Interview: Singer/Songwriter Missy Bauman on Girlhood, Motherhood, & Being Brave

My brother Max, a musician and songwriter, doesn’t often tell me I “have to” check out a particular artist, album, or song. But when he does, he means it.

A few years back, he met a girl named Missy Bauman through mutual friends who were attending music school with her. “You have to come see this girl play,” he told me. And because Max so rarely makes these assertions, I took this one seriously.

I went and saw Missy perform, with her then-collaborator, Rebekah Hawker. I think it was sometime during their song “Supernova” that I really fell in love. Tender and thoughtful lyrics, gorgeously simple melodies, and a girlish solemnity that felt familiar to my far-too-full heart… I immediately wanted to devour Missy’s whole oeuvre.

She has a stunning new EP out, Girlhood, and I sat down with her to chat about the inspirations behind the songs. Here’s our conversation…

Kate Sloan: Heyyy beauty.
Missy Bauman: Hello hello! 🙂
KS: Sssooooo, the EP is beautiful. I love it ❤
MB: Thank you! 🙂 ❤
KS: Max told me I would like “Easier” the best and he was right, it’s soooo pretty. Your melodies are so gorg.
MB: Thanks 🙂 It’s become one of my favourites, too. I recorded it kinda last minute, we weren’t planning on recording it.
KS: So first off, I’m wondering: is this EP “about” something to you? Does it have an overarching theme or message, in your mind?
MB: For sure. Girlhood was supposed to be a full-length album, and it kept being delayed due to financial reasons. By the time I had enough money to print it (back in October), those were the 5 songs that made the cut. But the album was originally supposed to be very very nostalgic, all of the songs being dreamy and looking back with a very deep melancholy towards my late adolescence. The album had a little more cohesion and I think the themes were a little clearer – most of it about the distance between being a kid and being a “woman.”
KS: Innnteresting. I remember hearing you play “Motherhood” for the first time and going, “Wow, ‘I want you to cum in me,’ that’s quite a powerful line!” and it sounds so different in the kind of dark solemn context of that song than it would sound in a different context. Can you tell me a bit about that song and what you were thinking about when you wrote it?
MB: I wrote it before class back in my IMP [Independent Music Production @ Seneca] days. Fox had just shown me a song, “Lucky You,” and I really wanted to write about the dark side of parenthood as well. It also kind of goes hand-in-hand with a relationship I was in at the time, where I wanted so much more out of it than he did. As a kid I always thought that parenthood was a little narcissistic (the whole “he has my eyes,” etc.), but I had become so infatuated with this person that I started to understand. Maybe I didn’t literally want him to become the father of my child, but if he did, I would’ve wanted the kid to have his eyes, his hair, his everything. It was obsessive, and weird, which is why I think the line, though super vulgar and kind of shocking, fits in pretty well with the rest of my nervous ramblings and sexually charged, unrequited feelings. It’s hard catching feelings for someone who explicitly tells you it’s not going to be a holding-hands, Facebook-official thing.
KS: Yeah, I tooootally know that feeling… In the heights of certain romantic obsessions of mine, I’ve had that fantasy of “What if I accidentally got pregnant; what would he do? Would we get married? Which one of us would the kid look more like?” and it’s this dark, obsessive road. And I think, as women, we are conditioned to view that as the fulfillment of a wish we are supposed to have.
MB: Exactly…. It’s like the hyper-extreme version of writing his last name after mine.
KS: Haha yeah. And you feel kinda guilty about it but it’s so satisfying somehow.

