5 Surprising Sexual Milestones

We all know that first kisses and sexual encounters are make-or-break moments. Here are five other critical junctures couples must not miss—or mess up.

By Sari Locker, Ph.D.

ure, everyone knows that the first time you kiss someone — or for that matter, do the deed — is a pivotal moment in a budding relationship. And while many singles obsess over wowing their partner at such a critical juncture, there are plenty of other, less obvious markers that can also have an impact on the success of your love life. Give these lesser-known milestones their due attention, and you up your chances for a terrific relationship, in bed and out.

Milestone #1: Seeing each other naked…after sex
Of course, baring all for the first time can be awkward. But on the bright side, each of you is probably so swept up in the excitement that you’re not really scrutinizing the
How you deal the first night one of you doesn’t want to get it on speaks volumes about your compatibility.
other’s body. Afterward, however, whether you’re lounging in bed or taking a shower together, is a different story. “Sex is the easy part because usually it’s dark and insecurities about each other’s bodies are lost in the passion,” explains Gerald, 26, from New York, NY. “But taking a shower together... involves light.” Some singles get by merely by faking a confident attitude. “I usually turn on the charm,” says Gina, 32, from Washington, D.C. “It’s amazing how a bubbly smile, positive attitude and a little conversation will totally distract that special someone from noticing a bout of ‘bacne’ or a few extra pounds.” And the moment you stop worrying is a clear sign you two are getting along swimmingly. “It’s a sexual milestone when I realize that I’m no longer making a conscious effort to psych myself up for being naked,” Gina continues. “Then I know I’ve hit a higher level of confidence in the future of the relationship.”

Milestone #2: The first time one of you is not in the mood
Ironically, how you and your sweetie deal the first night one of you doesn’t want to get it on speaks volumes about your sexual potential together. Someone who loudly grumbles or freaks out, for example, might be subtly saying they care more about their own needs than their partner’s. Someone who’s mellow about it, however, is saying, “I care about you and am secure in this relationship.” To soften the blow when turning your lover down, consider this perspective from Laura, 29, from Garden City, KS. “It’s OK to not be in the mood. But it’s not OK to just come to bed and roll over and go to sleep, which begs the question, ‘I’m getting up extra early to go home and change before work for this?!’” she says. “If you’re not in the mood, a good way to handle this would be to hold me and explain that you’re tired and you’ll make it up to me. Then I don’t feel rejected.”

Milestone #3: Wanting to give without receiving anything in return
A large part of the reason couples get it on is to experience physical pleasure — and that’s why the first moment you put your own enjoyment on hold to focus on your partner is a big step forward. “Performing oral sex on a woman is an extreme turn-on for me, and if
The first time you put your own enjoyment on hold to focus on your partner is a big step forward.
I find myself wanting to completely satisfy a woman without her feeling she needs to return the favor, then I know I like this woman,” says Elias, 26, from Springfield, VA. To enhance the experience, explicitly tell your lover, “Don’t worry about me, I want to concentrate on you.” That way, you give them permission to really sit back and enjoy!

Milestone #4: Your first discussion about birth control
Broaching the topic of birth control isn’t exactly a mood enhancer, but it’s obviously a vital step. Discussing the topic way in advance reveals that you’re a responsible lover. And, for some people, not bringing up the topic at all is a real deal-breaker: “If a guy never asks me about birth control,” says Nancy, a 29 year-old from Rochester, MN, “then I know that he doesn’t care about my health or happiness.” So, go ahead and speak up, which New Yorker Kevin, 26, did with fantastic results. “Before my girlfriend and I were going to have sex the first time, I told her, ‘I want to make sure that our relationship lasts a long time, and because of that we have to protect each other from anything that could cause an issue for us. So let’s use birth control.’ She agreed, and said that made us both feel comfortable and connected.”

Milestone #5: The first time you try something risqué
Of course, bedding down with someone at all takes a certain amount of trust and chutzpah. However, hazarding an activity out of the ordinary — talking dirty or role-playing, for example — takes true guts and can be a pivotal point in your relationship. Just ask Stacey, 27, from New York, NY: “My boyfriend is usually quite the gentleman, and we had been sleeping together for a little while before anything ‘naughty’ came up,” she says. “When he started saying racy things in bed, it was a total turn-on because I knew he was comfortable enough to cut loose a little.” If you and your partner have actually discussed each other’s fantasies and you’ve found out for sure that your partner would like to make one a reality, then consider making that dream come true, as Paul, 32, from Chicago has done. “If your partner has told you that a fantasy involves wearing certain clothes for role-playing, then it is nice to surprise your partner by coming over wearing that,” he explains. “In my case, doing so showed my girlfriend that I’d been thinking about it and had taken the time to prepare for the moment, which really bonded us.”

Sari Locker is a sex educator, TV personality, and author of the bestseller, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex. She has an M.S. in Sexuality Education and was the host of Late Date With Sari on Lifetime. Her website is
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