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    Sex for the First Time: Emotions, Pleasure, Contraception, and More

    Published 07 April 2020
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant
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    Your first sexual encounter is probably exciting and intimidating at the same time. But there’s no need to worry as long as you feel ready for both foreplay and intercourse. Check out Flo’s tips for making this once-in-a-lifetime experience safe and fun for you and your partner.

    What is sex exactly?

    So what is sex? It’s a physical form of intimacy between two or more people that typically entails genital stimulation (orally, manually, or through intercourse).

    However, sex can mean different things to different people and may vary according to your sexual orientation. Vaginal sex, or intercourse, describes penetration of the vagina with the penis. It’s the most common type of sex, although most believe anal and oral sex fall under the same category. Ultimately, the sex definition includes any form of genital stimulation with the goal of both partners achieving orgasm.

    Then what is foreplay? Foreplay refers to what partners do before the penetrative act of sex, such as kissing and fondling the breasts, vagina, or penis. Sexting is another great foreplay idea which involves sending each other messages about the naughty things you’d like to do together!

    Types of sex

    There are several different types of sex that you may choose to engage in:

    • Vaginal intercourse

    A man penetrates a woman’s vagina with his penis. It can occur in a wide variety of positions and represents the most common form of sex.

    A man penetrates his partner’s anus with his penis. Although this practice is more prevalent among gay men, it might be pleasurable for heterosexual couples, too.

    • Oral sex

    One partner stimulates the other with their lips and tongue. This includes fellatio, which describes licking and sucking on the penis, as well as cunnilingus, which describes licking the vulva, clitoris, and vagina.

    • Fingering or hand jobs

    One or both partners stimulate the genitals with their fingers and hands.

    • Masturbation, self-stimulation, or mutual masturbation

    Masturbation may be performed alone or with your partner. You can both touch yourselves while talking, texting, or video chatting.

    • Dry humping or fully-clothed genital stimulation

    These techniques mimic the actions of intercourse, without actual skin-to-skin contact.

    Whatever sex means to you, it’s important to be 100 percent comfortable with and to trust your partner. Discuss beforehand what you both want or don’t want to do and set personal limits. Never allow anyone to pressure you into performing sexual acts you haven’t consented to.

    Does sex for the first time hurt?

    The penetrative act of intercourse might break your hymen, a thin membrane which partially covers the opening to your vagina. Note that in some cases, the hymen could have already ruptured or no longer be fully intact prior to sex for the first time. 

    Many women experience the initial act of intercourse as slightly painful or uncomfortable. Even though the muscular walls of your vagina are capable of stretching far enough to deliver a baby, penetration could still hurt in the beginning. If it’s especially painful, it’s probably because you’re not relaxed enough or haven’t produced enough natural lubrication (also referred to as being “wet”).

    In rare instances, it indicates a condition called vaginismus, which produces spasms or contractions in your vagina. They’re triggered when something is inserted into your vagina, like tampons or tools used for conducting a Pap smear. 

    When vaginismus occurs during sexual intercourse, it’s believed to be, in part, a psychological response. Perhaps it’s the result of fear or anxiety regarding sex, or a side effect of past sexual trauma. Alternatively, a yeast infection or urinary tract infection might be to blame for this discomfort.

    Is it possible to get pregnant after sex for the first time?

    Yes, you can definitely get pregnant the very first time you have sex. Whenever sperm have an opportunity to travel into your vagina and fertilize an egg, there’s always a chance of conceiving. Without protection, even if your partner doesn’t ejaculate inside you, his “pre-cum” contains a small amount of sperm that is capable of impregnating you. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a method of birth control in advance.

    Contraception and sex for the first time

    Before having sex, you may want to select a form of contraception that prevents unwanted pregnancy. One of the most popular options is hormonal birth control, such as pills, vaginal rings, shots, and implants. These must be obtained with a prescription from your gynecologist or at a reproductive clinic, and it usually requires a pelvic exam. When taken correctly, hormonal birth control is 98 percent effective. Keep in mind, however, that they will not protect you from contracting a sexually transmitted disease. You'll need to make sure you get yourself tested for STIs regularly, particularly when you have a new partner.

