Having sex with a new partner is more likely than not to be kinda bad. But that’s normal: you don’t know each other enough yet. Taking your time is important.

a couple kisses in the sunset

I was sexting with the mainland lover the other day, and we started reminiscing about the one time we saw each other back in the spring. It had been a long day of travel for me (5 hours to make it from downtown Victoria to downtown Vancouver, ugh), and I was ready for some wine and for just sitting down and relaxing.

Yeah, I had some wine. Maybe a little too much. And he had beer, maybe a little too much.

But we eventually ended up at his place anyway.

And we started getting frisky.

And you know what?

It wasn’t really good.

And you know what else?

It’s not a big deal. First times generally suck.

Of first times

Unless you’re a prodigy or something, first times doing anything are pretty hard. It’s not like you start walking and run a marathon right away; it’s not like your first drawing or piece of music you play is perfect and amazing.

Being good at something takes practice. Being proficient in an art, or a skill, requires time spent doing it when it’s far from perfect.

And gosh, does this ever apply to sex.

I mean, sure, there are ways to be naturally more likely to be good at sex: no shame around your body or sexuality, a knowledge of anatomy, and a few techniques under your belt. But because everyone is different and everyone likes different things, there’s a good chance that despite all your knowledge and self-love, you probably won’t get it right.

There’s a good scene in the movie About Time that I love to refer to when I think about first times. The main character, Tim, finally has his first date with the woman he’s fallen in love with, Mary. (Tim can travel back in time.) They get ready to have sex. It’s an awkward, beautiful moment. They have sex. The camera lands on them lying in bed, the covers over their chests. They’re like, “yeah, that was okay.”

Then Tim decides he wants to try again; he goes in the bathroom, travels back an hour or two earlier, and has sex with her again. This time, the camera lands on them in bed with the covers all messed up. They’re slightly out of breath.

Not satisfied with this either, Tim goes to the bathroom a second time to return back to, again, the beginning of the evening. This third and final time, we find the two of them on the floor with covers and pillows and clothes everywhere around them. They are definitely out of breath.

You don’t need dialogue to see that this third time was pretty mind-blowing.

In between times 1 and 3, Tim learned more and more about what Mary liked. By the time he comes back for round 3, he has a pretty good idea of how to satisfy her in bed. But it did take him three times.

The first time was still pretty meh, even though Mary herself doesn’t remember it—all she experienced was time #3.

The moral of this story? First times are gonna suck or be just okay, even with the best of intentions.

It takes time

It takes time to get to know someone, not only mentally and emotionally, but also physically. There are no constants; there are no universals when it comes to sex. Sure, most guys like blowjobs, but some don’t, and they don’t all like the same things. Same thing for women. For example, I’m fine with getting oral, it’s pleasurable, but it doesn’t do much else for me. It’s just not really my thing.

It takes time and practice to teach someone else how to pleasure you. It takes time and practice to know how to pleasure yourself in the first place—and it’s your own body. So why exactly do we expect first times to be mind-blowingly amazing? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be “the best you ever had”?

Here are the things I look for when having sex with a partner for the first time:

  • Do they care about my pleasure, or just theirs?
  • Are they in a rush to get to orgasm, or do they enjoy foreplay?
  • Can I openly talk about what I want and need, or do they make me feel ashamed or ignored?
  • Do I want to pleasure them? (Sometimes the sign of something that won’t work is you not really being into giving them pleasure—not because you’re selfish, but just because there isn’t a strong connection.)
  • Do I feel safe enough around them to let go?

Whether or not they gave me an orgasm or “performed” well is not my concern, really, ever, but especially not for a first time. I try to give my partners a wide berth for exploration, a wide margin of error. Because how else will they learn?

Drinking is probably also a thing you shouldn’t do when having sex with a partner for the first time. Although, yes, it does lower inhibitions and make you feel more courageous and less shy, drinking is going to slow your responses (sexual and otherwise) and just decrease your pleasure. In my experience, drunk sex is never mind-blowing.

Take your time

There’s something to be said for taking your time with a new partner. And hookup culture doesn’t allow you that. Sure, if all you want is to scratch an itch, go ahead and hookup with someone. It won’t be super satisfying, but it’ll satiate your immediate hunger.

But if you want your sex to be at least good, you shouldn’t just rush into bed. And when you’re in there, you shouldn’t just rush into penetration or orgasm. There’s value to getting to know someone, to connecting on several levels. Emotional and intellectual connections feed physical intimacy. Without intimacy, sex is just a mechanical act, rub rub rub cum done, and at that point you’re better off just masturbating. At least you don’t have to deal with another person in your bed.

Fundamentally, sex is a connective act. Physically, the hormones released during sex help two people bond together. Psychologically, sex is a way to share each other’s vulnerability and to attempt to see each other without barriers or filters. So it makes sense that the better the connection, the (potentially) better the sex. Connections that are built purely on physical attractiveness and immediate availability (like hookups) are flimsy and ephemeral at best. Those that are built on a strong base of friendship, care for each other and desire to know one another are much stronger, rooted deeper, and offer a greater potential for good sex.

So if your first time having sex with a new partner was kinda meh, it’s not a reason to dump them. If you care about developing your relationship with them, you should give it time.

That’s exactly what I’m thinking with the mainland lover: even though our first time kinda sucked, we have a good connection, and I know we can make something great out of it. All we need is time… and a lot more practice with each other.

Good advice? Helpful information? Thank me with a coffee!