Back to School

Lindy West's Guide to Sex and Dating

Everything You Could Possibly Need to Know—Plus Abortion Stuff!

How to Take Someone on a Romantic Date

Yay! Good idea! How cute of you! There are a lot of ways to go about this, but the main thing is: Be thoughtful. Pay attention to what the other person likes. Are they a vegetarian? Did they mention wanting to try a particular restaurant? Did they tell you that Vietnamese food gives them diarrhea-hives? Try to avoid restaurants that will give your beloved or hopefully-beloved-to-be diarrhea-hives. Diarrhea-hives are not romantic. Tell your date they look pretty/handsome. Don't be boring. Ask questions. Candles are nice. Flowers aren't necessary but HOLY SHIT ARE THEY EXCITING. Cooking at home isn't necessary but HOLY FUCK IS IT ADORABLE. The idea here is to make the other person feel special, so just treat the other person like they are special (not special like Special Olympics—come on) and you win. Oh, and kiss your special person. KISS THEM. KISS THEM SO MUCH.

How to Get with a Girl if You Are a Boy

Here's the main thing: Don't be creepy. Girls can smell your weird, insecure, predatory creepin' from a mile away (hint: It smells like DiGiorno and Axe body spray!). Groom yourself, don't try too hard, don't use pick-up lines, don't stare, and try to visibly have fun. People (women are people!) like to be around people who are fun. Don't be too aggressive, but don't be too timid. Most importantly, talk to women like they are humans with interests and lives and things to say, not just fleshy collections of holes that you would like to put your penis into. Oh, and please don't wear sandals. No one wants to look at your weird red toes.

How to Get with a Boy if You Are a Girl

Exist. Smile. Wash yourself. Go to places where other people are. Have fun. Congrats! Penis in vagina!

How to Get with a Gay if You Are a Gay

See here, and good on ya!

How to Successfully Put Your Parts in or on Another Person

Communication is important. Unless you're having sex with one of those (annoying) people who doesn't like to talk specifics because it ruins the "moment" or the "mystery," just go ahead and ASK. What do they like? What gives them the carnal tingles? What gets them off? Listen to what they say, and tell them what you want, too. Then, whatever you talked about, both of you do that with your genitals. Bingo! If you are a shy flower who just wants to DO dirty things without having to TALK about dirty things, pay close attention to your partner's body language and vocalizations. If they start making a noise like they like something, do more of that thing. If they fall asleep, you're fired. To sum up: friction, repetition, enthusiasm, repeat. No teeth.

How to Have a Respectful One-Night Stand

Okay. You just saw this person naked and they saw you naked. Both of you are vulnerable right now. But even though you are vulnerable, don't pull some lame backlash shit. This person just had sex with you! That was so nice of them! First of all, don't sneak out. If you don't want to spend the night, that's okay, but be kind and direct about it. If you don't want the other person to spend the night, then don't invite the other person over to your goddamn house, because there is no non-shitty way to kick someone out after you just fucked them. Sorry. Also, don't get anyone's hopes up. Don't be all, "I am totally into you and let's date! I'll totally call you in five minutes!" Because you know you're not going to do that. But also don't be a dick. Don't be all, "Get out of my house, skank! You're gross!" Try this: "Hey, I had fun! Thanks! Maybe I'll see you around sometime!" Also, eating a breakfast sandwich with a person is a nice gesture. Just saying.


Something oozing or weird down there? Go to the damn doctor. Seriously. Just go. DOCTORS ARE NOT SCARY. The waiting and wondering and possibly infecting other people is the scary part.

How to Break Up with Someone

You MUST do it in person. No phone, no texting, no e-mail. You must be firm, direct, and simple. Do not leave room for argument or ambiguity or false hopes. Don't be cruel or insulting, even if you feel like it—it just makes you look bad and gives the dumpee ammunition for later. Leave as soon as you're done, and delete that person from your phone and your Facebook so you don't do anything you regret while drunk.

How to Get an Abortion

Calm down. Take a deep breath. It's going to be okay. If you are pregnant but you don't want to be, there are sooooo many options for you! Fun! Let's do this! First, make an appointment at a clinic in your area. Make sure it isn't a creepy Christian "pregnancy center" because they will just feed you a bunch of lies about your soul dying and your uterus falling out and then send you home with some Jesus pamphlets and no abortion. Not. Fucking. Helpful. In Seattle, try Planned Parenthood's University District Health Center, Planned Parenthood on Capitol Hill, Aurora Medical Services, or Seattle Medical and Wellness Clinic downtown.

