Nervous Nelly; don't want to be a Floppy Frank
May 24, 2008 9:57 AM   Subscribe

How do I perform well after abstaining from sex for four years?

I'm a male in my late 20s. Due to depression and social anxiety, I have not had sex or a girlfriend for about four years. It doesn't help that my last sexual experiences were with someone super neurotic, who ended up making me nervous, and was the only woman I've lost erections with.

The problem is that I've been feeling better for awhile, more confident... I asked someone out recently and she said "yes"! I'm strongly physically attracted to her and she finds me attractive as well.

I'm afraid that if/when we finally do the deed, she'll see how awkward and out of practice I am and it'll turn her off. I want to impress this woman because I am into her more than I've been into someone for a long time. I don't want to screw it up. Help!
posted by wastelands to Human Relations (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
My experience is that first times always, always, always go imperfectly. For me, that's true even for a short break, like one of us is traveling for a few weeks or something. That first night back in the saddle is rarely a complete, rip-roaring success for both of us.

So that's one thing: keep your expectations low, and don't get all weirded out if things aren't perfect. You can always try again that night, or in the morning, or later that week.

And here we get into the "everyone is different" thing, but for me it makes a big difference if I stop the masturbating at least a week before, and more time is better. For some of us, there is a big element of "training" your body to work with a certain pattern of arousal and stimulation; there is a big difference between being alone with your hand and in bed with a person. If this applies to you, it's as easy as just putting a temporary break on the pud pulling.

Don't be afraid to communicate, and to ask for what you need. If you get a Mr Floppy, don't get all weird or self-deprecating -- just stay casual and say something like, This sometimes happens when I'm first with someone, especially someone I really like, so maybe for right now we could cuddle/you could use your mouth/I'll concentrate on you/etc. And it's really normal for a guy to need some stimulation to get hard -- it's not always an automatic process just from being next to a naked woman. Positions like 69 can get you both visual and direct stimulation, which can really help sometimes.

And most importantly, concentrate on rocking her world -- for which using your dick is only one possible option. If you give her the most incredible evening ever, by being good with your hands and tongue and just making her feel good, the issue of whether or not you got a stiffy will not be so important to her.
posted by Forktine at 10:16 AM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


First time sex is always bad. That's why it's important to coordinate a sleep over where you'll have a chance to make it up in the morning - possibly with the help of morning wood.

Out of practice? Dude there is no such thing. Everyone woman is different, everyone of them likes different things. There is no way you can be out of practice on something that changes every time you're with someone new. Womens ≠ Bicycles.

Go get her, tiger! Rawwwr!
posted by wfrgms at 10:17 AM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your answer lies buried in your own question, only slightly re-worded to fix your confidence issues:

The problem REALLY AWESOME NEWS is that [you've] been feeling better for awhile, more confident... [you] asked someone out recently and she said "yes"!

and

she'll see how awkward and out of practice [you are] and it'll turn her off make her think, 'OMG, this guy is so cute!' as you (clad in your underwear, snuggling under her duvet) blush and stammer that you haven't felt this way about a girl in a long time and it's been a while for you, and maybe you're a bit rusty at this, but surely she will help you remember how things go...hint hint...

Seriously, you'll be fine! Think of how these two possible scenarios would make a girl feel: (1) guy routinely taps asses like a frat boy drinks beer, or (2) guy has been out of the game for while but jumped back in because he likes her, of all people, so damn much. I think most women would find (2) far more sweet and endearing and ego-boosting -- which is, you know, quite the opposite of a turn-off.

Have fun!
posted by Asparagirl at 10:24 AM on May 24, 2008 [16 favorites]


I am a woman, and I agree with both of the guys above. The first time with someone new isn't usually the "best" performance. You don't know how each other tick yet. So don't let the anxiety get you all wound up. I would just relax and just be totally into her and the moment and how she looks and feels and how she makes you feel. Don't be ashamed if things don't go totally as planned.

I like the "make up for it in the morning idea"! Morning sex rules.
Also, just a suggestion, but what if you let her know you were a bit "rusty"?... it might ease anxiety on your part and if someone told me that I would work hard to make sure they had a good time...
posted by fogonlittlecatfeet at 10:29 AM on May 24, 2008


I think your fears are unfounded. It's hard when you've been with someone and had negative sexual experiences, to not think that 1) the problem is somehow you or 2) the problem is one you carry with you to later relationships 3) someone who thinks you are hot enough to have sexytime with generally will notice/mind/care about any of this sort of stuff. And really, to put it behind you, you just need to get comfy with yourself and someone else, probably in that order. You're getting more confident and less depressed, that's terrific! This woman likes you and is into you, that's great!

