Personally, I love using GIFs to ask someone on a date, because it makes the whole date-asking experience less stressful. Because you can just send a special someone a viral image to ask them on a date, you feel less vulnerable because you don’t have to make a big ordeal about asking them out in person. And what lazy girl wouldn’t want to save some time and energy? Plus, asking someone out on a date through a GIF makes the whole experience more fun.

    Ask them to prevent you from becoming a third wheel

    As much as you try to convince yourself that you’re totally fine with being a third wheel with Becky and Justin, it gets pretty nauseating seeing those two make out for the twelfth time when you don’t have someone to nauseatingly smack lips with also.

    Why not stop yourself from third-wheeling it–at least for a little while—and solve your dateless quandary? Asking someone to go on a double date with you is a lot less stressful for everyone involved, because now y’all don’t have to put the weight of a steady and interesting conversation on just two people. Now, it’s four peoples’ burdens!

    Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth College, explains that asking someone on a double date “can often be an easy way to get [the person] to know you better.” Double dates and group dates in general take the tension off every party, because you don’t know to put the put the pressure of holding an engaging conversation between just two people. If anything, you could easily just ask your potential lover to help you go on a double date with your bestie. After all, who could leave you hanging like that?

    Better yet, why not ask your friend to hook a girl up? After all, your bestie is probably borderline worried about your love life (or lack thereof) after you’ve tagged along to the fifth “three-person date” this week.

    Send 'em some grub

    After all, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Even if they don’t have a heart, everyone likes some tasty food.

    Don’t worry; cooking is not necessary for this date-asking recipe. Leann Bailey, a Full Sail University alumna, explains her fail-proof method to asking someone out on a date. “I just randomly send a guy a pizza or a burrito with a goofy pick-up line to ask them out on a date,” says Leann. Woah, how have I not thought of this before?

    After all, who says girls—even the laziest of girls—can’t send someone they like an unexpected meal with a cute pick-up line asking them out on a date? Okay, society might think it’s “weird” (whatever that is), but tell society to shove it! I mean, people like getting pizza and pick-up lines, right?

    Spontaneously sending someone a delivery of their favorite food is a great way to get them to go on a date with you. While you could deliver them a pizza in person, that's way too much work for a lazy girl like yourself. Instead, you should just craft a great way to ask them on a date and add ask the restaurant to write it in the box, under those "special delivery instructions" that every online order form seems to have. Other than the time you spend ordering and drafting your clever pick-up line, this method takes little to no time at all. This way, you can spend the next 45 minutes or so waiting to get a text from the cutie you sent the edible date invite to.

    Just, you know, make sure they're actually home when you send them their grub, or otherwise their roommate will snag it.

    Seriously, just ask

    No tricks, tips or hacks necessary—just straight up ask your love like interest out on a date. Your best chances of actually landing a date is to bluntly ask. And no, asking your SO or potential SO to hang out is not asking them on a date. Channel your inner Liz Lemon and ask your boo thang to go to a movie or something (so you can sue them for some petty reason afterward).

    It’s 2018 and modern technology makes everything easier and quicker. Some people might find it an informal or insincere way to ask someone out via text or DM, but you should get over that outdated unofficial rule ASAP. While your smart phone might be a crutch in most scenarios, it’s a great way to get over the awkwardness of asking someone face-to-face if they want to go on a date with you.

    Although virtual communication methods might help a lazy gal ask someone out, it can still be virtually impossible for you to get some inspiration to easily ask someone on a date. Like, where do you even start? Don’t worry girl, tere are some lazy-girl-approved texts to send your crush:

    • Hey, wanna grab drinks sometime? (After all, everyone needs to drink.)
    • Can you bail me out and go with me to get food with my bestie and her boo thang? (Who wouldn't help a damsel in distress?)
    • You're hungry, I'm hungry, let's go get lunch. (Short, sweet and to the point.)
    • Are you my appendix? Because I want to take you out. (Who doesn't like a classic?)
    • Wanna go to the dog park and play with strangers' doggos? (Or, you know, steal them.)
    • Did you want to come over to my place and eat a bunch of junk food and watch Netflix? (What lazy girl doesn't love a good Netflix and chill?)

    Seriously, forming the perfect text to ask someone out on a date is that simple. If any of the pre-crafted texts above seem too artificial in you and bae's conversation, then feel free to be blunt and ask them to do something specific that you'd know they'd enjoy. If they like fishing, ask if they want to go fishing sometime. I know, fishing seems like a lot of work. Trust me, you'll just be sitting there by a relaxing body of water, getting some sun and chatting all afternoon. Just be sure that you're clear that it's just you two, to make it obvious that it's a date.

    After all, honesty is the best policy, so why not be straightforward with your courting approach? You can save so much time by just asking a person on a date. If they say yes, that’s awesome. If they say no, that’s a lot less awesome. Regardless, you can get on with your lazy self, so you can have more time to be productive and update your LinkedIn profile. Who are we kidding? In true lazy girl fashion, you haven’t updated that thing in years—it still says you’re a babysitter in Rockford, Illinois. In reality, you’re just going to have more time to binge-watch Netflix, gorge on pizza and use the excess grease as a five-minute moisture mask. I definitely haven’t done anything like that before.

    You might think the hard work is over, but a lazy girl’s work is never done. While you’ve found the easiest hack to asking your crush, now you actually have to prepare for your date. You know, by finding the perfect outfit to wear and the perfect lazy girl manicure to match.

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    So, you and your significant other have been getting pretty serious lately. When you picture your future plans, your SO starts to make an appearance. Everything just feels so right between you two… but, something is still missing. You both entertain the idea of moving in together, and come to find that you’d like that dream to become a reality. Still, you want to be absolutely sure that this is the right move for you and your SO. We spoke to several collegiettes about five telltale signs that you and your SO are ready to move in together, because you’ll want to be sure it feels right!

    1. You’re practically living together already

    You’ve cluttered their bathroom counter with your makeup, hair ties and bobby pins, and they've got a toothbrush and some pajama pants stuffed in one of your dresser drawers. Their roommates refer to you as one of their own, and they know not to use your shower at 7:15 a.m. because that’s when your roomie uses it.

    Sure, you both enjoy your free time every now and then, but if the two of you are pretty much living together already, it’s a good chance that you’re ready to make it official in your own place. Plus, there are added benefits to turning places between the two of you into one, says Megan Scavo, a junior at the University of Central Florida. “If you practically live together (staying the night together at each other’s places), why not move in together and save money?”

    Being comfortable with sharing each other’s space and spending most of your nights together during the week is a huge sign that you’re ready to make the move with your SO because you’re already sharing the bulk of the experience together (ya know, like morning breath and disheveled bedhead or grocery shopping for the dinner you’re going to make that night). Yes, there are more commitments that come with sharing a place together, but at this point, it’s worth a shot!

    2. You’ve been dating for a significant amount of time

    Every relationship is certainly unique and moves at its own pace. Therefore, there’s no one answer to how much time together is enough time to justify major life decisions such as moving in with your SO, because the answer is specific to you and your relationship. “If you have been dating for a significant amount of time and are sure that you won’t get tired of each other, it’s safe to move in,” Megan explains.

    A significant amount of time together can mean something different for every couple, but you wouldn’t want to move in with your SO before getting to know them, right? If you’re a neat freak, you’d want to have been with your SO long enough to know whether they are too or not before moving together.

    Taking the time to get to know your partner and understand their living habits and preferences is very important in any relationship. If you both can agree that your time together signifies taking that next step together, then that’s definitely a sign you’ll want to take into consideration! 

    3. You have open communication

    You’ve probably heard the saying “communication is key” a thousand times over, but it’s no lie! Norris Goldflies, a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, knows that communication is essential for a healthy relationship to flourish. “You definitely want to make sure you and your SO really know how to communicate if you’re thinking of moving in together,” she says.

    Not only is communication important for a relationship to function smoothly, it’s also a huge sign of whether you and your SO are ready to move in together or not. Living under the same roof comes with plenty of conversations that range from, “Wait, it’s my turn to do the dishes?” to, “We need cut back on spending to make rent this month.”

    If you and your partner can openly communicate with each other, especially when it comes to the tough subjects, then it’s a huge indicator that you’re ready to be under one roof together.

    4. You’re able to make compromises without a fuss

    Compromise, compromise, compromise. Relationships involve giving and taking, so if you and your SO have been considering moving in together, you’ll definitely want to be well-versed in the art of compromise. Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth College, says a good sign that you’re ready to move in together is that “you know how to compromise, and plan on doing so. Not just on what Netflix TV show to watch—though that is important!—but on accepting each other for who you are.”

