I’m 35 and have not had a sexual relationship for 6 years. Prior to that I had only had a few sexual partners, though one in my early twenties had been my partner of 3 years. In my mid twenties I explored my sexuality and had relationships with women. Since my late twenties I have ‘come back’ to heterosexuality, though it has always seemed more theoretical than anything else having not had a relationship nor sex for 6 years. A bad break up kept me out of the game for a long time but since I’ve moved on from that I just haven’t met anyone I’ve fancied and wanted to pursue a sexual relationship with. As a result, my self-esteem has taken a dive in recent years. (I know – it perpetuates the situation) I have had people interested in me during this time but I haven’t felt the same. However, I met someone 2 weeks ago, It was never going to be a serious relationship, he is much younger (27) and we have very little in common but we fancied each other, so why not have some fun.

We had sex for the first time on Fri and it was a disaster. I had not prepared myself (nor him!) for the fact that I would be so out of practice, inexperienced and not very good at all! It was embarrassing and a bit of a shock to me but I’ve since tried to get my head around it – of course I’m not going to be the great lover I imagined with so little practice under my belt! However, I’m now struggling self esteem wise again; When I embark on the next relationship, not only am I going to be thinking about the usual – am I interesting? Am I funny etc? But now – what happens when he discovers I’m crap in bed and totally inexperienced? Obviously the way to get better at something is to practice but I’ve never slept around, picked up in bars etc. The only sexual relationships I’ve had have been with people I care deeply about. During sex last Friday, the main problem for me was keeping the rhythm going so that we were moving together, I’d suddenly lose the pace or rhythm. Neither of us came and it was all a bit embarrassing. So, this may seem a ridiculous question but how can I get better at it without having to put myself through this embarrassment time after time. Is there anything I can practice on my own or do with the person I’m in bed with to help me? (He held my hips to help me move with him but it still didn’t work). A loving and understanding partner to help me, would obviously be the ideal solution, but in the absence of that is there anything I could do practically while I’m not in a relationship – other than sleeping around – or anything I can read that will help me? I’m open to any help and suggestions. Many Thanks.

NML says: OK, first of all, there is nothing wrong with not having had many sexual partners. There are many women who wouldn’t mind erasing their sexual past 🙂

For a start, put all thoughts about being crap in bed out the window and be realistic. You have only known this guy for two weeks and if you are the type of person (like many) that needs to get to know someone properly and feel connected, before you sexually connect, two weeks is unlikely to be enough time. Combine this with the apprehension you must have felt after not being in the saddle for a while and it’s no wonder that you wound up in your uncomfortable situation.

Rhythm is not always an automatic thing and in order to have rhythm, you both need to find a rhythm that works…together. If he ploughs on with his own rhythm instead of falling into one with you, of course you will become mismatched as you try to catch up. Connected, comfortable, passionate, sex requires patience, due care, feeling at ease, and of course attraction.

Do you understand what you like during sex? Whilst you may not have had much experience, it doesn’t stop you from knowing what turns you on? Think about what you enjoyed when you have had sex in the past? Do you masturbate? Do you understand your body?

Many women don’t orgasm from straight sex. Often foreplay of some sort whether it’s through finger stimulation or oral sex is what sets off a lot of women, or these combined with sex can get a woman going. However, you do need to let yourself go and be comfortable – being tense will normally make it difficult to orgasm, even with a skilled lover.

OK, in terms of making yourself ‘better’, I wouldn’t look at it as getting ‘better’; I’d look at it as an opportunity to understand your sexual needs more.

Masturbation does help you to familiarise yourself with what your body enjoys. This can be done manually (your hands and fingers) or with a vibrator. Vibrators are very popular and can open up a whole new pleasurable dimension for you. In your situation, it may help you to loosen up so that you don’t feel tense about sex. Just because you’re not out shagging around doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself! Explore your body and find out what you like because it means that when you are with someone, you can always point them in the right direction.

When it comes to being with someone, I suggest –

– Take your time before you have sex. You appear to be the type of person that needs to have sex with someone she knows and feels at ease with.

– You can always tell the sexual partner that it’s been a while and to take their time. They’ll probably find it to be a turn on!

– Foreplay, foreplay, foreplay..and then some more foreplay. Whilst jumping straight to sex is great for a hot, passionate, I can’t wait a minute longer quickie, it’s not great for sex with someone you don’t know that well or if you need a bit of revving up before you get to the main attraction. Kiss for a while, explore mouth, face, neck, body with tongues. Stimulate each other with your hands – this is not only a turn on but you find a rhythm together.

– Be relaxed – tension does not for great sex make!

– People lose the rhythm when they’ve been together for ten years. Take your time, change position, tell him to slow down, or even revert to foreplay to kickstart things again. If you don’t like their pace, it’s quite a sexy move if you ask him to be still and you create the rhythm – this will be best achieved if you go on top.

– And yes, a loving, understanding, patient partner helps. You’re unlikely to have this after two weeks!

It sounds like you have experience a lot relationship wise despite a six year break. You seem a little ambiguous about what you really want. Are you trying heterosexual sex because you want it or just because you want to get back in the saddle and this guy is handy and there? Your comfort will be a struggle if you are not comfortable with who and what you’re doing. People are able to have enjoyable sex without the greatest of self-esteem (although it’s not the ideal…) but when your self-esteem issues are tied up in what you perceive as your sexual abilities, you’re in a no-win situation. Clearly the reasons why you didn’t have sex for a long time (recovery from the break-up etc) mean that the time lapse does stem from a negative place but it doesn’t have to be like that. If you are over your past relationships, set yourself free, have your closure and move on. This will give you the freedom to enjoy yourself, sex or no sex!

Don’t beat yourself up and don’t knock your confidence. Relax and enjoy yourself.

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