If there’s one experience that can be nearly as terrifying as it is exhilarating, it’s going to bed with someone new. On the one hand, you’re thrilled that it’s finally time to take things to the next level. But on the other, you’re worried things won’t go as smoothly as you hope. Then, even casual sex requires a certain degree of trust that isn’t always easy to give.

Thankfully, while sex with a brand new partner isn’t always uncomplicated, it doesn’t have to be rocket science either. Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind the next time you’re ready to get horizontal with someone new. Your nerves will be history in no time.

DO check your expectations at the door.

When your pants are really on fire for someone, in particular, it can be hard not to get your hopes up when it’s finally time to get horizontal together. You want to keep your expectations in check, though, even if your chemistry is incredible. Sometimes sex is mind-blowing right from day one, but often, it takes time for things to click with someone new.

DON’T be overly adventurous right away.

A lot of people see a romp with someone new as a golden opportunity to really pull out all the stops, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But that needs to be an approach that feels comfortable for both of you. A first love session isn’t necessarily the best time to flex by whipping out your copy of the Kama Sutra or going from zero to hardcore BDSM in an instant. Start with the basics. If that goes well, there’s plenty of time to bust out your signature moves in the future.

DO bring a toothbrush with you.

Or a tin of mints or a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash. You get the picture. Bad breath has a way of rearing its ugly head right when it’s least convenient. If you come fully prepared, you’ll be able to take action if you’re concerned there was too much garlic in the pasta you ordered at dinner. You’ll also be ready to rock first thing in the morning if things go well enough to lead to a full-on sleepover.

DON’T forget the protection.

Contraception is everyone’s responsibility, so never assume that the other person will take care of it. Don’t assume even if they’ve told you they’d take care of it. If they don’t actually follow through, you’ll wind up having to interrupt your fun to make a condom run at best, and that’s hardly an ideal way to start a first lovemaking session. And while we’re on the topic of preparedness, it’s not a bad idea to bring along a travel bottle of condom-safe lube just in case, either.

DO keep things light and playful.

Remember, sex is supposed to be fun. However, it also happens to be a little messy and wild sometimes. Human bodies do things like making interesting noises at the worst possible times, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, laughing it off to show it’s no big deal is a much better reaction to a wayward fart or queef than getting nervous or trying to pretend that it never happened at all. Plus, a little laughter and playfulness often make the experience more fun, so relax, and try not to take things so seriously.

DON’T hesitate to speak up.

When you’re with someone new, you don’t yet have a road map to go by, but there’s a bright side to that. Finding out what turns someone on and watching them light up when you try it is great fun. That said, don’t be afraid to communicate, both verbally and nonverbally. Let your partner know when they’re doing something you love. Ask them how what you’re doing feels to them, as well. Everyone’s different when it comes to what does it for them, so when in doubt, ask.

DO forget about how you look.

Everyone has hang-ups about their body and looks, but don’t let yours ruin your good time with your new partner. Remember that if you’re in bed together, they’re already into what you have going on. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll notice or care about your alleged imperfections, so do yourself a favor and forget about them, too. Fixating too much on such things will only put a damper on your good time.

DON’T hyper-focus on orgasm.

No one’s saying you shouldn’t go after an orgasm or try to help your partner have one of their own. Just don’t make orgasm the be-all and end-all of your experience. Remember, it takes some time to find your rhythm and learn what gets you both there. Just relax, enjoy the ride, and embrace the orgasms with open arms if they do happen.