    Being open and willing to compromise with your SO is not only a great sign for living together, but it’s also a huge indicator that you respect your partner’s needs. “If you’re constantly keeping your SO’s opinions in mind and considering them, it’s a good sign that you’re ready to move in together,” Rachna says, because respecting each other is necessary when sharing the same living space!

    Related: When it’s Good to Compromise in Your Relationship (& When it’s Bad)

    5. It doesn’t feel right not coming home to your SO

    You know the feeling. You’ve spent the whole day away from your significant other, and when you come through the door after that long day, you want nothing more to be greeted by them with Netflix loaded and dinner made. A huge sign, and perhaps the most relatable one that you’re ready to move in together, is that you can’t imagine coming home without your SO there to greet you.

    “I knew I was ready to move in with my boyfriend after we spent a week house sitting for his parents,” says Norris. “It didn’t feel right not coming home to him. Now, after living together for a year, we just bought a condo!” When the thought of not coming home to your SO every night leaves your heart feeling a little empty, moving in together can help you fill in that missing piece.

    Moving in together with your SO is a huge commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so hopefully these five significant signs can send some reassurance your way. Knowing the signs and doing what’s best for you and your relationship makes all the difference when it comes to finally moving in together!

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    As I discuss every week with Gina during #SexTalk on the @HerCampus IG Story (yes, it’s a shameless plug, I’m the Social Editor, sorry not sorry), sex and sexuality is complicated af. Sex is something different to all of us, and its meaning is actually a lot more complicated than people give it credit for. But it can be especially complicated when you’re queer, and even more complicated when you’re queer, and you’re anxious.

    Let’s be real: A lot of queer people have anxiety. It’s not surprising, considering the state of the world, and the U.S., for queer folks rn. It’s scary shit. As a queer person with anxiety, I know all too well the way that anxiety has impacted my sex life… and then that impact causes more anxiety. What a fun cycle.

    In the last few years, I've learned a lot about myself, my body, my mental health, and my sex life, and how all four of those things interact. And here are just a few ways I navigate it all while being ~good and true to myself~ and still prioritizing my sex life, something that means a lot to me.

    1. First: Stop shitting on yourself for having anxiety.

    For me, a lot of my stress around being a person with anxiety stems from the fact that there’s this weird stigma around it. While anxiety by far does NOT have the same level of stigma as other mental health issues and disorders, it still definitely does have a stigma, and it can be difficult to sidestep.

    I can tell myself I’m a bad bitch all day long, but I still struggle with feeling like I shouldn’t be anxious. Especially as someone who love, love, loves sex, it’s hugely frustrating when anxiety keeps me from having sex. But I can be mad at myself, or I can just try to love myself through it, or just like, at least not hate myself.

    I’m a person with anxiety. It’s okay. And it’s okay if you are, too.

    2. Find partners who respect your mental health.

    Full stop: if you’re with someone who makes you feel bad for having anxiety? Get the hell out of there, yesterday. Obviously this is easier said than done, but there is absolutely no reason that someone should make you feel guilty for not being able to or just straight up not being interested in having sex. Like, ever. Anyone who would prioritize their sexual desires over your mental wellbeing can suck it and GTFO. It’s not fair, and it’s also just not healthy.

    3. Find different ways to define sex for yourself and your partner(s).

    One thing that has helped me a lot as a queer person with anxiety is discovering new ways to have sex, or even just to feel more intimate with my partner. Sometimes, I’m just too stressed and buzzy and wired to have sex with a capital S as me and my partner define it, but maybe I could be into something different.

    Allow yourself to experiment with new things that feel good to both you and your partner or partners. Maybe this means mutual masturbation, or sex toys, or even some heavy making out. Maybe this means having sex, but not kissing at all. We all have different things that feel good, and it’s totally fine to have some acts that you reserve for when you’re feeling your best mental health-wise, and other ones you prefer when you’re feeling down or a little off.

    4. Be honest with your partner(s).

    You don’t at all owe your partner your entire mental health history. There are some things that can be just yours, unless it makes you feel good to share them. But it’s really, really helpful if you can be honest with you partner(s) about how you do and don’t feel, and what you do and don’t want sexually.

    Find a language that makes sense for you. Maybe this means that you come up with some sort of signal. Maybe if you kiss them as soon as they’re home from class, you’re down, but if you wait until after dinner, you just need cuddles. Maybe you straight up sext them what you do and don’t want that evening. Maybe you high five if it’s time to ~get it on~, and thumbs down if you’re not.

    Is it awkward? Maybe. But a lot of what being in a relationship or even just hooking up with someone is can be awkward, but it’s worth it to make sure you’re comfortable and that your partner is comfortable, too. Anyone who cares about you wants you to be 100% enthusiastic and won’t feel too great if they realize you’re compromising on something as Big as sex. So give them a chance. Assume the best of your partner(s), be straight up, and let them know where you’re at.

    The beauty of being queer is that variety is endless. Everything is a spectrum, everything is breaking a rule, everything is new and glorious and lovely and exactly what you need it to be, sex included.

    Don’t be afraid to re-define sex for yourself, to have awkward conversations, or to straight up refuse to have sex for a week or a month or as long as you need to focus on yourself and your well-being. You deserve it.

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    So first of all, congratulations on not being single. Secondly, congratulations on playing yourself. Relationships are really hard without having to put parents into the mix, but they’ll have to meet eventually, right? So, the real question is WHEN should your SO and parents meet? The answer is difficult. There are so many factors to consider. Thinking about these several conditions will help you determine when the right time will be.

    1. It’s been a good deal of time  

    Your one-night Tinder fling is definitely not bring-home-to-meet-your-dad material. Have you not seen the “She calls me daddy too” memes? Taking some time in the relationship and making sure everything is solid is a pretty good step into having your SO meet your parents. Otherwise, how do you expect to answer all those awkward questions your parents will throw at you about your SO?

    Amanda Goecke, a junior at Carthage College, waited until she and her boyfriend were official to have him meet her parents.

    “We had talked and hung out and were basically dating for about six months before making it official and my parents were aware of him the whole time, so I personally felt at that time it was appropriate for them to meet,” Amanda says. “I think it ranges from couple to couple but I had been dying for them to meet right away!”

    It’s imperative to know that the relationship is meant to last before you take the plunge into having them meet your parents.

    Related: Should Your Boyfriend Meet Your Parents?

    2. You feel comfortable with the person

    Embarrassing stories from your childhood are sure to ensue. Make sure you and your bae are comfortable with each other enough to handle the story about that one time you pooped your pants during a family trip (I was three years old, Mom!).

    How do you know when you’re comfortable with your SO? Well, it depends on the person. One way to know is when you do something that others may find embarrassing, yet both of you manage to laugh about it without feeling humiliated. In our expert opinion, a Lightsaber battle in the middle of Target is the most optimal test.

    3. You’re sure it's serious

    You can be with a person for months, but at the end, both of you know the relationship probably won’t survive a year. Relationships like these are definitely not the ones you want to show to your parents. If the only connection you have with the person is sex, there’s no way your parents can see what you see in your SO. Choose a person you see spending the rest of your life with, not just a relationship you have during summer semester because all your friends are gone and you feel lonely.

    Emily Schmidt, a Stanford University freshman, has been dating her SO for three months, but she hasn’t introduced him to her parents.

    “My SO and I have been dating for about three months now and we will be doing long-distance over the summer while he studies abroad in Chile,” she says. “I think I want to introduce him to my parents once I know we can overcome the distance obstacle."

    Making sure your SO will be there for you no matter what is super important. The test of distance away from each other is the best variable to see if your SO is meant to stay forever. Emily’s tactic is a surefire way to figure out if her SO is parent-meeting material.

    Related: 5 Signs You Really Are Afraid of Commitment

    4. Things went well when they met your friends

    Having your SO meet your friends first is a low-stakes trial run before having them meet your parents. If your bae and friends had an awkward first encounter, expect the same with your parents. However, there are rare cases where the friend meeting didn’t go well, but your SO really hit it off with your parents. If that’s the case, just make sure it wasn’t a one-time deal, and try hanging out with your parents more. See how they’d react to your SO after a certain amount of time together.

    Sorry to disappoint, but there’s never a “right” time for your SO to meet the folks. Everyone is different, and they all have their own individual “right time.” You’ll always feel like your parents deserve to meet your future spouse instead of someone you just met through Tinder. But believe me, once you see your bae as the greatest person ever, having them meet the parentals will be a breeze.

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    I’ll be straight with you: I’m against the word virginity. It’s feels fake to me. It rigidly defines an experience that’s not standardized and shouldn’t be. I wish we would think about it in broader terms when it comes to women in general, because even the most empowered feminist women might see virginity as rite of passage to becoming a full-fledged adult. But, at a place like Her Campus, where we have amazing young readers that search for answers regarding first time sex, it’s clear that virginity and how it goes down does matter to a lot of people.

