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Remember your first time? I don’t.

I’ve had hundreds of conversations with people who are nervous about their first queer experiences. The source of their anxiety? In almost every case, people are afraid of whether or not they will do it right.

Dear first-timer,


Despite waiting to be intimate with women for what felt like my entire life, I don’t remember the details of the first time I had sex with my first girlfriend. I don’t remember if anyone orgasmed, or who did exactly what to whom. I don’t remember what she said when it was over.

I’ve had hundreds of conversations with people who are nervous about their firsts—their first sexual experiences, their first partners, their first queer dating experience, or their first time with non-monogamy. The source of their anxiety? In almost every case, people are afraid of whether or not they will do it right.

But firsts are not about making the perfect moves—they are about feeling. More important than doing something right is whether or not we did it wholeheartedly. Did we give the parts of ourselves that we were willing to give? Did we bravely put ourselves into the ring despite an audience of inner (and perhaps outer) voices telling us we would not succeed?

What I remember most about my first time with a woman is the swelling inside my chest that told me this is itBe here. I remember her patient laughter as I slowly but surely learned her body, and the way my cheeks hurt from smiling so big. The “doing it right’ of it all was actually pretty irrelevant.In my work as a queer sex therapist, I return to this important lesson of looking inward to determine the success of my “firsts”, rather than judging the outcomes. Opening myself up to all of the feels makes me vulnerable but it also makes me alive. My own sexual awakening has hinged on my ability to allow for every emotion, and I’ve spent my professional life supporting people on similar journeys. 

As I introduce my first book Feel it All to the world, of course I want to get it right. I want books to fly off of the shelves. I want those 5-star reviews. But I remind myself of the magic of firsts—that we get to play, experiment, and brainstorm like there is no such thing as a bad idea. That choosing to do something you’ve never tried before is in and of itself a victory.  

I’ll savor this moment. And I hope you can join me.