Backstreet Boys Nick Carter’s Santa Barbara, California Wedding

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Originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of Inside Weddings

Nick Carter never had to wonder what his family would think of his girlfriend, fitness expert and actress Lauren Kitt, after they began dating in 2009. That’s because it was Nick’s sister, Angel, and brother, Aaron, who intuitively knew the couple would enjoy each other’s company and persuaded them to meet. The two were introduced at a movie night at Nick’s house, where a sign from the heavens seemed to approve the match. “Three hours into conversing on my balcony overlooking the beach, we saw shooting star after shooting star,” Nick remembers. “We both looked at each other and it got quiet.”

While on tour in Australia, separated from his love for the longest time since they met, Nick realized he couldn’t live without her. After obtaining permission to propose from Lauren’s father, Nick set off on a mission to design the perfect engagement ring. He sent Lauren to look at jewelry for her birthday with his business manager. A diamond on one particular necklace captivated Lauren, so Nick had the stone removed and set into a ring. “I personally love it because it looks like a Star Wars battleship,” he explains.

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These Introverts and Extroverts Sound Off on the Struggles They Face Dating One Another

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Originally published on Mic.com

Kirstin* and her boyfriend Eric had already had two busy weekends in a row when Eric surprised Kirstin with the news they’d be going to his coworker’s home to hang out later that night. On the way, he also revealed that his coworker had two children under the age of 5. Kirstin was not happy.

“I was exhausted, I’m not a fan of children and I was pretty bad company… it was a stressful night,” Kirstin, 27, told Mic.

If you’re an introvert like Kristin, you’re probably nodding your head in agreement. Last-minute plans to spend time with people you don’t know? Not exactly a fun Friday night. But if you’re an extrovert, you probably see Eric’s side: What’s so bad about spending an evening catching up with pleasant people?

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Is Silicon Valley The Best Place To Be A Single Woman In America?

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Originally published on Mic

On a Friday night in downtown Palo Alto — just a stone’s throw from Stanford University, office buildings and the technology hub of San Jose — the college bars and vegan restaurants lining its streets teemed with single men. But at Nola, a Creole-themed bar with notoriously bad service, Erika, 25, wasn’t having much luck meeting single guys.

“I ordered my drink, and my girlfriend and I threw out glances and smiles to many men we were interested in. However, none of the maybe 30 men surrounding us were eager to start a conversation,” Erika, who lives in nearby San Jose, told Mic. “I would come up to them directly, only to languish in their lack of conversation skills.”

In most urban areas like New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., where single women handily outnumber men, such a scene would be wholly unfamiliar. But it’s par for the course in the sunny suburban sprawl of San Jose and the surrounding Bay Area cities, home to technology giants like Facebook, Google and Cisco, where college-educated single men outnumber women.

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Meet The Daring Young Women Showing The World How To Stand Up To Slut Shaming

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Originally published on Mic

When Alexis Frulling was secretly recorded having a threesome in a deserted alley and the clip went viral on Reddit, she could have hid in the shadows, hoping no one would recognize her in the video. But instead, she uploaded a YouTube video calling out her haters.

“I can’t say I’m proud about it,” Frulling says in the video. “But I’m not ashamed.” Her story spread, with many praising Frulling for taking back control of her own sexual narrative.

She’s not the only one.

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There’s Good News for People Who Still Use Phones the Old-Fashioned Way

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Originally published on Mic.com

Waiting anxiously by the phone isn’t what it used to be.

The stereotype of a girl waiting by the phone for her crush to call has turned into prayers that our phones won’t ring because talking on the phone is awkward and feels bizarrely invasive. In 2012, a Pew Research Center study found that just 26% of teens talk to friends on their cellphones.

But while texting has gotten us to trade answering machines for emojis, when it comes to maintaining a spark, there are still couples out there picking up their smartphones to talk — which is clearly the smart thing to do.

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9 Times Movies Blantantly Lied to Us About What Sex Is Really Like

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Originally published on Mic.com

Even actors know it.

