First time sex with someone new for can create a mixture of feelings, ranging from thrilling arousal to wobbling anxiety. There is nothing more exhilarating or terrifying than having sex with a new partner.
It’s a link between two persons that echoes an intimate connection, yet feels excitingly unfamiliar. It’s perfectly normal if you’re a bit scared or if your heart beats a bit faster, but don’t let anxiety detract from this potentially memorable experience.
This guide contains advice from experts including licensed therapists and sexologists to help navigate through this unpredictable territory.
Set The Stage
It’s important to remember that having sex with someone new does not follow a linear playbook.
The first-time sexual encounter can occur in multiple scenarios, from a one-night stand at a bar to sleeping with a partner for the first time in a committed relationship.
Regardless, the environment matters a lot when discussing or alluding to intimate acts, and it’s even more important when things actually get started.
Choose a comfortable place where you both feel relaxed and can easily share your feelings. This might be a privately booked place (like a hotel room), one of your homes, or anywhere you both appreciate.
Communication is Key
You’ll hear this advice echoed throughout many of our articles about sex, but the 3C mantra (consent, communication, connection) is a simple and very important practice that will ensure a good sexual experience.
There are many reasons for this which we’ll go over below.
As we covered in a our What Not To Do With a New Partner post, consent is crucial to start any sexual activity. It’s about checking in if your partner is comfortable and enthusiastic about progressing further.
Remember, silence does not give consent; it must be articulately expressed by both parties.
Discuss boundaries. An open, constructive conversation about each other’s likes, limits, and thresholds can prevent disappointment. Speak about your personal health status.
Share your most recent STD testing results (nobody said this part couldn’t be a bit unsexy, but, hey, this is mainly about protection and prevention).
Fight off any nervous energy by focusing on being present and mindful of your partner’s responses and feelings.
Sex is Psychological
We asked Annie Patterson, a PHD and sex therapist in New York, about her key advice for couples or strangers engaged in a casual encounter. She said, “Sex is 90% psychological for women. So penetration and communication go hand in hand in the bedroom.”
“Always remember that contact with your partner isn’t simply physical – it’s also about verbal and emotional engagement,” she advised.
“Remember, it’s okay to ask questions, revisit topics, make requests, and push for deeply personal discussions about your sexual boundaries, likes, and dislikes,” continued Dr. Patterson. “And the dirtier the better too! Don’t hold back!”.
Keep in mind; you shouldn’t be worried or afraid to voice your opinions and feelings. Open communication can help avoid misread signals, reducing the risk of disappointment or potential triggering situations.
Be Mindful During Sex
Both feeling and being in the moment allows you to engage constructively with your partner.
Take it easy, and enjoy the entire exploration process, which will ultimately lead to a successful intimate encounter.
These are just a few tips you can employ:
1. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself or your partner.
Sex is about pleasure, not performance. Forget about creating a perfect bar and enjoying yourself.
The metric for success isn’t the orgasm but the shared passion and fun between involved partners.
2. Stay attuned to your partner’s body language and verbal cues.
Be sensitive to their signals. If they seem overly defensive or if an act has made them recoil unexpectedly, respect their feelings, stop, and check in.
3. Breaks are allowed – and needed.
If things get a bit too heavy for either of you, it’s always good to take a pause and breathe, perhaps grab a glass of cold water to diffuse the overwhelming sensations.
4. Maintaining open lines of communication.
If you’re uncomfortable with anything or need a change, don’t be afraid to bring it up.
It’s better to express than to keep silent and let your discomfort pile up resulting in a negative sexual experience.
Emotional & Psychological Needs During Sex
Sex & Self-Perception
Our perceptions of our bodies can be a significant source of stress during our first-time encounters.
The fear of judgment – whether you’re too fat or too skinny, whether you’ve got stretch marks or perhaps a hairy back – is altogether very real. Even penis anxiety can hold many men back from having first time sex.
It’s essential to remind ourselves that everyone’s bodies are unique, and the media’s representation of an ‘ideal body’ is far from realistic.
Speaking of body issues can be a difficult topic, but it’s necessary. Plenty of people have felt self-conscious in front of their partners.
It’s perfectly normal; you are not alone. It’s important not to let such concerns be a hitch to your enjoyment or deter you from having sex.
Casual Sex vs. Marriage Sex
We asked our own Ruth Thomas, a sex therapist and a happily married swinger, about this as she’s been happily married in an open relationship for years.
“Society may have you fooled into believing casual sex is morally wrong, an antiquated stigma, or that sex is best reserved for marriage,” she said. “However, the fact of the matter is sex is a personal matter – to be treated personally.”
A difference of opinions are bound to exist, but everyone is entitled to their view and comfort level.