KS: Have you written a lot of songs with sexual themes before or was this kind of a departure for you?
MB: “Motherhood” was definitely one of the first (and probably still the most explicit). I revisit sex a lot because I consider myself to be an extremely sexual person, but a lot of the time it shows up more metaphorically. The only other track that says it as bluntly as “Motherhood” is called “Imaginary Boyfriends.” [Author’s note: you can listen to “Imaginary Boyfriends” at the end of this post!]
KS: Do you get nervous performing songs with sexxxy references in them? I remember when I first wrote my song “Good Girl,” which is full of some pretty explicit kink shit, I would make up fake versions of the lyrics for when I felt uncomfortable practicing around my family, or I would kind of mumble those parts of the song… Haha!
MB: I used to freak out a LOT, especially because my dad is my #1 fan and we are both very private people. Every song I wrote before 2015 has an alternative set of lyrics in case he was in the crowd. I’m less worried about that now, partly because I feel more confident in my craft, specifically lyrics (as uncomfortable as it might be)… If I didn’t have to say it in such a straight-up way, I would be singing about something else. That’s the approach I take to it now, anyway.
KS: Haha, that’s amazing. and I’m glad you’re feeling better about it these days! I’m curious, do you have a favorite song on the Girlhood EP?
MB: I think “Her” is my favourite. It was scary to write and still scary to share, but I fell in love with it in a way I haven’t ever felt for my other songs.
KS: Why was it scary to write/share, if you don’t mind me asking? (I mean, I know the lyrics are INNNTENSE, but I would love to know what you meant by that in your own words!)
MB: [My partner] and I had just lost a baby, and I was just in this haze for weeks. It was the middle of the summer and we had an upstairs apartment with no A/C; it was just so muggy and sluggish and I felt so empty and kind of dazed. I wrote it and recorded the EP version sometime that week after we got into a fight and he left to get some air. It was hard because we definitely weren’t planning on having a baby or anything like that, but it still felt like I was very alone and kind of broken. People don’t really talk openly about miscarriages. Like… I don’t even talk about it openly. I feel like I have less of a space in a community of women who were trying to be parents and lost someone they truly loved vs. an unemployed kid who was blissfully unaware of the pregnancy at all.
KS: ❤ I’m so sorry, I didn’t know that had happened.
MB: I’m still getting used to being open about it! My friend Tyler from Said the Whale just put out his story “Miscarriage” and told me that it’s just important to get the discussion going so that women going through it don’t have to feel so broken/alone. It’s way more common than you would think.


KS: So, I know you won a grant recently. Can you tell me about the grant and what you plan to do with it?
MB: Sure! It’s through Ontario Arts Council, and it’s a creation grant for Popular Music. I wrote to them with the concept for my next album. The purpose for the creation grant is to cover your “living costs” – it’s super general and relatively easy to apply for (compared to FACTOR or other federal funding). It’s very competitive. I had an entire class in IMP dedicated to that grant. With the support from the grant, a LOT of stress was relieved from my living costs this summer (we’re going on tour, but I still have to pay OSAP, rent, and my share of water/hydro), and it will let me create my next album without the crazy financial stress I’ve become accustomed to! It could not have come at a better time.
KS: Yaaay! Congrats!
MB: Hehe thank you!! ❤ ❤ ❤
KS: One last question for ya. What music do you find sexy? Any particular songs you like to make out or do Other Activities to?
MB: Oooh, good question!! “Hunger of the Pine” by Alt J. “My Kind of Woman” by Mac DeMarco. “Once I Loved” by Astrud Gilberto. “Riot Van” by the Arctic Monkeys. “Cola” by Lana Del Rey.
KS: Thanks, girl! I’ll add those to my sex playlist right now…

Thanks so much to Missy for her vulnerable and inspirational stories and her beautiful music! You can buy/download her Girlhood EP now on her Bandcamp page. You can also “Like” her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her website.

And, bonus: Missy is letting me premier her song “Imaginary Boyfriends” here on my blog! As per usual for her, it’s dark, smart, poignant, and pretty. Have a listen!

Interview: Tynan Rhea on Sexy Scents, Self-Love, and Post-Baby Body Pride

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My friend Tynan Rhea is one of the funniest people I know. Her stories at Tell Me Something Good are always crowd favorites, and I could happily listen to her talk about damn near anything for hours. She’s just that kind of person.

But being funny and engaging isn’t Tynan’s only skill. She’s also a trained doula, aromatherapist, and sex educator. I sat down with Tynan in a noisy Toronto coffee shop to talk about the science of aromatherapy, the oil blend she made for me (which is my #1 favorite scent, far beyond any perfume I’ve bought at Sephora), and the super rad self-love workshop she’s teaching this month for folks who’ve recently given birth.