The people at the clinic (almost certainly women) have met many people like you before and they are trained in just the right ways to be nice to you and help you to stop freaking out. They will sit you down and talk to you about your feelings and your options. You will have the choice of either a medical abortion (pills that cause the unwanted clump of cells—it is not a baby—to detach and fall out) or a surgical abortion (sedation and a vacuum-type apparatus). The medical kind, where you take the pills, is easier, but either is totally fine. To repeat: You will be FINE.

People will tell you all kinds of things about your abortion: They'll tell you that you are a bad person. They'll tell you that you'll be traumatized for the rest of your life. They'll tell you it'll be horribly painful. They'll tell you that chunks of tissue the size of lemons will fall out of your vagina. Of course, everyone is different and everyone's abortion is different (like a snowflake!), but in general, the reality is that YOU WILL BE FINE. Your heart will recover. Lemons will not come out. No lemons. If lemons come out, call the doctor, and THEN you will be fine. And if you are a bad person, it is not because of your abortion.

Lastly, congrats! You now have carte blanche to make abortion jokes for the rest of time. Use this power wisely. recommended


Comments (34) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
ScienceNerd 1
Why do I have to be Admin to read the part about how to get with a gay? :(
Posted by ScienceNerd on September 21, 2011 at 10:57 AM · Report this
Like a snowflake!
Posted by Luckier on September 21, 2011 at 1:16 PM · Report this
Thank you Lindy... that was great!
Posted by Bean on September 21, 2011 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Thank you Lindy... that was great!
Posted by Bean on September 21, 2011 at 5:33 PM · Report this
eclexia 5
You said "diarrhea-hives" three times in a row. OK, but NEVER, EVER do that while looking in the mirror.
Posted by eclexia on September 22, 2011 at 12:30 AM · Report this
I love this.
Posted by Amanda on September 22, 2011 at 11:17 AM · Report this
I only disagree with the part about med abortions being easier. In a totally unscientific poll of my colleagues at a fine local abortion clinic (done, granted, in 2005), we all agreed that the five-minute surgical was infinitely preferable to the possibly hours-long cramping/bleeding. But we weren't scared of the docs, because we saw them eating lunch every day, and YMMV.

God, I miss Seattle.
Posted by GoBlue on September 22, 2011 at 11:33 AM · Report this
i'm pro-science and i vote 8
I love this, how the "how to get with a girl if you are a boy" section is 10x shorter than "how to get with a boy if you are a girl"-- even written by a girl, Ms West. By the way, ladies of Seattle who complain about dating guys in Seattle, always remember it's far harder for a guy to hook up than for you to hook up. The only work you have to do is attract a male and say 'yes'. Guys have to attract you, initiate damn near everything, but not be too ____ or too ____ about it, play a multidimensional game of tightrope walking, much of which is conservative BS even in a liberal city like Seattle, have impeccable timing with everything throughout the date, and basically be flawless.

Not to complain that much, women SHOULD be a challenge for guys to an extent. It's more dignified and more of a turn-on than being easy. Just sayin', Seattle is full of quality guys and I've heard so many girls in Seattle complain about Seattle guys. Just about every fucking day in Seattle I meet well-balanced, smart, decent looking single guys out in public
Posted by i'm pro-science and i vote on September 22, 2011 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Shorter Lindy West: I do not know anything, but I like to act like I do as a pretense for trying to be funny, which I am not.
Posted by Whatever this article was on September 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM · Report this
creepy little girl 10
Sound advice! I like it!
Posted by creepy little girl on September 22, 2011 at 4:08 PM · Report this
What's the protocol for breaking up with someone who's in a mental hospital? They never mention this in magazines. I ended up doing it by snail mail.
Posted by strawberrymilk on September 22, 2011 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Printing this out and giving it to everybody.
Posted by Crash on September 22, 2011 at 7:28 PM · Report this
@ 8...I think Lindy oversimplified for sake of humor my friend...If I wanted to just get fucked then I could show up attract a male and say 'yes". However said "multidimensional game of tightrope" exists at the same level if not more for females. In order to be taken seriously we have to be sexual but not a whore, be smart but not TOO smart, have an opinion but not be opinionated, independent but not too much, successful but not more than they, I'm not complaining just letting you know when it comes to fucking that's readily available for women and a little harder for men, when it comes to dating its the opposite. I think the fact that Seattle women complain about men and vice versa is that Seattle is clique-ey and it seems most prefer not to mingle outside their very set friend group and alas you have tons of people who once they have banged their way through their friend groups are out of options and start complaining....
Posted by Ambwa on September 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM · Report this
Thank you for the "how to break up" section. Wish some of the people I know would have read that.... GRR
Posted by SaraJean on September 23, 2011 at 8:08 AM · Report this
How to get with a girl? Just be yourself. Everyone has a story to tell, ask and you shall receive. Through conversation, real conversation, you get to know her as a person, a real living human girl rather than a collection of pretty stuff to look at or lust over.

