There are lots of reasons why you may be a little rusty right now when it comes to having sex that isn’t of the solo variety. Maybe you’ve been recovering from a bad break-up or the death of a spouse. Maybe it’s just been a really long time since you’ve met anyone you actually wanted to have sex with and have been focusing on you instead.

Whatever the case may be, you’re feeling like you might be ready to make a sexual relationship a part of your life again. You’re just not sure how to get where you want to be. The following tips can help, so keep them in mind as you prepare to jump back into the pool, so to speak.

  1. Reevaluate What You Want

If it’s been a while since the last time you were involved in a sexual relationship, you may or may not want the same things out of the experience that you did the last time you were sexually active. That said, it’s a good idea to reflect a bit on what you’re looking for this time around. Are you looking to connect with someone within the context of a serious committed relationship, or are you mostly interested in something casual for now?

  1. Choose a Protection Method

Whether or not there’s a chance any sexual activity could result in pregnancy, protection is an important consideration. Options like condoms and dental dams should never be thought of as optional when you’re with someone new, especially if you’re only interested in casual connections or one-night stands for now. If pregnancy is also a concern, give some thought to whether you’d like to employ additional birth control (e.g. the pill or IUDs) just to be on the extra-safe side.

  1. Address Body Image Issues

Although it may seem otherwise sometimes, you don’t need to have a perfect body in order to enjoy sex or be ready to revisit sex with another person. However, it’s definitely understandable that you’d want to feel as confident and comfortable in your own skin as is humanly possible. If you know your diet regimen or exercise routine could use a little boost, wanting to look your best for sex is as good a motivation as any. Just make sure you’re also being kind to yourself and realistic about what you can achieve. Someone who deserves to have sex with you in the first place won’t be bothered by a few extra pounds or even notice that your body is less than perfect.

  1. Get to Know Your Sexual Self Again

If it’s been a while since you explored any sort of sexual activity, masturbation included, now would be a good time to reintroduce yourself to your sexuality. What your body responds best to, what types of touch are most likely to make you orgasm, and what types of fantasies really get you going may or may not be the same as you remember. If you don’t already have any, now might be a good time to invest in a couple of sex toys that appeal to you, as well as some lube, and experiment a little. Consider exploring some new possibilities when it comes to porn or erotica as well to get a read on what turns you on mentally these days.

  1. Build Your Confidence

Building strength, stamina, and body confidence by getting your fitness routine back in check is definitely a good start when it comes to confidence building, but there’s no need to stop there. The sexier you feel and the better your self-image on every level, the more you’ll ultimately get out of the sexual experience when you do meet the right person to take that leap with. Treat yourself to a makeover and some new clothes that make you feel sexy. Include lingerie or intimate wear that complements your body type as well. When you find yourself attractive, your new sex partner will too.

  1. Be Communicative

Last but definitely not least, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what you want and need from a potential sex partner. Think of this fresh start to your sex life as a golden opportunity to make it everything you’ve always wanted it to be. Are there things you’ve always wanted to try, but were bashful about asking for from past partners? Are there specific types of experiences that especially excited you or left you disappointed in the past? What did you want from past sexual relationships that you didn’t get?

Keep in mind that your next sex partner wants to please you every bit as much as you want to please them. Don’t be afraid to facilitate open communication that helps the both of you do exactly that.