How To Have Great Sex With Someone New (By Building The Right Kind Of Trust)

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Building Trust with New sex Partners

Every first time is like your very first time.

Your palms are sweating, mind racing, and steps uncertain as you step into the space. It's a foreign space — elusive and mysterious.

Unknown sights, smells, and sounds bombard you as your system fights to make necessary adjustments. It's time to meet the subject of desire, likely experiencing similar levels of distress.

Trying your best to hide the redness of your flushed face and chest, you push down a myriad of thoughts from worry and negative self-efficacy to anticipation. Making room for overthinking every move, ensuring a performance consistent with a presumed image, expectation of pleasure and acceptance.

You've been in this situation hundreds — if not thousands — of times before. This is no big deal, right? You've experienced one, you've experienced all.

But, no. Every time is just like the first time.

And this time feels different ... unique. Handsome. Direct. Outspoken with eroticism exuding from every pore. This time feels different. 

You think, "What will they think of me? How will they touch me? Will I respond in ways I'm supposed to? Ways that I want to? Ways that will make them come back again?"

Few things in life are both as ridiculously exciting and anxiety provoking as a first sexual encounter with a new partner.

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Finding people who both arouse you and can engage in healthy communication about wants and needs can be elusive. So when you meet someone with whom your erotic template aligns closely, you strategize ways to connect and facilitate mutual touch, pleasure, and exploration until you've exhausted every orifice and appendage.

But how do we build trust with new people, their bodies and genitals, so that connection can occur? 

So often we are so consumed with our experience, the swirling gurgling confluence of hormones, emotions, neurotransmitters, and body fluids overshadowing the underlying truth: showing up for sex means trusting another human being with your genitals.

How do you create space for another person to feel safe, vulnerable and capable of giving and receiving pleasure and connection?

Here's a quick list, from my personal and professional judgment, on how to build trust when you're having sex with someone new for the first time:

1. Show up for yourself first.

OK, I know this list is about facilitating other's trust, but I promise this relates. Practice present embodiment, knowledge, awareness and insight into your own experience.

Get really good at being in the moment: noticing and interpreting your own sensations, thoughts, feelings so you can communicate them when needed, or adjust activities, requests, or a setting to suit your own well-being. When you're balanced, grounded and comfortable in your own skin your partner can tell.

In the opening vignette, I highlighted a few things which interfere with our ability to show up for ourselves: performance, expectations, your values, and "success". Focusing on any of these 4 pitfalls keeps you stuck, unable to engage and be present in your own pleasure, and detached from the interaction with another.

Sex is not a performance. There are no expectations. Your value is not tied to your sexual skills, body, or ability to give orgasms. Success is subjective and infinitely possible. 

Read those sentences again. Do you believe that? How do you notice those pitfalls creating walls in connection?

(Expectations that are necessary include: safe sex practices, negotiation of wants and needs, and comfort in setting your own boundaries/respecting another's.)

2. Listen to their words, non-verbal cues, and body language.

Pacing is difficult when you're hard and wet! Meaningful connections, even brief one night ones, start with present engagement in your partner's experience too.

Who are they? What identities do they have (i.e.: race, gender, orientation, sexual preferences, disability etc.)? How can you be sensitive to their experience? What questions do you need to ask to show awareness of them and gain information about how to give pleasure?

RELATED: 6 Ways To Talk Your Way To Hotter, Steamier Sex (Seriously.)

3. Slow down.

Repeat that again. Sloooowww dooowwwn.

There are no rules, no routine, no requirements. Talk. Feel. Experience. If you want to snuggle with their balls in your face for 10 minutes, that can be cool. If you want to nuzzle their chest and blow raspberries like a 6-year-old, rad. If you want a lubed finger exploring you while you lay back and fantasize about Michelle Obama, awesome!  

Ask for what you want and listen to their wants. 

4. Befriend lube and accessories.

Seriously, lube and other accessories are your friends. Don't be afraid to stop and get accouterments that can help: toys, lube, rope, water, whip cream, or clothespins.

5. Treat every set of genitals you encounter as if they are godd*mn magic because they are.

Genitals are the center of pleasure for many, the home of the most nerve endings in the body, the elusive and finicky cat who sometimes requires a specific pattern, stimuli, image, fantasy, or approach to react.

And sometimes, they seem to act distinct from the rest of the body. Cast a spell on that sh*t. Try some different mixtures with curiosity, admiration, appreciation, and intrigue.

6. Use things besides your genitals.

I know you love your goods, that's great! But hands, mouths, and toys only make you more of a rock star, or perhaps Edward Scissorhands is more fitting (minus the sharp spiky things).

7. Touch other things besides genitals.

Get consent and ask how, but then go to town. Grab, pull, twist, stroke, bite, lick, suck. You've got a whole other person (or people) to explore! Explore them!

8. Accept whatever happens (presuming no violations of consent or safety occurred) and take joy in it.

Success can mean your bodies fit together well, or you learned something about this person, or you tried a new thing, or perhaps an orgasm occurred.

Did it feel good? Did you have fun? Then it was a success, regardless of orgasm, erection, lubrication, intensity, or comparison.

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Angie Gunn is a licensed clinical social worker, licensed in Oregon and specializing in sexuality, relationships, and trauma.