I Did A Thing is our weekly advice column where the Her Campus editorial team helps you out when you ruin your own life (hey, we’ve been there). Email [email protected] for any and everything you need help with. We’ll answer you (anonymously!) on hercampus.com so we can all learn, together. We’ve got your back.
@isuckatsex: So, I’m hooking up with a girl for the first time, and the sex isn’t as good as I thought it would be. I was also a virgin before we started having sex to begin with (aka had never ever slept with anyone). I don’t know how to tell her I’m just not feeling it. How can I start that convo without being awkward as hell and embarrassing myself and destroying everything? I really really really like this girl and don’t want to seem like a jerk.
@helpmehc: So it can definitely be intimidating making your sexual debut: operating with a limited amount of experience and a lot of pressure to make it good because feelings. Especially early on in your sexual life, you’re still figuring a lot of stuff out — what feels good, what doesn’t, what interests you and what doesn’t. All of that is valuable input coming in that will help you figure out who you are as a sexual being, even if it is less than sexy as it happens. But that doesn’t make it any less uncomfy when you’re naked with someone you’re super into and it all feels not totally right.
(First off, I don’t want to assume off the bat that you want to Do The Sex because not everyone does — and there’s a whole spectrum of folks who aren’t particularly interested in sex or don’t feel sexual attraction or don’t like it, who exist too and are wonderful. So, if that sounds like you, know that it’s totally normal to identify on the asexual spectrum and that you’re not at all broken or doing it wrong. Sex, intimacy, and the ways we crave or don’t crave all of those things just aren’t the same for everyone. The more you learn about yourself and your wants/needs, the better you can communicate it to your partner and work out what your relationship looks and feels like.)
But, say you do want to pursue a sexual relationship and do feel sexual attraction to this girl — we can definitely work with that too!
TBH the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people that they should come out of the gates as sexual savants or that we’re all supposed to instinctively just know what a partner wants or what will feel good. Sex — like any other skill, activity or contact sport — requires practice and a metric fuck-ton of communication to actually get good at it. So 9/10 people don’t realize that first-time sex (between any two partners with any set of parts) is sometimes decidedly unsexy and there’s a learning curve when two people are getting to know one another’s bodies. Throw in any weird feelings as you pivot from compulsory heterosexuality or whatever, and it can definitely leave you feeling like you’re just missing something or that you’re Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad At Sex.
But here’s the basics: Sex isn’t something you do to your partner, but with her. So that means both of you should be game to give and take some feedback, coaching and encouragement, especially early on. It can feel awkward at first and a lot of folks (especially women) struggle to get vocal about what feels good and what doesn’t out of some sense that they need to protect their partner from feeling inadequate or uncomfy. Neither of y’all want to get stuck in that feedback loop of mediocre sex. So what you want is to develop a sexual connection that lets both of you express what’s good or not good— but it doesn’t have to be mean or ruin the moment or betray a lack of game!
Is she using too much or not enough pressure or biting a place that’s just doing nothing for you? A smooth move is to redirect the activity by transitioning into some kissing and then encourage her hands or mouth toward something that does do it for you. Calling out something like “harder” or “softer” mixed in with some encouraging heck-yeah-i-like-this sounds and a “oh shit, do that again” can also make coaching seem less bossy and more erotic (Unless y’all into bossy. We don’t judge.) Likewise, if you feel like you’re kind of fumbling in the dark, pay attention to her body language and what she’s encouraging you to do, too. Talk about it during foreplay, clarify if there’s anything that drives you wild as you’re firing yourself up: A well-placed, Where do you want me? (How do you want this? What do you like? etc.) can do wonders and make you feel less like an awkward, clueless baby and sharing a sexual fantasy or desire (no matter how tame) can be such a special, intimate thing for partners to share.
It’s easy to get in your head about sex and become so preoccupied with trying not to ruin something that you forget that you’re in it together. Your partner wants good sex (meaning sex that you both enjoy) just as much as you do. The sooner you break down the wall of awkward that makes you feel like you’re supposed to just magically get one another sexually, the sooner you can start to really get it on.