First off, it’s important to bear in mind that in most cases first-time sex with a new partner - irrespective of whether you’ve been sexually active in the past or not - may not be as exhilarating as you expect. But it can still be high on pleasure and low on discomfort.
If that wasn’t the case with you, here some tips to move on from the experience and salvage your sex life:
You may have come out of your first sexual encounter with your partner feeling underwhelmed and somewhat disappointed. Before you vocalise those feelings, take a moment to process them and understand what went wrong. Were you unable to orgasm? Was it too painful or uncomfortable? Was your partner not sensitive to your needs? Were you mindful of theirs?
Assessing the situation pragmatically will help you work with your partner as a team to find a way forward.
Once you have ascertained what went wrong, at least from your point of view, have a conversation about it with your partner. Explain how you felt during and after the act, and what according to you led to a subpar experience.
Once you’ve said your piece, give your partner a chance to respond and hear them out with an open mind. If they feel the same way too, it’s an ideal situation. You’re both on the same page and can find a way to work around your intimacy issues.
It is also possible that your partner views the situation differently. Perhaps, they didn’t think the experience was as bad. Or maybe, their reasons for why it wasn’t as good as you both wanted are totally different than yours.
In such situations, it’s vital to prioritise healthy communication, and convey your thoughts and expectations without placing blame or hurling accusations.
Now that you’ve addressed one elephant in the room, it’s time to move on to the next - giving sex another try. Getting into bed with the baggage of a less-than-pleasant first encounter and an uncomfortable conversation afterward, it’s natural to feel some pressure.
Don’t let the pressure get to you. If you try too hard to perform, the stress can take a toll on your libido. Forget improving on your last performance, you may even struggle to get a hard on or wet. So, keep your body and mind as relaxed as possible.
Sex is a lot more than just penile-vaginal insertion. The intercourse is just a part of the act. A finishing act, if you will, but not the be-all and end-all of sexual intimacy. Besides, sex becomes that much easier and more fulfilling when you’re aroused. So, take your time and invest in foreplay before you get to intercourse.
Kissing, stimulating the breasts and genitals, hand jobs and oral sex are all great precursors to the act of penile-vaginal insertion.
The build up, the stimulation will make you desire each other more, and enhance the pleasure you draw from one another’s bodies. If your foreplay moves didn’t quite work the first time around, talk to a trusted and experienced friend, read up or watch some video to understand what exactly you should do.
At the same time, you must check in with your partner from time to time during the act to make sure they’re enjoying your moves.
Certain positions are more conducive to insertion than others. But there is no handbook on which positions can alleviate the discomfort during intercourse. What works for one may not for another.
So, if your first time experience was marred by pain and discomfort, be open to trying different positions to see what clicks for you and your partner. There is a whole world beyond the good-old missionary style. Get creative and experiment.
If your first sexual encounter turns out to be disastrous, preparing yourself to have a go at it again can be nerve-racking. To take the pressure off, dial things back a notch.
There are different forms and degrees of sexual intimacy that you can enjoy with your partner before you’re ready to go all the way again.
Make out with your partner, explore each other’s bodies with your hands, mouth and tongue. When you do, enjoy the moment without thinking about where it’s leading to. If one of you isn’t ready or is somewhat sceptical about trying intercourse again, you can find ways to pleasure each other and orgasm through other forms of stimulation. If things organically build up to a point where you both feel ready, just take the plunge.
The best way to make your partner understand what you want, expect and enjoy in bed is to show them. So, when you get intimate the next time, try playing with yourself in front of your partner or use your hands to manoeuver theirs, so that they know exactly where your pleasure points lie. Encourage them to do the same.
Not only will it help you understand each other’s bodies better but this act can be a huge turn on.
The setting of your sexual encounter also plays an important role in determining how gratifying the experience is. If you’re in a place where you’re constantly worrying about someone walking in on you mid-act or the fear of ‘getting caught’ is playing on your mind, you cannot be in the moment 100% and savour it.
The bottom line is that you cannot enjoy sex if you’re stressed or tensed on any account. So, it’s important to choose a safe time and place where you can enjoy your time with your partner without any outside distractions.
As you now know, your first-time sex may not be the mind-blowing, earth-shattering, exhilarating experience you’ve been hearing about all along. There will be some awkwardness, inhibitions and uncertainties on the part of both partners.
Similarly, your second time won’t magically turn into everything your first encounter wasn’t. That’s why it’s important to keep your expectations realistic.
For doing that, you need to not let porn or romantic fiction set the bar for sexual gratification. Focus on your partner and prioritise their pleasure. When both partners do that, the rest falls in place.
Even with all the foreplay and stimulation, the flow of the body’s natural lubricating juices can be inhibited due to the stress of sexual performance. Trying intercourse when either partner isn’t lubricated enough can add to the discomfort and pain. This makes the experience more excruciating than pleasurable. You can avoid that by simply keeping a bottle of lube handy and using it generously, if required.
With these small measures, you can recover from the setback of a less-than-pleasurable first sexual encounter. As you go along you’ll realise that the first time doesn’t define your sexual journey as partners. It does get better with time and experience.
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.
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Arushi Chaudhary is a freelance journalist and writer with 5 years of experience in print publications such as the Pune Mirror and Hindustan Times, and has spent close to a decade writing for digital platforms and print publications – The Tribune, BR International magazine, Make My Trip, Killer Features, The Money Times, and Home Review, to name a few. Of the many things she's written about over the years, exploring the space of love and relationships through the prism of psychology excites her the most. Writing is her first and forever love. You can find her on Twitter here.