Sex. It can sometimes feel as though everyone is having it – but that’s not a good enough reason to start. We’ve got some key questions to answer before you try having sex for the first time
Got that feeling everyone’s ‘doing it’ except you?
We’ve actually got some stats to show that’s not the case.
Research from sex and wellbeing charity Brook found that one of three 16-20 year olds in the UK have had vaginal sex. So while it may feel like everyone around you is having sex, most people aren’t.
There’s also a lot of stigma around being ‘a virgin’, but the importance around being ‘a virgin’, and ‘losing your virginity,’ is actually a big myth.
Despite this, it’s very normal to feel nervous about having sex for the first time. So if you think you want to try it, we’ve come up with some of the biggest questions it’s worth asking yourself beforehand.
What age should I have sex?
That’s easy – there’s no age that you should be having sex. This is about you!
However, there’s one pretty important caveat. We all know sex should always begin with consent, right? Well, the legal age for giving consent in the UK is 16 years old.
This doesn’t just apply to vaginal or penetrative sex – it can extend to outercourse, oral sex, or other types of sexual activity.
This doesn’t mean you’ll have police kicking down your door if you’re fumbling at a younger age, but if you’re thinking about having sex and are not yet 16, be sure that you’re definitely ready, and both you and your partner are fully consenting.
You can always share any worries you have with a GP or nurse – you won’t get into trouble.
One of the most important things is that having sex for the first time is about feeling ready, knowing someone who you want to have sex with, and that person equally wanting to have sex with you.
Well, what about if I’m with that person… when should we have sex?
Again, that’s easy – there is no set number of weeks or months or years that you should be having sex.
This is about you, your partner, and when you both feel ready.
Here are some thoughts and tips to think about…
There’s no need to rush!
It might feel like everyone around you is having sex, but the stats say otherwise. Many people wish that they’d waited to have sex for the first time. It’s better to wait until you feel ready.
Ignore the pressure
Easier said than done. There can be a lot of pressure around having sex for the first time, but this is about you – not your friends or a partner. Here are some tips for you if you’re feeling the pressure from a partner or peer pressure.
Think about why you want to have sex
Why now? Are you feeling the pressure? Is that you want to get it out of the way? Have you met a person you want to have sex with?
Sex is about consensual, mutual pleasure. Getting it ‘out of the way’ doesn’t sound so pleasurable.
But perhaps you’ve met someone you trust and want to be intimate with – they don’t necessarily need to be a partner, they could be a friend that you really trust. It’s entirely up to you who you have sex with, so choose someone who is right for you.
Keep it safe
Just because it’s your first time, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant or catch a sexually transmitted infection. So it’s important to protect yourself. Condoms (there are lots of places to get the for free) protect from both pregnancy and STIs, but there are lots of different types of contraception for you to think about. Withdrawal or ‘pulling out’ does not protect from either pregnancy or STIs.
The more relaxed you are, the more fun you’ll have. And sex is all about having fun! It’s common to feel a bit anxious beforehand. That goes for doing anything for the first time, not just sex. Having a bath, or a massage may help. Talking to the your partner may also help – they’re probably feeling similarly after all!
Take your time
There’s no need to rush into penetration. Take your time leading up to it. Another great way of relaxing is to spend a long time kissing and engaging in foreplay beforehand.
You can change your mind
You can say no or stop at any point. This is very important to remember. Just like anything, you can change your mind even if you’ve already said yes, whether that be having a cup of tea or having sex.
Nobody has the right to pressure you into anything you don’t want to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or the millionth time, only have sex if you want to have it.
It can feel difficult to say no. Even if we know we have the right to, saying an outright ‘no’ doesn’t often come naturally. It’s important to read each other’s body language and enthusiasm. Positive body language includes: kissing back, touching back, smiling, making eye contact. Always get that enthusiastic ‘yes.’
Lubrication is important for pleasurable sex. Worrying can stop women from producing their own lubrication (getting wet), but that’s okay because lube exists!
Don’t worry about it hurting
It is a very common worry that having sex for the first time will and should hurt. Not true! This is a myth. Sex should not be painful.
The vagina is made of very elastic tissue, so it stretches for the penis/fingers/sex toy (regardless of size) and then returns to its original size and shape afterwards. Just like an elastic band!
The only change that can sometimes happen to the vagina is the stretching or tearing of the hymen. This may have already broken, due lots of reasons eg. playing sport, but sometimes it can feel uncomfortable and can cause bleeding. This is very normal and nothing to worry about.