“We tend to expect good, if not amazing sex out of the gate because that’s been the cultural standard since the invention of media,” says Kat van Kirk, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist and sex therapist. “Good sex the first go round can happen but it is typically not the norm.” The result? We end up with a big fat bedroom let down.The question then becomes, how long should you give it for the sex to get good? It depends, says Stephen Snyder, M.D., a certified sex and relationship therapist and author of Love Worth Making. “Most women can sometimes warm to a partner who didn’t initially do it for them,” he says. That’s because sex with someone new is an exploration—your first encounter is just one step into a world of new sex possibilities. “At the beginning of a relationship, you’re just getting the official tour. Sooner or later you’ll want to go where they don’t take the tourists.”That process of warming up to someone new looks different for everyone. Instead of allotting an arbitrary number of dates for the sex to heat up, “take your emotional temperature,” about the sex instead, says Snyder. “Ask whether you find yourself looking forward to getting naked with your new squeeze.” If the answer is yes—or you at least feel neutral about it—it’s okay to keep giving it a chance. “If not, then maybe consider breaking it off before you get too attached to them,” Snyder says. In other words, if you still want to give it a try, do. As soon as you feel like you’re forcing something that’s just not there, cut your losses.
And to heat things up during your sexy time “trial period,” try these tips:
- Don’t take early sex too seriously. “Most first time sexual encounters are at least a little awkward—denying it only makes the discomfort worse,” van Kirk says. “Embrace it and be able to laugh at yourselves. You don’t need to create stress just because the situation is unfamiliar.”
- Be fully present with your partner. “That means focusing on the moment you are in and not worrying about the past or future or judging yourself harshly,” says van Kirk. Time to forget the meh vibes from your first encounter and start fresh.
- Speak up. Staying silent isn’t exactly setting you up for super-hot sex. “If you know you need specific clitoral or vaginal stimulation, advocate for yourself,” van Kirk says. “In fact, having a toy on hand to assist in the process can help you enjoy yourself more and take the guesswork out of it for your new partner.” (We recommend the Nu Sensuelle 20-function bullet vibrator from the Women’s Health Boutique.)