    According to a study published in 2015, about 20 percent of Americans don’t identify as “exclusively heterosexual,” and I can only imagine the way that number has grown in recent years with teens and students becoming more accepting, involved in, and in turn vocal about, queer culture and diverse sexual interactions. Yet it feels like we have, at best, a gross misunderstanding of how women in the LGBTQ+ community view "losing" their virginity. 

    When it comes to straight sex, pretty much everyone knows what counts as losing it, but for queer sex it’s a lot less transparent. Unless you have an LGBTQ-identifying friend who talks about their sex life or has given you their own #RealTalk spiel about their experiences and dialogues with virginity, you probably have no idea WTF it means for some women around you to define a moment straight folks deem as this huge stepping stone.

    In reality, sex and intercourse and virginity are big words for all kinds of activities that make people feel good. A lot of time it has to do with genitals, but not always. To elevate the voices of LGBTQ+ women this Pride Month, I spoke with a handful of lovely queer gals who filled me in on what virginity looks like in their world.

    While the mic is passed over to them, keep in mind the most important takeaway here: Losing your virginity is not one-size-fits-all, especially in the queer community.

    What did “losing your virginity” mean to you growing up?

    “So, I’m bisexual, but my parents were the first people that influenced my concept of virginity growing up because they were heavily religious. For a lot of my teenage years, once I understood that a virgin was someone who hadn’t had sexual intercourse, I also associated it with someone who was innocent or naïve. When I think about the Biblical figures I grew up hearing about… a better descriptor for virginity would be ‘not yet touched.’ Like overall being inexperienced.” – Imani, UCLA

    “As someone who realized they were gay as fuck when they were a teenager, my first moments with oral sex and hand stuff had me super confused, because I was like, I just had oral sex with another girl. Does that count? Did I lose it? I just had no baseline for what losing my virginity meant, and the majority of my friends were having sex with guys and it made more sense for them cause they had a framework.”– Claire, Florida State University

    “I watched a bunch of Sex and the City and rom-coms growing up with my mom, and pop culture and TV made me think sex had to be a certain way. Nobody talked about virginity on shows (or IRL if I’m thinking about it), and I had sex when I was really young, so I thought my first experience was supposed to look how it did on TV: a couple in love, missionary position, both people orgasm, and the sex is between a man and a woman. That definitely wasn’t true for me because I had sex and an orgasm with a female (and have only done that since), but it didn’t really bother me or make me feel like what I was doing was against the norm” - Nia, Tufts University

    How has your concept of virginity changed throughout your sexual experiences?

    “For some people, it goes either way: You set up a new parameter for how you define virginity, or you just ignore and alienate the concept of virginity altogether. For me, I definitely went the alienation route and quashed the word. Yeah, in a true sense I may have lost my virginity when I first slept with a guy because my hymen broke and my vagina was penetrated, but I didn’t fully come out as bi until college, and when I finally had sex with a girl, that experience mattered a lot more to me. It made me feel a lot of turmoil trying to decide which experience I wanted to count as ‘losing my virginity’ if I ever needed to talk about it with partners or friends,and so I eventually just started disregarding the idea altogether and stopped letting that define any single one of my experiences.” - Imani

    “I’m looser with myself and with other people for what I hold as the criteria for sexual encounters in general, not even with virginity. When I first started having sex, at the time I still felt like a virgin, even though now I acknowledge that I had forms of sex that probably counted for something – if we’re saying that the standard of virginity has to do with penetration or having an orgasm. Virginity has become vaguer for me with age and experience, and I’m super okay with it being roomy.” - Claire

    “You don’t need to have a penis inside you. You don’t have to ‘pop the cherry.’ Every experience I’ve had has taught me that whatever people collectively labeled as virginity back in the olden days, that doesn’t stand true anymore. For me, I count it as the first time I had an orgasm with a partner – gender and penetration doesn’t matter.” - Nia

    How are you reclaiming the word “virginity” for yourself?

    “I’m changing the narrative by making a conscious choice to say that the guy in my story didn’t take my virginity. The word is 100 percent personal to me and whatever I decide, instead of letting people tell me that my first sexual experience was the only thing that counted as ‘real sex.’”- Imani

    “I’m reclaiming the word by not feeling a specific need to name one person who I lost my virginity to or define the acts that occurred. I’m also letting my straight friends know that they can think this way too. If they’re losing/have lost their virginity via the standard penis-in-vagina pathway, that’s great, but they can also still challenge their definition of virginity and reshape it like I have.” – Claire

    “I guess I just place less importance on the word? The best sex I’ve had came way after I lost my virginity, and that matters a lot more to me than this arbitrary moment that’s really only okay. I’m just choosing to be over it and to not make virginity such a big deal!” - Nia

    How’s that for championing women’s sexual autonomy?

    But for real, I can’t tell you what counts and what it looks like to lose your virginity – and if you want to align with that concept at all, it’s obv different for everyone. It’s totally up to you. You decide if vagina/vagina sex, or vagina/finger sex, or tongue/clit sex fits your equation. And the more we have dialogues with LGBTQ+ friends and age further into the 21st century and sex becomes less taboo, I think the hollowness of the word “virginity” will only be more exposed.

    My hope is that your first partnered sexual experiences are pleasurable and undefinable (if that’s what you want it to be). My hope is that boundaries will be widened when considering dynamics other than male-female sexual relationships. Mainly, fingers crossed that for women living in 2018 and onwards, the whole idea of first-time sex, sexual debuts (or even virginity, if you dig that term) doesn’t have to be hetero as fuck.

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    I Did A Thing is our weekly advice column where the Her Campus editorial team helps you out when you ruin your own life (hey, we've been there). Email for any and everything you need help with. We’ll answer you (anonymously!) on so we can all learn, together. We’ve got your back.

    @greekstruggles: Is it wrong to date your sorority sister's ex? This guy and I have been seeing each other for about a month now, but we’ve been trying to hide it from the public because I don’t want my sorority finding out. The backstory is he was dating this girl in my sorority for about 4 months. She was very controlling and wouldn’t allow him to talk to any other girls. After they broke up we became friends (I know bad timing) because we play volleyball together and knew each other before hand. We hung out more and more with our mutual friends and noticed we really clicked. Then we started hanging out one-on-one, and that’s where it all began. I really do like this guy and I just need to know: is this something that’s okay for me to do and how can I make her okay with it?

    @helpmehc: The saying goes “(sorority) sisters before misters,” but you don’t have to follow that rule unconditionally. We’re so here for ending the acceptance of toxic girlfriends that somehow play off they’re controlling actions as ~cutely petty~, and if your sorority sister wouldn’t let her boyfriend talk to other girls, she might think she still has a claim over this guy post-breakup. Just remember: This guy is his own person and can make his own choices – and so can you!

    You’re right that the timing doesn’t look great, but with an ex, does it ever look great? The best approach here is to make your best effort to keep the situation from blowing up. Talk to her directly, especially before she finds out about your relationship from someone else and the rumor mill gets churning. Explain that you got to know him through volleyball, something totally independent from her. Remind her that even though you like this guy, you’re still always there for her – those truths don’t have to be mutually exclusive (maybe that’s the biggest problem with “sisters before misters”). You haven’t done anything wrong (you specified there was nothing going on between the two of you while your sister and her ex were still together), so avoid feeling bad about getting to know him after the relationship ended.

    If she gets angry or petty about it, remind yourself that being in the same sorority doesn’t mean you have to be super-close BFFs with her. Stick with the sisters who understand the context of the situation better, or with those mutual friends who have your back. It’s not your fault the two of your just clicked, and you can’t “make” anyone be okay with anything, but as long as you’re the bigger person, cut yourself some slack. If she’s against your relationship, there’s not necessarily a way you can change how she feels. But at least there won’t be any secrets between the two of you.

    Being with someone who makes you happy, even someone with history, isn’t nearly as much of a crime as other people may want you to think. Good luck!

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    First dates are stressful for literallyeveryone. For lazy girls, they're extra stressful. We actually have to get out of our comfy spot on the couch and socialize in the outside world. The first anything is always ambiguous, so there's no way that a lazy chick can formulate a hack to make an easy connection with someone on the first date (unless of course, the rest of you lazy girls know something that I don't—in which case, help a gal out).

    Unless your first date includes ordering a pizza and watching a movie with your boo, there are plenty of things that lazy girls hate about first dates (and getting ready for them). Here are 17 of them.

    1. You have to set 20 alarms just to make sure you wake up from your midday nap

    Seriously, this whole date thing is interrupting your precious snooze time. Ugh, so inconvenient.

    2. Then you actually have to leave your bed

    Why couldn’t you just go on a Netflix-and-nap date? The struggle is real.

