Jilted, bereaved, liberated, or just moving on, every year millions of men
and women say goodbye to a long-term relationship -- often one they had been
committed to for decades. For the newly single, starting to have sex with new
partners can be fraught with hazards.
You maybe in for the time of your life, but you also face issues that
probably haven't crossed your mind in a long time: disease risks, pregnancy
risks, and the risk of embarrassment.
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There's no point in worrying you might catch something if you don't make a
move on someone. Even if you were a smooth seducer way back when, you have to
dust off your knowledge of how to initiate sex with someone else.
"Couples develop their own shorthand about almost everything," says
Carol Queen, PhD, a sex educator and director of continuing education at Good
Vibrations, the San Francisco sex-toy emporium.
You're used to communicating in the sexual shorthand of your old
relationship. A certain look, phrase, or touch meant that sex was a go, or
clearly meant no. When it comes to initiating sex with a new partner, you have
to watch carefully for signals that things are headed that way.
What's more, prepare yourself for surprises once you get there.
"We come to think we know what sex means," Queen tells WebMD.
But you only know what sex means to you, and it's a definition you developed
over many years with one person. Maybe to you sex is slow and tender, whereas
for your new partner, it's loud and athletic. The differences can range from
slight to vast, but there will be differences.
"Being with a new person is like learning to play a new instrument,"
Lou Paget, a sex educator and author of books such as The Great Lover
Playbook and Hot Mamas, tells WebMD
Brace for Culture Shock
During the years that you were out of circulation, you may not have
registered some of the changes in people's attitudes about sex.
Yes, many people were sexually free back in the '70s. But Queen says she
thinks even then, sex tended to center on men's pleasure. Over the past few
decades, women's pleasure has moved closer to center stage. Thirty years ago, a
man might have prided himself on knowing where the clitoris was located. Now
he's got to be an expert on what to do with it.
"Women expect men to have an awareness of how to please her," Paget
Vibrators and other sex toys have recently gained much more widespread use
"Somebody who has been in a monogamous relationship with no sex toys
anywhere might go to somebody's house and see a sex toy on the bedside
table," Queen says.