July 23rd, 2020- By Camila Karalyte
I’m no sex Guru but I know a thing or two when it comes to having sex with someone new in the midst of heartache and despair. As it nears the one-year mark of being single, I can’t help but reflect on how much I’ve grown as a person (cliché, I know) and how finding love within myself was the key to enjoying sex.
Most of you can probably agree that the thought of sleeping with someone new is terrifying.
For the past three years only one person saw me so vulnerable and intimate, so the idea of sharing those moments with a stranger was enough to make me want to join the nunnery.
After a month of wallowing in self-pity, I bit the bullet and started dating again. A little soon? Perhaps; but I needed to get some sort of self-esteem back and I thought this would help. Did it? 100% yes. That being said, the first time sleeping with someone new will always feel awkward and odd, but that isn’t a bad thing- it’s growth.
I don’t remember much from my first date, thanks to the Gin, but I do remember the sex. Average, to say the least. I wanted to laugh with embarrassment at how awkward I felt but controlled it for fear of spoiling the ‘mood’- although, I’m not sure a cheesy horror film in the background was the most erotic setting.
“When we’re newly out of a relationship, especially a long-term one, the idea of having sex with someone else can seem very alien and intimidating”
Psychotherapist and sex therapist,Vanessa Marin
It seemed alien to me, sharing a bed with a naked stranger. A person who I had only met a few hours before, with no idea of their surname or favourite colour.
Since then, I’ve had several sexual encounters which have led me to feeling content with my body and helped my self-love to flourish. I feel more in control of my body and experiences, knowing my worth and who deserves it.
I think the key for me was to fake confidence until it became real.
It’s not easy to build up confidence after a breakup, but time is the best healer. Once you realise that anyone is lucky to be sleeping with you, the world becomes your oyster.
I can finally go on dates and not worry about whether someone will like my body enough or if they’ll notice my ‘flaws’ (note to self: nobody has flaws). My body is enough, and it is a privilege for someone else to see it naked. So, keep that in mind, own the situation and be the baddest bitch you can be.
Self-love comes in many forms, including mental, emotional and physical. A lot of us forget that we need to accept our physical forms and give ourselves love and pleasure. This can be done by learning to love your body or learning to enjoy pleasure by yourself.
The stigma around female masturbation is slowly easing as more women explore themselves and voice their experiences with it. When we’re single, we tend to forget that we can have sexual pleasure without the help of someone else, so it is important to remember that we have the option. In the progressing state of the world, it’s vital to make small steps to try and live more ethically. Having a sustainable sex life is something you can encourage on your own or with someone else.
When having sex with strangers and multiple partners, it’s important to be protected.
Contraception is great to help lower the chances of unwanted pregnancies, but using a condom is ideal for avoiding the risk of catching any STD’s which can be dangerous territory when sleeping with someone new. As well as this, make sure to get tested and if you are infected let your partners know.
Wait until you’re ready
You might think rushing into sex will heal your heartache, but it won’t. Sometimes you might think you’re ready and then once it happens, you’ll realise you’re still healing and regret it, and that’s okay. No one can tell you how long it will be until you’re ready, only you will know once you feel it. There is no time restraint.
Have sex with someone you trust
When you’re seeing someone (especially on a first date) it’s not easy to know straight away if you trust someone. If you’re feeling bad vibes from your date, or if they’re quick to make sexual advances, then you should probably steer clear of sleeping with them. Trust your own judgement, if you know they’re bad, don’t do it.
Take it as a chance to explore yourself
It’s easy to get stuck into a routine with sex when you’re in a relationship, so use this freedom to explore new things. You might surprise yourself with what you like, as well as trying things you may never want to try again.
The most important thing is to have fun. Sex is to be enjoyed and if you’re not having fun, then someone’s not doing it right. Be vocal with what you like/dislike, try out new things and laugh about the awkward bits- it happens to all of us.
Do it for the wrong reasons
You might think getting into bed with someone really fit is going to cure your heartbreak, but it won’t.
You’ll most likely end up thinking about your ex the whole time and wishing it was them instead- not fun for you or your date. Try not to focus on others’ opinions, ‘you just need to get laid’ is not solid advice.
Have high expectations
You’ve just spent a few years sleeping with one person, someone who knew all your quirks and turn on’s/off’s and you knew theirs. Don’t expect someone new to give you the best sex of your life (it might be, if you’re lucky), they won’t know what you like in bed but it’s fun to work it out together.
Be too intoxicated
Most dates and socialising involve alcohol which is good at easing nerves, however, you don’t want to get so drunk that you aren’t able to think sensibly.
If your date is pressuring you to keep drinking, steer clear because they might not have good intentions.
You might think getting drunk will make it easier to sleep with someone, but it could end up messy and unfulfilling, so try to limit your intake.
Feel like you have to
Having sex on a first date (or any date) is perfectly acceptable and should be done only if you want to. Ignore pressure from friends, and especially your date, to jump into bed just for the sake of it. If you’re not feeling it, don’t do it.
Feel ashamed or guilty
Whether you choose to have sex or not, it’s up to you and don’t feel ashamed for your decision. People will always judge you no matter what you do but remember its your life and no one needs reasoning for your actions.
If you choose to have sex soon after a breakup, don’t feel guilty. I felt guilty the first time I slept with someone after my ex, as I still felt attached to him, but I realised that it was fine and normal, and I didn’t need his permission or validation.
Embrace Being Single
If you were with your ex for a while, being single might seem like a frightening prospect. I haven’t been single since I was 14 so it’s a completely new territory for me, but I’m taking advantage of it as I’m able to work on myself and have a new sense of freedom.
It’s a long process, recovering from a breakup but slowly and surely, you’ll find yourself with a newfound energy. Appreciate what you had before but recognise how much you have now. Having fun is important, so make sure you surround yourself with good people and enjoy a new way of life- including getting back into the dating game!
Experience and explore things you’ve never tried and remember that a relationship doesn’t define you and don’t let others pressure you into another relationship– especially your parents who are eager for grandchildren!
My biggest piece of advice is to not rush into another relationship commitment so soon. It’s better to let yourself heal and grow in confidence so that you are the best version of yourself (easier said than done).
When you start loving yourself and realising your worth, you’re less likely to rely on others to validate you.
Comment below any tips you have for getting your confidence back after a breakup