10 Things To Consider Before Having Sex For The First Time
Anticipating your first time having sex can be exciting but you may also have a few butterflies in your stomach! Prepare for your first time with these top 10 tips.
Having sex for the first time can be a fantastic experience, and preparing for it can make it even better. Here are the top 10 things you should think about before you have sex for the first time ever — or before you have sex with a new partner for the first time.
1. What Does Sex Mean To You?
You might have a particular act in mind when you think of sex, but does your potential partner share that definition? Be specific here — are you thinking about oral sex? Vaginal? Anal? Fingering? It may feel awkward to get down to details here, but it will help get through one of the biggest sexual communication hurdles and set you up to answer some of the next questions.
2. Which Barriers Do You Want To Use?
Barrier methods are sexual protection tools that work by creating a thin, physical barrier between skin and fluids — and they serve many different purposes, sex acts, and genders. They protect against sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and they can also work to prevent pregnancy.
Regardless of your gender or the gender of the person you’d like to have sex with, barrier methods can be a handy safety tool.
There are two types of condoms — external (what you usually think of as a condom) and internal (one that is inserted into the vagina or anus). They come in a variety of materials, including latex, nitrile, and polyurethane. Latex is the most common, with nitrile and polyurethane trailing close behind for people with latex allergies or sensitivities.
You might be interested in using dental dams to cover up a vulva or an anus during oral sex. Dental dams can be a bit tough to get ahold of, so in a pinch, plastic wrap will also work for this type of oral sex protection.
Lube is a fantastic tool for sex — it reduces the risk of skin tears and increases pleasure.
If you’re touching your partner with a glove on your hand you can just pull off the glove and your hand is clean to touch your own body. Voila! Gloves can also cover cuts on the fingers and hands. Powder-free gloves make for easy clean-up and can help reduce the risk of bacterial infections, particularly for folks with vaginas who are prone to infections.
3. Buy A Good Lube
You might think of lube as something that people only need to use if they have trouble producing enough of their own wetness, but that’s not true. Lube is a fantastic tool for sex — it reduces the risk of skin tears and increases pleasure. Yes, even if you naturally get wet easily.
There are many different types of lube, including water- and silicone-based, hybrid (a combination of the two), and oil-based.
Oil-based lubricants — including coconut oil — will cause latex barriers (like condoms) to break. So, don’t combine the two.
In general, look for a lubricant that is glycerin, paraben, and propylene glycol-free, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies. Brands like Sliquid, Good Clean Love, and Uberlube are winners.
4. Consider Birth Control
If it’s possible for you or your partner to get pregnant from having sex with each other (ie: one of you has a vagina and the other has a penis), you may want to consider a form of birth control. Birth control works by preventing pregnancy from ever happening in the first place.
There is hormonal birth control, like the pill, patch, Nuvaring, and some forms of the IUD. There are also non-hormonal forms of birth control, like condoms, spermicide, and the copper IUD.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each form, so do some research and talk with your doctor to figure out which birth control is best for you.
5. Practice Using Condoms And Other Barriers
Once you’ve determined which barrier methods you and your partner want to use, practice using them! It can be nerve-wracking to open a condom for the first time when you’re in the heat of the moment. Practice opening packages, figuring out how things go on, and then actually putting them on. Some quick tips:
These shouldn’t be tight against the body — just let them naturally cover up and cling to the body’s curves and folds.
Practice opening condom packages, figuring out how things go on, and then actually putting them on.
Don’t use your teeth or scissors to open the wrapper. Hold the condom flat in your palm and see which way up it is and make sure it’s not inside-out. Apply a small bit of lube to the inside of it for increased sensation and comfort.
Inserting these for the first time can be a handful, but luckily, you can insert them in advance or have your partner help you.
6. Try Masturbation
One step that people often skip before having sex for the first time is masturbation. Masturbation helps you figure out how you liked to be touched, what types of sensations you like, and basically, what makes you feel good — and what doesn’t.
Schedule some solo time to get to know your body before you have sex for the first time. This is a great time to practice using the barrier methods you’ve gathered, to figure out how much lube is the right amount, and to figure out what you want in a pressure-reduced environment.
7. Find A Private Location For Your First Time
Before having sex for the first time, think about where you’re going to do it. Find a private, safe, comfortable place, and make sure you both know where to go.
8. Talk About It Together
Before you have sex for the first time, plan a date to talk about it together. How are you feeling, really? What are you nervous about? Excited about? Is there anything in particular you do or don’t want to try?
Talking about sex before you have sex helps you to know your partner better and can reduce feelings of anxiety to help make for a more enjoyable experience.