    3. And shower

    It isn’t even your scheduled day to wash your hair!

    4. And actually think about what you’re going to wear

    Rather than just throwing on any old T-shirt and sweats.

    5. You just realized that you don’t have any clean clothes

    How can it be time to do laundry already? You just did it, like, three weeks ago. Time to get creative with the outfit.

    6. You keep checking your phone to see if they cancel last minute

    Sure, you’d have a bruised ego for a hot minute, but you’d ultimately be relieved because canceled plans = relaxation.

    7. You just hate going through so much work getting ready for only a few hours of fun

    Three words: Cost benefit analysis.

    8. And you know the chances of it working out are slim, so why bother?

    I could just not.

    9. It'll probably start out super awkward since you're always running a few minutes late

    In your defense, you were just procrastinating leaving the house. After all, what lazy girl likes going through the hassle of opening her bedroom door, much less driving?

    10. You have to refrain from talking with food in your mouth

    Because that’s rude or gross or whatever, which is completely unfair because you love to multitask. Plus, what kind of person asks you about your job while you’re shoving pasta in your mouth?

    11. You actually have to think about interesting things to say about yourself…

    This usually comes after the dreaded question, “What do you like to do for fun?” And you have to figure out a way to make sleeping, eating and watching TV sound enthralling.

    12. …so you contemplate just staying single

    After all, if you stay single, you don’t have to go places and do things—well, other than those pesky things called work and class.

    13. You get freaked out by serious conversations…

    Yeah, asking about your childhood and what you wanna do in the future might seem like normal questions to ask on the first date, but now you have to spend time actually talking. You definitely dig small talk more.

    14. …except, you sort of hate small talk, too

    Because now you have to find a way to make your day seem interesting. Online shopping definitely counts as business development, right?

    15. You realize just how uncomfortable wearing a bra is

    Seriously, why did you choose to wear a bra for this date? Oh right, because you don’t want them to stare at your chest all night.

    16. You know they'll want to continue hanging out after dinner

    But this date has been like a whole hour and you just want to put on your comfy yoga pants already. 

    17. That weird goodbye limbo takes so much energy

    Granted, who actually likes this part of a first date? You’re both getting ready to say goodbye, but you both linger to see what the other person is going to do. Are they going to kiss you? Should you hug them? Should you shake their hand? No, that’s weird. Definitely weird. This whole process takes up way too much of your valuable Instagram time.

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    Dating is exhausting, pretty much regardless of whether you find romantic success or not. With everything else going on in our lives, devoting time to meeting and pursuing new people, be they for long-term commitment or fling reasons, can get tough.

    Added to that is the fact that people aren’t usually giving you the truest version of themselves when you’re in the early stages of dating (we all do it—it’s okay!). It can be hard to detect whether someone is worth your time or not, so we polled some expert collegiettes for their takes on which traits are red flags in a romantic partner and which you can give another chance.

    Red flags

    1. They mansplain to you 

    People can be hard to read in dating situations, but there are some clear tells that someone is way more into themselves than they are into you—don’t waste your time here! There are several indicators that a person doesn’t have a genuine interest in getting to know you.

    “One I've experienced is them trying their hardest to relate to your interests/hobbies,” says Veronika Potylitsina, a senior at the University of Toronto. “For example, I'm actually, really interested in architecture and they try to make things up about what they know about the thing that are obviously wrong.” Classic case of a man thinking he knows more about your topics of interest than you do yourself.

    Mansplaining is about the least sexy/appealing/acceptable thing that happens in the realm of dating, so don’t let anyone mess around with you like that. You have every right to drop them (and give them a lecture on the real facts as well as why they don’t need to overcompensate and patronize you by trying to show you up on your own knowledge).

    Related: 7 Types of Guys That You’re Too Good For

    2. They’re overly attached or jealous

    Clinginess, especially in the early stages of dating, is super disconcerting. You don’t want them to be dependent on you from the get go!

    “If they're moving too quickly, that's another red flag—overattachment is often a little troublesome if you're just getting to know them,” says Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth College. They don’t know you like that.

    Jealous behavior takes this unhealthy attachment a step further. “If a no-strings-attached type relationship has been established yet he gets obviously jealous when you talk about other people to him (such as abrupt end of conversation, trying to immediately hang out with you, trying to ‘one-up’ the person, etc), that's also a red flag,” Veronika says.

    “Being possessive is not part of the deal and should be addressed immediately,” she adds. No matter the stage of the fling or relationship, jealousy is toxic and can lead to unsafe situations.

    3. Flakiness

    Flakiness, even when it comes to a fling, is more than just annoying—it’s deliberate disrespect of you and your time.

    “One of the biggest red flags is when the person acts in a manner best described as flaky,” Rachna says. “They talk to you when they want to, but as soon as one of their friends shows up, they ditch you.” If it’s a repeated pattern, you’re better off without them. Like we said earlier, you’re busy!

    4. It's all about them

    Regardless of the seriousness of the relationship, both parties should be committed to reciprocity at the very least. “I dated a guy who always managed to turn the conversation around to interest him or make it about him, says Tiara Curow, a senior at Central Washington University. “I could bring up a topic and he would give me his side but wouldn’t ask me about mine, or if I brought up something that he wasn’t interested he would blatantly ignore it and start talking about himself or whatever he was doing.”

    If they can't handle a two-way conversation, it's not likely to make for a good relationship. “The biggest red flag is when a guy won’t stop talking about himself or always keeps things superficial,” Tiara says. “I was dating a guy for two months and we had no problems discussing what my major is or my favorite food but when it came to my family or anything slightly personal he was not interested.”

    Getting to know people is hard work, and if you’re invested, they should be too. “I think this shows that the person really isn’t interested in getting to know you or doesn’t see the relationship going anywhere,” Tiara says. Next!

    5. They don’t take anything seriously

    Sure, a fling is a fling, but if your relationship is moving to the next level and they are noncommittal or don't take you or your relationship seriously, that's probably not a good sign. “I once went out with a guy who was a fun, go with the flow type of person,”  says Morgan Mullings, a sophomore at St. John’s University. “While there's nothing wrong with this, when things got serious he avoided any serious topics or conversation!”

    If you're not comfortable with their aversion towards real talk, steer clear. “There's a time and place for EVERYTHING, and if he can't handle talking about something a little tough, that's a huge red flag,” Morgan says. There's a difference between wanting to have fun and being a 12-year-old inside the body of a 20-something!

    Related: 7 Signs You Dodged a Bullet With Someone

    Second chance traits

    1. Lifestyle differences or personal preferences

    Just because you don’t have everything in common and don’t love all the same things doesn’t mean you won’t get along or last. These differences could potentially make your relationship even stronger in the long run! You’ll fill in one another’s gaps.

    For example, you might be a vegetarian and they might be a hard core meat eater. It doesn’t mean it isn’t meant to be, it just means that you have an opportunity to have some interesting conversations with one another about these sorts of things! If the chemistry and interest is there, you can absolutely make it work.  

    2. Things about them others don’t like

    Pretty much any outside advice about a romance should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, the person giving the advice is probably not one of the people involved in the romance itself, so they can only understand what’s going on to a certain degree!

    It’s one thing if other people in your life have genuine concerns about your health or safety when you’re seeing a person, but just because your SO’s personality doesn’t match with your friends’ or family’s doesn’t mean they’re wrong for you. “I would recommend enduring through ... family and friends [who] don't initially approve of your SO (and vice versa!),” says Rachna. They’re your SO, not your family’s or friends’!

    3. They’re close with their family

    It can be unattractive if someone talks about their family a lot, much less spends a great deal of time with or talking to their family members. Aren’t we supposed to be flourishing in our independence? You might be that way, but just remember that that may not be the case for everyone.

    “I once went out with a guy who called his mom and talked about her literally all the time,” Morgan says. “This was off putting at first because I was like, ‘Are you dating me or your mom?’” A classic conundrum.

    Closeness with a parent or other family member that you aren’t used to shouldn’t send you running for the hills, though. “But later on it wasn't as frequent and I realized they just have a very good relationship,” Morgan says. “And that actually makes him a better person to date.” Hopefully that bond means they’re more grounded and have good priorities. And if they’re sharing details about their other close relationships with you, that’s gotta be a good sign!

    4. They overshare

    This is the contrast to guys who are super into themselves. Oversharing might be too much or even seem a little creepy, but (hopefully) it's just an indicator that they're comfortable with you!

    “Most of the time, the guy is just really excited to tell you about his life and share the things that he enjoys and can get a little carried away,” says Charlee Hrubesky, a sophomore at Indiana University. “I like guys who share their lives with me, even if they like to share a lot at one time.” You are supposed to be getting to know each other, after all.

