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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

4 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before You Have Sex For The First Time

Several of your life’s biggest moments have been your first time doing something – your first word, your first birthday, your first kiss, your first love, and of course, your first time having sex. There is such an emphasis on your first time having sex in society that it can be a nerve-wracking experience because of the anticipation. Overthinking can make an already stressful experience overwhelming. Whether it’s your first time having sex in life or your first time with someone new, here are four ways that you can feel less nervous when it comes to that climactic moment.

1. Don’t go in with (high) expectations

When you’re with someone for the first time, it’s impossible to foresee your sexual chemistry, what things you are comfortable doing and how to pleasure them. You may automatically connect with each other in the bedroom, but there’s also the possibility that you are not sexually compatible.

To overcome the nerves you may feel because you’re unsure of the situation, don’t go in with high expectations. Don’t expect it to be a bad experience, but at the same time, don’t automatically think things are going to be as perfect and romantic as the movies.

Kristy*, a senior at Georgia Institute of Technology, shares her advice. “You shouldn’t overthink how something will feel,” she says. “Don’t go in with the mindset that it will be uncomfortable, that it will hurt, or even that it will be the best experience on the planet. Sex won’t be great with everyone, but you very easily could have the greatest experience too.”

Even if it’s a spur-of-the-moment decision or something you’ve been planning on doing for a while, keep your mind open to the possibilities of what’s to come.

2. Openly communicate

It’s critical that you let your partner know where your head is at, even if you feel it may “kill” the moment. It’s much better to let your partner know what’s up rather than sit in silence and suffer from what may be a lackluster or even painful experience.

Just as much as you have the right to let your partner know you’re enjoying (or not) the experience, you have the right to say no as well. Saying no will feel freeing and let your partner know that you are in as in control of the experience as they are.

Anna*, a junior at Kennesaw State University, thinks that you’re more prone to regretting an experience if you don’t openly communicate. “For example, being with a guy who is way too aggressive can turn something fun and enjoyable into a nightmare that you want to be over with already,” she says. “If you want your partner to take it easy, don’t beat around the bush. ‘Hey, can we take it easy now?’ is one of my go-to phrases.’”

If you like something they’re doing, let them know. But also let it be known if you are not enjoying yourself, even for a millisecond. Conversations before, during and after sex can be just as important as the act itself.

3. Be present in the moment

Take a deep breath and focus on what is happening in the present. Don’t think about what you think you should do in the next couple of minutes. Listen to your body and do what naturally feels right to you.

Don’t think of the end goal of an orgasm, but rather think of how important every moment leading up to it can be, too.

Maria*, a junior at Northwestern University, believes that overthinking will just multiply the number of butterflies in your stomach. “I think that it’s important that you don’t have sex with a time limit,” she says. “If you don’t feel like you have to rush to finish something, you feel a lot less anxious. There’s less pressure to make something great happen when there’s no deadline.”

While it’s great to be future-oriented, don’t think of what’s going to come next during sex. Appreciate every moment in between.

4. Engage in foreplay

You should not immediately jump from a kiss to penetration. To allow yourself to become comfortable and develop a rhythm with someone, you should engage in foreplay prior to the big moment.

Foreplay could include kissing, caressing, oral sex, biting and more. Once you conquer those events, your nerves should begin to subside and you will actually want the next step.

Stephanie*, a sophomore at the University of South Carolina, won’t have a clear mind until she develops a certain level of comfort and respect for her partner. “I usually get a little nervous and or self-conscious when I know sex is coming. But if I’m with someone who respects my wishes and desires and actively chooses to engage in things that pleasure me, it’s a complete relief.

A big part of your experience will be who you choose to share it with. Based on of your interactions with foreplay, you should know whether or not this is a person who seeks to pleasure you or is only thinking about themselves.

Remember, you should be the one actively choosing to share a very intimate moment with someone. You can say no at any time if the nerves become overbearing. If the thought of sex is making you physically ill or is mentally overbearing, know that you may not be ready. Remember there is no rush or deadline to meet. However, if you know that sex is something you want, your first time with anyone or with someone new can be an experience unlike anything you’ve been through before.

Kayla is a senior at Georgia State University, pursuing a degree in Multimedia Journalism and Spanish & Latin American Studies. She is a devoted mother to her Yorkie and Lifetime fanatic. Her other ventures include writing poetry, advocating for a plant-powered lifestyle, and interning at Seacrest Studios. Oh, and Willy's makes her world go 'round. ☼