What to do if it’s been a while

It’s time for a reader’s relationship question!

Question: I'm in my first relationship since my divorce several years ago. We've talked about having sex, and I feel as though that's going to happen soon. The only problem is that I'm really nervous. I know that sex is sex, and it hasn't technically changed, but what if I've lost my knack? Help! What do I do?

Answer: It's perfectly normal to feel nervous about sex with a new partner, especially when you’ve developed feelings for that person. I've felt that way several times over the years, and I appreciate that the nerves increase exponentially with the amount of time between partners. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Communicate: Do you trust him enough to tell him how long it’s been? If so, I recommend having that conversation when you’re not in the bedroom and on a night when there’s not an expectation that you’ll be having sex. Assuming that his reaction is compassionate, that should help reaffirm your decision to take your relationship to the next level.
  • Remember that it takes two: Have you considered the possibility that he feels nervous, too? (It is a lot easier for a woman to please a man than vice-versa, right?)
  • Talk before action: Could you set the stage one night when you’re talking on the phone or having drinks? I'm envisioning some conversation about what you both want to do to each other when you see each other next. (It could be done tastefully or you could ask him to take the lead in telling you what he'd like.) You might feel more at ease if you know what's on the horizon.
  • Setting the stage: What makes you feel relaxed or sensual? Is it possible to have candles, aromatherapy, new lingerie and/or music that give you a sense of calm? Would a couple of glasses of wine help to relax you? Make a point to set the stage beforehand.
  • Managed expectations: I know that it's easier said than done, but remind yourself that the time factor doesn't really matter. Sex is different with each new partner, and it always takes some time to adapt to what works for you as a couple. Try not to put so much pressure on yourself for the first time. You guys aren't looking for a one-night stand; you're building a relationship here! Chances are that there won't be fireworks for either of you the first time, but it will still be special. The toe-curlingly good part will happen in time!
  • Affirmations: I'm a big believer in affirmations so I would send some positive reinforcements to yourself. You still have your knack! You haven't lost your mojo! And, you both care about each other enough to give yourselves to each other! That all sounds pretty good to me!

So, readers, did I miss anything? What has calmed your nerves before sex with a new partner?

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