Illustration by Kim Scafuro

Despite an ongoing government-supported campaign to raise a generation of disease-ridden teen parents ignorant of their own bodies and mistrustful of their own capacity for pleasure (you might have heard of this campaign under its official name, "abstinence-only education"), teenagers today have historically unprecedented access to info about the full spectrum of sexual activity. It's all courtesy of the one sex-ed teacher who doesn't have to worry about losing federal grant money: the internet. Any remotely curious teen is, by age 13, hip to a sexual bag of tricks that my grandma still hasn't heard of.

However, there's something I'd like you broad-minded young folks to keep in mind. When done right, sex is fun, healthy, and cheaper than a movie—but when done wrong, it can be painful, upsetting, embarrassing, and just plain un-fun. In order to ensure that you get the maximum bang for your bang, it's important to master the basics of boning before you move on to things like advanced four-person Japanese hypno-bondage.

Here's a brief list of activities that some of my high school classmates engaged in: simultaneous oral sex, bondage, S&M, anal sex, group sex, and experimentation with a variety of sex toys. While I have no objection to consenting adults participating in any of these activities, I just can't imagine that, when attempted by teenagers, any of those things were any good.

Take it from a former band nerd: Sex is not unlike playing jazz trombone. The ability to improvise skillfully comes only after a thorough grasp of the fundamentals. You wouldn't sit down to jam before mastering your instrument, nor should you attempt to hogtie a water polo player (it's always the water polo players...) before learning how to tie a square knot, if you catch my drift. (My own impromptu threesome in the back seat of a Subaru in the Tigard Shari's parking lot was not among the highlights of my 16th year.) Until you can have mutually satisfying sex with one partner, you've got no business trying to get it on with two simultaneously. For that matter, until you can satisfactorily have sex with yourself, you're not going to have as much fun as you should with another person. So masturbate. A lot. Also: Gentlemen, I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, but practice, practice, PRACTICE with those condoms. Nothing kills the mood like taking 20 minutes to complete the seemingly (to women!) simple act of unrolling a small piece of latex down the shaft of your penis.

As useful as the internet can be, it can also be a bit overwhelming, so it's worth investing in a sex guide you can trust. Stick with the classics: Guide to Getting it On! is an excellent, fairly comprehensive guide to, well, you know—and it includes a list of resources for when you're ready to move past Sex 101. Just don't put the cart before the horse, is all I'm saying. In fact, I'd advise leaving horses out of it altogether, at least until you get to college.