1. Safety first. There’s no such thing as totally safe sex, but you sure can be safer. Make sure he’s wearing a condom (even if you’re on the Pill) and talk about your respective sexual histories. I know it may sound like a buzz-kill, but heterosexual women have a higher risk of contracting an STI (sexually transmitted infection) than men, so it’s up to you to take a proactive interest in your sexual health.
2. Don’t have too-high expectations. Sex generally improves as you get to know someone and become more comfortable with each other’s bodies. So don’t feel pressured to make it the best night ever, because this is just the first of many.
3. Breathe. First-time sex can be tense and nerve-wracking, not to mention painful sometimes. Taking long, deep breaths can help you relax and let go.
4. Don’t forget to enjoy foreplay. All the stuff that leads up to intercourse — kissing, touching, oral sex — is part of the sexual experience; it’s not just about penetration.
5. Make sure you’re amply aroused before intercourse. Not only do you want to be genuinely turned on, you want to be sufficiently lubricated. If you’re too dry, he’ll have trouble entering you, you’ll feel discomfort, and the friction can cause the condom to rip. So, keep water–based lube on hand just in case.
6. Speak up. Let him know what feels good, and what doesn’t. Guys crave feedback, so don’t be shy about clueing him in.
7. Don’t assume he’s the expert. He may be getting a lot of his information about sex from porn and the tall tales of his buddies in the locker room. And, even if he is experienced, every sexual encounter is unique. He’s just as worried about pleasing you as you are about getting him off.
8. Don’t expect to have an orgasm. Of course, it’s great if you do. But, most women don’t climax the first few times with a new guy. Orgasms come with a sense of comfort and specific knowledge of each other’s bodies, and that takes time.
9. Don’t fake it. If you do, you’ll only be cheating yourself. Letting him know you came close and want to get there with him will keep him motivated.
10. His penis may malfunction. Guys get anxious too. Premature ejaculation and erectile difficulty are common the first time a man sleeps with someone. If he has a problem, don’t make a big deal out of it or worry that there’s something wrong with you or your connection. More than likely, it will work itself out.