    A healthy amount of pickiness is good—you shouldn’t have to settle—but you could also miss out on someone really great if you discount them based on something that might not actually be too big of a deal.

    Hopefully this little guide will help you weed through the dating duds and know who you should be holding out on. Share your red flag and go-ahead traits on Facebook and Twitter!

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    We’ve all been there. Perhaps there was alcohol involved or maybe you were really adamant about getting some action that night, even if that person wasn’t your first choice. Maybe your high school relationship makes you cringe every time you think about it. Whatever the case may be, constantly feeling embarrassed or regretful isn’t going to make the situation simply go away. Instead, consider alternative reasons why you shouldn’t feel embarrassed.

    1. You wanted to get laid

    There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to get laid, and despite what you might think, sometimes that is enough of a reason to hook up with someone (with consent, of course). Remember that hookups and bad relationships do not define you as a person. They may take an emotional toll on you now, but you’re in charge of your character! What you may have done or not done sexually in the past is only an inkling of who you are. You are more than your sexual encounters.

    In the wise words of Stacy*, a sophomore from Lehigh University, "You should never regret something that you once wanted or made you happy.” She summed up concisely why you shouldn't be embarrassed about a one-night stand.

    2. You learned a lesson

    Whether it was an awkward hookup or maybe a regretful relationship, chances are you got something out of it and know better for next time. You learned a lesson, whether it’s not to drink too many tequila shots or not to trust guys that only want to have sex and not a relationship. Maybe you even learned that you deserve better.

    Kathy*, a sophomore from New York University, says, "We are young and it's okay to experience things just for the sake of it. As long as you get something out of it, take the time you have to be carefree."

    Perhaps you even dated someone that everyone told you to avoid. "Bad news" was his description, and now you've suffered from the inevitable burn. Although it's a little embarrassing to be wrong about someone, take the newfound breakup as an opportunity to learn about yourself and your needs so you can avoid a relationship similar to the last.

    Related: 4 Reasons You Feel Sad After Sex

    3. There's another person on the other end of the hookup

    More often than not, gossiping over who was bad or embarrassing in bed over brunch has seemingly become the norm. Some circumstances that might be embarrassing include a partner that was extremely unhygienic or underwhelming.  However, try to keep in mind that, despite their pitfalls, he/she consented to sleep with you too. Meaning, this certain person decided to have sex with you and you might want to consider their feelings. While your feelings are valid, no one likes to hear rumors about how bad they were in bed. Instead of bashing your ex or your hook-up from the night before, remember how damaging and degrading it is to hear rude comments about you.

    Katie* from Syracuse University, relates to this issue as she realized her words had gotten back to her. "I had a bad hookup with this guy and told my friends about it, who ended up telling their friends about it. Long story short, the guy's entire frat doesn't speak to me anymore." Keep this in mind when your friends ask you discuss your night. Your comments could come back and hurt you.

    4. No one really cares

    Although your friends may tease you about something or someone embarrassing, at the end of the day, no one is too concerned with who you’re with because almost everyone has had an embarrassing hook up. Hard to point fingers when almost all of us have been there. Your real friends should be supportive and willing to comfort you, not harass or embarrass. They should know you as someone they cherish, not someone "tarnished" by a bad hook up or boyfriend. And if your friends are the teasing type, try to "roast yourself"!

    If you’re still convinced that that really embarrassing hookup or relationship “ruined your life,” just keep waiting it out. We promise you’ll get over it, forget about it and have a great laugh about it one day. As long as all parties are consenting, you really shouldn’t beat yourself up too much about that awkward hookup. Good luck!

    *Names have been changed.

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    I Did A Thing is our weekly advice column where the Her Campus editorial team helps you out when you ruin your own life (hey, we've been there). Email for any and everything you need help with. We’ll answer you (anonymously!) on so we can all learn, together. We’ve got your back.

    @pregnantandconfused: I am a senior in college and I am pregnant. I will give birth to a baby girl in July. My boyfriend has been super supportive and has decided to stick around and I will be graduating in August with my bachelors degree in political science and psychology. Sounds like we might actually make it work, right? Wrong. My boyfriend still has another two years of school to complete and our families are insisting that I move back home to raise the baby at my mother’s house until he graduates. The problem is, home is an hour away from where he goes to school. We have plans to see each other every weekend but I still don't think that gives him enough time with the baby. My ideal situation would be to move in together and start our lives right when the baby is born, not wait for two years. So tell me, am I being selfish for wanting to move in with him? And how can I keep our relationship strong if we really are separated for two years?

    @helpmehc: Being pregnant isn’t easy, and when you also have to factor in being a college student, things can quickly get a 1000000x more complicated. While it’s understandable that you want to be able to live with the father of your baby and not be apart for two years, it may actually be the best idea to move back home and raise the baby at your mom’s house until your boyfriend graduates.

    I can already hear you groaning, but here’s the thing: you know the saying it takes a village? Well, that will never ring more true than after you have a baby. Moving in with your boyfriend means you will most likely take on the biggest chunk of time when it comes to caring for your child. Though he’ll be there with you after classes each day, there will be times when he’ll be too focused on getting through his classes in order to graduate and may not pay as much attention to you and the baby as you thought he might. Then you’ll also need to consider the fact that he’ll most likely need to get a job in order to support the three of you, leaving little to no time at home with your and the baby. You’ll start to feel as though you’re carrier the heavier burden when it comes to your child, and it will cause you to resent him.

    I say, move back in with your mom. Let her help you as much as she’s willing to so that you can also have a chance at jumpstarting your career—that’s what you went to school for after all, right? Set up a schedule that works for you and your boyfriend to make sure you’re getting adequate amount of time together, ensuring he’s spending as much time as he can (and should) with the baby. Once he’s finished with school, then the two of you can figure out the next steps to building a home together with your little family. But until then, what may be best for you and the baby is to look to your family for support. Trust me, the day-to-day is always tougher on a young mom and you’re going to need all the help, love and support you can get. Right now, your priority should be you and your baby, making sure you become the successful woman I’m sure you hope to be, who doesn’t need to ever rely on any man, because you always have to be prepared for anything.

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    We have preferences for just about everything in life—pizza toppings, music genres, brands of toothpaste, types of milk—but when it comes to how we want to receive love (aka how we want other people to show they love us), the options may not always seem as crystal clear as skim, soy, cashew or almond.

    It’s one thing to talk with our partners about what candies we like on our froyo or which Netflix movies are our favorites, but talking about how we both want to show or receive love isn’t exactly a casual conversation. However, when we don’t talk about the things we wish they’d say or do more often (or less often), the relationship can easily spiral into a passive-aggressive mess.

    But, wait—are we supposed to automatically know how we want to be showered with love? Or even give love, for that matter?

    The solution? Understanding the different languages for how we all express and receive love. According to relationship expert Gary Chapman, who wrote The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, there are five different “languages” of expressing love to someone. Chapman believes that by discovering which language speaks to you, you can find out what makes you feel the most fulfilled and happy. Additionally, by learning your partner’s love language, you can understand their preferences and better cater to their needs.

    If you think you’ve taken every type of personality quiz on the planet (or BuzzFeed), think again. Inspired by Chapman’s book, the Five Love Languages Quiz is a love life game-changer; by filling out the simple questionnaire, you can learn exactly how you understand the language of love, giving you crazy insights into what you want in a relationship. The quiz results rank your love language preferences from strongest to weakest, and a video on the site even illustrates visually how each language can be expressed.

    Check out these descriptions of each love language.

    Words of Affirmation

    For you, it's all about talking the talk. If this is your language, you think it's most meaningful when your loved ones compliment you and tell you not only that they appreciate you, but why they love you and think you're so special. You're also not one to easily forget insults or negative comments.

    Acts of Service

    You're the kind of person who feels most loved when someone close to you helps out with responsibilities and chores that consume your time and energy. Whether your SO lends a hand with the laundry or helps with a project without being asked, acts of service give you major heart-eyed emoji feels. On the other hand, you'll be pretty crushed if your partner is lazy or backs out of commitments.

    Receiving Gifts

    For you, receiving a thoughtful gift shows that your partner knows you inside and out. You value gift-giving, as well as any sacrifices that went into the experience of presenting the gift. This also means you value relationship milestones, and you'd have a hard time shaking off a forgotten anniversary, birthday or thoughtless gift.

    Quality Time

    You're happiest when you and your SO get to spend time together—just the two of you. In your opinion, the ultimate grand gesture is when someone you love carves out time to see you outside of noisy restaurants or bars, crowded gatherings or big parties with other people. And if someone bails on plans or is constantly more interested in their phone than in what you have to say, it's over.

