There you are, tumbling through the front door with your date like a scene out of a romantic comedy. It's pretty obvious you're about to hook up for the first time, and you feel all types of ways. Nervous? Yes. Excited? Of course. But you might also feel worried about making some kind of "mistake."
While not everyone gets nervous when they're with someone new, it is totally normal to feel a bit self-conscious or awkward, or to wonder what's "OK" and what isn't. As sex relationship therapist Courtney Geter, LMFT, tells Bustle, "These feelings can be triggered by thoughts about your sexual performance, body image issues, and comparing yourself to this person's other partners or hook ups." The nerve-racking list is endless, really. But it doesn't mean you have to have a bad time.
However you define "hook up" — a one night stand, the first time you have sex with a partner-to-be, etc. — it should be as fun and healthy an experience as possible. So, here are some common mistakes everyone makes when doing the deed. Avoid them, and you should have yourself one heck of a time.
1. Not Considering To Talk About Your Likes & Dislikes Beforehand
Don't be afraid to wax poetic about your thoughts and desires before you have sex. And don't feel weird about asking your partner what they like, either. As relationship expert David Bennett tells me, sharing what you enjoy can ensure you both have a good time.
2. Never Speaking Up During Sex
If you think chatting before sex is awkward, than you'll probably find it even more difficult to share your thoughts during. And I get that. But it's still so important — especially if you want things to go smoothly. "Sex is meant to feel good and enjoyable," says Geter. If you don't speak up when/if things get uncomfortable, then you're truly doing yourself a disservice.
3. Going In With Unclear Expectations When You Know Where You Want The Relationship To Go
You don't have to know exactly what this whole "hook up" thing might mean. But it's a good idea to have a general idea, lest anyone's feelings get hurt — especially if you're very invested in the relationship and whether or not it moves forward. That's why, as relationship expert Kailen Rosenberg tells me, it's a good idea to check in with yourself before things go down. Is this just going to be a fun experience, or are you looking for a long-term partner? Figure it out. And then tell them, too. And if you both don't know, then that's OK, too.
4. Caring Too Much About Being "Good"
While everyone wants to be "good in bed," a healthy and exciting hookup is so not about that. In fact, the moment you let it all go and have fun, the better. As psychoanalyst Dr. Claudia Luiz tells Bustle, "Nobody is supposed to know anybody's body yet. If it isn't a little awkward, something's wrong."
5. Doing Something You're Not Comfortable With
In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to figure out what you're comfortable doing — and sometimes even more difficult to say "no" or "not yet." That's why it's so important to set up boundaries ASAP, certified life coach Cassandra James tells me. Go in knowing what you'll feel comfy doing, as well as what's not going to be OK.
6. Not Paying Attention To Your Own Needs
While the hook up is obviously about all involved, try not to focus solely on your partner. As Geter tells me, staying tuned into your own needs and desires (you know, multitasking) is where it's at.
7. Feeling Like You Have To Teach Your Partner Something New
Unless you're being awesome and pointing out what you like in bed, don't feel like you have to spend the night showing your partner what's what. (You know, like some weird position involving a couch.) "This is not the time to teach anybody anything," says Luiz. It's simply a time to get out of your head and do whatever feels right. If both of you are into it, then go for it, but don't feel pressured to do anything you don't want to do — that includes teaching people.
8. Forgetting To Tell Someone Where You're Going
In an effort to be as safe as possible, it's usually a good idea to give your friends a heads when going home with someone new. "Consider using an app like iSurvive, which allows you to quickly and secretly send your location to multiple friends at once so they can come to your aid without involving family members or the authorities — unless absolutely necessary," says Daniel Saurborn, MD, in an email to Bustle. So smart.
9. Feeling Anything Less Than Confident
Easier said than done, of course. But going into a hook up situation worrying about your body, or your skill level, or whatever is a recipe for a lame night. So do a little confidence boosting beforehand. "You can do this both inside and outside," psychologist Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman tells Bustle. Try reciting a few self-esteem mantras, or showing up in an outfit that makes you feel good. Whatever that may be.
10. Forgoing Any Form Of Protection
By now we all know the importance of using protection. That goes without saying. But even the most wary among us can forget, or think it's fine "just this one time." So be prepared and think ahead. As Saurborn says, "The absolute simplest way to protect yourself (whether boy or girl, gay or straight) is to bring a condom (or two) with you." And, of course, follow up with a doctor ASAP if you happen to forget.
11. Not Processing It Afterward If You're Interested In The Relationship Moving Forward
OK, so the deed is done and you (hopefully) had a great time. Now, don't forget to process what just went down. "Maybe not immediately after, but at some point, talk about what happened," Luiz says. This will help grow your relationship, if that's what you'd like to happen. But it will also be the perfect moment to see what you learned from your hook up.
Did you have fun? Do you want to do it again? That's really what it's all about.
Images: Pexels (11), Unsplash, Hernan Sanchez