And if being yourself turns her off, not to worry, at least you're not hiding the real you and out there is someone who would really like to get to know you. It goes both ways, not all women are worth knowing, it isn't a good or bad thing, it's just what it is and you move on. At the very least, you went out, put yourself out there and met someone new, shared a meal, cuppa coffee, an outing and that ain't bad at all. Sure beats playing Resident Evil IV all night in a dark living room.

Posted by ironvic on September 23, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Report this
slade 16
Respectful intelligence safe and secure and private! And most of all fuck and suck like a God.
Posted by slade on September 23, 2011 at 2:21 PM · Report this
If you want to be a writer should you not know that the number (singular or plural) of a pronoun must agree with the number of the antecedent? "Person" is singular noun. Referring to that "person" as "them" or "their" in the same sentence is not only a grammatical sin, but also painful to read in an otherwise nice article.
Posted by Jimbovich on September 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Sandiai 18
@17 I'm sure Lindy knows. Her writing tone is pretty informal though. Also, the alternatives are also very awkward. I know proper English would be to use the male pronoun when the sex is indefinite, but then you're correcting bad grammar with sexism. I use "his or her" when I write, and get yelled at (well, corrected) for that all the time too.
Posted by Sandiai on September 23, 2011 at 4:31 PM · Report this
love this article! nice job!
Posted by mollyh on September 23, 2011 at 11:58 PM · Report this
Great advice Lindy! Thanks!
Posted by auntie grizelda on September 24, 2011 at 2:36 AM · Report this
I would have liked the mention of contraception before going straight to the STI and abortion paragraphs...
Posted by migrationist on September 24, 2011 at 4:06 AM · Report this
Knat 22
migrationist has a very good point. How can an article titled "Everything You Could Possibly Need to Know About Sex and Dating" not mention condoms when it touches on STIs and abortion?
Posted by Knat on September 24, 2011 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Just Jeff 23
Where was this shit when *I* was dating?
Posted by Just Jeff on September 24, 2011 at 10:08 PM · Report this
@21, @22, I thought it was because, you know, it's targeted at young stupid people pulsing with beer and hormones. It's not freakishly wayward to be surprised by a fuck-up or two even if they've taken preventative measures like condoms and birth control. I thought the tip was what to do after said inevitable fuck-up.
Posted by spinflux on September 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM · Report this
zachd 25
"This person just had sex with you! That was so nice of them!"
Love it! :)
Posted by zachd on September 26, 2011 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Posted by mybodymychoice on September 26, 2011 at 11:13 PM · Report this
Dear Lindy West,

Thank you for this article. I loved reading it. Which is why I'm sorry to have to tell you that it is broken. At least the part about Getting With a Boy if You Are a Girl. I've been following those directions and they do not work. They were still fun to read though, along with the rest of the article.


Posted by Prettybetsy on September 27, 2011 at 1:33 AM · Report this
@17 You and #18 both make good points, but you guys need to read about 'singular they'. It's been in effect for ages, and even writers as big as Terry Pratchett use it.
Posted by ghassan on September 29, 2011 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Lindy always have do great work! thanks.
Posted by Phone Sex on January 31, 2012 at 1:26 AM · Report this
Abortion should not be used for birth control.

You shouldn't be resorting to abortion for birth control but instead you shouldn't be getting pregnant in the first place. It's called using a condom and other types of birth control as well.
Posted by Stasis In Darkness on February 4, 2012 at 2:25 AM · Report this
I think most women who have had abortions feel regret or sorrow at one point or another, particularly the ones who went on to have children later in their life. I don't think abortion is the "quick fix" people imagine it to be. It's something that any woman will remember for the rest of her life. A lot of women suffer from mental health, and physical health issues after having an abortion.

