7 Errors to Avoid When Hooking Up With Someone for the First Time
Despite a change in sexual attitudes leading to a rise in casual sex, hookup culture hasn’t exactly been a pleasure-filled paradise for everyone.
Straight women, in particular, often complain that having casual sex with a guy is likely to be an underwhelming experience, and the data bears that out. Studies show that men are much more likely to orgasm when having a first-time hookup with a new partner, leaving researchers to coin a term (the “orgasm gap”) to describe the phenomenon.
Due to unrealistic lessons learned from mainstream pornography, as well as the general societal narrative around sex positioning men as sexual takers rather than givers, it seems that guys are often focused on their own pleasure (particularly in hookup scenarios) to the exclusion of all else — including their partner’s basic comfort levels.
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Meaning, you might make the next person you hook up with very disappointed without realising it. To avoid that, here are some common first-time hookup mistakes to watch out for.
1. Ignoring Consent
First things first — you shouldn’t have sex with someone without them expressing explicit sexual consent. Meaning, they should be conscious, and at least somewhat sober to all for them to say yes to having sex under this particular set of circumstances. If you’re trying to move forward without getting their consent, it could be considered sexual harassment, assault or even rape.
“People worry a lot that getting consent will kill the mood,” says Kayla Lords, sexpert for JackandJillAdult.com. “You know what kills a mood? Being touched in a way that makes you uncomfortable (emotionally or physically).”
You might not feel confident about asking for things, especially if you don’t know each other well yet. In reality, asking for consent can actually be quite sexy. If you know how to mix consent questions with dirty talk, you can navigate every step of your hookup without ever killing the mood.
“The decision to hookup might be done over text or DM which is where sexting comes in handy,” says Lords. “But once you’re in person, be straightforward. Say, ‘I really want to fuck you right now. Can we?’ Or try ‘I want to eat you out, make you scream, and then fuck you so good … what do you think?’ You don’t have to be a robot [when] getting consent. State clearly what you want from them. And then listen to their reply and respect it.”
2. Not Discussing (or Practicing) Safer Sex
Sex education, when discussing non-abstinence, revolves around safer sex to some degree. Experts call it “safer” sex rather than safe sex since you can never be 100 percent sure penetration won’t lead to an STI transmission or an unwanted pregnancy — but you can (and should) guard against those outcomes by making smart decisions.
“Safer sex is the responsibility of both parties, so don’t leave the preparations in your partner’s hands,” says Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., host of the “@SexWithDrJess” podcast. “Talk about what precautions you’d like to take and be active in procuring and using safer sex supplies,” whether that includes condoms, lube, dental dams and more.
As ejaculation is a separate thing from penetration and requires separate consent from your partner, you should also pay special care when it comes to your own orgasm. Do they have somewhere they don’t want you to ejaculate, or somewhere they’d like you to?
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You should be able to answer these types of questions before you reach climax, and as a rule of thumb, should avoid ejaculating inside your partner during a first-time hookup even if they explicitly request it.
3. Neglecting Foreplay
A quick hookup, often portrayed as two people dispensing with reason, inhibitions and hang-ups to get to the act of penetration as fast as possible, might feel at odds with the general idea of foreplay, but that’s not exactly a smart approach.
Sure, that might seem hot in the movies, but moving quickly is usually a recipe for bad sex — and that’s not just a reference to premature ejaculation. Good sex involves patience, getting to know each other’s bodies, preferences, and benefits from buildup. That’s especially important if you’re talking penis-in-vagina sex, since giving your partner time to really get in the mood will make for amply lubricated penetration.
“Don’t rush this,” says Lords in reference to foreplay. “Being in such a hurry to get to the ‘good stuff’ (penetration and orgasm) means you’re going to miss the build-up and sexual arousal that your partner likely needs.”
Give yourself some time to engage in foreplay — kissing, fondling, grinding against each other, fingering, oral sex, or anything else designed to arouse, like role-playing or dirty talk. If you don’t, it might mean that your first time will be the only time.
“Being a considerate partner means you’re more likely to continue hooking up with this person (if that’s what you want) and be better in bed with other partners in the future,” adds Lords.
4. Making Assumptions About What Your Partner Wants
In the absence of a conversation about each other’s desires, boundaries and so forth, it’s easy to make mistakes. Part of that can stem from having pre-set assumptions about what you think you should happen in the bedroom.
“Hooking up means different things to different people, so the only way to know what your partner wants is to ask them,” notes O’Reilly. “Do they want to have oral? Intercourse? Do they want to talk dirty or play with kinky props? Be open about what you want and encourage your partner to do the same.”
Another assumption that can trip you up is figuring that the rules in place from a past relationship apply here, too.
“No two bodies are alike and no two people share the same sexual preferences,” adds O’Reilly. “Just because your ex liked you to go down on them from behind doesn’t mean that a new partner will enjoy the same. There are no sure-fire techniques or approaches to sex that will wow every lover universally, so check in with your partner throughout the experience to see what they like.”
5. Focusing Too Much on Your Own Pleasure
Despite it being a first-time hookup, not knowing the other person very well isn’t an excuse to treat them badly. In fact, having sex with someone without being interested in their pleasure is a pretty selfish approach. Don’t be that guy who gets off and immediately gets out. “
Pay attention to your partner’s arousal,” Lords says. “The entirety of sex isn’t your penis inside their body or your orgasm. Sex begins from the first intimate look or touch. You don’t have to be in love with someone to make sure they have good time, too — but it does make you better at sex. Explore their body with your hands and mouth. Pay attention to their cues and their words. When in doubt, ask if they like something.”
6. Pressuring Your Partner to Orgasm
This might seem counter-intuitive (a partner not orgasming might indicate that they didn’t enjoy themselves), but the fix there isn’t to get over-focused on your partner’s orgasm. Don’t turn the sex — or the post-coital conversation — into an interrogation about whether they came or not.
“Most people find these questions off-putting and many consider them a turnoff,” says O’Reilly. “Your lover’s orgasm isn’t intended to stroke your ego, so don’t make it all about you. You may genuinely be interested in whether or not they’ve orgasmed, but when you ask about it (especially more than once), it can intensify the pressure and detract from their pleasure.”
“Instead,” she suggests, “focus on asking them what they like and what they want rather than focusing on one specific outcome.”
7. Getting Hung Up on Your Performance
That ethos of caring more about the process than the outcome extends to worrying too much about your own ‘performance,’ too.
“It’s great to be a generous lover, but if you’re so hung up on pleasing your partner or performing in a particular way (e.g. lasting longer), your partner will take note and it will detract from their experience,” says O’Reilly. “Try to find a balance between giving and receiving pleasure so that you prioritise mutual pleasure and connection rather than measuring your own performance.”
If you’re struggling with a penis that won’t get or stay hard due to nerves or alcohol, or a case of premature ejaculation, consider shifting the focus to your partner’s pleasure instead. Ask them if you can go down on them for a bit — a much more pleasant experience for everyone than you bemoaning what a disappointment you feel like.
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