    Physical Touch

    Hugging, holding hands with someone you love and meaningful touches on your arm, shoulder or face mean the world to you. If this is your language, you feel most loved when you are physically close with your SO. Likewise, you'd be crushed if you felt neglected or ignored by your partner.

    These descriptions may sound like they came straight from an overly cheesy anniversary card, or they may just seem obvious. (I mean, who doesn’t want their partner—or anyone else, for that matter—to do the dishes for them?) However, by knowing the love language of you and your partner, you gain insight into how you want to receive love and how you can best show your special someone that you appreciate them.

    Related: 4 Scientifically Proven Ways to Communicate Better With Your SO

    According to Cosmopolitan, it’s important to address the fact that you receive love in a way that might be different than how your partner receives love, and the Five Love Languages Quiz is a surefire way to confirm your love-receiving preferences.

    So, once you know your language, how can you put it to use? We talked to a dating expert and a number of collegiettes who swear by love languages to resolve conflicts and enhance their relationships.

    1. You’ll find out what makes your partner happy

    Once you know your partner’s love language, you can start making more of an effort to show them affection based on their preferences—and this will undoubtedly bring the two of you closer and show that you care about what makes them happy.

    Devin O’Connell, a University of Florida senior, says that she and her boyfriend have been dating for almost two years, and that knowing each other’s love language has enhanced their relationship by allowing them to understand each other’s preferences. “In the very beginning, I told him that 'Quality Time' is my love language,” the 21-year-old says. “Through that, he always makes an effort to spend time with me, even if it’s just seeing each other for 10 minutes a day.”

    The act of taking the quiz with your partner, or even suggesting that he or she take the quiz, shows that you are interested in finding the best way to love them—and that is pretty valuable in and of itself.

    “If you can find out the best way to love your partner, I think that’s very special and shows that you really care about that person,” Devin says.

    If your partner is a “Words of Affirmation" person, you can show them love by complimenting them, telling them you’re proud of them for something they accomplished, or that you love that they’re so passionate about a project they’re working on. If they speak the “Acts of Service” language, you can lend a hand with a task they’re dreading or offer to help with small but meaningful chores; this will really show them that you care about making them feel loved and fulfilled.

    2. You can learn a lot from your ‘secondary’ languages

    The Five Love Languages Quiz tells you more than just your primary love language; it ranks your other languages from strongest to weakest, which can offer valuable insights into what else you want from your partner and how much or how little each language matters to you when receiving love. 

    Marla Manes, a University of Florida junior, says that she learned a lot about herself just from discovering her secondary love languages.

    “I already knew that my language would be ‘Physical Touch’ going into the quiz because I love hugging and cuddling and holding hands with anybody that I’m close with,” she says. “But the quiz gave me new insight into my secondary languages—the ones that I still value or use but at a lower level. Those results surprised me, but the more I thought about them, the more I considered the results to be true. It showed me my relationships in a new light.”

    Marla says that she and her boyfriend have been dating for almost four months, and that taking the quiz side-by-side was a beneficial experience. “By taking it with a partner, you also learn about them and about your relationship,” she says. “We learned about what each of us value so that we can express our love effectively. … All of the languages are valid, and I think it’s just another tool that you can use to strengthen your relationships.”

    Love, like any emotion, is not always clear-cut. The love languages concept reflects this notion with the secondary languages, which represent nuances or “dialects” of how you want to be loved.

    3. Discussing your love languages as a couple can help the two of you communicate better

    Samantha Daniels, author of Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern Day Matchmaker and creator of the dating app The Dating Lounge, says that discussing your love language with your partner is a simple but beneficial exercise that can make it easier to talk about your preferences.

    “A lot of people have a hard time telling their partner that they wish they’d say ‘I love you’ more often than they do, or that they wish they’d show their appreciation in a different way because they’re not feeling loved,” Daniels says. “But having these set categories or ‘languages’ makes it easier for people to explain not only what they want from their partner, but how and why they feel connected to that type of language.”

    Taking the love langauges quiz can spark an important dialogue between you and your SO and can make it easier to talk about other topics or issues that you may not have been as open to discussing previously.

    4. Love languages can benefit other relationships in your life

    Love languages are not limited to romantic relationships; discovering your language—and the languages of those around you—can make you a better friend, family member, roommate and team member.

    “One night at dinner, a group of my friends took the quiz together and shared our results. It really made us such stronger friends because we’re able to know what the other ones need in order to feel that sense of belonging,” says Jacquelin Sheehan, a sophomore at the University of Florida. “I know one of my best friend’s is ‘Words of Affirmation,’ so I make sure to always tell her things I appreciate about her ... because I know she’ll benefit more from it.”

    Telling friends and other loved ones in your life about how you like to receive love—and taking the time to learn about their personalities and preferences—gives you more opportunities to show them that you care about them in a way that best suits their wants and needs.

    Related: 6 Ways to Show Your Significant Other You Love Them

    So, the next time you feel misunderstood by your partner or feel as though you aren’t understanding what makes someone in your life happy, consider doing a little soul-searching and discovering your love language. Whether you appreciate a quality hug, a compliment, spending time with someone close to you, receiving a special gift or getting help when you need it most—each language of love is special and valid.

    Follow Darcy on Twitter.

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    Popcorn? Check. Mood lighting? Check. Netflix logged-in and loaded?…Check. Now here comes the hard part—while there are tons of wonderfully romantic movies out there, sometimes you and your partner might want to watch something a little more…risqué than your average romantic film. If you’re searching for a movie that will add some extra oomph to your romantic night in, then look no further. We talked to a few collegiettes and rounded up seven of the steamiest and sexiest movies to heat up your next movie night!

    1.The Notebook (2004)

    To kick off the list, we’ll start with a popular favorite. Megan Scavo, a junior at the University of Central Florida, says that, “The Notebook, although a classic, is also very steamy at moments and can be a fun, flirty movie to watch with your partner."

    When a poor man falls in love with a rich woman, things get complicated. Stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams offer up some serious eye candy, and their hot and heavy whirlwind of a relationship will take you and your partner on a wild, passionate ride.

    Ways to watch: Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    2.The Blue Lagoon (1980)

    Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins star in a 1980s-film adaption of the 1908 novel of the same name and basically live out one of the sexiest (and slightly horrifying) fantasies ever—being stuck on a desert island with your lover.

    The movie follows the lives of two children who are shipwrecked on a tropical island. When the two are left to fend for themselves, they mature into young, beautiful adults, unaware of the sexual awakening they will soon encounter.

    With their tanned and toned bods, newfound sexual desires and steamy love scenes, characters Emmeline and Richard “will remind you and your partner how it felt when you discovered each other for the first time,” says Leah*, a senior at Carthage College. “Their young love is so innocent, yet sensual at the same time.” The Blue Lagoon is one film that is sure to heat up your summer nights together.

    Ways to watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    3.Two Moon Junction (1988) 

    There’s just something about forbidden love that movies love to explore. If you’re looking for something a little steamier than just any old fling, then look no further than Two Moon Junction. “It isn’t necessarily Oscar-worthy but it’s steamy AF,” says Norris Goldflies, a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    The film portrays a young Southern debutante named April who falls for a drifter that works at a local carnival. The woman temporarily abandons her upscale lifestyle and semi-arranged marriage to pursue a lustful, erotic fling with the young man. While not the ideal situation for a real-life couple, this film offers some lusty love scenes for you and your partner to enjoy.

    Way to watch: YouTube

    Related: 9 Date-Night Movies He’ll Actually Watch

    4.Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013) 

    A woman with blue hair, a sexually confused high schooler and a roughly seven-minute sex scene are in store for you in the film Blue Is the Warmest Colour. This 2013 film is a coming-of-age erotic romantic drama that tells the story of Adéle, a French teenager who discovers her sexual desire and freedom when she begins a relationship with Emma, a painter with blue hair.

    “The film is deeply passionate and an amazing depiction of self-discovery—it’s easily one of the raciest films I’ve ever watched, and it does not disappoint,” says Leah. If you’re looking to dive deeper into the steamier films and experience some LGBTQ+ scenes, then Blue Is the Warmest Colour is definitely for you.

    Ways to watch: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Video

    5.Titanic (1997)

    As another fan favorite, this option is extremely steamy to say the least. A young aristocrat named Rose falls in love with a poor artist named Jack (does anyone else catch a running theme here?) while aboard the R.M.S. Titanic, and their ill-fated, tragic love story will have you wanting your partner to draw you like one of his French girls. *wink*

    “The car scene. That’s all I have to say. If that scene doesn’t define steamy, then I don’t know what does,” says Leah. Oh, and Leonardo DiCaprio of course.