If sex was really like it was in movies, we’d always be hoarse from sexy moaning, post-coital cigarettes and orgasms that arrived promptly three minutes into sex. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar U.K., Kristen Stewart copped to the high standards to which her famous sex scene in Twilight was held, griping, “It had to be transcendent and otherworldly, inhuman, better sex than you can possibly ever imagine, and we were like, ‘How do we live up to that?'”

While the film industry is thankfully demonstrating a new interest in depicting the unglamorous reality of sex, led by filmmakers like Amy Schumer, Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham, the majority of movies still abide by the same stubborn clichés. It’s time to stop comparing and start calling bullshit.

Here’s what movies would have us thinking sex is really all about.

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11 Male Celebrities With Sex Advice All Men Need to Hear

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Originally published on Mic.com

It’s a scene we know all too well: A woman, seeking to impress a new boyfriend, surrounds herself with magazines preaching the hottest ways to turn him on — “8 Positions to Drive Him Wild!” and “Naughty Sex Tips!” and, of course, “His Ultimate Sexual Fantasy!” The unequivocal takeaway: Women should be the ones figuring out how to make sex great by pleasing men.

Except, well, that’s only half the story. While women mull porn-style acrobatics and applause-worthy blow jobs, we’re missing an important thing that can make sex great for men: Making sure women are enjoying it as much as they are.

Despite the well-known orgasm gap, a 2010 study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that 90% of men say they do care if their partner gets off. And that intention matters: The more a man is invested in his partner’s pleasure, the narrower that gap becomes. Great sex, in short, means it’s great for both people involved.

Thankfully, these 11 kickass men aren’t shy about speaking up for what men should really be looking for when it comes to awesome sex.

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The Most Underrated Part of Your Relationship? Your Best Friend

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Originally published on Mic.com

When Deborah, 27, was in labor, her husband was by her side for emotional support. But during a particularly painful moment, it was her best friend, Christina, who jumped into the hospital bed with her and held her.

“No questions asked, no words spoken. She knew exactly what I needed in that moment and was there to provide it,” Deborah told Mic.

It’s an extreme example of something many of us know but don’t say as freely these days. Our modern expectations for romantic relationships are that they are everything — that our significant other is our cheerleader, our biggest fan, our teammate and, as Bachelor and Bachelorette finales like to remind us, our best friend.

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13 Women With the Perfect Responses to Why They’re Still Single

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Originally published on Mic.com – please click over to see the graphics!

If there is one thing all single women know, it’s that nothing ruins your day faster than the question, “So why aren’t you dating anyone?”

More people today are single than ever before: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just over half of American adults are unmarried. And in 2006, the Pew Research Center found that among singles, 55% say they are neither cohabiting nor looking for a relationship. Despite what conventional wisdom might say, those singles are doing pretty well: Recent research — and plenty of anecdotal evidence — has shown that unmarried people with solid social support are just as satisfied as married people.

But that shouldn’t even matter. Some single women would love to be in a relationship, while some are totally happy to remain unattached. Either way, women who happen to be single shouldn’t face the stigmas they do. The only person who gets to pressure and question a woman about her love life is the woman herself.

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11 Reasons Everyone — Yes, Even Women — Should Masturbate

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Originally published on Mic.com

Masturbation: It feels great, it works wonders on your sex life, and pretty much everyone is doing it. So why aren’t we all talking about how awesome it is?

“Solo sex” is so natural that kids start to experiment with it as young as 5 years old, which Lena Dunham candidly reminded us of. And yet, we still feel shame and embarrassment about our habits, or at least wonder if we’re “normal,” thanks to ridiculous myths and societal expectations that tell us we’re weird, sex-obsessed, or even selfish for wanting to give ourselves a hand.

But there are virtually no downsides to masturbation – only pleasure, and the confidence that comes with knowing exactly how your body works. Here are all the awesome things you should know about one of humans’ favorite extracurriculars.

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