Practice sex with best friend

Dear Alice,

I was a virgin until about five months ago, and after three hours of foreplay, I finally penetrated and came right then. Since then, my girlfriend and I have broken up, but are best friends now. I have a strange uncontrollable urge to go down on every girl I see (I think because I enjoy a turned-on girl more than I enjoy anything).

Neither I nor my best friend are seeing anyone, and "friends" have sex all the time, so what is the best way to ask her to let me "practice?" After my first "real" sexual experience, I feel incredibly inadequate, especially since we broke up not long after that. I really want to get better. Christ, I'm nineteen and not getting any younger.

— Active Tongue

Dear Active Tongue, 

It's always beneficial to enjoy giving others pleasure, especially since giving and receiving can go hand in hand. It's no wonder you're ready to have sex again, since for many, sex can be fun, pleasurable, and exciting. When making these decisions, it may help to think about why you may want to “practice,” what types of boundaries would be set, and how you’d move forward in the future. Being clear about your intentions may be the easiest way of speaking with her, and it's also wise to be prepared for whatever her answer may be and to respect that decision. 

You say you're eager to have sex with your best friend and it seems like you mean your ex-girlfriend. Before speaking with her, it may help to think about your reasons for doing this and what types of boundaries you’d like to set for a relationship like this. Are you doing this in order to improve your skills in the bedroom? Let off some steam? Feel closer to someone? Other reasons? Are there certain acts that you’d be comfortable performing? How would this affect your current friendship? What parameters would exist for exiting this agreement if either of you were to want to start a relationship with someone else? Thinking through these questions for yourself can help you enter the conversation with your friend. She may also have questions of her own about what the boundaries would look like for this type of relationship — if they're interested, too.

Once you’ve thought through these scenarios on your own, it may be time to speak with her. Could you consider casually bringing it up with her? Perhaps something like: "I feel a bit awkward asking you this. Remember when we were seeing each other and fooling around (or having sex, or making out, or whatever words you are comfortable with)? I really enjoyed it, and I wonder if you might consider the possibility of continuing the sexual part of our relationship. I trust your judgment and value our communication. What do you think?" It’s wise to be prepared for her answer. She may say "yes," "maybe," "tell me more about it," "let me think about it," or "no way!" It takes a lot of courage to ask, and asking is the only way to truly know her thoughts. Remember, her choices are hers and hers alone; she may be on a different page entirely. It's also critical to respect the choices of your friend, even if she says no. You may be eager to get more experience, but it's not okay to try to convince your friend if she says she isn't into it.

If the best friend with whom you'd like to practice isn’t your ex-girlfriend, you can use the same kind of casual but self-revealing approach. "You know, there’s something I'd like to talk with you about that makes me feel kind of awkward, and I hope you’ll hear me out before you react." Then tell her what you were thinking about. Friends usually respect and depend upon gentle honesty. With that, have you considered skipping the potential pitfalls of sex with friends by looking for a brand-new partner who's not a current friend? 

Becoming a tender or skilled lover takes time and practice; however, you do have your entire life to learn. If your best friend is unwilling, too uncomfortable, or fearful that it might jeopardize your friendship, you could consider finding another partner with whom you can hone your skills. It’s also helpful to remember that each person has their own tastes and preferences in the bedroom. What may be pleasurable to one person may be uncomfortable to another, so practice won’t necessarily make perfect. Being open, asking questions about what your partner's into, and talking about what you're both into may be your best bet.

Best of luck! 

Last updated Aug 06, 2021
Originally published Mar 01, 1996

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