9. Do Some Research
You probably still have some questions floating around in your mind, and it’s okay to do research — like you are right now! Explore resources on first-time sex to answer some of your most-pressing questions.
10. Ask Questions
Even after doing all of that research, you may still have questions. Do you have a trusted friend or adult in your life who you could turn to? If so, plan for some time to talk with them about how you’re feeling or what is mystifying you.
Find a private, safe, comfortable place, and make sure you both know where to go.
Not that you’re prepared, go out and have a happy, safe, and fun first time!
Myths and facts
Setting the record straight.
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Does Sex Hurt The First Time?
People say that it hurts the first time you have sex. But is that true? Explore the reasons pain can happen when it’s your first time, and how to reduce the chances of discomfort.
There is a prevalent myth that penetrative sex is supposed to hurt the first time - but it doesn’t have to! There are lots of ways to lessen the possibility of pain during sex, including communication, lubrication, and relaxation.
There are so many different kinds of sex out there, and only you get to decide when is the right time for you and your partner. There’s one no right time or right way to have sex!
If you are choosing to have penetrative vaginal or anal sex for the first time it might feel like a big deal. After all, our society puts a lot of pressure and expectations on first time sex, especially penetrative types of sex.
While pain does sometimes happen during sex, it’s our body’s way of telling us that something is off - and it’s time to take a step back and reassess. Read on to explore the reasons why sex might be painful when it’s your first time.
Why Sex Might Be Painful The First Time
Switch it up! Different bodies fit better together in different ways, not to mention feeling better with different speeds or depth of penetration. If something’s not working, move around or use a pillow to get more comfortable. Try going slower, and reducing the depth of penetration.
Need More Lube
Vaginas produce some natural lubrication, but stress, medication, or hormones, can affect lubrication. Not being naturally lubricated doesn’t mean someone isn’t turned on! Even if you have plenty of natural lubrication, keeping a bottle of lube on hand is always a good idea.
If something’s not working, move around or use a pillow to get more comfortable. Try going slower, and reducing the depth of penetration.
An anus doesn’t produce natural lubrication so if you’re having anal sex for the first time you will definitely want a lube on hand. Silicone lube is often preferred for anal because it lasts longer, but water-based is also a good choice for a more gel-like feel.
Nervousness Or Fear
Due to society’s expectations and hoopla around the first time a person has partnered sex, some folks feel a little freaked out, nervous, or stressed the first time they do it. These feelings and lack of relaxation can cause pelvic muscles to tighten, causing pain.
Communicating with a partner about these feelings can help, as well as taking time to warm up with other activities. If penetrative sex doesn’t feel good in that moment, there’s no reason you have to continue with it, even if you’ve been planning it for that particular night. There are so many different ways to get sexy with a partner, and pausing to cuddle or make out for a while before trying again is always an option!
Some fears around first time vaginal sex stem from misinformation about the hymen, which is a thin tissue at the opening of the vagina. Everyone’s hymen is a little different, and some stretch or tear more easily than others. The hymen can tear while playing sports or just reduce in size over time, so it’s not reliable way to tell if someone has ever had intercourse before. The hymen could also break during first time sex and you might experience some bleeding or might not even notice at all!
Possible Condition Or Infection
Common infections like a yeast infection or vaginosis can cause pain or discomfort during sex, as well as other conditions like vaginismus. Some folks choose to drink alcohol or use numbing creams to mask the pain, but that’s not a good idea, the real cause needs to be dealt with so you can experience pleasure. It’s important to get checked out and diagnosed by a doctor or clinician in order to get the right treatment or pelvic floor physical therapy exercises.
You may want to get comfortable with your own anatomy and the sensation of penetration beforehand using your fingers or a sex toy.
Learn Your Body
If you’re concerned about the possibility of pain during intercourse for the first time, you may want to get comfortable with your own anatomy and the sensation of penetration beforehand using your fingers or a sex toy. Practicing can help you get used to the sensations, help the muscles learn how to respond, and can also increase your emotional comfort around the activity.
Communicate If Sex Is Painful
If someone is in pain or uncomfortable for any reason at all, it’s time to pause and discuss with their partner how to make sure everyone is feeling good! Penetrative sex is seen in our culture as the “home run” goal of sex, and all other kinds of sex should lead up to it. However, if it doesn’t feel good in that moment, that’s okay!
Sex can be anything that consenting partners want it to be. It doesn’t have to always lead up to penetration or orgasm; it could just be a way of exploring each others bodies and having fun together, building connection, and making each other feel good. Don’t feel limited, and communicate your needs!