    Ways to watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    6. Secretary (2002)

    Need a movie that'll keep your partner interested? If you and your SO are into sexy roleplay, then Secretary (aka the original Fifty Shades of Grey) is definitely the movie to watch. When a young woman gets released from a mental hospital, she gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer with certain needs—as you can guess, their relationship turns quite sexual.

    "Secretary is definitely a movie that's fun for both parties," Leah explains. "Seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal crawling on her hands and knees in a secretary outfit will have your partner jumping at the chance to do a little roleplaying between the two of you." Plus, it's an easy way to drop the hint if roleplaying is something you've been wanting to try!

    Ways to watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    7. Bang Gang (2015)

    Although the topics toward the end of this movie shift to a more serious tone, the first half of the film will leave you and your partner all hot and bothered. The 2015 French film Bang Gang follows a group of young, hot and unsupervised teenagers who create a club to engage in sexual acts and games that get steamier and steamier. An added bonus? The movie is in French, so that in itself is pretty damn sexy.

    If you're looking for some teenage angst, boredom and sexual expression to add some steaminess to your night, then Bang Gang is definitely worth a spot on your Netflix queue.

    Ways to watch: Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Video

    With some popular classics and maybe even a new one for you and your partner to watch, this steamy lineup of films is sure to make your next Netflix and chill a whole lot hotter.

    *Name has been changed.

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    Once you're past the initial stages of a breakup—the crying, the Ben & Jerry's, the sad songs on repeat—there comes a point when you wonder what's next. How do you know when you're ready to start dating again? You don't want to hold yourself back, but you don't want to use someone as a rebound either. Obviously breakups (and recovery time) vary based on the relationship, which means there's no hard and fast rule for when to enter a new one. But if you're thinking about getting back in the dating pool, here are a few red flags that mean you might not be ready just yet.

    1. You constantly compare everyone to your ex

    Whether you use your ex as a golden standard or scrutinize potential beaus for their old annoying habits, this is a major sign that you still have a lot of baggage from your last relationship. "It's definitely alright to use them as a baseline whether it be good or bad, but if you compare your new partner to your ex for everything and still have them on your mind, you're not ready to be dating again and still have some healing to do!" says Mary, a junior at the University of Maine.

    Even though you might be angry—not wistful—if your ex is constantly on your mind, it means you're not over them. It's unfair to the other person (and to you) to rush into something when you haven't let go of past feelings for a SO, even if those feelings aren't necessarily positive.

    2. You're not open to love yet

    You've made eye contact across the room for weeks, lingered after class to ~accidentally~ run into them, and got their number "just to check homework." Your friends tease you endlessly about it and, to be honest, your heart kinda does skip a beat. But when you find out they're single (aka available), you get cold feet.

    This is a sign that you like the idea of a relationship, but don't want to actually dive into one just yet. Whether you're still exhausted from all the breakup fights or feel a little afraid of commitment, don't feel pressured to "get over it." Trying to force something you're not feeling isn't going to end well for you or that cute classmate.

    Related: How To Tell Someone You're Not Looking For a Relationship

    3. You feel like you NEED to be dating someone

    This means you're looking for someone to fill a role, not someone to fall for—or maybe you're embarrassed by being single, especially if your ex has already found someone new. "If finding a [partner] feels like your number one priority, you're not ready to date again. I remember a time when I was insecure about being single and all I wanted was a boyfriend. Not only is this attitude unhealthy, it hardly attracted anyone to me," Mackenzie, a sophomore at the University of Washington, says.

    Our society places a lot of emphasis on dating and love, but there's so much more to life than that. “You should feel confident enough in yourself as a single person before adding another person to your life,” says Lyndsay, a sophomore at Sam Houston State University. “You should be able to validate your own existence, not count on someone else for that.” If you find yourself obsessing over how to get a new SO, take a step back and remind yourself that you aren't defined by your relationship status.

    4. You change yourself to be what you think the other person wants

    It's one thing to compromise on which restaurant you two head to Friday night, but it's another to undergo an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style transformation on the first date. This might be a sign that your old relationship left you with some insecurities about who you are or your self-worth—or maybe you were a chameleon with your past partner too. Either way, it's important that you bring yourself to a relationship, not lose yourself in it. Katie, a senior at SUNY Oswego, agrees.

    "I had lost myself in this previous relationship," she says. “For over a year, I tried really hard to mold myself into someone that he wanted, and lost who I truly was along the way. I started to care less and less about things, and forgot about all my goals and career ambitions. I was so obsessed with trying to make him love me, I forgot about myself and the bigger picture. Now, I know I’m not ready to date again because I’m trying to find myself again; what I like and don’t like, working on what I want to do when I graduate next May, and I don’t want any boys to distract me from that."

    Which brings us to our next red flag...

    5. You've lost yourself

    As the saying goes, the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. "I think that girls should look to focus on themselves for a little while after a breakup,” Colby, a sophomore at St. Lawrence University, says. “Focus on the relationship you have with yourself, and everything else in your life will follow suit, Get outside, go for a run, listen to your favorite music, go out with friends, have a sit down with your mom and/or sisters over some coffee, give some love to your pets, take yourself shopping, go to a yoga or painting class—just do something!"

    Being single is an opportunity to give yourself some time and attention. Is there a hobby you've always wanted to try? A book you've been meaning to read for forever? Sushi restaurants you never went to because your old partner didn't like fish? You finally get to do all those things.

    Related: 7 Things I Learned From My First Heartbreak

    6. You're settling

    Whether it's saying yes to a second date after an underwhelming first one or putting up with disrespectful behavior, settling for candidates who aren't a good match for you is a huge red flag. "It's the classic scenario of, 'Do I actually like him, or do I like him because he's showing interest in me?'" Rachel, a freshman at USC, says. "There's no need to rush into anything with anybody." When you're eager to get back in the dating world, it's tempting to settle for someone who's not great but “good enough.” Unfortunately, this kind of relationship rarely lasts. Know your worth and wait for someone you really connect with instead of wasting your time with people who aren’t right for you.

    7. You're still tight with your ex

    Being on good terms with an ex is obviously preferable in comparison to shooting each other frosty glares across campus, but that continued closeness might be holding you back. "If you still talk or text or Snapchat or whatever with them frequently, chances are you're still in that mindset of being with them one way or another,” Margeaux, a senior at Barnard College, says. “The feelings are still there and you haven't really had any sort of closure, even if you think you're 'friends' after a breakup."

    When they’re your go-to for advice or their sweatshirts are still in your closet, it can be hard to remember you two aren't actually dating anymore. You won't be ready for your next love until you're over your last one, and keeping an old SO as a BFF might be an obstacle to truly getting over them. Setting some boundaries could be crucial to moving on.

    After a breakup, it's easy to want to rush back into dating again—or swear off love forever. However, as Colby says, "You can never plan on who you will date or who you will meet, but you have to keep an open mind and you cannot shut yourself off to people just because of one bad breakup experience." But if one or more of these signs that you’re not ready to start dating again rings true for you, just take your time to make sure you don’t rush into anything just yet.

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    You’ve done your research, read a few Judy Blume novels and replayed your favorite sex scenes over and over again on Netflix (@Gossip Girl fans, we're looking at you). Bottom line: you’re fully ready to lose that v-card. But before you drop your pants, let us drop some knowledge on you: whoever is going to be by your side while you’re on your side (or back, or front—whatever works for you) is going to be a significant player in your conversations about sex for the rest of your life. Whether you’ve been dating for five years or you met five minutes ago, run through these red flags to make sure you know exactly what you shouldn’t be getting into—or who shouldn’t be getting into you.

    Here for a good time, not a long time

    SPOILER ALERT: The possibility of your first time being zero to 100 back to zero real quick is pretty high. We’re not talking about speed of the act itself, but the speed at which your first-time lover decides to get out of your bed/tree house/high school locker room.

    Moriah Raisis, a junior at Southern Methodist University, can attest to this issue well after losing her virginity to one of her first college friends. “All he wanted to do was talk about sex before we even did it, and I was in such a hurry to get it over with that I didn't even notice,” she says. “The worst part? Afterwards, he said, 'Hey, I don't wanna sound rude, but... could you please leave?'”

    You may be eager to throw your virginity out the door, but you probably want to make sure you’re not being thrown out right behind it. Make your expectations clear about the time you want to spend together—if you and your supposed special someone aren’t on the same page, you might want to keep those pants buttoned.

    Related: You Will Not Be Able to EVEN with These First Time Sex Horror Stories

    He’s just not that into you… or you’re just not that into him

    Your first time can come with some serious emotional attachment. While it’s pretty hard to tell how you’re going to feel before you get between the sheets, you can usually get a good read on things by figuring out if you and your partner-in-sex feel the same way about each other.

