Have you slept with someone new recently (or ever, for that matter)?
Take a second to reflect.
How was it, all and all? We tend to sensationalize sex with someone new, imagining it to be sexy, spontaneous, special, romantic, kinky, wild, hot, memorable, or any combination of these.
This could be the fault of our imaginations, movies, porn, stories from our friends and peers, reflections upon especially memorable/remarkable first times that worked out perfectly, or just the human tendency to romanticize the otherwise ordinary.
We get an image in our minds about what our new partner, crush, or random person is going to be like between the sheets and how it’s all going to play out, but when it comes down to it the experience is (more often than not) nothing short of clunky. I hate to describe it as clunky, but I mean, do you disagree?
When we’ve spent a period of time having sex with the same person, sometimes we completely forget that it took time to get to the comfortable, rhythmic, mutually-beneficial place you’ve come to know and love. We forget that there is a whole slew of things we need to learn each time we begin sleeping with someone knew.
If you’re just looking for one-night encounters or more short-term sexual partnerships, it’s likely not worth your time to play out a trial and error style of learning, so just ensure you are open, verbal, and respectful, and just have fun with it and make the most of the time you share! Though, on the flip side, if you’re delving into what may be a longer-term sexual relationship, you need to make sure you’re both getting the most out of the experience, getting what you need, and helping your partner get the same.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 things you totally forgot you need to re-learn with a new partner to ease a bit of the “what are you doing?” or “that’s not what I’m used to” speed bumps along the way.
Just remember that there’s anyways room for improvement and there’s nowhere but up to go with a brand new sexual relationship! Re-learning your sexual self and starting from ground zero with a new partner can seem like a serious chore, but you don’t need to treat it as such! Have fun with your new partner, learn from each other, laugh at the chunkiness, and just chill out and enjoy the ride (literally).
Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge: How to Tell When They’re in the Mood
When you’ve been with someone for a while, you really get to know their intricacies. You can sense the tone in their voice, you can read their mannerisms, and you can communicate without actually having to speak once you reach a certain point. So, when it comes to initiating intimacy, it becomes pretty second-nature after a while: a change in breathing pattern, a certain type of touch, a look, a movement, you just know.
This said, with a new partner it ain’t so simple. Sometimes you kind of know they want it, but you’re not 100% sure, sometimes you’re pretty much sure but not quite sure how to initiate, sometimes you have literally no clue, you just know you want it and you’re not sure what to do about it. The struggle is real. In these circumstances, if your body language isn’t getting the message across or the ball just isn’t rolling for some reason, you need to default to verbal communication. A simple “I want you so badly right now” will always suffice.
Setting the Scene
Living room? Bedroom? Shower? Lights on? Lights off?
Some people have a whole selection of preferences when it comes to the little details and some people could not care less; the problem is that you can’t be sure which one of the two your new partner is, or if they fall somewhere in the middle. Take into account what they do to set the scene (turning the lights off for example) if it’s something you don’t love, see if they do it each time and, if so, ask why. It might just be a habit or something they do unconsciously, or they may have a specific reason that will help you understand them a little better.
If there is something you are especially particular about when it comes to setting the scene, explain this to your partner to ensure you get what you need without leaving them wondering. Leave room for flexibility and change, every partner is different and everyone has their own preferences, it’s all about the give and take until you find a happy medium to make new habits and traditions together.
Now’s the time to reflect upon the ONLY thing many of us learned during our sexual education growing up: protection. There is nothing that kills the mood and accelerates the chunkiness of a sexual experience faster than the good old contraception talk but, alas, it has to be done. Your sexual and reproductive health is of the utmost importance, so you need to treat it as such.
Ask what types of contraceptive methods they typically use, which they prefer, which they don’t/can’t use for whatever reason, what they’re relationship with emergency contraception is like in the case of an accident, etc. After that talk is out of the way and you’ve come to an understanding, talk more logistics.
For example: who brings the condom? Who puts on the condom? At what point do you put on the condom? What are you supposed to do while your partner leaves you there, naked and heated, to go retrieve the condom?
This stuff isn’t easy, this stuff is awkward, so just do what feels right and be prepared to have a sense of humor is things get a little weird (it’s inevitable).
Talkin’ the Talk
Dirty talk has the potential to be so damn hot when it’s appropriately executed or make you cringe for the rest of eternity when it’s not. Whether it’s something you say or something your partner says, if it doesn’t land properly it can be just the worst. Some people are incredible verbal in bed whereas others are stone cold silent, either can be a little shocking if you’re used to the opposite.
