First time group sex can be as nerve-racking as it is exciting. We all know that getting naked in front of one person can be a vulnerable experience but getting naked in front of two or three or more can be terrifying! Saying that, it can also be some of the most fun you’ll ever have. If you’re thinking of dipping your toes in to the group sex pool, follow these hints and tricks to give yourself the best possible chance at having a great time.

Communication is Vital – Before and During
You might know this one already but communicating with everyone involved before a sex session starts is a must! Don’t forget to keep communication going during, as well! It doesn’t have to be a long conversation mid-play but simple phrases such as “does that feel good?” or “may I touch you here?” are often all you need to establish ongoing consent and enthusiasm.

Establish Safer Sex Rules Beforehand
Before you start playing, agree on what safer sex protocols you’re going to follow. What’s everyone’s testing status? Will you use condoms for penetration, or barriers for all activities? Make sure you’re all on the same page, have everything you need within easy reach, and generally default to the comfort level of the most risk-averse person.

Agree on Boundaries and Parameters
You don’t need an elaborate plan for how the entire scene will go, of course. But you do need to determine what everyone’s boundaries and comfort levels are. Will you do soft swing activities with other people but full penetration only with your own partners? Are any kink or BDSM activities on the table? Does anyone have something they really, really hate (“do not tickle me under any circumstances” or “keep away from my feet!”)?

Talk About Fantasies
This can take the form of sexting or sharing naughty messages in a group chat before you play, or even just flirty talk over dinner where you share some ideas. Maybe you have something really specific that you’d love to happen. Your partners won’t know unless you tell them! It can be scary to talk about your fantasies out loud, but it’s the best way to get the sex you want. Try saying out loud what your desired group scenario is! And ask your prospective play buddies, “how do you most like to play in a group?” or “any fantasies you really want to come true tonight?”

Jealousy Might Happen – and That’s Okay
The best laid plans often go astray. Someone might get jealous or feel left out and that’s okay. Discuss beforehand how you might handle it if it happens. Sometimes, taking a few deep breaths and then diving back in with the fun is all the jealous person needs to quell their fears. Other times, things might have gone so badly off the rails that you need to pause or even stop the scene. Don’t berate the person who’s feeling bad, even if that person is you! It can be helpful, if this is your first time playing in a group with your partner, to establish a subtle “signal” to each other. For example, two quick squeezes of the hand could mean “pause and check in.” You could even take a leaf out of the BDSM community’s book and establish a safe word!

Play with People you Trust
All sex is better if there’s an element of trust even when it is casual. For group play, this might mean playing with a veteran person or couple who have tonnes of experience and know what they’re doing, or it might mean taking your time to make friends with your prospective play partners and building up trust before hopping into bed. Consider what makes you feel at ease and comfortable with someone. Much like your first sexual experience with another person, your first group sex – for better or worse – will stay with you. Give yourselves the best chance of making it a great time by choosing playmates who are understanding, trustworthy, patient and non-judgemental.

Play Sober
You may want to remember your experience and be fully in control of your faculties and able to communicate clearly so it might be worth playing sober. A glass of wine or two is fine, but if you need to get hammered before enjoying a sexual experience, maybe think twice about whether this is a sexual experience you truly want to be having.

Bodies Might Not Work the Way you Want
For penis-owners, this might mean that you don’t always get an erection when you really want one. For people with vulvas, lubrication could be an issue. Anyone might struggle to reach orgasm. Try to relax and not worry too much about it. It’s a natural response to a new situation, especially if you’re nervous. Remember, hardness or wetness or orgasms are not necessary for everyone to have a great and sexy time. Beating yourself up about it will only make it worse. Try to chill out, enjoy the process, and remember that hands and tongues and toys exist for a reason!

The golden rules of good group sex are essentially the same as the rules of good one-on-one sex: communication, consent, trust and relaxation!