She went on to say, “You are not a ‘bad’ person if you choose the option to engage intimately outside of marriage, neither are you ‘old-school’ if you prefer to wait until the wedding night.”
Dealing with Performance Anxiety
It can be stressful to engage in sexual acts especially if you’ve never navigated such a path before with a new partner.
The fear of underperforming during first time sex, not being passionate enough, or causing displeasure to your partner invariably creates a mental pressure that shouldn’t be there. The goal is to enjoy and not just perform.
So, how to handle the inevitable performance anxiety? Push the premature worries aside, remember, sex is not an exam, and there’s no exact successful formula.
If you want to learn more, here’s a great article we wrote on overcoming performance anxiety.
What’s important is to ensure your encounter is consensual, respectful, and enjoyable.
Sex & Mental Health
Let’s not forget the important link between mental health and sex. First time sex with a new partner when you’re feeling depressed or very anxious could lead to a mediocre experience, further worsening your mood.
If you’re in a tough emotional state, it could be better to hold off until you’re feeling more like yourself.
Forget about societal norms or worrying about people’s opinions about your body. Just focus on getting the most enjoyment out of the moment and exploring your partner.
We asked Gina Wheatley, a relationship counselor and LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) for over 20 years, her opinion on the mental aspect of sex.
“Remember, sex isn’t just a physical act; it’s an emotional journey. Allowing yourself to be swept up in the passion, getting tickled at awkward moments, and getting touched in places you weren’t expecting – this unpredictability of the first-time encounter makes it great and ultimately, worthwhile,” she said.
“The exploration of sexual intimacy with a new partner is a journey scattered with a unique blend of emotions and experiences,” Wheatley poetically described. “Each phase unfolds itself like a beautiful story, with lots of sensory moments, emotional shifts, and mental awakenings.”
What To Do After Sex
After having sex with a new partner, don’t be afraid to talk about the experience. Being honest yet sensitive about one’s feelings fosters trust and deepen connection between partners.
Opening up a space for feedback is healthy and constructive, allowing both of you to learn and understand each other more intimately.
Did you know that 81.6% of women experience at least a small amount of pain during sex? And more than 90% never tell their partners about it, which, for obvious reasons, has a negative effect on their sexual pleasure.
The journey of exploring & navigating your partner sexually for the first time might be unpredictable, unfamiliar and a bit rough around the edges.
But remember, it’s not about the destination but the journey. If done right, you both should feel sexually empowered.
And don’t be afraid to revisit details of the encounter that may have triggered an orgasmic response or pleasurable sensation in either of you.
Perhaps your new partner likes having their breasts grabbed a certain way while you penetrate them. So much so, that it leads them to orgasm. If you never discussed that little detail, it makes it far more difficult to repeat.
First time sex doesn’t always have to be super hot, or destined for a high note – sometimes it’s about understanding, exploring, and communicating.
Be gentle with yourself and each other – enjoy.
Learn & Adjust
Like a fresh start at a new job or moving into a new apartment, a new sexual relationship will inevitably bring along its own set of challenges.
While there could be some hard stops during the bedroom session, most of the time you just need to readjust your pace or even your mindset.
It’s vital not to let these disconnects dampen the alluring window of sexual exploration you’ve embarked on.
Don’t let Disappointments Boil Over or Become Fixated
Recognize that not every first time sex encounter will be electrifyingly perfect, and that’s okay!
Certain experiences can be disappointing and might even trigger feelings of inadequacy or regret. However, should such feelings arise, remind yourself this is a learning phase.
Telling yourself you are in learning “mode” will help you tackle your perceived poor performance gracefully.
This will not only help you dodge the bitter bite of the harsh self-critique but you will also learn from it. Consider these as sensory speed bumps in your stride towards understanding your sexual synergy.
Prepare for The Transition From Solo to Shared
Initiating sex with a new partner invariably involves a shift from an ‘I’ to a ‘We’ mentality.
It’s not simply about ensuring your own pleasure, rather focusing on the shared experience.
From ‘I enjoy this act’ to ‘we enjoy exploring this together,’ compromise and consideration become part and parcel of the journey.
Practicing Safer Sex
And last but not least, engaging in safer sex practices puts you in a more peaceful state of mind to fully enjoy the intimate moments.
Before having sex with a new partner, talk openly about precautions and preparations, and don’t be afraid to ask about their sexual health. Never practice unprotected sex unless you’re in a committed relationship and understand the consequences.
First time sex with a new partner is a voyage that engages all senses. And it’s partly a journey to connect deeper with one’s self while simultaneously exploring the passion, desires, and emotions of another.
Always remember to balance the physical excitement with emotional respect to foster a nourishing and profound sexual bond with your partner.