First time sex with someone you’ve just hooked up with on Tinder isn’t a big deal.
But having sex with someone you really like is.
You’re both eager to impress, wanting to be the best lover each other’s ever had – and also anxious something will go wrong.
Will my body be good enough? How will I compare to their ex? What if I’m rubbish in bed? What if (Dear God!) I smell?
But your panics are nothing compared to his: his bits are on show, yours aren’t!
How does all this translate in the bedroom (or hallway or on the sofa)?
Not terribly well, quite frankly (especially for him).
But there is a way to make your first time great, no matter what happens.
It’s called allowing each other to be human, as well as showcasing your respective talents.
This guide is aimed at straight couples but works equally well no matter what combination you’re in.
Do it when you’re ready
Not when your friends think it’s time or it’s the third date and that’s when you’re supposed to do it or you’re worried they’ll move on if you don’t.
First time sex is always slightly awkward but it’s going to be even more so if it’s way too soon.
You also need to have thought about contraception and safe sex.
They might well be the future love of your life but that doesn’t mean you won’t wake up with a painful blister on your penis or pregnant.
Do it somewhere you feel comfortable
If you know it’s getting to the point where you’ll be having full sex, take control of where it’s going to happen.
If it’s at your place, you can set the scene…a little.
Too much styling looks contrived but you can make sure there are crisp, clean sheets on the bed, some personal lube and condoms in the bedside drawer and the right playlist ready to go if you’re both feeling shy.
Get the lighting right
If you think you look good, you’ll be far more confident about showing off your bod.
Lighting from below is the most flattering (tea lights on saucers works a treat) but at the very least dim the lights.
If they can’t be dimmed and the thought of exposing your body under bright neon makes you feel faint, turn off the light and turn on the lights in adjoining rooms.
There’s never a better time to splash out on hot lingerie
If your first time has happened spontaneously and you’ve got your big old grey knickers on, don’t panic!
Just get them off fast and kick them out of sight.
But if it’s planned, first time sex is THE time to pull out all the stops with gorgeous lingerie. (Don’t think you can get away with murder either, guys. A well cut, flattering pair of briefs, thanks very much. And definitely not ‘joke’ boxers!)
Tailor the underwear to suit the type of sex you’d like to have: saucy if you’re planning something lusty and erotic, delicate and pretty if you want your first time to be romantic.
Don’t be scared to leave your underwear on either.
It’s sometimes sexier to leave things on (your push-up bra, your heels) than get completely naked immediately.
At least wait a while before you get totally undressed. Do anything but follow the usual format of him removing your bra first, then knickers.
If you’re self-conscious about exposing your stomach, wear a silk camisole or sexy vest top and leave it on along with the bra.
If you’re nervous, admit it
It will ease the tension for both of you – especially if one or both of you have come out of long-term relationships.
Say, “I haven’t had sex with anyone for years. I feel like a teenager”, if it’s true. Or “I can’t remember the last time it meant so much to me that everything goes right”, if it’s not been that long.
Simply admitting you care works. You aren’t the only one who feels like they have to measure up to a standard set by your ex or the last person you had regular sex with – and that’s difficult when they’ve had practice runs.
Don’t skip foreplay
Once you both know you’re having penetrative sex, there’s an inclination to skip the foreplay and head straight for it.
Tease it out even more than you have before.
Being aroused is necessary for you to enjoy sex and the more turned on you both are, the more you’ll stop worrying unnecessarily.
Resist the urge to show off
You don’t have to show off all your carnal talents that very first time.
Keep a few of your signature sex tricks saved up for later – but don’t hold back on showing one killer move.
It might be an amazing erotic massage you give or removing your clothes with the finesse of a stripper.
It might be as simple as the swirl or a tongue or a long, tortuous tease as you tell them exactly what you’re about to do, as you do it.
Think it through beforehand (read this if you’re stuck). Just one unusual, unexpected thing is enough.
Don’t just lie there
Lying back and letting him take over is what most women do the first time around. If he’s really nervous and you think it’s giving him confidence by doing this, by all means do it.
But letting him do all the work while you basically stay passive, motionless and silent, will make him think you’re either lazy or super traditional in bed.
(Is either really appealing? Traditional is fine but unresponsive isn’t.)
Let whoever steps in to lead do it at the start, but even up the control as things go along.
