At a very young age, my parents used to threaten sending me off to etiquette school, so by third grade, it was safe to say "please," "thank you" and "may I" were basically built into my vocabulary.
Though, the word "threat" might be some sort of stretch. Growing up in Long Island, there was no way my parents were about to send me anywhere but sleep-away camp.
Regardless, the words stuck with me, and my manners actually gave me quite the confidence boost.
According to my middle school mind, I was pretty much the ideal dinner and house guest, as I optimized each and every opportunity to emphasize my mature mannerisms.
This was around the same time as my aspiring acting phase, so it was safe to say I practically staged my polite persona as a persistent monologue. But, if you asked anyone else, they would probably go right ahead and define me as nothing more than a real life version of "13 Going On 30."
All that matters is that the word "etiquette" definitely triggers some memories and life lessons.
Every time the term comes up, I can hear my mom's semi-sarcastic tone in the back of my head: "Etiquette school is only one phone call and one car ride away." Better yet, my dad's stern warning: "If I see your phone at the dinner table again, I will split it in half."
As a young teen, I had little sense of how serious their words were, which, for instance, made me hyperaware of never leaving a party without first thanking the host "so much for having me" and always silencing my cell phone.
Though today, the rules of leaving my phone in the car during dinner and immediately sending a handwritten thank you note after receiving any sort of gift have been replaced by 19-year-old female fiascos.
These conflicts and concerns range anywhere from, "Am I supposed to stock up on condoms, or should he?" to "Do I sit around waiting for a follow-up text, or just hit send already?"
Seriously, is there a sex-etiquette guidebook out there? If so, where can one buy it?
These unanswered questions have many of us a bit too stressed out over what's hot and what's not when it comes down to doing it.
This whole thing has me thinking, maybe there is no defined rulebook in the bedroom because at the end of the day, these rules don't actually exist.
What happens between you and your partner should stay between you and your partner. But let's be honest: It probably doesn't.
In fact, as you wake up with bad breath in someone else's bed, you've likely already sent an "SOS" Snapchat to your closest contacts, texted a friend and requested an Uber to ease your walk-of-shame stress.
Nowhere does the sex bible mandate us to share this info, but most often than not, many of us still do. Maybe this is why the concept that circuits "casual sex" drives us all crazy.
Sex is intimate and should stay that way. If something seems off, don't wait for your partner to ask you if everything is okay or feels "alright."
If you aren't comfortable with the lights on, shut them off; just because you're in someone else's bedroom doesn't mean you're required to play by his or her unjustified rules anyway.
Advice like this is easier to pitch than to take, but focusing a little less on the preconceived "facts" and a little more on ourselves might just gear our "sexcapades" toward success and away from the stress.