    Katie Short, a senior at SUNY Oswego, comments on deciding to hold off on losing it to her close friend who she had been hooking up with. “He started to develop feelings for me,” she says. “I told him we couldn’t continue doing what we were doing because it was disrespectful to him and would only hurt him, and after some reluctance on his part, he agreed with me to just be friends and to not continue hooking up.” Acknowledging that sex is going to hurt one of you (and not just physically) is an important, mature step in saving you from either serious guilt or serious heartbreak down the road.

    Under pressure

    You’ve told your ideal person that you’re down to get down, but, ever since then, you haven’t heard anything from him or her other than talk about doing the deed. Suddenly, your first time has become the only focus of conversation, and you feel like you need to just rip off your clothes so you can finally change the topic.

    If your relationship with someone has changed just because you started talking about having sex, then it’s probably bound to change even more once you get around to it. It’s possible that this person is super excited about the possibility of kicking your physical relationship up a notch, but it’s also possible that you could be another notch on his or her belt.

    Next time sex comes up in conversation, make sure you set things straight about your intentions. If getting laid is the only thing keeping you together, maybe it’s time to break apart.

    Related: 29 Thoughts Every Girl Has the First Time She Has Sex

    Easy cum, easy go

    Birds do it, bees do it, but now it seems like everyone is doing it. You’re ready to make moves with literally the next person you see, because Trojans are beyond #trending right now and you’re not trying to be stuck in last season. Pump the brakes before you put it in—love may be blind, but lust is absolutely blackout.

    Rachel, a recent graduate from James Madison University, saw her friends getting busy and wanted to join in. “I thought about doing it with an older boyfriend at the time (he wasn't a virgin), but I wasn't 100 percent convinced and was really only thinking about it because I wanted to have sex, not because I wanted to have sex with him,” she says. “If you're more into the idea of it than the person themselves, it probably isn't the right person!”

    FOMO and quick access to a quickie shouldn’t be the driving forces behind your first choice in bedmate. If “I was down and he was there” is the only explanation you can give, you might want to shut your legs and open your mind to some other options.

    One-hit wonder

    You’ve only been to first base, but it’s really good. Like, amazing good. So good, that the minute you start kissing you’re fully ready to strip. Great kissers must be great in bed, right?

    Take a look at that logic. That’s like saying people who are great at simple algebra are equally outstanding at astrophysics. Or that people who can microwave Easy Mac have a shot at an Iron Chef title. Or that your Instragram getting more than 400 likes makes you the next Annie Leibovitz. Just because this person may have mastered the most basic level of physical pleasure, you shouldn’t jump to any grandiose conclusions.

    Kayleen Parra-Padron, a senior at Florida International University, knows this feeling well. “My ex and I had been dating for about a month and I was literally crazy about him because he was really good at making out," she said. "Of course, good kissers always lead to possible regrets afterwards.” And honestly, she was right. She held off on getting off and he dumped her.

    We’re not trying to tell you that a good kisser is a bad choice. But just because someone has the lips of an angel, you shouldn’t be expecting some heavenly lovemaking.

    Related: The Truth About Virginity in College

    Your first time can be a super exciting milestone or a humorous anecdote for future parties. Needless to say, you’re not going to forget it—so make sure you’re losing it to someone who you want to remember. Good luck, collegiettes, and make good choices!

    0 0

    The typical single college girl is asked about her relationship status an average of 500 times per day. Or, at least that’s what it can start to feel like. You’re thriving academically, satisfied with your squad, and beyond excited to start that summer internship you’ve been looking forward to all semester. So why is everyone worried about your single status?

    For some reason, plenty of people think a collegiette’s love life falls into the same category of small talk as asking about where she goes to school or if she has any pets.  Female celebrities are all too frequently subjected to this same question on the red carpet instead of being asked about their accomplishments and have totally nailed the perfect witty response to shut down nosy reporters.   

    Maybe, like Rihanna, you’re just not looking for that kind of thing right now. Or maybe you and your potential boyfriend/girlfriend are DTF but haven’t DTR’ed yet, and you don’t feel like explaining what that means to your grandparents at your fam’s barbecue. Whoever is asking, here’s how to address the situation and seamlessly transition into talking about that internship you just landed––or anything else that’s happening in your busy life as a single collegiette!     

    Your hairstylist  

    Your usual stylist at the blow dry bar was booked and you find yourself face-to-face with a complete stranger for nearly an hour.  There are only so many magazines to flip through, and your phone is about to die. It’s only a matter of minutes until they ask the question––and when you shake your head no, it’s time for the equally dreaded follow up.  Are you really about to explain your entire philosophy about the benefits of being single to them? Please don’t. Or delve into the saga of how you wound up in a super messy love triangle in a matter of weeks? Probably not.  After all, your stylist is just trying to make smalltalk, not become your therapist.  

    You really don’t owe them any information about your personal life, but you also don’t want to snap at someone holding a curling iron two inches from your face and tell them to mind their own business. Instead, say that you’re way too busy for a relationship and start talking about something that really fills your schedule. But what if they push the issue? Lighten the mood with a joke by showing them that GIF of Rihanna and tell them that you don’t mind being compared to her!    

    Your mom

    You’ve been back home for all of five minutes and your mom has asked you about the new person she saw on your snap story a month ago multiple times. Of course, she’s not satisfied with the answer that you two are far from a thing––She wants to know why on earth you’re not a couple, and do they have a sibling your sister’s age? 

    First, take a deep breath, and suggest she do the same. Maybe she’s worried that all your friends are in relationships and you’re the last single girl on campus. If that’s almost the case, tell her that you already experience all of your squad’s relationship drama firsthand and have no intention of getting involved in that anytime soon. Don’t go overboard on the gossip, but mention something that’ll make her think twice about wishing you were in the same situation.  

    How to avoid being bombarded with SO talk at all? Keep your mom updated on what’s going on in your dating life during the semester. Meet someone new? Let her know! Went on a fabulous first date? Give her the details! Well, maybe not all the details. She probably has some fun guy-related stories to share from her time in college, and the sooner you get her talking, the sooner you can stop talking about your own love life.  And, when she’s done, don’t forget to remind her that its time to go blazer shopping for that new internship!  

    Your squad

    Right now, your friends could be dating any one of these seven types of guys. But the guy you’ll hear the most about? The one they want you to go out with!  

    They might be thinking about how much more fun it would be to go on double dates instead of always making you the default third wheel. In that case, tell them that an all-girls spa day sounds just as fun and make it happen. If they decide to spend their entire mani-pedis pestering you about why you refuse to get cuffed?  Remind them that not sticking a label on the person you've been seeing doesn’t make spending time with them any less fun.

    Or maybe your entire squad is single, and they want you to be the one to switch up the usual hook-up centric brunch talk with some good, wholesome couple stories––even though you’re really not feeling the whole relationship thing right now. Try playing matchmaker for one of your more introverted friends and set her up with someone super sweet. Chances are, she’s only so obsessed with your relationship status because she isn’t happy with her own. And once she’s coupled up, it won’t be your responsibility to bring the relationship talk to the table!   

    Related: The 15 Most Annoying Things Single Girls Are Tired of Hearing

    Your grandma 

    When you were twelve and had your first major middle-school crush, your grandma probably told you to stay far, far, away from them. Now it seems like she’s counting down the days to your wedding. Wait, what? 

    Don’t freak out. Stay calm and tell her just how busy that cool new summer job keeps you. Even if you’re really not looking for a guy, reassure her that if you had the time, you’d be interested in going on a date or two.  

    And if your squad is single too, Let her know! When she was your age, it was probably way more common (read: basically required) for girls to be seriously paired up, and even controversial for them to admit liking being single. Tell her about how you like to spend your limited free time with your girlfriends, and mention the cute brunch place you went to last weekend.  

    But what if she refuses to let the subject drop? If the question becomes so common that it starts to feel like you can’t have a conversation without her judging you by your relationship status, mention the situation to your mom or an aunt. They might be able to reassure her that there’s nothing wrong with you being single and help change the topic quickly next time she brings it up.    


    Every so often, the dreaded question is going to come from a guy. Is it a backhanded compliment, implying that as fabulous as you are, you’d be better off if you had a SO? Or is he genuinely curious, wondering what might convince you to consider giving him a chance?  

    If you’re into him, this is the perfect time to let it slip that you just haven’t met anyone that you really liked yet––and ask for his number.  Of course, if you’re not looking for anything serious, don’t lead him on. Be as honest with him as you would want a guy to be with you when it comes to relationship expectations. 

    And if you just want him to mind his own business? Tell him you just don’t want a boyfriend right now, and that’s all he needs to know. Don’t let him pressure you into divulging more information than you feel comfortable. If he persists, ask him about his relationship status––Why doesn’t he have a girlfriend? Maybe because he thinks that being nosy is a good way to get one.