    Condoms, in contrast, constitute a barrier method of birth control. They’re supposed to be worn over an erect penis and should keep ejaculate or seminal fluid contained. After your partner climaxes, one of the many things to do after sex is to remove and properly dispose of it. Readily available at grocery, drug, and big-box stores, condoms are an inexpensive, over-the-counter (OTC) method of birth control that also help protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

    Is it possible to orgasm while having sex for the first time?

    A common misconception about sex for the first time is that you can’t achieve orgasm. But the truth is, engaging in foreplay and understanding what’s pleasurable for you significantly boosts your chances of climaxing.

    Before your first penetrative sexual encounter, think about exploring which types of stimulation allow you to orgasm. Clitoral orgasms involve rubbing or licking the clitoris (located in a small hood-shaped area where the inner vaginal lips meet). Certain positions will increase the pressure and stimulation of your clitoris and produce an orgasm. 

    You and your partner can experiment with sex positions as well as speed and depth of penetration to see what does the trick.

    Maximizing pleasure while you’re having sex for the first time

    Trust and comfort are absolutely key. For most women, sex has a huge psychological component, so if you’re nervous and tense, you might not be able to climax.

    Engaging in foreplay usually boosts arousal and maximizes pleasure. Some foreplay ideas include holding and slowly kissing your partner. Remember that your skin is an organ, too, so gently caressing each other anywhere on the body heightens these sensations.

    For most women, sex has a huge psychological component, so if you’re nervous and tense, you might not be able to climax.

    Encourage your partner to touch your breasts, rub or pinch your nipples, or kiss and suck on them. Further enhance foreplay with manual stimulation of each other’s genitals. Fondle his penis or let him touch your labia and clitoris or insert his fingers into your vagina.

    Oral sex is another type of highly pleasurable foreplay for both partners. However, if you decide to perform fellatio or a “blow job,” agree in advance on what to do if he ejaculates. While you can’t get pregnant by swallowing cum, some women find it unpleasant. You can either spit it out or ask him to withdraw prior to ejaculation. 

    Things to do after sex for the first time

    What happens after sex for the first time? That’s totally up to you. If you’re wondering what to say after sex, it really depends on your situation.

    If you’re in a committed relationship, saying “I love you” after sex can bring you closer together. Some like to say “thank you” after achieving orgasm, but it’s not for everyone! Note that awkwardness after sex for the first time is completely normal. Intercourse is an act of intimacy, and once it’s over, being naked with your partner can feel a little strange.

    Practically speaking, one of the most important things to do after sex is to clean up. Following intercourse, you’ll want to pee. Urinating helps flush bacteria out of your urethra and reduces your chances for a urinary tract infection (UTI). If you and your partner used a condom, wrap it up and throw it away ‒ never flush a condom down the toilet.

    Common misconceptions about having sex for the first time

    Beware of the following misleading myths regarding sex for the first time:

    • Sex is exactly like porn

    Many women feel the need to be as loud or easily brought to climax as the actresses in pornographic videos. This type of content is made to entertain, and actresses are selected for their physical attributes and performance capability.

    • You can’t get pregnant during sex for the first time  

    This is completely untrue ‒ any time you have vaginal intercourse, pregnancy is a possibility.

    • You can’t get pregnant if you don’t orgasm

    This is also untrue. Whether or not you climaxed, it does not affect your chances of getting pregnant.

    • Sex for the first time always hurts

    Although pain and discomfort, especially the first time around, isn’t unusual, it’s not always the case. But if it does hurt, ample foreplay and a relaxed state of mind could go a long way towards alleviating this.


    Oftentimes, you might wonder about what to say after sex or how to initiate sex, and you’re far from being alone. Realize that every person and every situation is unique, so the best thing to do before sex for the first time is to have an open conversation with your partner.

    Discuss ways to protect yourselves from STIs and/or unwanted pregnancy, and plan accordingly. Share any concerns, requests, or personal boundaries with one another. This way, sex for the first time can be exciting and enjoyable for both of you.

    History of updates

    Current version (07 April 2020)

    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant

    Published (07 April 2020)

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