Don’t overreact to any penis problems
First time sex is charged with expectations and he’s under pressure to both get a strong erection, maintain it and not orgasm too soon.
It’s not easy, right guys? Aren’t women lucky with nothing obvious to give away how anxious we really are!
(Ours can translate to feeling dry but that’s easily fixed by putting a dollop of personal lube high inside beforehand and letting your natural body heat draw it down.)
It’s stressful owning a penis, so be kind.
It’s normal for him to either premature ejaculate or have an erection that seems to be up one minute and down the next.
Either ignore it and continue what you’re doing until it returns or ask him to focus on you for a while to take the pressure off.
Be light-hearted about any wobbles and he’ll know you’re a grown-up, not an immature girl who doesn’t understand male anatomy.
How you react to any penis issues predicts how good sex will be for the two of you in the future.
Over-react and you’ll be guaranteed the problem is even worse next time around (if there is one).
Don’t take it personally if things go wrong
Most women take it as a compliment if he finishes too fast because it’s an obvious sign of excitement.
But don’t take it personally if he can’t rise to the occasion.
I counselled one man who had no problems getting an erection for casual sex but the minute he met someone he liked, forget it.
It’s not uncommon.
“Without fail, each and every woman thought it was because I didn’t find her sexually attractive,” he told me.
“But it was the opposite! The sexier she was and the more I liked her, the more pressured I felt.
“I was fine after a month or so but only if she didn’t make a big deal out of it.”
Initiate oral sex
Initiating oral sex, without either of you having to hopefully push their head in that direction, sends very positive signals.
It shows you’re willing to give and receive pleasure.
It tells them you’re not squeamish about bodily fluids.
The biggest brownie point you’ll win, though, is letting them know you won’t be leaving it up to them to make all the moves.
Stick to a basic position
Not only because you don’t know each other’s bodies yet but also because manoeuvring them into a hugely challenging position makes you look like a show off.
Ditto switching into a new position every few minutes – it’s too try hard.
What isn’t, is adjusting yourself so it’s hitting the spot.
Give positive feedback
Later on, you can direct all you want but I’d stick to very basic requests the first time around (and if you can achieve what you want by subtly moving their hand/mouth rather than verbally directing, even better).
The first time is all about finally immersing yourself in each other and enjoying the intimacy and passion.
Plenty of time later to let them know specifically what you need.
Which leads me rather nicely to another dilemma…
Should you fake orgasm if you don’t have a real one?
Contrary to the first sex scenes in films, most women don’t have an orgasm the first time they have full sex with someone.
Lots of women rarely or never orgasm with a partner.
The question is: do you pretend you did to give their confidence a boost?
You’d be surprised how many women do fake it the first time they sleep with someone.
Even women who never fake it under other circumstances are tempted to do it the first time purely because you both want sex to be perfect.
Most sex therapists say it’s fine to fake it now and then, so long as your partner knows how to give you an orgasm.
But you don’t know if it’s your first time, right?
If you do decide it’s the right thing to do to fake it first time, just make sure you start giving (subtle and tactful) clear direction early so orgasms are a part of future sex.
Resist the urge to ask ‘How did I do?’
Even if you were nothing short of spectacular, they might not say ‘Wow! That was great’ or (even better) “Wow, you were great!”
Because they’re too busy worrying about what you thought.
The better you were, the more nervous they are about what you thought about their performance.
Even if you weren’t that confident, they’ll still be worrying.
If you want reassurance, try giving a compliment first.
Snuggle into them and simply say, ‘Well that didn’t disappoint’ or ‘I knew that would be amazing.’
If it was awful, admit it and laugh
Yes I did just say only give positive feedback but if it’s really obvious things didn’t go to plan, you’re better off acknowledging it.
Say, “Well that was a bit of a disaster but it was going to be because we’re both nervous! Thank God it’s out of the way. Now we can relax and really get to know each other.”
It doesn’t mean you’re incompatible sexually if you didn’t lubricate or orgasm or if he couldn’t get an erection, lost it or climaxed too quickly.
It doesn’t mean the sex is going to be awful or that you should have stuck it out with your ex.
It just means you don’t know each other’s bodies, desires or needs yet.
Sex isn’t an exam. You’re not going to get graded pass or fail (and if it feels like you are, you’re with the wrong person).
Perfect sex happens in movies; normal people muddle through the first time.