Q: I started seeing a new woman recently. We took it quite slowly at the beginning, and waited to have sex.
There was a lot of anticipation as we both really fancy each other. But that disappeared as soon as we started having sex. It was really clunky, awkward, and all the lust just went.
A: First-time sex is often awkward. Your mistake was not acknowledging that and then making light of whatever went wrong. When sex becomes self-conscious, humour is the only antidote.
It takes the tension out of the situation and makes everyone feel more relaxed.
Also most people who agree to have sex with you, do actually like you, so it is generally safe to assume that if things go a bit pear-shaped, they will be willing to give it another go.
I am a bit puzzled about why you chose to take things so slowly. You don’t specify how long you waited, but delaying things for too long can have unintended consequences.
When you meet a new partner, your levels of sexual desire ought to be at their most intense.
However, desire is a powerful force. The results of a 2017 You Gov Omnibus survey that asked: ‘How many dates should you wait before having sex with someone?’ revealed that 35% of men aged 35-44 had sex on a first date and 35% had it by the third date. Women in the same age group were slightly more conservative: 40% had sex by date four and only 9% had it on the first date.
There are good reasons, such as personal safety, why women prefer to hold back for longer.
When you go out with someone who is already on your radar, you have a vague idea of their history and the kind of person they are.
In contrast when you meet someone through an online dating platform, for example, you have no prior knowledge of that person so it is sensible to exercise more caution.
However, once two people know and trust each other, delaying sex can indicate other underlying anxieties.
Attachment or abandonment issues, historic abuse, sexual assault or a previous relationship that ended badly can make it more difficult for women to let their guard down enough to convert a romantic relationship into a sexual one.
Anxiety is a distraction which can make men lose their erections and inhibit orgasm in women. Delaying sex can exacerbate those feelings.
Because sex is not a unilateral event, when an anxious person does eventually agree to sex, their anxiety is transmitted to their partner and what should be a glorious climax to weeks of waiting becomes an embarrassing disappointment for both.
The good news is that you both have come through your first attempt at sex relatively unscathed.
Don’t rush it. Spend time kissing, cuddling, laughing, talking and touching. Explore the way she responds to your caresses.
What does she like? What makes her flinch? Pay attention, and make sure that you spend plenty of time on foreplay.
The aim is to make sure that she is fully aroused, so that blood flow to the genitals increases, which will raise the likelihood of orgasm.
Once your partner reaches the point of no return, your inhibitions will fall away and that first encounter will be forgotten.
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