Sex with anyone for the first time is nerve-wracking, but especially your first time with a same-sex partner.
Year after year, the number of people identifying as LGBTQ+ is increasing, meaning that there are more of us than ever facing our first same-sex encounter.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that the percentage of people in the UK aged 16 and over identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual almost doubled between 2014 and 2020, going from 1.6% of the population to 3.1%.
Learning the language of a new body is daunting but same-sex partnership is an electrifying experience when it feels right, so dive into the pool. Don’t worry, there are flotation devices! Here's everything you need to know, with support from our sexperts.
What to know before your first time with a same-sex partner
1. Embrace your identity
Before you strip off, look inward to figure out how you feel about the prospect. Don’t bring internalized homophobia into the bedroom. It’s not sexy!
No, you don’t need to select a label or even question your sexual orientation to have sex with a same-sex partner. Life is fluid, and so is sexual pleasure. Setting parameters for your explorations and expectations will make the journey smoother, though.
It’s normal to wonder what’s on the other side when you’ve been sold heterosexuality as the only acceptable framework for partnership in life.
“Suppressing your sexual orientation can restrict your ability to express yourself authentically, leading to a sense of disconnection from your true identity,” says London-based psychologist Dr. Becky Spelman, founder of the Private Therapy Clinic.
“Acceptance of oneself is a crucial step in finding peace and happiness. Surround yourself with positive influences and affirmations that reinforce self-acceptance,” the doc adds.
2. Educate yourself
Sex education in schools is still a long way from being capable of guiding people through all the realms of sexuality safely. Amongst LGBTQ+ folks, too many newbies learn the basics from over-the-top porn scenes or equally uneducated peers.
Challenge heteronormativity and internalized homophobia by broadening the spectrum of what sex can be.
“Learn about different sexual orientations, including the one you are discovering,” says Spelman. “Be patient with yourself, embrace self-exploration, and surround yourself with supportive and understanding individuals who can contribute positively to your journey.”
3. Communicate through your experimentation
Having same-sex bedroom fun for the first time requires putting communication and self-understanding first. Speak to your partner, or partners, and be clear with your intentions.
Are you inviting a third into the bedroom of a heterosexual relationship? Are you interested in experimenting with a newfound sexual orientation separately from your current partner? Are you trying a group sex experience? Are you dating women or men for the first time?
No one knows how much of a ripple effect any sexual interaction is going to have, let alone a totally new one. Clarify the boundaries before allowing the orgasmic waves to flood the field!
4. Navigate the scenario
You don’t owe anyone a “this is my first time” speech but it might stop you from hyperfocusing on reaching the expert level immediately.
“The decision to disclose your sexual history or experiences, including whether it's your first time with someone of the same sex, is a personal one,” Spelman explains. “If you have an established emotional connection with your partner, disclosing your sexual history may deepen your bond and allow for a more meaningful experience.”
Allow the moment to flow. Don’t overcomplicate sex with a same-sex partner; it’s biological pleasure, and our bodies know what to do.
“Asking what someone enjoys can be more important than focusing on getting it right,” says clinical sexologist and therapist Ness Cooper, Je Joue’s resident sexologist. “Asking what someone enjoys can be more important than focusing on getting it right. This is the first time you’re having sex with that individual, whether it’s LGBTQ+ same-sex sex or heteronormative.”
5. Learn the mechanics
Don’t let excitement cockblock safety! Barrier contraception is equally important, even if there's no risk of pregnancy.
Wrap up penises with condoms for oral and penetrative sex with new partners. Cover anywhere bodily fluids flow—yes, this includes the vagina and the anus, too—with dental dams to shield against orally transmitted sexually transmitted infections.
“There can be more of a focus on penetration-based sex for those who consider themselves as heterosexual,” Cooper says. “Some LGBTQ+ individuals may enjoy having parts of their body stimulated in ways that fit with their gender, or body parts called differently to what they were told at birth.”
Experiment with sex toys, techniques, and positions. (Ladies, here are the best lesbian sex positions to get you inspired.) Remember to have fun. Stop following the old manual, color all over the damn book, and redraw the lines. This is your space.
What to know about oral sex with a vagina:
Vaginas are all unique and most of the key operations take place in the brain.
To enjoy this pleasure center to its fullest, create a comfortable environment and communicate while enjoying other erogenous zones on the way down. Savour the meal and the dessert will come!
“When it comes to giving oral sex for the first time, don’t be afraid to use your fingers alongside your tongue and lips,” says Cooper. “Moving the vulva and labia with your fingers can help you gain more access to areas such as the clitoris.”
What to know about oral sex with a penis:
Don’t oversimplify the penis! Penises are more complex than they first appear; incorporate all of their elements by playing with the balls, perineum and anus, too. (Here's our guide to all things anal, FYI, for even more tips.)
“Remember that you don’t have to just focus on trying to insert the whole penis at once, and you can just focus on the head of the penis,” Cooper advises for first time oral with a penis. “Flicking the frenulum with the tongue can be pleasurable for some penis owners, and using your tongue to stimulate this area can lead to a mind-blowing experience.”
Use your tongue and your hands as a team and don’t make ejaculation the only goal. There is a lot of pleasure to be had between the start touches and the finishing fireworks!
Hannah Shewan Stevens is an NCTJ-accredited journalist based in Birmingham, England. Her work—which primarily focuses on opinion articles, physical and mental health, disability and sex—has been published in outlets like Bustle, Huffington Post UK, Telegraph, Metro UK and Restless Magazines.
Wait, so are we getting 'Sex Education' season 5 after all?
Will there be a 'Sex Education' season 5 on Netflix? Creator Laurie Nunn hints that there *could* be more
By Danielle Valente Published
This lipstick sex toy looks like makeup but actually packs *serious* pleasure power
Pucker up: this lipstick sex toy is one you'll need
By Danielle Valente Published