Kate Sloan: So, you made me an aromatherapy blend, and I’m wearing it today, actually. Do you want to tell the story of that blend? ‘Cause it’s a cool story!
Tynan Rhea: It’s a great story! Okay, so, you’ll have to fill in the parts that are about you and your day, but basically what happened was: I had a dream. And in the dream, you and I were discussing a blend that I was gonna make for you.
KS: And we were at a sex club.
TR: Oh, really? I forgot that part! Okay, that makes sense. So, we were at a sex club, and I was discussing this blend. And I remember, in the dream, feeling this sense of urgency, like, “Oh my god, Kate needs this blend.” I knew that it had to have pink grapefruit in it, and I knew that the middle note had to be lemongrass, and then, for the base note, first, I thought, “For sure, jasmine,” and then I thought, “Oh, wait, no. This may be a rose moment.” And I was like – weird! She might hate rose. Why would I do that? And so then, when I woke up, I immediately texted you, like, “I just had this wild dream that I was making this blend for you, and this is what it would have in it… Do you think you’d like that?” And you were like, “Oh, yeah, I could really use that, because…”
KS: It was actually, the guy I was seeing at the time, I had just found out that he was a chronic abuser. So I was going through some feelings of guilt and self-hatred around, like, “Why didn’t I know this? Why did I put up with him for so long and believe him over these other women?”
TR: Oh, that’s so much more fascinating now, in terms of the blend, because we did end up going with rose, and rose is about self-compassion and healing the heart. So it’s good for if you’ve lost somebody to death or illness, or if you’ve broken up with someone, and it also helps us focus on self-love. It helps us go, “I am deserving, so I don’t need to feel this bad.”
KS: Yeah. I think I definitely really needed that, at that time. And still, it’s my favorite. I wear it all the time. I love it. It’s so good.
TR: Good! Well, the nice thing about rose, too, is it’s pretty intensely anti-stress. It does things to our brain that have been scientifically researched.
KS: Interesting. So I’m curious about – like, you knew me, in that case, so you maybe had some kind of subconscious or conscious sense of what I needed. But what is the process usually like, when you’re working with a client, to determine what they need in a custom blend?
TR: So normally, when we’re creating a blend, I go through the process that was taught to me by Tracey TieF, my teacher. She’s the owner and operator of Anarres Apothecary. So what we do is, we ask people what their top three complaints are. So they might be like, “I have backache, I have itchy dandruff, and I just broke up with my boyfriend.” And those seem wildly unrelated, right, but maybe they are related. And that’s kind of the idea with holistic medicine, is that we don’t live these disjointed lives; everything plays into everything. So your back might be aching because you’re tensing your shoulders up all the time because you’re anxious or upset or stressed, and that’s related to the break-up. And when you do that, maybe you scratch your head a bunch. I dunno. Dandruff is not that! But the point is: after you have your top three complaints, then you find a top, middle, and a base note, and each of those notes should address all three of those things. So, I think rose would be really fitting as a base note for that, because rose is an anti-inflammatory. Rose would address all of them, because rose, on the skin [diluted in a carrier oil like vegetable oil], is very healing and very soothing, especially for dry and irritated skin, so that would work well for the dandruff, it would help with the heartache, and it would work well as an anti-inflammatory for the backache. And the idea is that, if all three of the notes address all three issues, then that’s the medicine you need, because it’s hitting all of those points. The oils should mimic the profile of what’s ailing you.

Tynan's handmade products are available at Come As You Are and Anarres Apothecary.
Tynan’s handmade products are available at Come As You Are and Anarres Apothecary.

