Having sex for the first time with a new partner can be total fireworks, awkward as hell, or everything in between. But having a cringe-worthy sexual encounter doesn't mean the sex will always be bad. Sometimes, you have to leave room for you and your partner to grow together. One or both of you may be nervous, and that lack of familiarity can breed discomfort. But the most effective way to break through that unease is by communicating honestly and directly about each of your sexual preferences.

"[Couples with healthy sex lives] have awkward conversations," sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein tells Bustle. "Often, people can have sex but are scared to talk about it out of fear that might offend their partner, or it might be awkward. In order to have a healthy sex life, you need to have sometimes uncomfortable conversations about what might not be working in the bedroom or what you want more or less of."

If your first sexual experience with a new partner isn’t great in the beginning, there's no need to panic — instead, consider opening up a dialogue about what turns you on. In fact, the 2020 SKYN Sex & Intimacy Survey, a survey of 2,000 males and females in the U.S. ages 18-39, found that 77% of participants frequently vocalise their sexual preferences to their partner(s) during sex. And as you get to know each other both inside and outside of the sheets, try sticking to positions that aren't too complicated. When all else fails, communication, a sense of humour, and a willingness to try new things can get you through it.

Here are the best sex positions for getting to know a new partner.

1. Legs Up Missionary

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner 9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: Start in missionary and slowly move your legs up over their shoulders. Ideally, you rest with your knees on hooked on them, but if not, just stick to a slightly modified missionary — that'll be intense enough.

Why It's Helpful: Missionary is a classic position with enough intimacy to help you get to know your partner. In addition to giving you some really intense penetration, this variation requires some communication, verbal or nonverbal, to make sure you're comfortable. It'll show how well they're paying attention.

2. Cowgirl

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner 9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: Straddle your partner and then go for it. You can lean forward as pictured above, or pull your weight back. For a bonus modification and added intimacy, have your partner more upright with their back up against the wall.

Why It's Helpful: Some people feel exposed in this position, so it can be good for bonding with a new partner. But mostly, it's just sexy and will help you feel confident in showing off your moves.

3. Doggy Style

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner 9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: With you on your hands and knees, your partner sits behind you and enters you from the back. It's really deep, but you can always use your hand (or tell them to use theirs) if you want some clitoral stimulation.

Why It's Helpful: How a partner does doggy can tell you a lot about them. Are they uncomfortably hammering away back there? Is it intense but in a great way? You'll know as soon as you get going.

4. Weak In The Knees

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner 9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: It's pretty straightforward and works in a lot of locations. While they sit on the edge of the bed, you kneel on the floor. It's perfect for oral, hand play, and taking turns.

Why It's Helpful: You get a chance to really focus on pleasing your partner and, with nothing else going on, you can really pay attention to what they like and dislike. Then they can do the same for you.

5. Modified Doggy

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: Start by laying down and arch your hips, using a pillow below them if it helps. You can also start in doggy and collapse onto your elbows. Either way, it should be an intense sensation, but in a good way.

Why It's Helpful: It's intimate and gives you a chance for dirty talk or whispering without the intense, face-to-face contact that might feel a bit much when you're getting to know someone. Plus, it feels amazing.

6. Spooning

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner 9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: Lay on the bed with your hips above your partner's as they curl around you from behind and enters you. You may need lube or to adjust your angles a bit to get it right.

Why It's Helpful: It requires a little negotiating to get started, so it's a great way to work out communication with a new partner. And because it's a reassuring, cozy position you'll feel comfortable with each other immediately.

7. Standing

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner 9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: The wall is your friend, so stay close. While your partner stands behind you, spread your legs slightly and brace yourself on the wall. Lifting one leg can make it easier for them to enter you, but lube helps too. If there's a big height difference, don't be scared to stand on a pillow or something to even it out.

Why It's Helpful: There's a good chance you'll fall over and laugh about it together, which is great bonding. And if you get it right? Well, then you'll feel like porn stars.

8. Mutual Masturbation

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner 9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: Lie down, side-by-side, and try getting off simultaneously, or taking turns while the other watches. Use your hands to stimulate your clitoris, or incorporate toys.

Why It's Helpful: By watching one another masturbate, you can learn more about each other’s bodies and sexual preferences, and by doing so in sync, you can find a new way to climax together.

9. Mirror Sex

9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner 9 Sex Positions To Get To Know Your Partner

How To Do It: Prop up a mirror next to your bed or overhead, and start to engage in foreplay, all while keeping a sexy eye on your reflection. You and your partner can take turns pleasuring each other, while the other has a 360-degree view.

Why It's Helpful: Not only can mirror sex be education for you and your partner, but it can invoke all the excitement of filming yourself without ever turning on the camera.

Experts:

Dr. Nikki Goldstein, Sexologist & Relationship Expert

Survey cited:

Wakefield Research. (2020). The Skyn Sex & Intimacy Survey. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnscottlewinski/2020/03/29/2020-intimacy-survey-finds-tinder-most-used-dating-app-in-covid-19-era/#675920c489a6

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