For many people, having sex with a new partner is one of the most exciting things about being in a new relationship. Sex can bring you and your partner closer together, since it is proven to increase feelings of intimacy and trust. And, of course, it simply feels good!
But in addition to being exciting and pleasurable, many people find themselves nervous, anxious, or intimidated about having sex with a new partner — you might feel self-conscious about your body, or worried that you don’t know how to touch and stimulate your partner the way they like to be touched. The first-time jitters are completely normal, however — and can be easily overcome! Here are a few tips to consider when having sex for the first time in a new relationship.
Make sure you’re on the same page
This may seem obvious, but before initiating sex with a new partner, the most important thing is to make sure you’re both interested in crossing this new physical threshold together. Take time to let your partner know that you’re ready to do the deed, and be respectful of any reservations or concerns they might have. Discussing the idea of having sex with your new partner might also help alleviate any anxieties you both have about it, if you do. If your partner says they’re not quite prepared to go all the way, it’s important to respect and honour this — you should never pressure a partner into any sexual activity they aren’t comfortable with. When having sex for the first or fiftieth time, consent comes first.
Of course, sometimes sex can be a spontaneous, heat-of-the-moment thing. In this case, it’s still important that you and your partner both express enthusiastic, verbal consent to having sex.
Discuss any do’s and don’ts
Whether you’re fully clothed and outside of the bedroom or stripped down and ready to go, it’s important for both you and your partner to make each other aware of what you like, what you want, and what you’re absolutely not comfortable doing. Ask your partner how they like to be touched and what type of sex they’re really into (or what type they’re interested in exploring with you) — this will not only let you know what types of sexual activities are on the table, but will make you more confident about how to provide pleasure to your new partner. In turn, make sure to communicate what you want and need, and don’t feel shy about letting your partner know what is (and isn’t) working while you’re having sex. Check in frequently, and encourage them to do the same — this can be as simple as saying things like “is this okay?” when touching them, and “that feels good”, when they’re doing something you like.
It’s also very important for both you and your partner to be aware of any hard boundaries you both have. Certain types of touch or some forms of sexual stimulation might not be comfortable for you and your partner, and making sure this is communicated clearly will help you both avoid any uncomfortable or upsetting experiences when you have sex for the first time. Always remember that what worked for a previous partner, or what works for another partner you may currently have, does not necessarily work for your new partner — everyone’s body, sexual preferences, and sexual histories are different.
Set the stage
While having sex for the first time with a new partner should be a no-pressure situation, sometimes adding a little scenic novelty can help your excitement override your anxiety. Set the stage for a special, sensual encounter — yes, we’re talking things like rose petals, candles, and (if you’re into it) sexy underthings. Sure, it might come off as a bit silly, but some giggles might be just what you need to take the pressure off.
If you’re not into going a bit over the top, it’s still important to have a spot where you and your partner feel comfortable and at ease. Tidy your home or apartment before having them over, and be sure to make the bed — which includes putting down fresh sheets! Nothing ruins the mood quite like musty bed linens; plus, presenting your partner with a tidy, clean home will show them that you respect your space, yourself, and them. Plus, if they stay over, they’re scientifically more likely to get a good sleep on clean sheets.
If you and your partner plan on having penetrative sex involving a penis, be sure to have condoms close at hand. A good bottle of lube may also be helpful if you’re having penetrative sex, using either a penis or a sex toy (be sure to check whether your lube is water- or silicone-based, if you’re using toys — it’s not ideal to use a silicone-based lubricant with toys that are also made of silicone.
Get yourself ready
Don’t limit tidiness to your home and bedroom! When you’re preparing to have sex for the first time with a new partner (or, frankly, for the hundredth time with an existing partner!), cleanliness and hygiene is important. Bathe or shower as close as possible to the time you plan to get down and dirty. If you like to keep your pubic hair trim and tidy, now’s the time to do a little cleanup there (of course, if you ordinarily go au naturel, there’s no need to change things up). If you have facial hair, consider a shave or a trim, and be sure to brush your teeth! It’s probably best to choose an outfit that’s clean, as well — this isn’t the time for stuff that passes the sniff test.
Whether you go any further with your styling than basic personal hygiene is completely up to you. If a bit of nail polish or makeup makes you feel sensual and sexy, go for it! You may also consider styling your hair a bit, applying some cologne or perfume, or wearing a special outfit. But, again, if none of this comes comfortably or naturally to you, no pressure. You look best — and feel sexiest! — when presenting yourself in ways that feel natural and comfortable to you.
Keep the pressure low
It’s not often that things work out perfectly the first time we try them — whether that’s riding a bike, cooking a new recipe, or having sex with a new partner. Try to keep your expectations reasonable, and don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself or your partner. You might encounter bumps in the road, such as difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, or trouble achieving or giving your partner an orgasm — in these cases, be gentle, empathetic, and understanding, and remind yourself and your partner that the most important thing is that you trust and care for one another. Keep it light, and remember to have fun!