KS: Okay. That makes sense. So, can you tell me about some of your favorite oils specifically for purposes related to sex and sexual health?
TR: Yes! So, as my final project, I specialized in sexual health in aromatherapy. My favorite oils for sexual health depend on the sexual issue. My favorite base notes are rose, vanilla, and jasmine. I know we’ve talked a lot about rose, but rose has been shown to release dopamine in the brain, which is partly why it’s such a good anti-stress. And then jasmine has been traditionally used to speed up labor, to increase bonding and sensuality between lovers… It’s suspected by some aromatherapists and midwives that it releases oxytocin in the brain, although I haven’t found research to back that up, but its traditional uses suggest this. And then vanilla releases serotonin in the brain, which we know from research. So I think it’s this wonderful little commonality that they all have: they all work on your “yummy juices.” That’s such a dorky way to put it, but I think of dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin as the “mmm juice,” ’cause those are the feel-good chemicals. And I think each of those has a different way of making you feel yummy.
KS: Right.
TR: And I should also mention that the oils I pick for sexual health tend to be the ones that play on our psychological and emotional stuff, because that’s sort of the realm of health that I like to work in. But there are lots of really good oils for physical illness of the body. Like, I have this great yeast infection blend that I made for the vulva. It’s coconut oil, tea tree oil, and lavender oil. You mix ’em all together in the right proportions, and it is so soothing and it instantly takes the itch away and it’s so good. So, I would call that an excellent sexual health oil.
KS: Yeah! That sounds good.
TR: Yeah! But so, my favorite middle note is marjoram, because traditionally, it’s been listed as addressing sex addiction. And I was like, “What?! That is so weird! That’s such a weird, specific thing.” But then you read into it a little more, and you look at the chemistry of marjoram oil, and it’s made of stuff that is both calming and stimulating. Which sounds really contradictory, but then if you look at traditional uses again, it’s used to help you focus. And it’s also used to help us open up and connect with other people so we don’t feel as alone and isolated. And feeling alone and isolated, I think, is a major piece in addiction, particularly sex addiction. So I think, not only does it invite us to connect with other people – which is huge – but it also focuses us. So when you put it in a sex blend or an aphrodisiac blend, a blend where you’re trying to “set the mood…” I don’t like the idea of aphrodisiac blends being like, “I’m gonna attract this person!” because that’s rude. Talk to them! But if you know you already like them and you know they like scents, and you wanna put a nice scent in the room, I love marjoram as the middle note because I feel like it takes the stuff from the base note – whether it’s relaxing, or conjuring up a sensual feeling, or trying to build a sexual appetite – it’s gonna take that energy and help you focus in on it.
KS: Cool!
TR: Yeah! So one of my favorite top notes for sexual health is pink grapefruit, because it’s supposed to help us be in our bodies, in a way that’s pleasurable and fun and feels good. Most of the food-related essential oils, like pink grapefruit and cinnamon, are going to, in some way, put us in our bodies. But there’s something that’s particularly playful about pink grapefruit. And that word, “playful,” reminds me of my other favorite top note for sex essential oil blends, which is tangerine. Because that one’s all about being playful and silly and cute and bringing us back to our inner child. In a sexual context, I don’t know how many people would feel comfortable saying, “I want to bring out my inner child!” but I think that’s so important. I think the inner child does know how to have good sex.
KS: Sex is grown-up playtime!
TR: Yeah, exactly! The cool thing about aromatherapy is that the molecules in the essential oils are so small that they can pass through the blood-brain barrier. So when you smell it, it actually goes directly to your brain and works on the brain, which is how it can release serotonin and all those things. I love aromatherapy because it’s an immediate medicine that you can pick up at any health food store. Smelling something, you can quickly pick up and do. It’s not a tool that is gonna cure everything, but generally, it’s a tool you can immediately use, and it kind of holds your hand while you work through your stuff. When I use an oil, it’s not like it can fix all the damage that’s been done, but it allows me some serenity and it works on the brain so that you have more space to work through those things and not be as triggered or as overwhelmed while you do that. It kind of works like food, in that pleasure-centre kind of way, because even though you’re not eating it, it is going into your body. And it’s also not gonna have the same side effects as, say, an antidepressant. Like, if I’m having a panic attack, I can go huff some clary sage, and it won’t have the lasting, shitty effects of a lorazepam. But I can get the same effect, or a similar-enough, or a different-but-just-as-useful.