So, let's tease apart what else you're worried about

- you worry you're awkward and out of practice. Sex (no matter how much you practice) is actually often amusingly awkward and sometimes totally ridiculous but in my opinion/experience having a good attitude about it means that you can move forward and have fun together and not dwell on "omg did I actually just do THAT? how embarassing..." Getting comfortable with yourself means not just being okay when you're at your best, but at your less-best or even sometimes at your downright worst. This can be difficult if you're an anxious type, but keep in mind that whoever you're fooling around with will likely have her own doubts and concerns as well, and you can think about how you can make her feel awesome and special and terrific and let your guard down some and try to let her do the same for you. So it's not so much about being awesome at everything but having a good attitude about it generally.
- trying to impress her. You can impress her more by being into her, responsive to her and just generally happy to be around her more than by being a total Cassanova. If the two of you have gotten to the point where you're wanting to be touching each other and taking off each other's clothes, you've been doing the right things. At that point, being in the mindset of "wow this is GREAT" as opposed to "wow this is DOOMED" is where you want to be
- plans. there's planning and there's overplanning. make sure you at least seem like someone who has been thinking about this, have condoms/lube/whatever handy, if you invite her over have your place look decent, maybe have something in the house for breakfast, etc. but really, sexually speaking my guess is you're fine
- neurotic exes. I have been there and I know exactly how this feels. I spent a lot (a LOT) of time after my last serious relationship being pretty uneager to get into another relationship because I didn't want to go through THAT again. For all I know, my ex feels the same way about the relationship. However, one sort of snuck up on me and it's just a better fit. All the things that I'd been concerned were wrong with me, were just really artifacts of not being a good fit with the person I used to be with. It was really surprising to me how quickly all of my sort of niggling concerns vanished as soon as I was with someone who was actively and eagerly into me (and vice versa, and no things didn't always go perfectly and it was totally 100% fine and funny and whateverwhocares) and my guess is you'll be feeling the same way.

Best of luck, which you probably won't need. The best thing you can do for yourself at this point is just to work on lowering your overall anxiety load and enjoying getting to know this new person.
posted by jessamyn at 10:41 AM on May 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


I think most women would find (2) far more sweet and endearing and ego-boosting

Speaking from a man's point of view, from what I've heard and experienced this is just not true. Of course this is going to vary from women to women and maturity level(also see: ability to understand). But in the end this doesn't even have to come into play. The first time with someone is rarely "the greatest ever". So just slow down, you're not making porn, and make sure it's enjoyable for both of you.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:48 AM on May 24, 2008


My advice (and agreeing with the others):

- Don't share that it's been a long time, unless you really, really feel like she's the kind of girl who will understand. (Or the kind of girl who will get off on it.)

- And if you are going to share that, don't do it during the runup to sex. It will change the mood, probably not for the better.

- So if you decide to share it, make sure it's in the right context. Nothing makes a date and potential sex-partner feel used like if they feel like you are only with them to get laid. I'm sure that's not your goal, but I think that people on those first dates are hyper-vigilant to signs that their date is there for something besides starting some kind of relationship.

- No matter what you decide to do, don't let it hang over you. Be "in the moment" with her when you are with her. My experience has been that if anything is distracting you, the people you are with can tell that something is wrong, and will react badly.

- So your goal is just to meet and get to know a great person. And if after knowing that person for a while it leads to naked fun time, awesome.

- If you can't get it out of your mind and need to focus on something, focus on creating a comfortable, fun mood for both of you.
posted by gjc at 11:34 AM on May 24, 2008


Life isn't a porn movie. If you are with the right person, your lack of sexual virtuosity will not matter.
posted by jayder at 11:48 AM on May 24, 2008


I can't really add much to what has already been said other then to point out the should be obvious, but at the time is easily forgotten fact that while you might be nervous about the situation, and having a drink might help, you need to watch out for that tipping point from confidence building drunk to performance crippling drunk. Not to mention the day after it's good to be able to remember what happened.
posted by paulfreeman at 3:12 PM on May 24, 2008


Similar to an above comment, I think sometimes guys get so caught up in doing things "right" that it detracts from any possible passion. I would much rather be with a guy who was fumbling around a bit but clearly wanted it badly than a guy who turns the whole thing into a polished performance. For me, at least, sex tends to be hotter the less my partner and I are thinking and obsessing over "performing" well.

Everyone is different, but I think she'll enjoy it just fine. If you're worrying about how you're doing, you might not do so well.
posted by Nattie at 3:13 PM on May 24, 2008


You know, if you're having anxiety about, well, being anxious, then you could do a lot worse than pop a 1/4 mg of Xanax that evening - with a history of social anxiety I'm sure you have some knocking around, right? Personally, I've had anxiety issues which I've tried to treat rationally and failed every time - and I've found that a low dose of Xanax is all I need to get over that often troublesome first hurdle.
posted by forallmankind at 5:00 PM on May 24, 2008


If your concern is that you're going to hop in bed and pop your cookies early, that won't most likely be an issue. I've had similar dry spells, and that did not happen to me. If you're extra concerned about that particular problem, you can either masturbate a few days previous (or whatever works for your drive), or pick the anxiety relief of your choice, alcohol, benzodiazapines, whatever. I'd probably skip that, but I don't know how that factors in for you.

If your concern is that you will have somehow forgotten, well, I won't say that it's like riding a bicycle (although certain situations in both can leave you with a numb crotch), but you're not likely to find yourself without the ability - remember, things with nervous systems considerably less developed than yours manage to pull off this trick without prior instruction.

All you have to do is work the, "by the way, it's been a while" bit into the slightly awkward and all the more endearing for it conversation that has some paraphrasing of, "Is there anything of which you're particularly fond?" Backrubs, however trite they sound, are a good way to get comfortable with just touching someone you haven't before.

And sex with someone new often goes quite well.
posted by adipocere at 7:24 PM on May 24, 2008


hey, someitmes boners dont happen, or dont happen quite right. dont drink too much, and don't think about yourself. if you try to focus on her, usually everyone will have a good time.
posted by swbarrett at 7:04 AM on May 25, 2008


First time sex is not universally bad.

You need to relax. It sounds to me like you're overthinking it. Simply roll with the flow. Don't schedule it, plan it, run through it in your head over and over. Just hang out with her, and after spending a nice enjoyable evening together, allow the natural transition to sex to occur. Don't think of it as a make-or-break performance. It's sex - loosen up and have fun.

If you focus on it for days or weeks in advance, you're setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy.
posted by syzygy at 1:37 AM on May 26, 2008


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