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I am 30 and sexually inexperienced – how do I find a partner who will understand?

I was until recently on medication that suppressed my libido. How do I explore my sexual side without feeling self-conscious?

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I’m a 30-year-old male and am straight but with very little sexual experience. I was sick for most of my teenage years and, until a year ago, was on medication which had the side-effect of suppressing my sex drive. Without it, I suddenly felt that I had a libido. This is exciting, but it has created problems. I want to explore this aspect of myself, but I’m not sure how. I’m trying to start dating, but while I have a good job and an otherwise well-rounded life, I have little sexual experience, which I think is quite obvious on a date. I worry that my lack of experience is going to be a deal-breaker for anyone I’m attracted to.

Your excellent comprehension of the changes in your libido – as well as your ability to express it clearly – will set you in good stead to be able to find someone who can understand, appreciate you and sympathise.

The world of dating can seem frightening and painful, and you did not have the opportunity to develop dating and relationship skills earlier in your life. But prospective partners are not all heartless people trying to find someone who ticks predetermined boxes. Focus on seeking to have fun and find friendship. When you feel attraction and a sense of relaxation and safety with someone, it should be easy to explain your challenge and inexperience. Some people would even find the naive side of you charming and refreshing.

There are no set rules about making a sexual connection with another human being – except the need to maintain mutual respect and consensuality. You must start to learn about your sexual responses and erotic triggers, so be brave, explore and step a little outside your comfort zone. But resist rushing into anything that seems scary, and remember you always have a right to insist on a more cautious pace.

Do not seek your initial sexual education through pornography. For the novice, learning how to enjoy true intimacy involves far more finesse than can be captured in a pseudo-erotic scenario between anxious actors bent on achieving a fast-track orgasm.

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