7 Things To Keep In Mind If You're Someone's First Sexual Partner, According To Experts
There are a lot of awkward things to negotiate the first time you have sex with someone new. It's important to get used to the way the other person moves, what they like, what they don't like, and how they may be different from other partners you may have had. And things might feel even more tricky to navigate if you're someone's first sexual partner.
But while some people might not think that having sex for the first time is a big deal, plenty of people mythologize the event into something way larger-than-life. "Keep in mind that they have been thinking of this moment for a long time and aim to give them the experience they envisioned," Damona Hoffman, certified dating and relationship expert and host of the Dates & Mates podcast, tells Bustle. "This will be a story they remember for the rest of their life so it's important to cater to their needs." If you get the sense that this moment is a big deal for your partner, it's important to bear that in mind throughout the entire experience.
So, what else should you know before going into it? Here's what you need to remember if you're someone's first sexual partner, according to experts.
1. Make Sure To Be Nurturing
Some people might not be nervous about becoming sexually active for the first time, which is totally fine. For others, this will be a big event — and they'll need you to be supportive and compassionate. "It's important to keep in mind that it's a really special experience for the other person," John Keegan, dating expert, tells Bustle. "It's one of the most memorable experiences that they will carry for the rest of their life. Make sure that person really feels you understand this moment is special and that you see them as a special person. They will want to feel safe, listened, and accepted. A big story line in the overall sexuality of any person is the first time and you get to be a part of that. Be nurturing before, during, and after."
Talking about it beforehand will help you get a sense of what it means to them.
2. Remember That Sex Is Usually Awkward The First Time, Anyway
If something doesn't go according to plan during your first sexual encounter, it's important that you don't assume that happened because it was your partner's first time. "Sex usually improves as you get to know someone and become more comfortable with each other’s bodies," relationship counselor and clinical sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching, tells Bustle. "The first time is usually not as mind-blowing as you would like in your head. So don’t feel pressured to make it the best night ever. Think of it as the first of many."
Sometimes, sex is just awkward — and it's totally normal for it to be awkward the first time two people are hooking up, no matter how experienced they are. Don't just assume everything that feels a bit off is because they're inexperienced.
3. Move On Their Timeline
You're going to have to read the room. Some first-timers might really want you to lead every step of the way, while some may not. Just make sure that they're OK with the speed things are moving at. "You should not rush them and keep things on their timeline," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "Keep asking how things are feeling and if they want to keep going. If you listen and communicate, they are likely to have a good experience for their first time!"
4. Communicate — Constantly
Again, your partner may not want you to be in total control, but you may want them to be the person setting the pace, especially if they seem nervous. So, keeping the communication alive can make a huge difference. "Don’t just assume that your partner likes what you are doing because they didn’t protest," Lee says. "Ask them what feels good, and what doesn’t. They are less likely to give feedback if not asked out of for fear of hurting their partner’s ego. The more you communicate, the better sex can be."
5. Pay Attention To Non-Verbal Cues
It's not just verbal communication that you should be paying attention to — try to tune into their body. "Besides following their breath, how about paying attention to details such as the non-verbal cues telling you where they are at in terms of arousal," Lee says. "For example, when they arch their back, and pull you closer, they probably want more of whatever you are doing." There are plenty of ways we communicate with each other without words, especially during sex, so stay tuned in.
6. Consent Is Key
Consent is always important, but it's especially so if you know you're someone's first partner. "Make sure your partner feels comfortable throughout the experience," Hoffman says. "...Be sure that you have [sober consent] that they want to have sex with you. And as you try different things make sure you ask your partner questions like, 'Is this OK for you?'" Consent should be clear and enthusiastic — every step of the way.
7. Talk About Safety
Safe sex is key, especially if you're someone's first partner. "Give them assurances about your sexual health," Hoffman says. "Make sure you're getting tested frequently." By doing this, you're helping start their sexual journey in a healthy way, by making talking about safe sex part of the norm.
When you're your partner's first sexual partner, it can feel like there's a lot of responsibility on you, but really, it boils down to common sense. Be safe, be consensual, follow their lead, and make them feel comfortable — just like you would want someone to do for you.