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KS: Cool! So, let’s shift gears a little bit. Can you tell me about the Body Pride workshop that you’re running?
TR: Yeah! So, as a sex educator and doula, and a friend of Caitlin K. Roberts, I’ve been to a few of her Body Pride workshops as a helper and as a participant. And after a few of those workshops, somebody suggested that there be a post-partum Body Pride. Women are so under attack for how their bodies “should” look, and the post-partum period – the period right after birth – is particularly hard, because I think there’s all sorts of pressures around getting back to your “pre-baby body.” You’re not gonna have the body you had before. You had a fucking baby! That’s amazing! Why would your body be the same after that? It shouldn’t be, because nothing’s the same after that. And that’s a good thing. Or it can be a good thing.
KS: Totally!
TR: So we thought it would be helpful to have a Body Pride just for people who’ve had that experience, because I think that transitioning from a young person into adulthood has its own unique set of struggles – and then you have to do it again, in a different way, with a slightly different set of obstacles, in post-partum.
KS: How much are you changing Caitlin’s basic Body Pride curriculum to be specifically for post-partum folks?
TR: Not a lot. We’re keeping it pretty on-point. I won’t be doing a photoshoot at the end, mostly because I don’t have the skills. We just felt that it wouldn’t be appropriate, and we don’t have somebody with that skillset. Not knowing what will come up for people, I wasn’t sure if that would be the best way to end it. I am gonna end it with a little dance party, to keep it light. The other thing is, I sat down and had a consult with a woman who was very interested in this post-partum Body Pride idea, and she really helped me to build in some checking-in kind of stuff. So there might be a little extra care around appreciating that not everybody coming to this event is going to feel great about their body. It’s not that you can’t celebrate your body in the space, but we all need to be mindful that not everybody is gonna be able to celebrate like you can, necessarily.
KS: True.
TR: The other thing that’s different is that people who are breastfeeding – from 0 to 6 months – can bring their baby, because that’s a really tough period to not be around your baby, if you’re breastfeeding.
KS: Do you have any other workshops coming up after that one?
TR: I do! I have a Pleasure After Kids workshop coming up at the LGBTQ Parenting Network. It’s gonna be at the 519. It’s on December 4th from 2 to 4 p.m., and I think it’s free. I’ll also be holding an Aromatherapy for Sexual Health event on November 22nd from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Anarres Apothecary (749 Dovercourt Road, north of Dovercourt and Bloor). There will be treats!
KS: Awesome! Where can people find you online if they want to book you for services or just find out more about you?
TR: They can visit me at TynanRhea.com and SisterhoodWellness.com[Ed. note: Tynan’s also on Instagram and Twitter.]
KS: Thanks, Tynan!

How to Have Sex as a Teenager

I have been a sexually active teenager. As many of you know, it can be a hard life. Sneaking around, telling egregious lies to your parents, struggling to get access to contraceptives… I do not miss it.

However, despite the lies told by abstinence-only sex ed programs, many teens can and do have sex. So obviously, with that reality in mind, the best way to maximize pleasure and minimize problems is to equip ‘em with the info they need. Here’s my guide to having sex as a teen.

1. Get informed. Don’t rush into things without knowing what you’re doing. Here are some resources you’ll want to check out to fill your noggin with crucial sex info:
Planned Parenthood’s website is full of unbiased, useful facts that your high school sex ed class may have glossed over or missed altogether. Check out the birth control page, as well as their pages on general sexuality and STIs – though, let’s face it, their whole website is gold.
Violet Blue’s blog might be a bit advanced for teens, but she does have some great sex ed pages. Here are some of the most useful for the average teen: sex advice and techniques, fellatio, cunnilingus, kissing. (There are more in her sidebar.) These pages are full of articles, erotica, and safety information about the different kinds of sex you might be having or thinking about having.
• One of my personal sex ed super-sources when I was a teen was the Sex is Fun podcast. It approaches sex from a non-judgmental and pleasure-focused perspective, and is often quite entertaining. I suggest you start with the first 100 shows, as they cover the most basic topics. You can put ’em on your MP3 player or phone and listen while you walk to school or work out or whatever it is that you do, and no one will know that you’re learning about sex!
Scarleteen is widely considered one of the best sources of sex info for teens, and I agree. Their website is soooo full of content that you could read it for hours at a time and still be fascinated. The “first time here” page is the perfect place to start. And they have a message board. Just trust me on this one: you need to check out Scarleteen.
• Reddit’s Sexxit community is a good place to ask any sex questions that you can’t find answers to elsewhere. It’s an adult-oriented community but teens do wander in from time to time, and are always treated with respect.

2. Get protection. Listen to me, younglings: you need to be using some form of protection when you become sexually active. It is a non-negotiable. Sorry, that’s how it is. Here’s what you need to know…
• Condoms are often given out for free at places like Planned Parenthood clinics, other local health or sexual health clinics, high school nurse’s offices (depending on your school’s politics), your doctor’s office (if you ask nicely), and so on.
• If you have the money and are brave enough (or can enlist a friend or partner who is brave enough), you can also just buy condoms at your local drugstore. Don’t get anything that has a fancy texture or cooling/warming lube – just get a box of basic condoms.
• If pregnancy is a possibility with the kind of sex you’re planning on having, you need to think about birth control. (Condoms are pretty effective on their own when used perfectly, but most people don’t use them perfectly, and some people like to use birth control too, just to be extra sure they won’t get pregnant.) This Planned Parenthood factsheet has all the info about the different types of birth control, both hormonal and not, including their efficacy rates, side effects, costs, and so on. Read up and make an informed decision.
• If your doctor won’t prescribe you birth control, or they need your parents’ consent and you don’t want to ask your parents, or your regular pharmacy’s BC prices are too steep, you can seek out a Planned Parenthood clinic in your area and ask them to hook you up. Their prices are typically better and they are good about anonymity.
• If you or your partner have had sex with someone else before, whether consensual or not, STIs are a possibility. You can get tested together (for a fee) at a Planned Parenthood clinic, or another sexual health clinic (if it has no age rules).

