If you grew up female in the early 2000s, chances are you owned a copy of The Care and Keeping of You, or some other equally awkward, illustration-filled body manual. These prepubescent bibles warned us of all the changes to come as a teenager, and seemed to promise that after seven years of embarrassing acne and the daily, crippling fear our periods would start (was anything scarier?), the rest would be history! We’d be WOMEN, and by then our undoubtedly sexy woman bodies would be in working order!
Well, I’m here to tell you we’ve been duped.
If you’ve reached the milestone-no-one-said-was-a-milestone—AKA the age of 25—you’ll likely know what I’m talking about. Changes you’d never prepared for have begun to sneak up on you. The following are just a few examples of bodily weirdness that awaits us at after a quarter century.
1. Cool, guess I have acne now
I was one of the lucky few who managed to escape high school and college without experiencing any major breakouts. I was even once told in high school that I had “angel skin.” Angel skin! Well, either angels struggle with cystic acne, or my skin has fully rebelled against me. Keeping a clear complexion has become a struggle I never expected to have, let alone in my mid-20s. With changes in hormones and progesterone, many women will experience acne for the very first time post-teens. Go ahead and DIY that facial; you’ll thank me later.
2. Hangovers: 1, Me: 0
At 21 years old, I could pound a bottle of Goldschläger at midnight and wake up ready to take a midterm, rescue a puppy, and run a 5k before noon. Now? I can hardly eat bread without gagging. Hangovers take on an epic level of strength in your mid-twenties. Let’s just say before a heavy drinking night out these days, I ask myself, “am I prepared to do nothing but binge watch Netflix tomorrow?” (The answer needs to be “yes”). FYI, if a hangover hits you like it hits me, here’s how you can save your skin.
3. Sleep, I miss you
Ah yes, speaking of hangovers: remember the days of sleeping in until 1 p.m.? Those were cute. Now my body rockets me wide awake at 8 a.m., regardless of the time I went to bed. Forget about the “recommended eight hours.” Try as I might, insomnia has become a new routine, constantly challenging my ability to switch off my brain. You’ll try herbal teas and essential oils, but mostly will long for the days your mother had to bang on the bedroom door to get you conscious.
4. My vagina hates me
I will never forget waking up with my first UTI. It was painful, it was burning, and it led to a subsequent three more in the following year. Yeast infection? Been there too! And if you’re really looking for a party, try bacterial vaginosis. That’ll cling to you longer than Dylan from Tinder. Reminder: if you have a vagina, it needs (and deserves!) some serious TLC. For a quick refresher, check out five things you’re doing to your vagina that you shouldn’t be.
5. Where did this booty come from?
Despite it all, not every change you’ll face in your mid-twenties is negative. Whether you’ve been rocking curves since puberty or have noticed more curves as of late, the body will likely go through some visible changes around this age–and yes, that’s a good thing. It was an exciting moment when I packed up my low-rise Hollister shorts I was questionably still wearing and embraced my new Kim K booty! No matter how your body is changing, embrace all the wonderful curves and features that come with being a full grown woman. Can I get an “amen!?”
6. I just had sex, and it feels so good
Perhaps it’s the shifting hormones or your new-found confidence (or both), but sex sounds and feels better than ever at this point in your twenties. Think about it: you’ve gotten past the mediocre romps on dorm room futons, and your G-spot has officially been located. You probably feel more confident telling partners what you want, but you also know that you don’t need a partner to reach the big “O.” By this age, you’ve spent years growing more confident in your body, and your body knows what it likes a little bit better (and no, it’s not you, Dylan).