All women who have abortions have regret about it. Do you imagine anyone takes this lightly? There always comes that quiet moment at the end of a day when the kids are out playing just before dinner and their laughter seeps through the walls of the house and into the mind. "I wonder what life would have been like if only....." Or the woman sees another woman with a baby or toddler and regrets killing her child or children since she prevented them from being born.

Posted by KellyCapitolHill on February 4, 2012 at 2:28 AM · Report this
It has only been 1 week since my abortion. I was out drinking with my guy friend who had just got in town. I guess I got a little too drunk and ended up sleeping with him. I was off the pill because I had a problem with migraines so my doctor took me off of it to see if that was the cause. We had unprotected sex that night, and thought nothing of it the next morning. A few weeks later, I was late on my period so I asked him if he remembered using a condom. He said no, so I set up an appointment with my doctor. I got a pregnancy test done by my doctor that showed positive. I told only my friend who came to the doctors with me, my best friend, my other girlfriend who had been through pregnancy and abortion before, and the father. Within 2 weeks of the pregnancy, everybody knew. The father was very supportive and said that he would support me in any decision I made. If I wanted to keep it, he wanted me to move to where he lived and he would do anything it took to support me and the baby. If I wanted to abort the pregnancy, he would be behind me 100%. After talking to countless amounts of friends who I trusted to tell me what they truthfully thought, I decided to proceed with the abortion.

I remember the day perfectly. I was raining out, and my doctor decided to do something different because I didn't want to deal with picketers. He sent me to the hospital where I would be completely anonymous. I woke up at 5:00am after a nightmare I had about the abortion. I got ready and went to the hospital for 8:00am. When I got there, the doctor was really nice and comforting. She told me that if someone was meant to have children, they will, and if they become pregnant to early and decide to get an abortion, the baby's spirit goes back into the mothers heart and waits until she is ready. That made me feel somewhat better. I was brought into a room and put onto an operation table and gave and anesthetic. The procedure took about half an hour, and they used a tube to go up through my cervix and sucked it out into a bottle, and I woke up in absolute tears, calling the fathers name out and screaming I'm sorry to my recently killed child. The father was in the recovery room, and waited with me until I regained control of what I was screaming out.

I was an emotional wreck the whole day. The father went to his sisters house while I rested. I was sleeping on and off for the next few days, and I had to wear pads for 2 days after the procedure. Its been a week now. And I am still going through absolute hell. I don't think It will ever stop. I cry at least 10 times a day. If I see a baby on the street with it's mom or dad, I cry. If I see a baby on t.v or in a book, I cry. If I hear about kids or anything to do with pregnancy or abortion, I break into tears. I've thought about suicide, and I find it hard to live with the fact that I am in fact, a baby killer. The pain I am feeling I know will only get worse. And I can only think of myself as one thing. A Murderer! So if anyone out there is reading this to help them decide if abortion is a way out for them, please think this through. It's no longer about you, it's about the life growing inside of you. So many people including myself have to deal with the pain and guilt and shame of knowing that they destroyed a life that was growing inside of them. Please, Please, don't add yourself to that list of people.
Posted by Anon132465789 on February 4, 2012 at 2:31 AM · Report this
@31. You are a fucking moron. I love your statistics. "most women", "a lot of women" and "all women". How perfectly scientific of you. You have no fucking clue. I had an abortion. I have not once EVER regretted it or felt any sorrow. I forget that I've had one until someone like you starts spouting abstract bull based on nothing. I have no mental health issues and no health issues. My vagina is a fucking machine, literally.
All I think is "THANK PLANNED PARENTHOOD AND THE SUPREME COURT AND AWESOME ABORTION DOCTORS that I didn't have that baby. That I didn't fuck up my life or a child's." and when I see a baby or toddler, I think, I hope that woman is as happy with her choice as I am with mine and if I had the chance to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing (minus the pill failure).
Posted by darlingash on February 26, 2012 at 8:52 AM · Report this
I cant believe anyone would bang lindy. shes nasty
Posted by dreamweavergenosgal on February 4, 2014 at 7:06 AM · Report this

Add a comment