When you received that copy of "Oh! The Places You'll Go!" for your college graduation, the well-meaning relative who presented it was probably thinking of your intended career path (or the four others you've tried since) or the cities where you might live. But as many 30-somethings looking back can attest, your 20s often involve experimentation of another variety as well. Between the ages of 20 and 30, your life is probably going to involve a decent amount of sex. And since this is the decade of exploring your options, that sex tends to be anything but uniform.
Here are 15 types of sex that you probably have had (or will have) during your 20-something years:
**Disclaimer: Some of the following can happen simultaneously.**
Let's be honest. When you're in your 20s, you still aren't necessarily sure exactly what you like, how you like it and who you like it from. In the midst of your sexual experimentation, there are bound to be a few less-than-awesome experiences. Your partner might have absolutely no idea what he or she is doing, or just be too self-involved to care. For an explicit example of said bad sex, see every intimate scene in the pilot episode of "Girls."
2. "You're Convenient" Sex
Location, location, location. Maybe it's the person who you've run into in your apartment building on occasion and shot a (you hope) seductive glance, or that friend of a friend who lives three blocks away and made out with you at that party a few months back. You'll probably phone him or her after midnight and only when you're bored. And you'll hopefully enjoy yourself thoroughly once that call is made. (If the convenient sex also happens to be "just plain bad" sex, it likely won't happen more than once, which brings us to...)
3. One-Night-Stand Sex
Some sexual experiences just aren't meant to be repeated. At some point in your 20s you'll probably find yourself waking up in the bed of a near-stranger: someone you met at a bar or a party or one of your classes. You may not have intended to, or perhaps this was your plan for the evening as soon as you laid eyes on the person. You'll probably open your eyes after a night of moderately enjoyable sex seized with a desperate desire to grab your bra off the floor, high-tail it out the door and eat some brunch with people that you do want to hang out with for more than one night.
4. "I Could Actually Date You" Sex
This type of sex means something emotionally, which might make it the scariest kind of all. You may feel vulnerable and overly aware of your body as you take off your clothing. Since you actually feel some flicker of a feeling about the person you're with, you'll probably take time to think about what they want in bed and how you can give it to them, and worry that you won't do a good job, and hope that chemistry will intervene to make it great anyway, and that even if it isn't they they might find a way to love you regardless.
5. Creatively-Located Sex
The stacks. An airplane bathroom. A hostel hallway. Your parents' bed. A bar. The park. An alley. Your car. The possibilities are endless, and while it's fun to hope that you will still be this adventurous in your 30s, a carpe diem approach is probably advisable here. Also, these are not moments to hold back. Admit that this could also be called "do-it-for-the-story sex," then do it for the story.
6. Drunk Sex
Often combined with #1 and/or #3, this type of sexual experience is usually less than amazing. Great sex usually requires some amount of athleticism, and a bunch of uncoordinated flailing limbs, plus an alcohol-sedated nervous system, does not a mind-blowing orgasm make. On the plus side, you might be too sloshed to notice and/or care ... or even remember it the next morning. If you go in for this sort of thing (and you probably will), just make sure you've made a booze-resistant commitment to using protection before the first tequila shot.
7. Friend Sex
At some point during your 20s, you'll likely reach a point with a previously platonic friend in which you both agree that it's a great idea to sleep together. In most cases, it won't be. (Unless you're those uber-lucky, meant-for-each-other, "When Harry Met Sally" types.) If the sex is great, you'll either become gray area "friends with benefits," or just laugh about it a lot for years to come. If the sex is bad, you'll probably never ever speak of it again.
8. Sex For One
Sex by yourself is a great way to learn what it is you want from a sexual experience with a partner. It's healthy, it relieves stress and hell -- women deserve orgasms in or out of relationships. Hopefully, by the time you leave your 20s you'll know exactly how to make yourself feel good, sans assistance from another person.
9. Nonexistent Sex
There are times -- during any period of your life -- when you're just not having sex at all. Let's be real, we've all had a dry spell. It might be frustrating, but it's also a great time to reflect on what you actually want from your sexual experiences when they inevitably begin again. Plus, just when you've become totally convinced that you will never have another non-self-bestowed orgasm in your life, you'll be proven wrong.
10. Make-Up Sex
If you find yourself in a relationship during your 20-something years, the odds are pretty good that you'll get into some fights -- possibly dramatic ones (your 20s are good for nothing if not theater). You'll get extremely frustrated at your significant other for being inattentive or letting work consume him or her or being a jacka** to your friends. You'll scream at each other, perhaps shed a few tears ... and then channel all of that anger into some really excellent sexual play. It might not actually fix the holes in a romantic relationship between two 23-year-olds, but it is a good way to remind yourself of at least one way in which you connect.
11. Vindication Sex
Everyone has those one, or two, or ten unrequited crushes. At some point during your 20s you'll probably find yourself in the position to sleep with someone who previously rejected you or considered you below their notice. It probably won't be all that great, and you may not feel great morally afterwards. You will, however, leave with the satisfaction that you didn't peak in your teens years.
12. Home-For-The-Holidays Sex
During your 20s, you're likely traveling back to your hometown for the November and December holidays each year. During these awkward -- and delicious -- few weeks, you'll probably run into any number of people from earlier in your life, including one or more ghosts of friends-with-benefits past. You may find it uniquely satisfying to have a short, no-strings-attached fling (or just a night) with said person(s) each time you return. If you're still living in your hometown, you'll get to capitalize on everyone who's in town. There's bound to be quite a bit of overlap between this type of sex and #11.
13. One-More-Time Sex
You've sworn this person off, but for some reason you can't get him or her out of your head. Despite the fact that you and probably all your friends recognize that he or she is terrible for you, you may still fall back into bed with them ... just one more time. This kind of sex can be absolutely fantastic physically, but the emotional fallout usually makes it one you regret (and hopefully learn from).
14. Barter-System Sex
Sometimes you just really want some help putting together your IKEA furniture. And sometimes a little bit of (purely) physical pleasure comes out of a day of Allen key usage. It's really a win-win situation.
15. "Oh, THAT'S What It Should Feel Like" Sex
With any luck, you will have a moment at some point during your 20s (if not earlier), when you realize what truly great sex with another person feels like. Maybe it's taken getting into a committed relationship to feel comfortable telling a partner what you really want sexually, or maybe you're having a one-night-stand with someone who you have no emotional connection to but who somehow really understands how to please you in bed. Regardless, after you do have that "ah-hah!" moment, congratulate yourself. Then go try to recreate it as many times as possible.
This appears in our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store. This story appears in Issue 27, available Friday, Dec. 14.