3. Communicate. It can be really hard to communicate about sex (what each of you wants in bed, what you absolutely don’t want to do, etc.), especially when you’ve never done it before and/or don’t have a proper model for what it should look like. Here are some good resources about that:
• Dr. Debby Herbenick wrote this article about best practices for sexual communication.
• This UC Davis guide is pretty awesome.
• Here is a random textbook chapter about communicating sexually.
• This zine, Learning Good Consent, teaches all about consent, which isn’t always as simple as “yes” or “no.” You should have a look even if you think you know what consent means and how to recognize it.

4. Find a place to do it. Some teens are lucky enough to have parents who don’t mind them having sex in the house – but then there are others who won’t even let you be in your room with your partner when the door’s closed! Here are some locations you could try:
• Do your parents or your partner’s parents ever go out of the house for an evening, a weekend, or a more extended trip? That might be a good time to have sex in the house. Just make sure you clean up after yourself.
• Do you have any friends with cool parents (or parents who are often out of the house) who might let you use their place from time to time?
• Does one of you have a car that you can have sex in, or can you borrow one? (Having sex in public is illegal, of course, but you may be able to find a secluded enough area. Attempt at your own risk!)
• Keeping the above warning in mind: there are other public places that are pseudo-private and might work. I once had sex inside a playground tube at night, for example. Just make sure you keep a lookout, and bring condoms!
• If your parents are cool with you closing the door but you don’t want them to know you’re having sex, you can get creative to make sure they don’t hear you. It can be hot to have to remain totally silent, like you’re keeping a sexy secret together. And it can be fun to explore the terrain of your bedroom to find the quietest possible surface to bang on. (I used to have a super squeaky bed so my partner and I always had to have sex on the floor to minimize noise!) Additionally, you could try the age-old trick of blasting loud music to cover up your sex sounds, though that might arouse suspicion!

5. Listen to your body and your partner, not your expectations. This is the advice I wish someone had given me when I first became sexually active! Here are some examples of what I mean:
• If you’ve ever watched porn before, you might have the idea that someone who’s really enjoying themselves sexually will make a lot of noise. The truth is, not everyone is noisy in bed. Sexy sounds might develop over time, but don’t expect your partner (or yourself) to bust out loud moans and shrieks right off the bat. If you’re not sure if they’re enjoying themselves, ask them instead of relying on unreliable signals.
• If a particular sexual act doesn’t feel that great to you, but you feel like you’re “supposed to” enjoy it, don’t pretend to enjoy it! Instead, have a talk with your partner about what the two of you could try to make it more enjoyable. Lube? A different speed or rhythm? More foreplay? Harder or softer touch? And if you find that no adjustments can make you like a particular act, remember that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If a sex act makes you uncomfortable or just feels bad, you don’t have to do it.
• If you’re having sex with someone who has a vagina, remember that clitoral stimulation is required for the majority of those folks to have an orgasm. Vaginal stimulation alone won’t do it in most cases. It’s easy to add clit stimulation: you or your partner can use fingers, or you can incorporate a small vibrator (some drugstores sell ’em alongside the condoms, if you want to give vibes a try – though don’t judge vibrators on those, because they’re not the best!).
• If your partner asks you whether or not you’re enjoying something they’re doing, try not to lie, even if the truth is kind of embarrassing. When you lie, you give your partner the wrong signals and you deny yourself the kind of sex you want, while also denying your partner the pleasure of making you feel good. Sexual honesty is important, and if you can get good at it early, you’ll be ahead of the game!
• If you’re feeling good and having fun, and your partner is too, then the sex you’re having is successful. Don’t worry too much about orgasms, duration, what sex is “supposed” to look or feel like, or any other peripheral concerns like that. Pleasure and fun should be your main goals; all the rest is extra.
• For more info on how real-life sex can be different from some people’s expectations, have a look through Make Love, Not Porn.

What do you wish someone had told you when you first became sexually active? Teens: what kind of information do you think people in your age group need more of, in order to have safe, fulfilling sex?