Scroll Top
August 29, 2023

Having Sex for the First Time

Every life is full of firsts! And for many, the first time you have sex is one of the most exciting and potentially daunting…

Many people feel nervous before having sex for the first time. This is completely natural. Doing anything for the first time can be scary – and sex is no different!

Sex can be varied and successful and enjoyable sex differs from person to person. Having sex is about feeling comfortable with your partner, trusting them and being able to communicate what it is you want to do.

So, let’s explore about having sex for the first time, what to expect and some concerns you may have on your mind…

Getting Consent

Let’s start at step one.

Getting consent is crucial, whether its your first time or your 100th. No one should ever be made to feel like they have to do something they aren’t comfortable with or don’t want to do.

Consent should always be clear, enthusiastic and freely given.

Just because you or your partner have consented to something doesn’t mean you have consented to everything –it’s completely okay to say no or stop at any point.

If everyone feels safe, comfortable and respected, the experience will be more pleasurable.

If you want to read more about consent and the laws around sex, click here.

What can you expect

Everyone’s first time is different!

A lot can change depending on the situation and your sexual partner.

It’s common to be nervous about how you’ll perform.

So, the best advice is to relax and take your time. If that’s not possible, it might be better to postpone the experience to another time when you can.

Like many life skills, sex is something which can be awkward at first and it takes time to be comfortable with. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your partner.

Particularly if it’s also your partners’ first time, it’s important you ensure you have their consent. Nerves are normal but – regardless of what they say – if they appear uncomfortable or scared, it’s best to stop.

It’s not always like the movies

Both romantic films and porn will often paint a picture of sex between new partners of being effortless, long lasting and adventurous. But this is rarely the case.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your partner to perform. Enjoy the experience safe in the knowledge no one gets it ‘right’ first time.

Stick with a position which is comfortable for both partners and speak to each other to find out what your partner likes or would like to try.

Don’t feel the pressure to live up to any expectations. If you’re young, it’s likely you’ll both be nervous, so try to relax and enjoy the moment.

Can having sex hurt?

The first time you have sex it may hurt a little, feel good or both. That’s natural.

If you have a vagina, you may feel some discomfort. That’s perfectly normal as you’re probably experiencing a very new sensation. It can feel odd, awkward, pleasurable or super sensitive, all at the same time.

Inside a vagina is a thin piece of tissue called the hymen. The first time a penis, sex toy or finger is inserted, it can stretch and break leading to a little bleeding. It doesn’t happen for everyone and it typically passes.

Unlike in the movies, penises don’t always slide effortlessly into a vagina! It’s natural to not have quite enough vaginal lubrication and can take a little time for it to become fully wet, especially when nervous. Forcing things can become painful for both partners.

Take your time prior to penetration to ensure you’re both fully turned on. A little water-based lubricant may be a good idea to help things along – and lubrication generally heightens the sensation too!

If you’re having anal sex for the first time, lubrication is essential. It’s normal to experience some pain or discomfort which may again pass with experience. Whilst some people find it very pleasurable, some people don’t enjoy anal sex and that’s fine too.

Sex can be inconsistent and doesn’t always run smoothly, no matter how long you’ve been doing it.

Going slowly and making sure you’re both relaxed is important. Remember, your partner is probably far too nervous about their own performance to worry about yours!

Nobody should have sex that feels uncomfortable or painful. If something hurts, stop. If you experience recurring pain that doesn’t go away, contact us and we’ll help in any way we can.

Is it possible for a penis to not fit?

Yes, it’s possible, but not very common.

People come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s always the chance that sexual partners don’t feel entirely compatible. However, the vagina is pretty stretchy and can accommodate most penises.

The anus is also very elastic and can stretch to accommodate without being damaged. However, lubrication is always needed for anal sex as it’s not self-lubricating.

Sometimes a penis can go too deep and hit the cervix at the back of the vagina. The solution is typically to try an alternative position, go a little slower or not thrust as deep.

Much of the discomfort or awkwardness you may feel is likely due to the fact it is your first time. With a little more practise – and once you’re a little more relaxed – things may start to fit and flow more easily!

Be prepared!

Yes, you can get pregnant the first time you have sex!

Yes, you can get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) the first time you have sex!

Your first time should be exciting and pleasurable, so taking precautions to avoid unplanned pregnancy and infections should be top of your to-do list.

Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy and the very best defence against receiving or passing on infections during sex.

Remember, many STI are symptomless for some, so you and your partner may not be able to tell you have one until you pass it on.

Pregnancy can occur whenever semen (cum) gets close to a vagina, so make sure you put on the condom before you and your partner are intimate.

If a someone is concerned about ejaculating too early, a condom (particularly a thicker or extra-safe one) can also help slow down the process.

Most condoms are pre-lubricated but again some additional lubricant can help things flow smoothly, especially if you’re both nervous!

Making it as pleasurable as possible

Above all, relax and enjoy the experience.

Our top tip for making your first time having sex as pleasurable as possible is to communicate with your partner.

No matter your gender or sexuality, your partner will know what they like and don’t like, and speaking to them is the best way to find out.

There can be awkwardness, amusement and it can be messy. So, if something is funny, laugh together. If something doesn’t feel right, communicate and find a solution!

Remember, it’s entirely normal to be nervous and it’s highly unlikely it will go perfectly the first time. Respect your partner and have fun together!

For further information, visit: https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/friends-relationships-sex/sex-relationships/contraception-safe-sex/

Related reading

Clear Filters

What Happens When I First Contact Essex Sexual Health Services? Upon contacting Essex sexual health for the first time, you’ll…

Clear Filters

As part of our series spotlighting STI’s, this month we’re looking at Mycoplasma Genitalium. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are an…