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On the first time

The first shag you have with someone is, technically, rubbish.

You’re both excited, and happy that you’ve managed to ensnare someone hot, but despite your enthusiasm for that first shag you will probably fuck it up. Of course you will – you have almost no idea what they actually like.

Your ideas about their preferences will be based on casual conversations that you’ve had when (let’s be honest) you’re quite pissed. You know from pub chat that they like blow jobs/spanking/being pissed on/that bit where you stick your fingers in their ass just before they come/etc. But you haven’t a sodding clue about the nuanced things that give them that kick-in-the-gut drooling lust that’s so crucial in a spectacular fuck.

The first time you see them naked might be a disappointment, and you’ll probably be a disappointment to them. People are prettier with clothes on – we use clothes to carefully hide the bits we’re less happy with, to enhance our curves and cover our scars.

New people, be they male or female, will make noises that you’re not used to, say things that you aren’t familiar or comfortable with or – even worse – conduct the whole thing in a stony silence that leaves you wondering if they’d rather be chewing broken glass.

They might have problems getting hard or wet. They might be less energetic than you’re used to, or they might try to twist you into acrobatic positions that you’re unable to do because you don’t have the same yoga background as their ex.

How awful. Why on earth do people do it?

Well, because it’s spectacularly fun, that’s why. Despite the technical failings the overall experience is usually enjoyable. And more importantly, it is usually worth putting in the groundwork to establish something that could be spectacular.

Unless your life consists of a string of meaningless, nameless fucks, there’ll almost certainly be some stuff in that first time shag that you can work with.

OK, so he didn’t really get that bit quite how you like it, and he asked you to stop blowing him because you were ‘overenthusiastic’, but he probably also did some stuff that blew your mind, or at the very least made you go ‘oooh’. And that’s the point.

I’m extremely good in bed with some of my boys. With others I’m less good, and we’re still stumbling through a few things that need to be refined, improved upon or scrapped altogether. We’re working on an early iteration of the brilliant sex that we’ll eventually have when we’ve had some more goes at it.

With guys I’m with for the first time, I am an utter amateur. I can give them all the special moves I like but without any frame of reference it’s always going to be a bit poor. Especially because in those very early stages people are reluctant to give feedback that could be construed as criticism. So we stumble awkwardly through the jungle of sexual adventure until we… erm… discover the hidden temple of ‘how to do things properly’.

Laboured metaphor, but you get the gist.

What I’m saying is that you’re rubbish in bed. And so am I. We’re awful, awkward and inept, and anyone watching would shake their heads sadly at our mutual incompetence. But rather than lament the fact that the first time didn’t make the earth move, let’s accept that that’s always the case, and stick a date in the diary for a bit more practise.


  • Mo says:

    I was thinking last night about a break from form and blogging (a little) about sex, in part driven by some of your “Unsolicited advice” posts. Somewhat relievingly, you’re pretty much saving m ethe trouble anyway. I’m not necessarily the best person to be doing that in any case, but there was an itch; required scratching; etc. That said, here’s some words (look! words), because I’m partial to verbosity:

    But, the nub of what I was going to write about boils down to this: a lot of the “issues” surrounding approaching people, getting to know them (at least a little), and ending up fumbling around with them in a hopefully mutually-pleasant experience seem to stem from expectation, and then a load of anxiety subsequently attached to that. What if he/she thinks I’m an idiot? or doesn’t fancy me? or I don’t fancy them? or we have some drinks and seem to hit it off and maybe there’s some chemistry and we end up going our respective ways? or we do head off together but it’s all a bit of a let-down? or something embarassing happens? ohgodohgodohgod, it’s all so nerve-wracking. And if you end up in that frame of mind, it all ends up—crushingly—becoming a reality, and that whole “confidence” thing rears its ugly head.

    On the other hand, if instead of playing out the whole thing in your head in a frantic and increasingly depressing fashion (and I speak from bitter experience), second-guessing yourself (and your potential partner, and everything that can go wrong), you inject a dose of realistic acceptance into proceedings — noting that—unless there’s a fundamental personality clash—you’re going to have some drinks with some decent company, and if you do end up having sex, as rubbish or embarassing or disasterous at it might prove to be, it’ll almost certainly be enjoyable anyway, provided you can keep your own insecurities from getting the better of you.

    (and, when it comes to meeting up with people From The Internet™, you probably have a reasonable idea as to their personality already).

    …all of which I can guess be summed up as “lowering expectations”—but not like *that*.

    Or, more succinctly: relax.

  • C.B.B says:

    For me, what the first time lacks in… synchronicity? (I’ll go with that, you know what I mean) It makes up for in excitement in contours of a new unexplored body.

    Is this where porn can help? What about porn as a teacher for the inexperienced.

    You have just made me wonder how many women have been disappointed at the sight of me naked.

