There are some aspects of hooking up that make everyone feel insecure, regardless of your level of experience. While these insecurities tend to lessen the longer you’re with someone, if you’re having sex with a partner for the first time, it’s totally normal to feel self-conscious. Pretty much everyone is insecure about these six things when it comes to sex, and here’s what you can do about it.
1. Will my partner still find me attractive when I’m naked?
Feeling uncomfortable with the way you look is a common insecurity that women experience when they’re having sex. According to a national survey, 52 percent of women have “avoided or postponed sex, even when they were in the mood, because they were too self-conscious about their looks.” No matter how happy you are in your own skin, when that’s all you’re wearing, self-conscious thoughts have a way of creeping up on you.
"I worry about hair down there," says Ingrid, a junior at Auburn University. "Does he think it’s gross if I let it grow out? I honestly think it looks better without being shaved—razor bumps are not cute to me! But society acts like we should all be perfectly shaved creatures all of the time." Try not to let those insecurities ruin your experience. Feeling awkward about your body can cause you to overthink things, which means you aren’t totally focused on what’s happening. Do your best to let it go and enjoy yourself, and your partner will too. Focus on foreplay to get you in the mood, play sexy music or adjust the lighting to a more comfortable level. There are a number of strategies for having more satisfying sex, so don’t be afraid to experiment in order to find what works best for you.
2. What if I’m less (or more) experienced than my partner?
Not everyone has the same level of sexual experience, and that can be a big worry when it comes to hooking up. If you’re less experienced than your partner, you may feel inadequate in bed. If you’re more experienced, maybe you feel like you’re being judged.
“I’m definitely most insecure when it comes to skill level, of all things,” says Gabby*, a junior at Gettysburg College. “My boyfriend’s older, so he’s got more experience and I put way too much thought into not looking too naïve.” This is definitely a valid concern! If your thoughts are elsewhere, though, how can you focus on the matter at hand? Try talking to your partner beforehand about how experienced you both are. This might help ease your anxieties. If so, go for it! Just understand that he or she wants to be with you, and your level of experience shouldn’t affect that fact.
3. Is he or she having a good time?
As caring women, we are constantly worrying about other people. Unfortunately, this even extends to sex. Rather than focusing on ourselves (which would be totally okay, by the way), we want to make sure our partners are having fun. It’s fine to keep this in mind, but concern about how you’re performing shouldn’t take over.
For Katie, a junior at SUNY Oswego, making sure that she is “good” at sex makes her feel insecure. “My partner has expressed similar insecurities about sex to me,” she says. “To overcome them, we just talk to each other. Because we are so comfortable around one another and trust each other, it is easy to express our concerns and insecurities.”
If your partner is having a good time, you’ll probably be able to tell. And if the first time you have sex with that person isn’t completely spectacular, don’t be upset. That is totally normal, and it just means you’ll have to keep practicing (wink, wink). Consider asking your partner after sex if there’s anything you can do better next time. Feel free to let them know what you liked and didn’t like on their end as well. Open communication about what went well—and what could be improved upon—will ensure that everyone is having a good time.
4. Did my partner notice that weird noise?
Awkward moments are almost unavoidable while hooking up. If you notice a funny sound or a position doesn’t work out quite the way it should, don’t panic.
For Tiara, a junior at Central Washington University, sound during sex makes her feel insecure. “I think people get too caught up in trying to be sexy and in control to acknowledge the inevitable sounds of two bodies smacking together,” she says. “In my experience it makes both parties far more comfortable to laugh at the situation and move on rather than act embarrassed and uncomfortable.” Her advice is spot on. Laugh it off and keep going—don’t dwell on something as small as a weird noise.
5. Am I taking too long to finish?
Because women often take longer to orgasm than men, we don’t always get to. Insecurities about finishing are definitely real, but just because you might need more time, that doesn’t mean your partner should forget about you! Try to stay in the moment and let your thoughts come and go. As we all know, it’s much easier to orgasm when you’re not thinking about it.
If your male partner comes before you, he should still make sure you reach orgasm. Encourage him to use his hands or mouth if you’re still feeling turned on after he’s done. Ideally, he’ll do so without being asked.
6. What do I do now?
Tiara, like many collegiettes, also experiences insecurities about what to do after sex. “Sometimes if it’s the first time you hooked up or a random hook up, it’s difficult to tell what the other person wants you to do regardless of if you’re at their place or yours—cuddle, talk, order pizza, etc.,” she says. “It says more about the hook-up culture, but depending on the situation I never know if I should throw on my clothes and leave or stay over and expect coffee in the morning.”
It may feel awkward, but it’s okay to ask! Saying something as simple as, “What do you want to do now?” can help ease any tension in the air. If you’re not into it, you don’t have to feel pressured to stay. Ideally you’d cuddle, talk and order pizza, but obviously that doesn’t always happen.
Insecurities during sex are totally normal, but that doesn’t mean they’re fun. Try to let self-conscious thoughts go, or talk to your partner about what you’re feeling. Most of the time, they have no idea what’s going through your head, and vice versa. Chances are, you’re both feeling insecure! Don’t let insecurities while hooking up stop you from enjoying yourself. Just remember, we’ve all been there.
*Name has been changed