First-Time Sex: Everything You Need to Know Before You Lose Virginity
First sex! What an exciting part of life, and one that you’re feeling ready to take on.
Thinking about having first-time sex can bring up all sorts of emotions – excitement, worries, confusion, fear, and more. All these feelings are totally normal and to be expected.
It can be hard to know the right person to talk to about having sex for the first time.
If you’re full of questions, we’ve got some answers and other things to think about.
Losing Your Virginity, Nothing To Be Afraid Of
We’re working hard to get away from the phrase “losing virginity”. Instead of thinking that someone is taking something away from you, like your “virginity”, you can think of it like you’re gaining something.
When you have sex you are able to have a new way of connecting with someone that you care about, a tool to experience pleasure, and a way to learn about your body and what it likes. Exciting!
That being said, you get to use what language feels right for you.
How Does Sex Feel?
While most people think of sex as penis in vagina, that is not always the case – especially for sexual partners that don’t have that particular genital configuration.
Defining sex for yourself means that if an act you’re doing feels like sex to you, you can call it that. Things like oral sex, masturbation, and anal sex can be considered sex.
It’s also important to note that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be spread through sexual contact outside of genitals against genitals.
That brings us to our next topic…
Protecting Yourself From STIs
The thought of contracting an STI can feel like the end of the world. In most cases, it’s not!
Just like other viruses and bacteria, STIs are a normal part of biology, and they do happen. In most cases, they are treatable or are not as bad as people make them out to be. Many of the most common STIs are treatable with antibiotics and have no long-term side effects if caught early.
The best ways to protect yourself and your partners from contracting STIs are prevention and communication.
Prevention includes getting an STI test in between new partners, using barrier methods like a condom or diaphragm (an internal condom that goes inside the vagina), knowing the signs and symptoms of an STI, and avoiding sexual contact if you have a genital rash or sore.
Communication means asking any new sexual partner when their most recent STI test was (or if they’re having sex with multiple people), and telling someone ASAP if you do happen to get an STI.
If you have a uterus, the other biggest thing on your mind most likely is avoiding getting pregnant.
While your cycle is more likely to be irregular in your teen years, understanding how ovulation works can help you better see how and when someone can get pregnant.
If you’re thinking about going on birth control, there are so many options available to you!
The main non-permanent birth control options are:
- Hormonal pill
- Hormonal patch
- Hormonal ring
- Hormonal shot
- Hormonal IUD
- Copper IUD
If you have unprotected sex, the condom broke, missed a dose of your pill, or otherwise think you may be pregnant, you can take an emergency contraceptive, usually known as “the morning-after pill”, which should be taken within seventy-two hours after having sex.
Enjoying Sex and Orgasms
Another big thing that may be on your mind is whether you’ll enjoy sex, and how to have an orgasm.
Sex can be awkward at first, and like anything, it can take time to learn what you really like and how to communicate that with your sexual partners.
Not only can masturbation help increase your mood and decrease stress levels, but it’s also an awesome tool to help you learn about your body.
My mom always told me “You have to know what you like first so that you can tell your partner!”. While it made me cringe as a teen, I’m grateful for that advice now.
Masturbation is one of the best ways to understand what gives you pleasure so that you can then communicate that with whoever you have sex with.
If something doesn’t feel good or right, speak up! Any partner worth keeping around will understand. The more you enjoy yourself, the more you both enjoy yourselves together.
At the same time, tell your partner if something feels good, let them know what is working so that they know to keep doing it.
If you don’t have an orgasm, no worries. Orgasms are not the end goal of sex, and again it can take time to figure out what it takes to get you there.
If you’re still worried or nervous, or just have other questions, try to find a trusted adult that you can talk to about having sex. Whether that’s your parents, a teacher, a big sibling, or a sibling of a friend – they will be happy to answer your questions, and even help you get condoms or birth control if you need it!
For more questions on sexual wellness and reproductive health, you can explore the large library Intimina has to offer.
Natasha (she/her) is a full-spectrum doula and health+wellness copywriter. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, health, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more education and empowerment. You can connect with Natasha on IG @natasha.s.weiss.