Your First-Time Sex Questions Answered

Ready, Set...Not So Fast

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When it comes to the idea of losing your virginity, fear and anxiety are normal. With a steady stream of sexual content on social media, it’s surprising that there’s very little information about what to expect your first time. Also, in today’s instant gratification-focused culture, one minute it can seem like losing your V-card is no big deal and the next it’s the biggest and most important moment of your life.

Whatever the case, it’s natural to feel nervous about losing your virginity. However, there are certain things you can do to prepare yourself for the first time—including arming yourself with the facts about how to take care of yourself before, during and after.

Here are some pointers to help you make the big decision.

What Exactly is "Sex"?

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Generally (and legally) speaking, “sex” is any type of sexual activity—including oral, anal and vaginal penetration. Typically when heterosexual couples talk about losing their virginity, they are referring to vaginal intercourse which consists of the penis penetrating the vagina.

Should I Wait for Someone Special or Just Get It Over With?

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This is a personal decision that only you can make. The best you can do is listen to your gut and make a decision that feels right to you, being mindful of how it might affect you down the line.

Make sure you’re really ready and not just letting external expectations (like a certain age, special event or relationship status) drive your decision. Also, the other person’s feelings, expectations and relationship with you is more important than “getting it over with”. This doesn’t mean you have to be madly in love or together x-number of years before going for it, but it does mean that trust is important. Your partner should have your best interest in mind and vice versa.

How Do I Tell My Partner I'm a Virgin?

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Being a virgin is not something to be ashamed of and choosing to wait does not require justification or warrant an apology. If your potential partner expresses disgust or judgment, it’s a pretty safe bet they don’t have your back emotionally. Mutual respect is necessary to have trust and trust is needed to feel safe. Feeling emotionally or physically unsafe during something as intimate as sex can be incredibly damaging. Even if you’re in a committed relationship, it’s best to take things to the next level only when you know you’re in good hands.

As far as the actual conversation goes, you can keep it light, and right when things are getting hot and heavy say “Hey, just so you know, I’m a virgin.” You can also bring up your virginity before things progress physically in your relationship. Hopefully you’ve had some time to get to know each other, so just say you’re interested in doing the deed, but this is your first time—and ask to go at the speed you need. 

How Do I Know If I'm Ready?

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Unfortunately, there’s no magazine quiz that will give you your answer. Though it may just seem like a fun activity, sex is a big deal because of the emotional and physical risks that come along with it.

If you are careless, you can contract an STI which can cause major problems for years to come. Before going for it, ask yourself how you would deal with an unplanned pregnancy? Do you know how to avoid getting an STI? What if things change in your relationship afterwards?

Psychologically and emotionally, having sex when you feel pressured can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. Be sure you’re saying “yes” for the right reasons. What happens if you wait? How well do you know your partner? It’s also okay to change your mind; you can say “no” at any moment, even after you’ve said yes!

What Should I Expect My First Time?

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Expecting an exotic setting with soft lighting and perfect rhythm? Sorry to break it to you, but sex is rarely that glamorous. Your first time could be awkward—especially if you’re nervous and inexperienced. That’s why it’s great to try to keep a sense of humor throughout.

For guys, it will probably be over really quickly. For women, there will most likely be some and a little bleeding, a result of the tearing of your hymen. However, not all women experience this their first time, so if you don’t bleed, don’t worry! The hymen can be torn a number of other ways, prior to a woman’s first time having sex.

It’s also important to note that most women don’t have an orgasm the first time—or even enjoy the sex very much. But it does get better! Hopefully, you’re with someone you can talk to about what feels good and what doesn’t, so you can make it as pleasurable as possible.

How Do I Prep For it?

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You’re emotionally prepared, you know you have the right partner and you’re sure it’s the right time. Nothing left to do but get it on, right? Not quite. Though a cocktail may seem tempting, you want to be clear-headed and present in your body during this important moment, and able to communicate your needs.

Even if you or your partner is on the pill, you must still use a condom every time. Never assume your partner will have a condom—come prepared! Despite what you may think, plenty of people still get STIs or pregnant their first time having sex.

Don’t skimp on the foreplay! Women need extra attention to get warmed up. Also, nerves can kill the natural lubrication necessary for satisfying sex, so investing extra time here can do wonders. Focus on kissing, touching and oral stimulation—there’s no need to rush to the main event!

How Do I…Do It?

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S-L-O-W-L-Y! Guys, ease into this if your partner’s a virgin. As ready as you are to go now, it’s better for everyone when you take your time. If you are getting overexcited, take the focus off your erection—pleasure her instead.

Women, pay attention to your body; a little pain is to be expected, so it’s okay to stop and start again. Deep breaths can help, so can laughter.

I’m a big fan of lube, whether it’s your first time or your 50th. It makes things smoother and feels better for both of you! Water-based lubricants are best, because some silicone-based ones aren’t compatible with condoms. Speaking of condoms, make sure yours is still on! Even if you’ve taken a breather.

What Happens After?

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When you’re both satisfied, the first thing guys should do is remove the condom. Girls may want a towel to freshen up. Don’t forget to pee! This is important so you can avoid a urinary tract infection (UTI).

If all goes well you may feel more connected with you partner. Who knows, you may even feel like round two. You may feel joy, vulnerable and even sad. Whatever you feel, it’s okay. If you feel guilty or overly exposed, talk to someone you trust and figure out the cause—don’t let negative feelings after sex become a pattern. 

Remember, being a virgin doesn’t make you any more or less of a man or woman and having sex won’t magically make your partner fall in love with you. Give your first time the forethought it deserves. If you’re doing it for the right reasons with someone you trust, you can walk away with a memory you treasure.

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