Healthy lives for young people
Sex

Having sex for the first time

When you decide to have sex for the first time, you may well be nervous. But there’s no right or wrong way to have sex and it is important for you to feel comfortable and do what makes you feel good.

Good sex is more about feeling comfortable around someone, trusting them and being able to communicate with them than it is about having the perfect technique. If you’ve never had sex before, no one would expect you to know how to do it.

It’s likely to take some time before things go smoothly. So don’t feel too let down if your first time doesn’t go exactly as you planned: sex generally gets better the more times you do it and the more you learn about it.

Here are our top tips and things you should think about:

Don’t rush

Lots of people wish they had waited longer before having penetrative sex for the first time. And consider this, in a UK survey, 34% of 16-20 year olds said they hadn’t had sex. So although you might think that everyone is doing it, they’re not. 

Ignore the pressure

It can feel like there is a load of pressure to have sex, but take your time and ask yourself if you’re ready. And whether you’re dealing with peer pressure (pressure from friends) or pressure from a partner, we’ve got lots of advice for you.

Think about why you want to do it

Some people want to just get it out of the way with anyone and other people want to wait until they meet the right person. And other people want to do it with someone they trust but who they’re not involved with, like a friend. You have a choice who you have sex with, so choose the person that is right for you.

Be safe

It is important to keep in mind that you can still get pregnant or get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) even if it is your first time. So, it is really important to have contraception sorted first. Using condoms will mean that you can relax and not have to worry about pregnancy or STIs. Get familiar with condoms in advance, so that you’re confident with them and read our guides to using a condomtalking about condomscondom excuses and common condom mistakes

Relax

The more relaxed you are, the better the whole experience will be. This is because stress and tension makes sex less enjoyable. If you’re feeling stressed consider doing something to relax like having a bath or a massage.

Take your time

There’s no rush and the longer you spend kissing and with foreplay, the more relaxed you are likely to become and the easier penetrative sex will be.

It’s fine to change your mind

Remember, even if you do decide to have sex, It is completely OK to say no or stop at any point if you don’t want to continue. Nobody has the right to make you do anything you’re not happy to do, so only have sex if you are really happy to. That’s true for the first time and for every time you have sex. If you want more information about this, visit our page on consent.

Make sure there’s enough lube

Worrying can stop women from becoming turned on or producing lube (getting wet). Not being turned on or wet enough can lead to sex feeling uncomfortable. You can use a water-based lube to make things more slippery.

Don’t worry about it hurting

Having sex for the first time can be really good, and not painful or uncomfortable at all but this is a common worry. Some people worry that their penis won’t be big enough, or will be too big. Others might worry that their vagina will be stretched or damaged. In fact, having penis in vagina sex doesn’t change the size or shape of the vagina in any way. The vagina is a bit like an elastic tube that stretches to accommodate the penis whatever size it is and then goes back to its original size and shape afterwards. The only change that can sometimes happen to a vagina after having sex is that the hymen can be stretched or torn. The hymen is a ring of thin skin which covers part of the opening of the vagina. It does not cover the vagina completely. When the hymen stretches it can feel uncomfortable or be a bit painful. Sometimes, the hymen can also tear if it stretches quickly, and this can cause some bleeding. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

Screwball! – A brilliant comedy drama by TrueTube about two young people struggling through their first sexual encounter.
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