  • Tether says:

    I was going to talk about porn too, but in a different way. I don’t think porn has been very good for me, because even when I switched to macrobiotic, organic, free-range, fair-trade, union labour porn made by people with PhDs in computer science, it re-enforced the fundamental problem I have with sex: performance anxiety. I find sex interesting when I’m alone and absurd with other people. Every time feels like my first time. And I never get to the point – so tantalisingly described on this blog – of feeling turned on, as though I need to come, or that anything the person is doing is especially sexy. I can fantasise about a person taking me from behind in the shower — it would be all consensual and sexy, probably late at night — and then I meet someone who is up for it, we get to that point, and…fail. Just fail. And not only the first time, but every time until I get so exasperated I just break up with them. It’s a vicious cycle. Does anyone else get this?

    • girlonthenet says:

      Wow, that sounds awful – you can have a large chunk of my sympathy. I think I can see where you’re coming from but I rarely get this and so any of my advice might sound patronising and shit. Having said that, when I was younger I’d get way more worried about things, so am putting my 17-year-old head on in an attempt to suggest things. Have you tried:

      – doing something so utterly ridiculous that from that moment on everything feels tame?
      – talking in detail through exactly what you want to do, while wanking each other off/wanking yourselves off, thus getting yourself used to the idea in a sexy context?
      – getting extremely drunk? (within legal and responsible limits, of course)

      OK, this advice is crap. Will tweet this out and see if anyone else has advice which is better.

      • Where we're going, we don't need names. says:

        Okay, I’ll bite. Like you though, I have no illusions that my crap chat will be of any help.

        Tether, you have my sympathy too. Not that sympathy is what you need – confidence probably is. And there’s no magical way to get yourself some of that.

        I can promise you that you are not alone. Everybody gets anxious sometimes. Nervous, worried, wound up and dried up – it’s easy to talk yourself out of being horny and it gets even easier the next time. And the time after that. And, eventually, every time. It’s harder to break the cycle, but believe me – it’s worth the effort.

        Maybe (and this is just a maybe) what you need is the right partner. Someone who will build your confidence. Maybe they’ll spend more time kissing you and less time letting you pause for breath and attacks of the nerves. Maybe they’ll be able to say just the right thing and bring your libido back from the brink when you start to cool off. Maybe they’ll touch you just *there* and you’ll feel so damned horny that you devour them whole.

        I don’t know. But maybe. Maybe you need a playmate who knows that you have this little problem and is willing to put some work into helping you get through it.

        Or maybe not. I’m just pissing in the wind here.

        Good luck.

    • bambiinboxes says:

      I know how you feel I think – stuff works ok in your head on your own but then someone else gets involved & your head starts getting obsessed with all this other shit like how are you doing, what are they thinking, do they really fancy you, do you look ok etc & then there is no room for sexy thoughts? If I am anywhere near the mark my advice would be:
      1. Go shopping or something, chill out
      2. You need to work on calming your head & being in the moment. This is hard, but worth it, in all aspects of life.
      3. It’s gotta be with someone you feel comfortable & confident with, someone who you just know fancies you a huge amount
      4. Don’t try & run before you can walk.
      5. Have a drink!

    • Mo says:

      I don’t have much useful advice, though I can sympathise. I might be mis-reading, but it does sound a little like you’ve found scenarios which you get off on, but any attempt to reach the point where you might enact them is well into running-before-you-can-walk territory? That’s not meant to sound patronising, and so my most profuse of apologies if it does… but I’m acutely aware that set of “stuff that’s fun and interesting to watch on a screen” is a lot smaller than “stuff that’s fun and interesting to *do*”, and so there’s always that risk of focussing on the latter at the expense of the former.

      Other than the “get drunk” advice (which may work, or may backfire horribly, depending upon your tolerance for alcohol — you want to get pissed enough to not be anxious, but not too pissed that it all goes to pot anyway)… have you talked about it with the people you’re with? My gut feeling would be (and apologies if this is stating the obvious) that if you’re trying to get over it own your own, it’s going to be that much harder to do. Whereas if they’re aware of your anxiety, maybe they can mitigate that somewhat by taking the lead — and perhaps not *letting* you bolt for the door — building you up slowly and fairly gently with a decent amount of reassurance that there really is nothing *wrong* until you hit that point that you forget all about the stuff you were worried about because you’re far too busy enjoying each other.

  • Mags says:

    Let me try and help in what will seem like an odd way. In previous relationships, I have been terrified of being dumped, so throughout the relationship I have been almost holding my breath and waiting for the inevitabke ending. I;m sure this has hastened the ending in some cases, and with my most recent ex, I think it probably destroyed the fab relationship we were starting out on.
    So we broke up and I’m gutted. Heartbroken. Then I meet someone else…he’s cute and funny and sexy…and he’s 24, to my 46. SO we’re dating and I KNOW it’s temporary, I am fully aware that one day he will wake up, rub the sleep from his eyes and go “Jesus. She’s nearly 50. WTF am I doing?!”
    And that will be that.
    But because I KNOW thats the eventual outcome, when we ARE together, I am relaxed and chilled and happy, because the stress of “is this one gonna last” has gone.
    So next time you meet someone, instead of tensing uom holding your breath and anticipating the best, hottest sex ever (just like in all the movies) tell yourself “well its gonna be rubbish anyway” – take the pressure off yourself. Then if it IS rubbish, you haven’t lost anything. And if it isn’t rubbish…yay!

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