Our best advice when it comes to dirty talk? Read the damn room! If you’re into talking and your partner isn’t being very responsive, tone it down a little. If you want to tell your partner is looking to you for cues or to see if you’re enjoying yourself but you’re more of a quiet person, try and relax and allow yourself to let out some soft sounds or even just heaver breaths to make your partner more comfortable.
If you really need something from your partner that you’re not getting (a little more verbal expression or a little more silence), all you have to do is ask! Just be sure to do so with compassion and understanding and be prepared to hear their position if they were hoping for something different.
Running the Bases
Some people are a little more into foreplay than others. Some people require foreplay more than others. Some people are uncomfortable with different aspects of foreplay. Some people love it all. Sometimes new sexual partners feel like they need to run all the bases: kissing, hand stuff, oral, and then sex, sometimes new partners just want to jump right to the goods.
This can be navigated with body language in most cases, but sometimes you need to speak up and say you need more or less of something, you require something specific, or there’s something you’re really interested in doing with this person, or even a specific order you’re comfortable with going in. Talk it out!
When you’ve been sleeping with someone for a while you can get pretty used to the positions you cycle through and the indicators your partner gives when they’d like to switch, or even just the way they move/move you to switch. Sometimes you even master the switch without missing a beat once you really get in the groove with a partner (which always makes you feel like an absolute star).
This isn’t so easy with a new partner. With someone new, you either need to be very obvious with your body language or just use your words. It sucks giving up that awesome flow if you really had it dialed with your old partner, but it’ll feel just as amazing once you get it sorted out with your new boo, trust us.
What’s in Your Repertoire
If a position is something you’re used to, you may think it’s run-of-the-mill, but this isn’t always the case. We get comfortable with an array of weird, unique positions when we’re consistently having sex with the same partner, but these positions may be totally foreign to our new partners. On the flip, they might be used to a whole whack of positions you’ve never tried yourself.
So, before diving into something outside of the standard few, make sure you are properly communicating what you are up to, even in as much as guiding their bodies to where they need to be. If a partner ever blows the figurative whistle and says they aren’t comfortable with something you are trying to execute, stop immediately. It is all about consent.
If there’s something more uncommon or adventurous you’d like to try, it’s best to discuss this outside of the bedroom in a non-sexual circumstance when both people are level-headed and collected. Not all of us are gymnasts, contortionists, or even particularly adventurous sex partners, so be sure to take things slow and get consent at every turning point along the way.
Soft & Sweet or Hot & Heavy
Some people like to f**k and some people like to make love, some like a mix of both. Though you can gather a certain degree of understanding from someone’s sexual energy, personality, and ways in which they engage with you physically, you really can’t know exactly how it’s going to go down in bed. If you are only interested in one type of sex (if you only like it soft, for example), it’s probably in your best interest to let them know beforehand to save you both an experience you didn’t want and didn’t sign up for. If you’re open but not sure what to expect, just go with the flow! You might experience something new, special, fun, exciting, or a combination!
BDSM or Nah
We’ll start by saying that you should never engage in any BDSM activities without consent from your partner. In this case, we’re speaking more to light BDSM such as hair pulling, spanking, and light choking. For some, this has come to be standard procedure, but for others, it can be totally uncharted territory. In most cases, it’s best to ask if you want your hair pulled (for example) or wait until your partner asks for theirs, rather than just assuming.
Also, a “do you like that?” during the act doesn’t always leave much room for any answer other than “yes,” so we suggest asking before rather than during. Again, it’s always good practice to discuss these sorts of things outside of the bedroom so no one feels pressured or worried about running the mood if they aren’t into it. Just say “you know what I really love?” and give it to them straight. If they’re not interested, no big deal, no one has to do anything they don’t want to do.
The Cleanup Crew
The hands-down most clunky part of a sexual encounter is the aftermath. Often there can be a mess to deal with, and if you’ve been in a long-term sexual relationship in the past, you’re probably used to a certain procedure. You clean yourself up, they clean you up, you grab a towel, they toss you one, one or both of you always goes to the bathroom immediately after, one or both of you always showers right after, you like to lay in bed for a while afterwards, you like to hop up and go about your biz afterwards, the variables are endless!
This is one that you’ve really just got to feel out. See how it goes the first time, let them know if you’re someone who always takes a shower after sex (for example), ask if you want them to hand you a towel, just be open, don’t be hard on yourself if something is uncomfortable, and go with the flow.
Sex can be serious, romantic, cute, funny, silly, playful, or anything you’d like it to be. Have fun with it, keep an open mind, express yourself clearly and compassionately, ask for what you want/need, and ask your partner what they want/need.
Good luck out there, friends!