20 Things Every Girl Dating In Her 20s Should Know

Last week, the viral hub Buzzfeed ran 27 Things Every Girl In Her Twenties Should Really Have By Now, a listicle that pretty much reduced women in their twenties to superficial creatures who can hardly take care of themselves. I think the twenties are a wonderful time full of discoveries and level-ups, so I made my own list.

Image by tzitos_rde. (Flickr)

How to Say No

Whether it’s a friend asking you to meet her for drinks when you’re exhausted after a week of grueling meetings, a colleague who wants you to do them a nontrivial favor that you have no time for, or a guy you don’t have chemistry with who wants a second date – say no. By your twenties, you know what it’s like to depend on someone who doesn’t come through. Don’t be that person. Assess what you have going on and how you feel and be honest about whether the proposed item is something you really want to take on. If it isn’t – just say no.

How Your Body Works

You’ve had your body for a while now – you should know how it reacts to certain things, whether it’s three martinis, spicy food or only four hours of sleep. Respect your own boundaries. Your body is full of gauges – never ignore pain, weird discharges, or urine and feces that look unusual. Yes, you should pay attention to these things. Even unusually killer cramps and insane mood swings when you’re premenstrual could indicate that something else is up.

How to Have an Orgasm

My mother once told me about a conversation with one of her girlfriends, who was also married, about how she thought she might have had an orgasm. Times have changed somewhat, but we still live in a world where female sexuality is the target of oppression. If you don’t know how to orgasm by your twenties, devote some time to exploring the matter. If you can’t make yourself cum, how can you expect a partner to do so? Once you know, focus on letting your partner know what kind of stimulation makes you crazy – it doesn’t have to be a serious conversation! A simple “I love it when you do that” or “I can’t stop thinking about how great it would be if you did this” as part of a naughty message exchange is more than enough.

What You Don’t Want in a Partner

You’ve been dating a while. You may not know what you want – and that’s okay, your twenties are a time of a lot of change – but you should pay attention to personality traits or habits you don’t like. Don’t look at your exes as horrible mistakes, but as lessons. Every relationship you have helps you get just a little more information about the sort of person that’s likely to be a suitable long-term match for you. By thirty, you should know that while people change, slamming them against your expectations over and over isn’t the way to arrive at a solid relationship, only a union that fits because the individuals within have been fractured beyond hope of recognition.

How to Have Safer Sex

By your twenties, it’s highly probable that you or someone close to you has a scare over sexually transmitted illness or pregnancy. That’s a valuable lesson. Sex is always a risk and by now you should be aware that even “just this once” can have long-lasting consequences. Always use a condom – and remember that oral sex can still transmit STIs. Did you know that in the porn industry, people don’t brush their teeth before a scene because abrasions can aid transmission? They also get tested every 28 days – and there are still cases of STI and HIV on occasion. Take that page from the "Doing It Like A Porn Star" playbook and get yourself tested frequently, especially if you’re playing the field or haven’t become exclusive with a partner yet.

What a Friend Is

You’ve probably told someone who likes you that you just want to “be friends.” Why is friendship always given as a consolation prize? Friendships are your support network and this structure should be sturdy, comprised of people who have your back no matter what and who can keep whatever secrets you decide to impart. As you leave the social environment of university and head into the real world, you’re going to need to be a lot more discerning. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and there’s no time for people who won’t be there when the going gets tough.

How to Break Up with Someone

It’s not easy breaking up. Sometimes it hurts even when it makes sense. Sometimes neither of you wants to, but you have to because of some external factor. Sometimes the other person just doesn’t want to let you go. Ending things is messy, but by your twenties you should have a fairly good idea of how to do it. And how, when you do it, you can’t undo it.


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