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The 32-Year-Old Who Loves Her Grandma’s Dating Advice

3 Min Read
The 32-Year-Old Who Loves Her Grandma’s Dating Advice

BTBz is dedicated to talking about sexual health and self-discovery — and our community’s voices are critical in these conversations. Welcome to the BTBz Column: a weekly reflection by our community members about their own sexual identities. Want to contribute anonymously? Get in touch.

Age: 32, Sex: FemaleLocation: California

Describe your first kiss in 5 words.

Awkward. Thrilling. At the mall. 

What do you remember from your high school sex ed class?

During my high school health class in Texas, we had an outside group of abstinence-only educators come “teach” the class. The presentation was full of medically inaccurate information, shame, and scare tactics. 

We were shown photos of STIs that don’t reflect reality — or the fact that most STIs have no symptoms, which meant many of my friends refused to get tested because they thought they would “know” if they had contracted something. We were taught condoms fail all the time, which of course is not true as long as you are using condoms consistently and correctly. 

There was an activity where a female student held a pink paper heart and 10 boys took turns tearing pieces of it. The instructor yelled, “See, this is what happens if you have sex!” That only reinstated archaic gender norms, and we were told the only way to take care of one’s heart and body is to stay abstinent until marriage. 

I was mortified this was how we were being “taught” about sex. Not only was the lesson sexist and filled with shame-based messages, the whole class was a complete missed opportunity to actually teach students something useful about consent, healthy relationships, contraception, and sexual wellbeing overall.   

If you were a sex ed teacher, what would you make sure your students knew?

That when you choose to have sex — or not to have sex — is completely up to you. Everyone has different religious and cultural backgrounds, and it’s important to evaluate what feels right to you. I would teach them ways to avoid feeling peer pressured into sex, what consent looks and doesn’t look like, and what are traits of healthy and unhealthy relationships. I would teach them facts about contraception methods, and how to select what works for you, as well as tips for having open conversations with a partner about sex. There’s so much to talk about when it comes to sexuality and sexual health. When sex ed is just a one-hour session in your high school health class, it’s just not enough. 

How do you practice self-care? 

My favorite thing is to turn off my phone and do whatever brings me joy that day. I let myself forget about all the things that are stressing me out. I dance to ‘90s pop songs, bike around town, cook (I’m not great at it, but I do love it), or play video games. 

Where do you get the most honest dating advice?

I love following sexual health experts like Dr. Jess, Dr. Emily Morse, Ruth Westheimer, and Linnea Marie. I’ll have to say though that some of the best, and definitely honest, relationship advice came from my grandma. 

You had a first date that didn’t go anywhere: Would you prefer to receive a text letting you down, or would you rather be ghosted?

Ghosting is a good example of how we need more conversations on healthy relationships, consent, and communication. After experiencing it all (being ghosted, ghosting, vs being honest after a date), I’ve definitely concluded I’d much rather get an honest text than being ghosted. 

Rejection hurts. But how we handle rejection can really help us learn and grow. It’s perfectly okay to let someone know you had a good time, but that you’re not feeling enough of a connection to pursue a romantic relationship. And yeah, it can feel icky and mean to tell someone that. But I would argue being ghosted feels much worse. At least if you’re honest, the person knows not to wait for a text or keep dreaming about your next date. 

On the other hand, how you handle rejection is also important. Responding with name-calling doesn’t accomplish anything — it just deters people from being honest in the future. 

When do you feel your sexiest?

Fresh out of the shower in a bathrobe. If I could live the rest of my life in a bathrobe, trust me, I would.