As Sex and Relationship Editor for Cosmopolitan, Hannah Smothers knows every side of sex, from tips in the bedroom to sexual health. Smothers is happy to share her knowledge, and readers often reach out to her through social media, email, and occasionally in real life. “I think that they just see me as a safe person to talk about those things with, since I think and write about sex every day for work.”

Women’s issues

Smothers started her career by writing about an abortion clinic in Texas, when the state passed a law that “effectively closed all but seven of the state’s abortion clinics.” She then started writing more broadly about women’s health and politics, and because “a lot of publications put their women’s health and politics material in the same category as sex and dating material, it sort of all bled together at one point.”

She recalls one of her earlier articles at Cosmopolitan that made a particular impact, which was about two women who were sexually assaulted in college, and what influenced their decision to either stay at that school, or leave after their assault. “My goal with that article was to show that both decisions are perfectly valid,” says Smothers, “and survivors are strong as hell either way. The women I interviewed were incredibly brave and lovely to work with. I think about them a lot.”

“It’s cliché, but be really honest with yourself, and recognize that your needs from a relationship are going to change as you get older.”

Her relationship advice

What’s the most common topic Hannah Smothers deals with? “Basically,” she says, “bad male behavior. I get a lot of questions like, ‘Should I go out with a guy who’s doing this [insert bad thing here]?’ or, ‘Is Tinder really a good way to meet someone?’”

When it comes to her own life, Smothers admits to using dating apps. “It’s so hard for me to qualitatively talk about dating apps and how they’ve changed dating, because I never knew adult dating without the apps. Any bad parts of our culture that people associate with the apps have always been there (like ghosting), but the apps just make everything happen faster, basically. I think of them as just another bar you can either chose to or not to be in.”

And her number one piece of advice? “It’s cliché, but be really honest with yourself, and recognize that your needs from a relationship are going to change as you get older. When you’re young, you might just need someone who showers you in compliments, knows all the best bars, and is really good at sex. But that might (and probably will) change as you grow up. And that’s fine. It just means you don’t have to get stuck dating the same kind of people you were dating when you were 14. And isn’t that a relief?”