I was watching the scene from Anna Karenina, the 2012 version with Keira Knightley, where she and her young lover, Vronsky, get adulterous for the first time.
Like modern dance or avant ballet, but naked and in bed; the epitome of cinematic lovers, well-timed and ecstatic.
This has never been my experience of first-time sex with a new partner.
Any sex after that first time, sure, we can talk poetry and passion. But first-time sex? It never plays out like in the movies.
See, I’ve got one of two ways my first-time sex usually goes:
The first kind is all awkward pauses, heavy with anticipation and uncertainty: do we?, are we?, is this ok?, mind the parrot, this zipper is stuck, here let me … just … pull my panty down, push all the books and clothes and food off the bed, oh look you have a huge tattoo of a woman’s butt on your chest…
The second kind is where I am prepped to get my sex on. I’ve got the silky teddy, the candles, the incense, the massage oils, my bed is made … and the new Mr Man is usually so overwhelmed by it all, he practically loses his erection with worry about the expectations my Nights in White Satin set-up is raising.
Basically, instead of naked ballet, there is a fumbled groping towards coital bliss. Instead of perfectly directed orgasms, a flirtation with flaccidity and sexual anxiety.
To be honest, my experience of first-time sex is really rather more a Woody Allen production than a lush, exotic romance taking its fornication very seriously.
And while some part of me longs to be king of smooth manoeuvring (can you blame me? I was raised on ‘80s soapies…) I like the authenticity of real people getting pretty, damn real when the clothes come off.
I don’t care if a guy looks like David Beckham, kisses like the hero from a Nicholas Sparks movie, and has the smooth moves of the Old Spice guy on a horse.
Until he gets naked and gets his sex moves on, there is no telling what his bedroom game is – or how generous and sensitive a lover he really is.
I’ve come to see sex as the great unveiling to the real person behind all the day-to-day razzmatazz we like to put on. And first-time sex with a new partner is just the ribbon cutting on that process.
But we all know how fraught those sorts of ceremonies can be – someone forgets the scissors, the Champagne goes flat while everyone waits, someone cuts the ribbon before the speech is finished…
In short: Don’t judge your boo by your first bonk.
Unless he’s actually a terrible lay or a creep with a woman’s butt tattooed on his chest, you’re probably not going to know much about his capacity to fulfil your life’s great sex scenes from the very first shag. You’ll need at least three to be sure.
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