So, You Haven’t Had Sex For… Awhile. Here’s How to Approach Your (Second) First Time

I have not had sex in almost a decade. Eight years to be exact, but who is counting? (Ummm…me). I have chosen to stay celibate during a period of singledom mixed with some light dating. Though I have sincerely embraced this season of my life, I most definitely am looking forward to the days when I am sexually active again. Until then, thank goodness for self pleasure and the occasional surprise orgasm in your sleep.

Whether you have chosen to stay celibate because of religious beliefs, a season of singledom, or other life choices, there may come a point in time when you are ready to become sexually active again.

If you are looking for some tips for having sex after a long sexual hiatus, here is everything you need to know about sex after celibacy.

sex after celibacy

What is celibacy?

While “dry spell” may be the more casual phrase, the technical term for a period without sex is celibacy. “Celibacy is a sex term that defines abstinence from sexual activities for longer periods, whether outercourse or intercourse,” shares Barbara Santini, Psychologist, Sex and Relationship Adviser at Dime Piece LA

“Celibacy is mostly associated with faith, purity, and religion, but it can be due to other personal reasons. People can voluntarily choose to be celibate for specific periods or throughout their life,” Santini says.

Are there any benefits to celibacy?

But are there any benefits to being celibate? (Asking for a friend and by a friend, I mean me). Susan Milstein, Ph.D., is a human sexuality educator on the medical review board of Women’s Health Interactive and shares some benefits to celibacy.

“Celibacy can be great for some people, but it depends on why they are being celibate,” Milstein explains. If someone feels forced into celibacy because they do not have a partner, that can be really frustrating. On the other hand, if they are choosing to be celibate, then it can be a fantastic, empowering experience.

Some of the benefits of being celibate Santini has seen include:

  • Builds stronger relationships if both partners want to focus on different ways to grow closer
  • Gives individuals plenty of time to focus on close friends, family, and life goals
  • Helps create more time for self-care, improving self-esteem, and mental conditions
  • Lowers the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and infections as well as unwanted pregnancies in women
  • Reduces frequent sex thoughts, giving you a clear mind and improving your focus

There are not just benefits to being celibate while you are single either. Embracing periods of celibacy within your relationship can also reap some rewards. Milstein provides further insight. “For some people, either in a relationship or not, removing sex from the equation allows them to focus on other things. For some couples, it can help them focus on other forms of intimacy.” 

Having sex after celibacy

Okay, so the first tip to having sex after celibacy may sound super obvious, but nevertheless, here it is – take things slow. 

Milstein shares, “If you are becoming sexually active again, my best suggestion is to take it slow and get to know your body again. What you used to like may not turn you on anymore, or maybe feels uncomfortable at first.” 

Makes sense, right? Our tastes change over time. From clothing to food to everything else in between, it would only make sense that what we enjoy in the bedroom may change as well. 

With that being said, Santini mentions it is ideal to take any sexual acts with ease. “You can start by self-pleasure as you awaken your sexual life,” she says.

Communicate with your partner

When resuming sex after celibacy, Santini mentions considering your sexual partner. “Find a partner who can handle things slowly and smoothly to avoid unintended dangers due to extreme or rough encounters.” 

Milstein also emphasizes the importance of communication with your sexual partner. “Talk to your partner about any concerns you may have, and keep those lines of communication open during sex play!” 

Communication in relationships is key, people, and that means communication both inside and outside of the bedroom. That means you may also want to clue your partner in that it has been a while. 

“A compassionate and understanding partner can go a long way,” says Tara Struyk Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Kinkly.

Invest in lubrication, just in case

If you are finally getting back in the game after long-term celibacy (get it, girl), Milstein recommends having some lubrication on hand.

“So many people overlook this, but especially when someone has not been sexually active, [they] may be entering into it pretty nervous,” notes Struyk. “There may not be enough natural lubrication to keep things comfortable. And even if there is, why chance it?”

Milstein recommends using lubricants that are free from glycerin, parabens, and other potentially irritating ingredients like additives, dyes, flavors, and fragrances. She recommends trying an all-natural water-based lubricant or a natural plant-oil lubricant.

Lower expectations

When having sex after a long hiatus, you may also want to lower expectations. Struyk shares why.

“Your first time having sex [after] a while might be mind-blowing, but it is also totally fine if it is average or even not good at all. No single sexual encounter should be a make-or-break thing. You had sex. That is a big step in itself.” 

Don’t worry though, there is some good news. “If it is something you are looking to do more regularly, [sex] will definitely get better as you get to feeling more comfortable and reconnect with your body in a sexual way,” says Struyk.

If celibacy was not a choice, but just happened in your current relationship with your partner, Santini says you can spice your sex life with things like “erotic wear, new sex games, and more activities that will help reconnect with your previous sex life.” Game… on. 

Santini also says to consider incorporating sex toys and other new techniques in your sex life. “This helps you discover new pleasure spots in your body and sources,” she shares.

You may also want to consider doing some kegel exercises. Diana Nadim, Clinical Sexologist, Editor, and Certified Sex Educator at Vibrator Guru shares, “Imagine sitting on a marble. Tighten your pelvic muscles as if you are lifting the marble. Hold it for three to five seconds, then release. Do it several times a day. This will ensure higher pleasure and better sex.”

Nadim also mentions there is a high possibility of tightening of muscles again after a long period of celibacy.

“Women can expect a short period of pain once they resume after a long period of celibacy. This is temporary though as muscle memory will win and intense pleasure will overflow after the pain,” she concludes.

There you have it, folks. Sex after celibacy. Whether it has been a week, a month, a year, or in my case, way longer, head into the bedroom and hit the sheets with confidence using these tips for having sex after a long hiatus. Good luck!

And when you’re getting back out there, always remember to use safe sex practices – because taking care of your sexual health is good health!

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About Ashley Martens

Ashley Martens is a Wellness Writer based in Chicago, Illinois. With a lifelong passion for all things health and wellness, Ashley enjoys writing about topics to help people live happier and healthier lives. With a foundation in fitness, food, and nutrition, Ashley covers it all including sexual health and travel topics.