So, you’ve never had sex before. That’s cool. Actually, it’s really cool. And it’s even more awesome you’re doing a bit of homework before you get between the sheets with someone else. Having realistic sexpectations can mean the difference between a really amazing experience, and a situation that can feel awkward and uncomfortable.
The thing about sex is it’s something millions of people do every day, but we don’t really know how to talk about it. Parents get all weird and strange and tongue-tied and don’t know what to say. A lot of the time they gloss over the details, throw in some heavy warnings, and leave the conversation with some grunted out, ‘I’m here if you need to talk’ that they only sort of mean.
So let’s get something straight. Sex is not a bad thing. Sometimes we’re made to feel like it is (especially as women), and it becomes this huge, terrifying thing that we approach with so much anxiety that we can never even hope to have good sex our first time (or our second or third!). Sex really is something that you can have a lot of fun with and enjoy, but only if you feel 110% ready when you do decide to do it for the first time (and every other time!).
Being ‘ready’ means really being ready to give over a part of your body and your mind, not just being ready to throw it all out there so your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t dump you. Whether your first time is when you’re 16 or when you’re 40, the only things that really matter are that you want it, you’re comfortable with it and honestly agree to do it, and that you look after yourself and your partner.
So let’s talk about sex and first times, what do you need to know?
Before you have sex
Even though sometimes we get caught up in the moment when things start to get hot and heavy, sex shouldn’t be something that ‘just sorta happens’ when you do it for the first time. Sure, you don’t have to plan it all out and have music and candles and mood lighting, but it’s important you’ve had a think about it and you know what you want out of the experience. Here are some of things you could think over to make sure you are ready to have sex for the first time.
- There’s nothing wrong with waiting
Don’t worry, we’re not going to try to change your mind or get all preach-happy over here. But we are going to tell you that it’s completely ok if you don’t want to have sex yet. Even if all your friends are doing it, you have a serious boyfriend or girlfriend and you’re 32, you don’t have to have sex yet if you don’t want to.
Waiting isn’t necessarily about the perfect guy or girl, or meeting your husband or wife, it’s about a feeling you get inside that tells you that you’re ready; you’re truly ok with it, you know that no matter the outcome you won’t regret it and you feel comfortable. If you don’t have that feeling, relax a little, take off the pressure and have a good time without worrying about when to have sex; it will happen when you really want it to.
- Set your sexpectations
You would be surprised (ok you probably wouldn’t) how many people have no idea what to expect the first time they have sex. They’ve heard bits of stories from friends or older sisters or brothers, or they’ve seen people do it on telly, but they really don’t get what happens, or even sometimes, what parts even go where.
Prepare yourself by knowing what to expect. First time sex (and most sex) doesn’t really often look like it does in the movies or in porn. Though you might find you are moaning, groaning and moving around just like they do on telly, it’s important you let your body and your partner’s body do their thing and react honestly and naturally. This will help you get out of your head and enjoy the experience — pretending or trying to mirror something you’ve seen will just take so much focus, you’ll forget to enjoy what you’re feeling.
Regardless of how relaxed you let yourself be, the first time you have sex with someone new (whether it’s your first time ever or your fiftieth) can be a little clumsy. Though all parts of the body are usually in the same spot for most people, they are shaped and sized differently, and people feel different about different ways of touching or moving.
The best approach to first time sex is to be with someone you are completely comfortable with, to work up to it slowly over months so you’re also comfortable with each other’s bodies, and to not take it too seriously when you get there. Take your time, explore, laugh together and forget awkwardness!
Lastly, when setting your sexpectations, think about communication, strangely it is really important when you’re new at sex and getting to know a partner. Think about how you will tell him or her what is working for you, what isn’t and what you would like to try, in a way that contributes to both of your comfort and enjoyment.
- Have the sex talk
It might be weird. It might be awkward. It might seem stupid. Who cares! Talk about sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend before you do it. Talk about it a lot!
You need to make sure you’re on the same page. While it’s so important you know you’re ready, it’s also really important you know they are ready, because if they aren’t, they’ll have a bad experience and you both might regret it later. And don’t forget, boys can feel not ready too, and that’s ok, it’s no reflection on you!
Talking about whether you’re ready, laughing about what makes you nervous and just being really honest can make you feel more comfortable and even closer to you boyfriend or girlfriend. If you’re undecided about being ready, talking about it can also help you figure out how you feel.
- Do it for the right reasons
We have sex for the first time for so many different reasons. A quick survey of teens and young women in their early 20s revealed girls have sex sometimes because they are in love and feel ready, but also because they feel pressured, because they are the last one in their group, they’re scared their boyfriend/girlfriend will lose interest, or just because they want to get it over with.
The only reason to have sex is because you really feel ready and prepared for it. You know you want to and you know that you are not going to look back tomorrow and wish you’d waited. Some of the reasons girls regret sex is doing it too soon, doing it because they felt pressured, being drunk or doing it with the wrong person (or someone who didn’t respect them).
Have a real and honest convo with yourself and ask, ‘why do I want to do this? Is that the right reason?’
- Be safe
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway… when getting ready for sex, get ready for safe sex. When we say safe, we mean make sure you are on the pill or have an implant, and that you use a condom. “Double up?” we hear you ask. Yes! The pill and implants do nothing to protect you from STIs like Chlamydia, herpes or warts, and more people than you think carry those nasties around in their pants.
- Clean up
It might seem obvious, but after-sex hygiene is really important. While STIs are definitely something you want to avoid, probably a more immediate worry is a urinary tract infection (UTI).
A UTI is a nasty little infection that you can get from spreading bacteria from your vagina or bottom to your urethra (where you pee from). The infection can make it really painful (seriously, we mean REALLY painful) to pee; make you want to pee allll the time; produce discoloured, cloudy pee; and give you serious cramps.
To avoid a UTI, make sure you have a pee after sex and make sure you’re keeping up with you’re water intake. UTIs can increase the symptoms of bladder incontinence, which means you will be more likely to pee a little when you sneeze, cough or laugh, when you lift heavy things, or when you’re lining up for the bathroom.
- You don’t have to jump straight back in
Just because you had sex once, doesn’t mean you have to have sex again straight away. Once you’ve had sex, have a think about it and be honest about how you feel. If you feel like you need to wait a while before you give it another crack, then do just that. If your partner worries they’ve put you off sex forever, be honest with them, and tell them why you’d like to wait for a bit.
- Talk about sex again
Yeah, we know. We’re really pushing this talking thing, but we’re pushing it because it’s important. Not only is clear and honest communication the foundation of a strong and lasting relationship, but in this case it’s the basis for better and more comfortable sex in the future. Talk about how you feel now, what you liked and didn’t and what you might like to try.
Overall, sex is just such a personal thing when it comes to deciding what to do when, and with whom. There is nothing wrong with sex, but there is something wrong with feeling regret, undue pressure or aggression, so before you give it a go, make sure you know what you’re getting into, with whom and that you are really comfortable.