What To Know About Having Sex For The First Time

There's a lot of pressure on first-time sex. But there are only a few things that really matter when you’re thinking about exploring your sexuality with another person.

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The Quickie
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The first time you decide to have sex can be both exciting and intimidating. Depending on your background or beliefs, you may have already been told when you should or shouldn’t experience sexual pleasure—or even how to go about it. Untangling these outside notions and ideas can be difficult, but focusing on the following areas will help:

Defining First-Time Sex

There’s a lot of confusing cultural baggage about what “counts” as “losing your virginity” and what it means. The reality, however, is that the whole notion of “virginity” is a deeply flawed and even harmful concept. More often than not, it’s used to shame people for what they choose to do or not do with their bodies. The reality is that the best time to experience sex is when you feel ready.

What does “sex” even refer to? Sex is a pleasurable, intimate interaction with someone else. It can be between people of any gender identity and with any genitalia. Sex doesn’t have to be penetrative, and it doesn’t have to end in orgasm—it’s up to you how you want to define it.

Preparing For First-Time Sex

When you decide you want to have sex for the first time, consent should always be a big part of the equation. Once you and your partner have both consented to having sex, it’s important to discuss how you are going to prevent pregnancy and/or the transmission of STIs by using condoms, gloves, dental dams, birth control, or any other methods of birth control you choose.

What Will It Feel Like The First Time You Have Sex?

There are myths out there that say that the first time you have sex will be uncomfortable and perhaps even painful. The new sensations might feel a bit strange and unfamiliar at first, but pain is not a necessary part of first time sex. You may or may not have some pain—each person is different—and if sex is painful you can stop and try again another time. Using plenty of lube, taking your time to warm up, and communicating with your partner along the way will help keep things comfortable and enjoyable.

Sex is a pleasurable, intimate interaction with someone else. Sex doesn’t have to be penetrative, and it doesn’t have to end in orgasm, it’s up to you how you want to define it.

If you have a vagina and have penetrative sex for the first time, you may experience some tearing, bleeding, or pressure on the vaginal entrance. Some people experience a bit of discomfort and/or pain during this process. Lube and going slowly will help reduce discomfort.

If you have a penis and have penetrative sex in a vagina or anus for the first time, you might  experience friction or irritation on your penis—but lubrication can also help you maximize your enjoyment.

If you’re having oral sex for the first time you may encounter new tastes and sensations to get used to. You might also find that your jaw or tongue get sore with the new motions. Just take a break and swap your mouth for your hand to keep giving your partner pleasure. Lube, again, is a helpful aid!

The new sensations might feel a bit strange and unfamiliar at first, but pain is not a necessary part of first time sex... Using plenty of lube, taking your time to warm up, and communicating with your partner along the way will help keep things comfortable and enjoyable.

No matter what, remember that there’s no one way to have sex, and no “right” way to have sex—there’s only the way that pleases both you and your partner.

Related Articles:

What Are Consent Skills?

How To Find The Clit

Penis Parts And Pleasure

Why Am I Having Pain During Sex?

What Causes Premature Ejaculation?

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Video transcript

You know, we're talking about contraceptives here and we cannot neglect to mention that condoms are also a form of contraceptive. And I know often people don't think of it that way because they are considered to be a barrier method which is what they are. But in a nutshell, they're the only ones on the shelves, on the shelves at the stores or wherever that are going to protect you from not one, but two things. Okay, and that is pregnancy and STIs. So condoms should never be left out of this conversation. I just want to be crystal clear.