Meeting someone new can make you giddy with excitement – like text-all-your-friends, try-on-a-thousand-different-outfits and replay-every-smile-in-your-head giddy. The beginning of a relationship is filled with many romantic firsts: your first date, the first time you kiss or the first time you meet the family – moments that you'll quite possibly remember forever. But with these firsts also comes unchartered (and sometimes a little daunting) territory, especially when it comes to being intimate for the first time.
Being intimate with someone new is all about learning. After all, your new partner doesn't know your deepest desires yet – and vice-versa. So it can be easy to worry when things don’t go seamlessly. Truthfully, first-time encounters rarely do, but that’s perfectly normal; laugh off those steamy but awkward entanglements, and trust that they’re an exercise in bonding, and can actually bring you both even closer.
When you are with someone for the first time, you won’t have the established intimacy of a long-term couple, but you will have something just as powerful: the urgency of new lovers. Intimacy with a new partner can sometimes be awkward, but if you can relax and trust your partner, you'll find the passion will guide you. Remember, the first time you get intimate with someone is not the end all. If you approach it as an exploration and a beginning (and a fun one at that!), you'll be able to laugh off any little bumps and really enjoy the moment. Plus, it will be fun to find out what each of you likes!
Check in with yourself first
Don't go into the first time with someone new if you’re not ready. Ask yourself if you are comfortable and if there is any doubt, it is perfectly OK to wait. There's no arbitrary third-date rule, and if you get intimate before you're ready, it's only going to add to any anxiety you already have about it. Do it when you both feel ready and are comfortable to take the next step.
Remember: Reality is better than fiction
Everyone wants their first time with someone new to be magical. But the reality is while the experience can be a really fun one, it probably won’t have a flawless movie ending either. So forget about trying to time the perfect moment, or looking sexy before, during and after – just have fun! Knowing each other and each other’s bodies comes with time. Remember, the first, no matter how awkward, is special because there will be only one first time. So enjoy the moment and just enjoy each other!
Don’t forget foreplay!
Before you get to the act itself, be sure to leave ample time for foreplay. Foreplay will help relax you, and it's a nice way to ease into sexual comfort with a new partner. Foreplay is also a great way to discover what you or your partner likes. (Maybe you will discover something that you never knew that you liked!) And don’t forget, because foreplay is really each partner giving to the other, it can help build an emotional connection and make the experience more enjoyable.
No matter what, with a new partner, it's important to be safe. You probably don't know their full sexual history, and you might not yet have been mutually tested for sexually transmitted illnesses. When you're just starting out with someone new, it's important to glove up!
With someone new, you might be aiming to impress – but your partner should be aiming to impress you, too. Don't be shy when it comes to talking about what you want. Chances are your partner will appreciate the guidance, because, frankly, they won’t know what turns you on or off. Being honest in the bedroom is healthy and can help build trust both inside and outside of the bedroom. Remember, everyone is different and learning is an essential part of your intimate experience as a couple.
Most importantly, remember to relax and have fun! Yes, the first-time with a new partner can be awkward and overwhelming, but first and foremost it's exciting. Don’t panic if it doesn't go exactly as you planned. Intimacy is full of surprises, and the best thing you can do when something awkward happens is to laugh it off – and keep on doing what makes you both feel good.
Kat George is an Australian writer living in New York. She writes for Bustle, Vice, Refinery29, Noisey, The Village Voice and VH1. She is the author of the book "Pink Bits" and creator of the web series "The Big Gulp".